Addressing the more experienced Cubs GM candidates

Addressing the more experienced Cubs GM candidates
Allard Baird

We've taken a look at a few of my preferred GM candidates here already:  David Forst, Rick Hahn,  Thad Levine,  AJ Preller, as well as my favorite -- Ben Cherington.  Many have been quick to point out that Ricketts seems to prefer a more experienced candidate.  Let's take a closer look at some of those particular names...

1. Andrew Friedman, GM, Rays:  We've already discussed Friedman in detail here.

2. Billy Beane, GM, Athletics: Beane is another guy who's been discussed in detail.  You can read that article here.

3. Brian Cashman, GM, Yankees:  The first thing you think of when you think Yankees GM, you probably think, "Well, who couldn't win in that situation."  The truth is that a lot of people haven't done well in that position.  It's the highest pressure job out there.  Anyone who came from the Yankees GM position will already be used to the kind of pressure that a Cubs GM faces to bring a championship to Wrigley.  As for Cashman himself, he broke the mold a little bit in NY by actually developing players and hanging on to them.  Not only have the Yankees had key homegrown players like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Riviera, but they also continue to send talent down the pipeline.  Players like Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero, and Manny Banuelos.   Quite a bit of that credit, however, should also go to Scouting Director Dan Oppenheimer, who is himself a top GM candidate.  Oppenheimer, though, doesn't seem eager to leave his comfortable position right now.  If he does, he would certainly be on Ricketts list of candidates, though he doesn't have experience as the head man.  It goes without saying that both Cashman and Oppenheimer come from the winning background that Ricketts desires.

3. Allard Baird, Vice President of Player Personnel and Professional Scouting, Red Sox:  Now there's an impressive title and pedigree to start off.  Baird also has GM experience with the Kansas City Royals, where he was pretty much set up for failure by ownership.  Baird has been lauded for how well he handled a difficult situation.   He is still well-respected -- enough to get a key position with the Boston Red Sox.  He already has a strong scouting background and since joining the Red Sox he has adapted to their culture and has learned to balance it with the statistical side of the equation.  He was one of the finalists for the New York Mets GM position last season that saw that team hire Sandy Alderson.   His failure with the Royals, however, will make him a hard sell in Chicago.

4. Jerry DiPoto, Senior VP, Scouting & Player Development, Diamondbacks:  DiPoto has some experience as an interim GM for the Diamondbacks.  He's a guy with a strong scouting background who has made the effort to learn the statistical analysis side of the equation.  Unlike Hendry, he seems to understand the value of such analysis in modern day baseball and has been pretty successful balancing the two disciplines.  He was instrumental in the Diamondback's fantastic draft where he brought in top prospects Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley, two guys the Cubs were very interested in.  He has also helped the team bring in valuable young talent by trading pitchers like Daren Haren and Edwin Jackson instead of keeping them and overpaying them as the Cubs did with Zambrano.

5. Josh Byrnes,Vice President of Baseball Operations, Padres:  Byrnes comes from the Boston pedigree that Ricketts seems to like.  He also has experience, having been GM for the Diamondbacks from 2005-2010.  He was the man DiPoto actually replaced on an interim basis.   The downside with Byrnes is that he has traded away some top young talent such as Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Carlos Quentin, and Jose Valverde.    Though, to be fair, he did pick up Daren Haren for the first two names on this list and he was a top pitcher with the team until they traded him away to the Angels.  Like Baird, his lack of success as the head man will make Cubs fans weary.

6. Ned Colletti, GM, Dodgers:  Colletti is a whole lot like Jim Hendry, which defeats the whole purpose.  He does not fit Ricketts criteria.  He doesn't come from a winning background, does not have a good track record for developing players, and he's not statistically-inclined.  He is the anti-candidate as far as I'm concerned and if he somehow gets an interview, I'm going to steal the keys to his car.

As far as I'm concerned, Friedman stands out from this list.  Cashman wouldn't be a bad hire either.  He has said he wasn't interested in the Cubs GM job, but he's still employed with the Yankees.   The media would have a field day if he made any indication that he wanted to leave.  We could take his statement with a grain of salt.

Friedman, for his part, had no comment when asked about the Cubs job but interestingly enough, he said he "wouldn't jump at the chance to be the Astros GM".  The fact that he was disinclined to take one job and in the next breath had no comment about the other makes you wonder a bit.  He had the opportunity to deny interest in the Cubs, but chose not to do so.

I also want to remind everyone that Ben Cherington has some experience as co-GM when Theo Epstein was out, so as far as experience goes he isn't too far behind Jerry DiPoto.  Whether that's enough for Ricketts remains to be seen.  As we've said before, he does meet every other criteria Ricketts laid out.


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  • The idea of Ricketts going after Cashman worries me for some reason. I can't put my finger on it, but I just don't want him running this team

  • In reply to Cameron Macpherson:

    I'm okay with Cashman, prefer Friedman from this list, but Cashman is a player development guy who has come from a high pressure environment -- two things that will really help him here in Chicago.

