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Cherington, Coppolella, and Hahn picking up momentum as GM candidates

Cherington, Coppolella, and Hahn picking up momentum as GM candidates

This should come as no surprise.  These three candidates have all been talked about here in detail and it appears that now the mainstream media here in Chicago is beginning to hop on board.  Yesterday we talked about how Ben Cherington, John Coppolella, and Rick Hahn were all mentioned by Dan Connelly of the Baltimore Sun and today they were all mentioned by Phil Rogers by the Tribune.

Rogers talked about Coppolella's local ties at Notre Dame and his experience with the Braves and the Yankees.  He said Coppolella's drawing attention for his work with the Braves farm system, which has produced several top pitching prospects.

He also talked about Ben Cherington as Theo Epstein's "understudy" and as someone who has been involved in major decisions.  There are others, including Scott Miller of CBS Sports, who believe the Cubs may actually prefer Cherington over Epstein.

Additionally, Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley of the Score today talked about John Coppolella as a rising candidate.  They mentioned his proficiency with statistics, his winning background, and his commitment to the farm system.  They also talked about Rick Hahn, a local candidate with a very strong analytical background who just happens to be a Cubs fan.

For more detail on the 3 candidates here on Cubs Den, you can read them by clicking the links below...

Ben Cherington

John Coppolella

Rick Hahn

We should be learning something soon about the Epstein situation.  He is said to be interested but the odds are still 50/50 at best that the Cubs can steal him away from Boston.  If they cannot, I'd be happy with whichever of these three candidates Ricketts finds as the best fit.

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  • I now think these 3 are on the short list. I love seeing Coppolella on there, it shows TR is really doing his research . If Epstein does not take the job , one of these 3 will be the next Cubs GM.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    It is exciting. Coppolella has been a favorite here on this site for a long time now. It's good to see him finally getting the attention he deserves.

    I like all these candidates and if they are, in fact, Ricketts tops choices then I'm very pleased with his research results. This is a good group.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I love this group. Apart from David Forst, this is probably the most ready group I can think of. Tom ricketts wants to hire someone who needs very little of any "training" to be a GM. Cherington and Hahn have a lot of responsibility , Cherington more so, only David Forst of the A's has as much on hands influence as Asst GM as Cherington and Hahn. Coppolella is the wild card, I think TR sees him as possible Friedman or Epstein, a young diamond in the rough.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Me too...it's a nice blend. They all fit the Ricketts criteria very well, yet each has something unique to offer.

    It wouldn't surprise me if Forst wound up being interested. They treat him well in Oakland, but if Beane decides he wants to stay, he may finally decide it's time to branch out on his own. And there's still that suspicious trip to Oakland that Ricketts, Wilken, and Kaplan took a while back...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think TR was feeling out Beane first on that trip, then maybe Forst. From what I have read David Forst of the A's and Damon Oppenheimer of the Yankees are the two assistants least likely to leave their teams. From what Ihave read, both have been told ( more or less) that they will be the GM prett ysoon, so why leave?

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Oppenheimer is getting kind of old, though. To me it seems he's just comfortable where he's at. I don't see the Yankees replacing Cashman with Oppenheimer at any point.

    As for Forst, I'm sure he's guaranteed that job but maybe he'll get tired of waiting for Beane to move on. And then if the stadium deal falls through again, who knows what will happen in Oakland.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I have heard 2 stories about Oppenheimer. One, that he knows he can become the GM if Cashman leaves. The other story is that he loves being a scout/advisor like Gary Hunnsiker with the Rays and has no ambition to be a GM.

  • If it's Theo or one of these three, that will work. Hahn is my last choice, but I still would be fine with it. Hopefully we'll know by this time next week.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    I think it will start to pick up soon. The only thing I ask is that nobody gets hired on Saturday, as I will be on a short trip and may not have the best internet access!

  • Tom Petty says "The Waiting is the Hardest Part." Kurt Cobain says, "Take your time, hurry up, the choice is yours, don't be late." But Axel Rose reminds us that we "Gotta have a little patience."

    Forget that GNR, we want it now. I can't wait to get our guy and start shaping this thing for years to come. I agree with everyone here that these are all great choices.

    We need to start unloading money and bad contracts to free up funds for the future. I just hope we don't wait to long to join the party and miss out on doing what needs to get done.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Great music...can't go wrong with any of them -- though I'm probably a little partial to Kurt Cobain.

    I really do think this is going to happen quickly. Ricketts seems to have prepared well behind the scenes and once the decision comes down on Epstein, one way or the other, I think we'll get our answer quickly.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Hi John,

    I hope you're right that something can happen soon but it doesn't seem likely. I do think it will pick up steam once Boston decides how they're going to handle Theo.

    Is it possible / likely that Ricketts has already conducted some interviews on the 2nd tier candidates (Coppolella, Cherington & Hahn) so he's ready to move quickly if he gets shot down by Theo & Friedman?

  • In reply to Boogens:

    Hi Boogens,

    To my knowledge, Ricketts has not conducted any interviews at this point. It won't happen until he talks to Epstein first. I'd imagine that if he's not able to land Epstein, he'd move on to Cherington next, simply because it makes the most sense logistically.

