Ryne Sandberg, a Manager at Wrigley Field and Other Bullets

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  • Get ready to hear a whole lot about Ryne Sandberg. The Phillies’ interim manager makes his return to Wrigley Field today, after a couple years removed from the Cubs’ organization. Sandberg will get a hell of an ovation, as he should. He’ll also probably have very little interest in being the story, but, with two disappointing teams on the field, it’s gonna be Sandberg. In advance of that, here are a couple Sandberg pieces to tide you over: from Carrie Muskat, and from Patrick Mooney.
  • Luke mentioned 20-year-old pitching prospect Daury Torrez in the Minor League Daily as one of the pitchers who had success in the Arizona Rookie League this year, and, indeed, he had so much success that the Cubs don’t want his season to end: Torrez has been promoted to Kane County, where he made his first appearance yesterday. Although it wasn’t great – 5 IP, 3ER, 5H, 1BB, 2K – the promotion is a good sign. Torrez spent the last two seasons in the DSL, and reaching low-A in his first stateside season – having just turned 20 in June – is impressive. With the AZL Cubs, Torrez was absurdly good: 3.31 ERA in 49 innings with 49 Ks and 5(!!!) BBs.
  • (If you happen to look at Torrez on Baseball-Reference this morning, you can ignore what you see: the promotion seems to have broken BR’s stats for Torrez this year. They are all wrong.)
  • Mark Gonzales looks at converting positional players to pitchers, including two youngsters that the Cubs have been working on in that regard – Kyler Burke and Johermyn Chavez. Each is a free agent after this season.
  • Juan Uribe tells Gonzales that Starlin Castro might just be thinking too much.
  • The Cubs have the second best jersey in baseball right now, behind … the Cardinals.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

51 responses to “Ryne Sandberg, a Manager at Wrigley Field and Other Bullets”

  1. OregonCubsFan

    Last night on WGN Kaplan (or the night before, I don’t remember) was arguing that the Cubs did Sandberg a favor by not hiring him.
    If he’d been hired when Quade was hired, he may have done better than Quade (which isn’t saying much), but still would not have met expectations and probably would have been fired. It’s never good to fire a hall of famer – especially when he is from your own organization.
    If he’d been hired when Sveum was hired, he’d probably be suffering the same fate since there is no talent. And Kap argues that Sandberg’s competitiveness would not be happy with being in such a situation.
    I agree with Kap in that Sandberg would not have made a difference but think the Cubs did themselves a favor – relieving themselves of an awkward situation in which they may have had to fire one of their own.
    But here’s my fear – the Phillies have put Sandberg in a situation much like Quade inherited: interim manager of a declining, aging squad. I suspect he will do well this year, and get hired permanently next year. But then I’m guessing he won’t meet expectations. He’ll do well to finish around .500. I’m afraid he’ll face the same fate as Quade, though he may last two years instead of one.
    Here’s my hope – that he gets enough experience and shows enough savvy not to disappear into manager oblivion but reappear with an organization on the up instead of on the down. Ultimate hope – he is hired by the Cubs in 2015 or 2016 and leads them to their first World Series victory this century. Shoot, let’s dream big – their first four World Series victories this century.

    1. Stevie B

      Oregon, we share the same hope.
      In a perfect world, that would happen, but we all know where perfect worlds exist.

    2. Kevin F.

      And Epstein/Hoyer avoided the “hire Ryno now” conundrum by stating at the outset of the managerial search that he would not be interviewed or considered, actually telling Sandberg themselves initially. Another good move to keep sentiment out of what we see is a developing business/baseball project.

    3. justinjabs

      Oregon, you’re pretty much spot on.

    4. Clark Addison

      I agree that hiring Sandberg last year would have been bad for him and the Cubs. And also he is in a no win situation with the Phillies who are in need of a rebuild. The difference is that Sandberg doesn’t have the history with the Phillies organization.

  2. Bails17

    Let the circus begin

  3. mreverything

    I just can’t see the love for ex-Cubs becoming manager of the Cubs. (i.e. Girardi, Sandberg) Just because they played here and were good or great players, how does that translate into managerial ability? It seems to me we should hope that the best man for the job gets the gig as manager and not give it to ex-players who we loved when they played here just because they played here. I would look for someone who has done it before who has a good track record of success not just somebody who wore a Cubs uniform. If Ryno succeeds at the major league level, that’s fine, get him. But want him to manage just because he had success playing here makes no sense to me.

    1. 70'scub

      That’s why Sandberg went back to the Minors as a manager to re-prove himself.

    2. Mat B

      Yeah, I’d hate to have Girardi as a manager. I mean, what has he done as a manager?

      1. ETS

        I wish we could go back in time and see how quade would have done with some of girardi’s teams and how G would have done with quade’s cubs.

