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Replacing Hendry: A look at some GM candidates

With the news that Hendry has finally been given his walking papers, the question now becomes,

"What Next?"

How the Cubs choose to replace Hendry will be the single most important decision Jim Hendry has made to date.  There are plenty of great candidates to choose from.  Here are my five favorites...

1. Ben Cherington -  The Red Sox Assistant GM/VP of Baseball Operations is a great blend of scouting ability and statistical analysis.  I think he's the perfect fit for what the Cubs should do and I think he could work well with Scouting Director Tim Wilken.

2. Rick Hahn -  A big name out there and known for his ability to negotiate contracts.  He'd be a good choice to get the Cubs payroll under control.  He'll need a strong baseball guy with a scouting background to complement his skills.

3. David Forst -  Will be almost impossible to pry loose from Billy Beane, but maybe the opportunity to continue his philosophy along with the chance to have better resources will entice him.

4. Thad Levine - A good baseball mind.  He's the right hand man for John Daniels and Texas is one of the most successful teams in baseball when it comes to blending scouting and statistics.

5. AJ Preller - A good fallback candidate because he also has a big say in Texas success.  He's younger and may be easier to pry loose than any of the above candidates.  He could also be eager to step out from under the shadow of Daniels and Levine.  I think he has a better personality for the job than Levine does, but less experience.

These candidates all come from successful organizations, particularly Cherington, Levine, and Preller, and it will take a lot to get them to leave their comfort zone.  But the Cubs GM spot is among the most coveted in baseball.  They have the resources and the market size to succeed -- along with an owner who has just proven he's willing to use those resources correctly.

It also goes without saying that Mike Quade will likely be seeing his last days as a Cubs manager.

 

 

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  • John ...

    Like you and many others I'm in shock. Beyond "about time" ... the next (obvious) moves are replacing Kenney and Quade. Perhaps Hendry's relaxed stance the last few days is that he knew, in advance, that this was coming.

    Can't honestly say I don't like the guy ... just, all too often, the results.

    Having Bus in the interim speaks, to me, that "the guy" is in another organization and will be in place after the season.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Hendry was on the radio a few minutes ago. Basically said that this decision was made before today. He stayed on to help get the picks signed.

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    In reply to dgedz27:

    I figured as much. In hindsight, the announcement that there was going to be an announcement certainly suggested it. So I'm not surprised.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Was listening to Ricketts press conference. Some things I gleaned off of that...

    1) The new GM will come from outside the organization
    2) The new GM will preferably strike a balance between scouting and sabermetrics...although he won't be a pure sabermetrics guy, which I think is absolutely the right move.
    3) Ricketts wants Tim Wilken and Oneiri Fleita to stay on and will try to convince the new GM to keep them on staff.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Right ... I heard the outside the organization part ... and so what do I see in the Tribune? That MORON Rogers ... "Cubs' search could be short: Hahn is right man." John, I swear ... between Sullivan and Rogers ... there's barely a functioning brain.

    Do you have any insight into the Kenney situation? We can only pray that he will, indeed, be moved out of any sort of oversight of baseball ops.

    Is there such a thing as a hybrid GM? A Gillick-type of baseball guy with someone working hand-in-hand who's a saber-type.

    The point has been made to me by people who are around the organization that Fleita and Wilken are very much Hendry guys. I don't know if this makes sense ... but sorta like Ditka coming in and being told that Buddy Ryan was the defensive coordinator. With all the positives that are taking place in scouting and drafting it would be pretty crippling to lose those two.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Ricketts stressed that Kenney will be involved on the business side of the operation, where he believes Kenney has some value. That may well be, but we all know he has zero value on the baseball side of the operation. Just draw a line and make him stay on his side...maybe put up one of those electric fences in case he tries ;)

    I think two guys really stand out to me as having a nice balance between the two disciplines of scouting and sabermetrics: Ben Cherington and AJ Preller. I don't think Hahn portrays that at all. Both Rogers and Levine labeled him the perfect candidate, but Hahn has a very think scouting background and Ricketts indicated that was going to be a major part of the Cubs philosophy. I honestly don't believe Hahn is who he has in mind at all.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As far as Fleita and Wilken, those two guys are respected throughout baseball. It wouldn't surprise me to see a new GM keep them on. There's not a whole lot better out there than those two.

