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