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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