As promised, a boatload of Chicago Cubs general manager search news, rumors, etc. for you today:
- SI’s Jon Paul Morosi has a long article up about the Cubs’ GM search. Among the high points: (1) There’s almost no chance a new GM will be in place by the end of the month; (2) the Cubs are going to try and get “the biggest name they can”; (3) Theo Epstein is probably Tom Ricketts’ top choice (duh); (4) Billy Beane’s minority ownership interest in the A’s is a small hurdle to his candidacy (a buyout would have to be negotiated); (5) the job in Chicago is very different than the one in Tampa Bay, which could scare off Andrew Friedman; (6) Ricketts could shift Crane Kenney’s title to something like “president of business operations,” which would open the door to giving the “baseball president” title to an incoming GM; Rick Hahn remains the most popular guess of insiders; and (8) Tigers’ assistant GM Al Avila is probably not a candidate.
- SI’s Tom Verducci says Tom Ricketts needs to aim high, and suggests reasons why the big four (Epstein, Cashman, Friedman, Beane) would all be attracted to the Cubs’ job. He even cites a source who says Beane would consider the job. Verducci, like every other national writer, says the Cubs’ GM job is very desirable to almost everyone in baseball. It’s not just the possibility of being the guy who finally wins it for the Cubs – it’s the huge market, the untapped revenue streams, the aggressive owner, and the very winnable division.
- Jayson Stark, as though responding to Verducci, goes through the reasons why the big four would not be interested in the Cubs’ job. Though he, too, notes sources indicating Beane’s interest in the job.
- Phil Rogers thinks that, if Theo Epstein is ever going to leave Boston, the time is now. He also thinks Andrew Friedman should find the Cubs’ resources highly attractive. Hooray! Phil Rogers is telling me things I want to hear! I like him!
- Bruce Levine’s weekly chat hit on a number of GM search topics. Levine doesn’t think Epstein will ultimately be the guy, and instead guesses that it will be Rick Hahn. Indeed, Levine thinks Epstein, Brian Cashman, and Andrew Friedman are going to use the Cubs’ opening to leverage more dollars out of their current organizations. Boo! Bruce Levine is telling me things I don’t want to hear! I don’t like him!
- Rogers also thinks that, if Ricketts can’t land one of the biggest names, San Diego VP of Baseball Ops (and former Diamondbacks GM) Josh Byrnes is the guy he’ll look at the hardest. In part, Rogers gets that sense from the GM of Byrnes’ current organization, Jed Hoyer. That reminds me: why hasn’t Hoyer’s name ever come up as a candidate? He was Epstein’s prized assistant in Boston for a number of years before getting the big job in San Diego two years ago. He satisfies all of Tom Ricketts’ criteria, and comes straight from the “Boston Red Sox model.”
- Braves’ assistant GM John Coppolella, who would definitely fall into the “up-and-coming assistants” crop, wouldn’t speculate on the Cubs’ open GM position and the team’s prospects for 2012.
- Popular Cleveland Indians blog Waiting for Next Year (sound familiar?) sings the praises of Indians’ president Mark Shapiro. I’m generally of the mind that, if a fan base doesn’t want to lose a particular executive, that executive must be at least decent – especially if the executive has been around for more than 10 years. We fans tend to grow weary rapidly.
- SI’s Jon Heyman, whose skills appear to have eroded this year, bizarrely suggests that Tom Ricketts might go ahead and hire Ryne Sandberg as the Cubs’ manager without waiting for the next GM. That suggestion is so absurd is to not warrant a response.
- Cubs blog Inside Cubs is reporting that Crane Kenney will not return next season as Chicago Cubs’ president. The same has been suggested here in the past, in large part because Kenney is not particularly well liked in Cubs circles, his position as “President” stands as a (symbolic) threat to the next GM (even though Tom Ricketts has said the GM will report directly to Ricketts), and the “need” to keep Kenney as a go-between in Wrigley Field/Triangle Building talks is fading. Inside Cubs says Ricketts has made the decision, and Kenney will be out at the end of the season. This could open up a nice additional title to give an incoming GM. Other than that, the practical impact of the move might be slim, given that, again, Ricketts expects the next GM to report directly to him. UPDATE: A source of Dave Kaplan’s says this rumor is “100 percent false.”
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