    3. Funn Dave

      No one wants him to manage just because he played here. People want him to manage because he managed in our minor league system and did well there, and because they know he has baseball know-how and intelligence. If you only hired old-ass managers with years of pro baseball experience, you’d only have a handful of people to choose from, and eventually there would be none left. Then what? It’s just completely illogical to limit your search to managers with MLB experience.

      1. TWC

        “No one wants him to manage just because he played here.”

        I’m quite certain that you’re entirely incorrect.

        1. frank

          Agreed.

      2. hansman1982

        “It’s just completely illogical to limit your search to managers with MLB experience.”

        Well they managed to find one that was young and had MLB experience.

        1. cubzfan23

          Come on sveum had what 20 games mlb exp. Managing. I hope sandberg takes them to the world series next year while knocking out the cubs in the NL pennent. Sandberg would of brought fundamentally sound baseball back to chicago.

          1. TWC

            Hoping that the Cubs lose?

            My, what a good Cubs fan you are, cubzfan23.

            1. cubzfan23

              Yep… 30 plus years. Guess Im one of those biased Ryno fans. Just feel if Theo didnt want someone without mlb exp. than dont hire stupid ass sveum(no exp).

              1. TWC

                I don’t give a shit if you’ve been a Cubs fan for 50 years or 5 days. If you want them to lose, you’re a crappy “fan”.

                And do I need to point out that Sveum had been a Major League coach since 2004 (including a stint as MIL’s interim manager)?

                1. Sans

                  Yeah!

    4. jim haley

      Ryno got Manager of the Year awards in every minor league level & that counts on a winning experience. Are you not going to count Baez performance either. His 35 HR’s & 100+ RBI’s as no experience too. Yes there is a difference between coach & manager & Ryno did what he was told to do by Hendry. Both Quade & Sveum didn’t have Ryno’s Managerial stats in awards & wins. Enough said !!!!!

      1. TWC

        “Ryno got Manager of the Year awards in every minor league level ”

        No, he didn’t.

        “Are you not going to count Baez performance either. ”

        Sandberg never coached Baez.

        “Quade & Sveum didn’t have Ryno’s Managerial stats in awards & wins.”

        Mike Quade was a two-time Manager of the Year award winner. He has more career minor league victories as a manger than Sandberg.

        “Enough said !!!!!”

        Apparently not.

        1. justinjabs

          LAWYER’D.

    5. Cyranojoe

      I wanted Sandberg because he was successful in the minors as a manager, had the cache that pros should respect, and could sell tickets by the bucketful. Hard to ask for much more.

      That said, I understand that having him as the manager during a rebuilding phase would damage his brand and potentially his career — I’m not sure he understood that, honestly. I also appreciate that having him in place would tie our GM’s hands like nobody’s business. The public excuses given for why Theo/Jed didn’t want Sandberg were just an attempt to soften the truth.

      1. willis

        Ryno is a done discussion. It’s fun to speculate, but he isn’t the manager for the Cubs and never will be.

        I do think the reason many get fired up is because Sveum is on the cusp of back to back 100 loss (or close) seasons and manages poorly. The losing is growing old on many and the emotional side of that brings up the “Ryno is/was/could have been” better discussion. If the Cubs had a manager worth a crap, Ryno would be a dead issue. Regardless, it’s a waste of emotion and finger muscles. Hate Sveum, love Sveum, be indifferent. But Ryno, as much as I love him, will never manage the cubs.

  4. mreverything

    How does two years of managing in the minors prove anything?

    1. Funn Dave

      Everyone has to start somewhere.

  5. Cindy Sandberg

    Ryno is a dirtbag! Lousy, Lousy guy!

    1. ETS

      You would know better than any of us.

    2. Coop

      Rafael Palmeiro is a much nicer guy.

  6. Frank

    Sandberg played for the Cubs, He’s in the hall of fame and he’s the darling of some Cubs fans. Does that equal… have to hire him as manager? No, so get over it.
    If popularity was the main qualification for a manager, then they would have hired Banks, Williams, etc.
    Sveum was hired as the sacrificial lamb. If Sandberg would have been hired instead, everyone would be saying he didn’t have enough experience and never should have been hired.
    Theo was given a five year contract, (I think) so don’t expect anything until the last year of his contract and by that time, Sveum will be long gone.

  7. LER

    Sandberg managed for six years in the minors to the tune of almost a thousand games. His Iowa Cubs finished first in 2010. His work as a third base coach for the Phillies has been strong. Despite/because of his clear expectations for hard work on the part of players, he’s had good relationships with his teams. In addition, he wasn’t just another Cubs player. He was a smart player who always hustled. Managers exist to win and lose; be hired and fired. Anything that would get him to Wrigley as manager in 2015 would be an investment in the future.

