Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Cashman, Friedman, Beane, Hahn, Byrnes, Ng, Levine, and Other Bullets

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Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Cashman, Friedman, Beane, Hahn, Byrnes, Ng, Levine, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs GM search rumors and news have piled up to such an unwieldy level that the only solution is a massive bullet-style dump, which I bring you now. Enjoy:

  • The Cubs’ GM job is legitimately attractive to top tier candidates like New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman. “Who wouldn’t want to be the GM of the Chicago Cubs?” former Orioles GM Jim Duquette said of the job. “You have tremendous resources, a great fan base and you are in a world class city that is attractive to free agents. I believe that you can turn that team around fairly quickly if you get the right guy in there.”
  • Those top tier types may not ultimately come, but this isn’t a matter of Cubs fans believing our opportunity is so great because we live in a bubble of delusion. It genuinely represents one of the most exciting opportunities for every executive in baseball. I don’t know about you, but hearing that again and again this week only serves to make me more depressed that Jim Hendry, however nice he is, lasted as long as he did.
  • Dave Kaplan says his New York sources tell him they would be “stunned” if Cashman left New York, given his young family’s ties to the city. Kaplan also runs through the pros and cons of the “Big Three” of Cashman, Friedman and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.
  • If Cashman is willing to leave, the Cubs might try to get him in a package with current Yankee manager, and long-time Cubs regret, Joe Girardi.
  • Jon Heyman says he’s hearing that White Sox Assistant GM Rick Hahn and Padres Director of Baseball Ops Josh Byrnes are the front-runners for the Cubs’ GM job, and that Cashman, Friedman, Epstein, and A’s GM Billy Beane are longshots. That may well be so, but, as my friend Matt Clapp has said elsewhere, of course those four are the “longshots.” They’re they ones who are already employed as GMs, and there’s no way any professional is going to discuss leaving his current job for a lateral move until the move is already all but finalized.
  • Although Beane is under contract through 2014, his strong relationship with A’s ownership, and an in-place successor in David Forst, are believed to be reasons that he would be given permission to interview with the Cubs. Something to keep in mind before getting too excited about Beane: despite his early success, the A’s haven’t had a winning season since 2006.
  • With the White Sox struggling – in large part because some of their most high profile moves have blown up in their face – Kenny Williams’ job as GM could be in doubt, which could, in turn, open up a spot for Hahn.
  • The many reasons Tampa Bay will try desperately to hang onto Friedman.
  • Rangers Assistant GM Thad Levine, who is considered (like Hahn) to be one of the top assistants in the game, was mum on speculation that he could seek a promotion to the big seat with another team. “My singular focus is this job,” he said. “I’m extremely honored to have my name thrown in the mix. I don’t want to get distracted from what I’m trying to help this team accomplish.” Not exactly a strong denial of interest, if you ask me.
  • Larry Bowa says the Cubs should still consider Pat Gillick for a president-level job.
  • More background on theoretical candidate, MLB executive Kim Ng.
  • Bruce Levine says the GM search is going to take a long time because the Cubs will want to consider executives under contract for the rest of this season. Levine then suggests that the Cubs would have to wait until the season is over to ask permission to speak to those executives, which is flatly wrong, so I buried this bullet at the end. The search probably will take a long time, but not because the Cubs have to wait to ask permission to speak to the guys they want. It’s just that the teams may not be willing to give permission until after the season, or the candidate may not want to make a decision until after the season.

For my part, here’s all I’ve been able to dig up so far:

1. The Cubs started asking teams for permission to speak to prospective candidates as early as this past weekend (i.e., immediately after announcing Hendry’s termination), one of whom is among the popular names that has been reported as a potential candidate. With apologies, to protect the identity of my source, I can’t reveal the name of that particular candidate (yes, I know how lame that sounds – but it’s true).

2. The Cubs have asked all other MLB front offices to keep tight wraps on those requests, and on the Cubs’ GM search in general.

3. Legitimate leaks are hard to come by (did I mention that you can contact me with tips at brett *AT* bleachernation.com?). If the Cubs could keep Jim Hendry’s firing secret for a month, they’ll probably do a good job of keeping this process relatively quiet.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.