  • I can't say what's in anyone's head, but I sure can't see Cashman wanting to come here from the Yankees. With regard to developing talent and the like (you left out Cano), it'll probably take the Cubs 8 years, given that they had nothing in the minor league system when Cashner and Wells went down (compare to Zach Stewart stepping up to the Sox when Jackson was traded, and Lucy and Flowers playing OK).

    Someone on sports radio was talking about a Cashman and Girardi duo, except that Girardi reupped with the Yankees and indicated little interest in coming here. I figure it would take triple the money to get Cashman away from George Costanza, anyway.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't think you can really compare the Sox minor leagues with the Cubs. They really have nothing down there -- even Viciedo is a player with a lot of question marks and he's head and shoulders above every other prospect they have. Neither Flowers or Lucy project as great players in the long term. The biggest problem with the Cubs system is that their best players were in AA and below, although some have moved up since the beginning of the year.

    I do think Cashman would show some interest in the Cubs. It's the best job out there after the Yankees and Red Sox, and if he's looking for a new challenge then Chicago is the place to go.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    One might not be able to compare the whole systems, but obviously the Cubs didn't have anyone able to fill in. Now Coleman is supposed to take Z's spot, but shows nothing.

    "It's the best job out there after the Yankees and Red Sox" which means it is not as good a job as the Yankees, which is what he now has. That is, unless Ricketts is really willing to overpay, as I first indicated.

  • In reply to jack:

    Cashman may just want to move on. His contract is expiring and some people think he hasn't always been happy in NY. If he's going to leave, then the Cubs are the best place to land.

    The Cubs did not have anyone to fill in for two starters but not many teams would. Even with the talent in the lower levels, however, they've been filling in spots with homegrown players over the past 2 years: Castro, Barney, Russell, Colvin, and even Cashner until he got hurt. It's getting there. But after years of neglect, it isn't going to happen overnight.

    I agree with you on Coleman. I don't think a whole lot of him, either. He has mediocre control and command which is fine if you have great stuff -- but Coleman doesn't have anything close to great stuff.

  • Of all the experienced guys out there, the guys I like are ( in order) Jerry DiPoto, Andrew Friedman and Josh Byrnes. A lot of people forget DiPoto was the interim GM for a good part of last season and he also comes from the Red Sox system. The probelm with Byrnes is that he didn't exactly do so great with Arizona.

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    DiPoto is growing on me. The more I read about him, the more I like him. I'd be okay if he wound up being the guy. Cherington and Friedman are still my top two, though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Mine too, a lot of people ( like Buster Olney) say, in end it will be a asst. GM like Cherington or Levine.

  • Olney also reported that the Cubs want their new GM in place by October 1st. That would rule out Cashman and Cherington.

  • That would rule out a lot of guys. I hope that's not the case. It would really limit who they'd be able to bring in. It would make Friedman the top candidate, followed by guys like Beane, Forst, Byrnes and Rick Hahn.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Although the Cubs (and apparently guys like you as Cubs fans) show an inclination for liking limbo, the Cubs can't really leave this position open once free agency opens up, and someone has to make a decision on team options, such as for Aramis. Of course, despite what some guy at the ST says today, I always thought that the inclination was to buy out his option, and then either say goodbye or sign him for less.

    If Ricketts was so concerned about having someone to sign draft picks, there has to be someone around to make the free agent decisions, and it won't be Hendry.

  • In reply to jack:

    Free agency opens up in November, they may have a little wiggle room. I'd wait if it meant getting the best candidate for the long term instead of settling for your second or third choice. If the Cubs first choice is Friedman or Beane, then I'm all for making that decision early. But if it's Cherington or someone else, than why not wait a couple of weeks? You'll still have time to make those decisions.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Only the guys whose teams make the postseason.

  • Exactly, but that's where a lot of those good candidates are:

    Boston: Cherington, Baird
    Yankees: Cashman, Oppenheimer
    Braves: Coppolella
    D'Backs: DiPoto
    Texas: Levine, Preller

    And if the Sox make it, Hahn is out the window too. Or Chernoff if Cleveland makes it.

    There's still good names out there like Friedman and Beane...but it certainly narrows down the field quite a bit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Just saying, if Olney is right, Ricketts' list is a lot shorter than people might think.

  • Totally agree...that's why I kind of hoping Olney is wrong ;)

    Still, if we end up with someone like Friedman or Beane, I'll be very happy even though Cherington is my favorite overall.

  • Added Billy Beane to the list, by the way...he was in the original piece and I somehow left him off.

  • Well, I just read all of the posts and I am so pleased that not one person said "Yeah, that Allard Baird would be a really good candidate." I would just as soon have Colletti. (And I wouldn't want Colletti at all.) If my post name gives you any clue, I spent a little too much time trying to like a team that was GM's by Allard Baird. Let me just say, "Let's not go there please!" I do, however, hope they kick the tires on DiPoto.

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    Hahaha! I'm not sure Baird is THAT bad. I think Colletti is worse. Baird to me is more of an unknown. He did horribly in KC, but who hasn't lately? That's a bad situation. His work in Boston has been much better -- but I still don't think the Cubs will seriously consider him. He's more of a guy who would go to someone like Houston.

    Of this list, I like Friedman and Beane...then probably DiPoto. But, of the three, DiPoto will be the easiest to get.

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