  • Ben Cherington has to be the guy, right? Ricketts has spent so much time in Boston, and talking about their model, it just seems to make the most sense.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    He's a perfect fit for what Ricketts was talking about. Bruce Levine thinks Hahn matches up with Ricketts desires but I don't agree. It sounded to me like his ideal GM sounded a lot like Ben Cherington.

  • Ben Cherington has to be one the favorites for a variety of reasons. The one huge factor as a lot of people have said is Ricketts admiration of the Red Sox orginization. I would be shocked if he's not one fothe finalists.

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    I think that is a very well thought out list, and I suspect, based upon comments by Ricketts about how much he admires both the business model and the baseball operations of the Red Sox, that Cherington would definitely be on the short-short list. Levien and Preller would be good choices as well. If Ricketts hires someone before season's end, I would say it will be someone on your list. If he waits, then it probably means he is looking for a bigger fish to fry.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Trying to be realistic too. Of course, we wouldn't mind bringing in Friedman or Beane, but I don't think that's going to happen. And Ricketts seemed to indicate he's looking for a young, energetic GM who, above all, values player development.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The 2 most important qualities he mentioned were player development & a baseball analytical quality. Once again music to our ears right?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Exactly!

    I also liked that he indicated he doesn't want a pure sabermetric guy...he called it "a part of the game". I think that gets lost on some people who think that sabermetrics is some kind of magic potion that can cure all baseball problems. It's just a tool, and it should be treated as such.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As much as some media types here want a established GM here ( Friedman, Cashman ect...) , not going to happen. In typical Chicago media mumbo-jumbo only an "established" GM is acceptable , an Asst. GM or VP is too small town for Chicago....whatever. It's going to be someone like Cherington or Thad Levine or AJ Preller ,someone like that. The only ex-GM I see as a candidate would be Josh Byrnes, the ex-Arizona GM as he also comes from the Red Sox organization.

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    I thought about Byrnes as well. I think he's there for the taking and it wouldn't be a bad choice. In fact, I think he's actually more likely, and a better fit, than Rick Hahn right now. Let's make him an honorary #6 on this list!

  • Andrew Friedman?

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I think Friedman would be great. It just didn't strike me that the Cubs were going in that direction. I could be wrong...and I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if he were they guy, but I get the feeling that Ricketts is looking for a guy with a stronger scouting background than Friedman. He's a great numbers guy, but he relied heavily on Hunsicker for the scouting side of things. He won't have anyone in that kind of position like that with the Cubs...although he could always consult with Wilken, I suppose.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    From what i gathered from Ricketts, he pretty much said Ben Cherington. I think he said there are assistant GM/VP with other clubs that if interested in us, we would be happy to talk with. To me that's Ricketts code for we're going to attempt to hire Ben Cherington. Especially with all of the focus he's put on the Boston model.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    To me, he described Cherington to a tee when talking about his next GM...will write that one up tomorrow.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Looking forward to that! What a week for the Cubs... An awesome draft, Ricketts basically taking the bull by the hornes and moving the Cubs forward! Exciting time to be a Cubs fan!!

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    dged27, I decided to publish it a little early...figured why not? It'll still be there tomorrow!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    He really did John, I have always felt if the Cubs ever got rid of Hendry that Ben Cherington would be the next Cubs GM. If Ricketts stuck to his beliefs and fired Hendry when he took over the Cubs, Jed Hoyer would be the Cubs GM right now, but he dithered and flip-flopped and let Hendry talk his way into keeping his job. The Red Sox have always been the model baseball organization as far as Ricketts is concerned. The next stop is phasing out Kenny as he is redundant with the Cubs now. The title of President could easily be given to one of Ricketts siblings and make them more or less his assistant and then make the next GM , Sr. VP/GM and Director of Operations who reports to Tom Ricketts and him alone.

  • Rick Hahn.

  • He really is the hot name right now, especially because he's already here in Chicago, SI named him the top overall candidate...he's got the buzz factor going.

    All that being said, I'm going to go against the grain here and say he's not going to be the guy. I may look silly afterward if he gets hired, especially after so many people say he was the guy, but I really don't see him as the best fit.

  • I'm not up on the potential candidates, who do you see as the best fit?

  • My guy is Ben Cherington. I think he fits exactly what Ricketts is looking for in terms of scouting, statistical analysis, financial savvy (especially in arbitration), and even had a big hand in trades and acquisitions. He's ready made and I think the most balanced of all the candidates.

  • Sounds good!

  • Will do a write-up Raymond...either tonight or tomorrow. Was going to wait but it seems like a subject people are interested in right now!

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