    1. hansman1982

      Yes, an investment in giving away outs by having positional players bunt a lot.

    2. Funn Dave

      Thank you! Someone who gets it. I’m not saying Ryno will make a great MLB manager; I have no way of knowing that. But it’s absurd to think that he won’t because he lacks MLB experience, or because he’s exhibited a propensity for playing small ball. And if the only reason he’d be considered is because Cubs fans like him, then why would the Phillies want him?

    3. jim haley

      Mr Everything…..sounds like an ego nickname. Look at LER’s comments

  8. Mat B

    I hope Sandberg makes the Cubs organization and Dale Sveum look like amateurs.

    1. Jim L.

      You’re a helluva Cub fan.

      1. Mat B

        I am. I just think that Theo, the Ricketts, et al treated Sandberg like crap, and watching them put the teams on the field they have the last two years has been unbearable. If you are going to suffer through lean years, why not suffer through lean years with kids from the minor leagues instead of Darnel McDonald, Jeff Baker, Luis Valbuena, and Brian Bogusevic? It could have been just as bad, or worse, or possibly, they may have found some players who could have stuck. It would have been nice to find out instead of watching all this awful the last few years.

  9. Robert Johnson

    I’m on my way to Wrigley. Who would have thought when we bought the six pack that this would be such a nice game to be at.

  10. Funn Dave

    The fact that Uni Watch does power rankings never fails to crack me up. The fact that they almost never have the balls to put a team that isn’t old as hell and whose jerseys aren’t steeped in tradition in the top couple spots makes me laugh even harder (I believe the top two in the NFL this year are the Bears and Packers).

  11. Lyle Ernst

    I question those who rag on Sveum. He is managing a very bad team. As a team, they cannot hit with or without men on base and are not good fielding. And, they are very young, or made up of rejects from other teams who do okay for awhile, but not over the long haul.
    Let’s see how Sveum does when he gets some decent players.

    1. Funn Dave

      OK, I have nothing to do at work today, so I’ma keep going. You’re absolutely right that the crappy team Dale’s stuck with makes it irresponsible to judge him as a manager based on his record. However, in almost every game I see, he makes some decisions that I consider questionable. I like what he does with shifts, but I think his pitching and lineup decisions are often faulty. I don’t think these decisions have led to the terrible record we have right now, but I think they are often bad decisions nonetheless.

    2. cubzfan23

      Than your sayn that its the players that make the manager.

      1. frank

        If the players execute, the manager looks like a genius; if they don’t, he looks like a fool. Was Joe Torre considered a great manager before he managed with the Yankees? No. He was, in fact, under .500 with them, albeit not by much. He’s hired to manage a more talented team, and he ends up in the hall of fame.

    3. Jay

      Dude, have you watched Dale manage this pitching staff? I mean, yeah he’s got to crap to work with talent-wise overall but when it comes to strategic stuff particularly in dealing with his bullpen, he could screw up a two-car funeral.

  12. Rich H

    The part of this conversation that is missing is the Sandburg part of this split.
    When Theo came in here and said Ryno was not being interveiwed for the big job his feelings got hurt and he left the organization. He then hired on to the same job he had with Phillie. Where I imagine if he could have had a big league bench job here instead of David Bell. Sandberg took his ball and went home after what he thought was a slight. I can not see how his leaving is on the Cubs at all. That being said he is probably in a better situation now than he could have wished for with the Cubs.

    1. Reality Check

      it’s completely on the cubs; are you kidding?? he never would of been hired as the bench or 3rd base coach at the MLB level because theo would not want dale quade always looking over his shoulder or the media stirring things up whenever DQ screws things up; so his only choice would of been stay at the minors till DQ’s 3 yrs were up OR have a smart GM like person like dallas green hire him where he could move to the majors in time; which happened and then move up to manager.

  13. Farley Flash

    Welcome back RYNO, welcome back! You were the best. Good luck.

  14. bbmoney

    My feelings for Ryno are kind of like what the Don Corleone tells Sollozzo when turning down his business deal. To paraphrase:

    I want to congratulate Ryno on his new coaching position, and I’m sure he’ll do very well and good luck to him, so long as his interests don’t conflict with the Cubs.

    Go Cubs.

  15. CubFan Paul

    Regarding the AZL teams/league, who Umpires those games? Regular low A ball umps or coaches?

    1. Jason

      Experienced Triple and Double A umps. Just like the players here they are being looked at to move up.

  16. Cheryl

    I never thought of Ryno as a cubs manager. I knew he was a good ballplayer and managed well in the minors. When he went to the Phillies I thought it was a good move on his part and would get him closer to his dream of being a manager. He needed to be away from the cubs. Now he is a manager and I think he will do well. I just hope it isn’t against the cubs.

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