    I should probably clarify too, as far as "soon". I think we'll find out about Epstein soon (possibly this week), and if it isn't him, Ricketts will move quickly to contact the other candidates and get them in for interviews. That process may take another couple of weeks as Ricketts will want to talk to each guy and then pare the list down to a couple of finalists.

  • The Kinks would tell TR they are "So Tired of Waiting for You" but The Supremes/Phil Collins retort: "You Can't Hurry Love". I hope it IS love when it is all over cos I had none lost on the past fella

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Ha! Taking this one a little more old school! This is great!

  • Hahn was high on my list at first because of his Chicago ties. Now I'm more interested in whichever candidate has helped his team build the better farm system.

  • If you're looking at the current best farm systems, you have to look at the Braves. They are currently ranked as one of the best 3 farm systems by Baseball America, Keith Law, and other respected prospect writers.

    Coppolella is the Director of Professional Scouting, however, so he'd have to bring some of the Braves people with him who excel in the amateur side as well. I don't know what that would mean for Wilken, however.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Coppolella is fast becomming the favorite of mine, and laregly for the reason you just mentioned, and it's why I don't put Hahn in any of the top tiers.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    The farm system for the Braves in unbelievable, especially when it comes to pitching. I think if the Cubs hire Coppolella, it's a signal that they intend to rebuild a little bit, not just the major league club, but the minor league system as well -- but he hasn't built that farm system on his own by any stretch, it's certainly a group effort -- and he'll need to bring some key people with him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I hope he'd bring as many key people as he can. Quite impressive that a team like the Braves can have a top 3 system while competing every year.

    Hope the Ryas get knocked out today, currently trailing by 1 run. I would love for the Cubs to get a jump on Friedman starting as soon as tomorrow.

    Also hoping no major news breaks Saturday. We need you to fill us in as much as possible, to talk about this exciting time as much as possible!

  • I like it in that order. Cherington, Copolella, Hahn. Of course, if Theo or Friedman (my fave) arent available.

  • I know that TR has stated that the new GM will report directly to him, presumably with "PBO"-type authority. That has always been with the presumption that an experienced GM will be hired. If it ends up being a Cherington, Hahn or Coppolella, will TR hire a "mentor"? I can imagine that the first two may not need one, but not so sure about Coppolella.

    The more I think about this, the more I believe TR will follow the model of hiring the absolute best people possible and staying out of their way, ala the Red Sox' "loaded front office" referred to yesterday.

    I can hardly wait...

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Me neither!

    That's a good point and I think there's going to be room to bring someone in like that. Cherington worked with such big names like John Hart and Dan Duquette. Coppolella has been influenced by guys like Jim Fregosi, who's considered a front office candidate himself by some. Hahn may bring in someone like Larry Monroe because of his great work with pitching, or perhaps Buddy Bell for player development.

    That's all speculation, though, of course...

  • I think it all comes down to how much power and control Ricketts is
    willing to give the GM.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think it'll depend on the candidate too. You wouldn't likely give a first time GM the same amount of power you'd give Theo Epstein, for example.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think if Coppolella or Cherington become a GM, I can see the Cubs hiring an "advisor" to help them out. Who that person would be, I have no idea, but it won't be someone like Gillick .

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I'm guessing Jim Fregosi may come over with Coppolella. Another interesting connection he has is Kim Ng back when he was with the Yankees. That has the makings of a pretty good staff. Cherington is tougher since so many of the people he's worked with still have top jobs, he's worked with some pretty big names with the Indians and Red Sox, though, guys like John Hart and Dan Duquette. I like your idea of bringing in Woodfork as an AGM.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like the idea of Jim Fregosi , coming with Coppolella. Fregosi has built a very good reputation as a wise advisor with the Giants and now the Braves since he stopped managing. I know for a while Epstein had a Bill Lajole advising him, Lajole being a longtime baseball guy who was the GM for the Indians and Tigers in the 1980's. I can't say for certain that Cherington would bring Woodfork, but it would not shock me in the least if he did bring Woodfork over. I like Woodfork, he just needs some more experience in the scouting part. Once he gets that experience , he will be a hot commodity again.

  • Yes, I agree that building up the farm system is either number 1 or 2
    for the new GM to work on. Also determing which players to keep,
    trade or let become free agents.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree with that as well. First on the list has to be the current roster decisions since they are the most pressing issues.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What Ricketts and the new GM do will determine the Cubs future for the next 5 to 10 years. Because the Cub pick high in the 2012
    draft I hope they at least the same amount of money as 2011.
    Also for international signings.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Absolutely it will. And that's the key.... 5-10 years. We have to remember this team has been pretty much taken down to the ground by the win-now mentality of 2007-2009. It's mostly cleaned up now, especially after we rid ourselves of the Soriano/Zambrano contracts, but it's not going to be rebuilt overnight, so the Cubs will need someone who can build creatively in the short-term while continuing to repair the pipeline of minor league talent for the long run.

  • I don't know much about Hahn but given the White Sox farm system is universally regarded as one of the worst in baseball wouldn't that be a knock against Hahn? I know Kenny's in charge but doesn't Hahn have some culpability? I'm not specifically questioning his talents and background, just curious about that aspect and how it's viewed given TR's focus on having a strong minor league system.

  • In reply to John R:

    To some degree. It's probably going to be considered his biggest weakness...or at least his biggest question mark.

    It's difficult to say, but it's been Kenny's MO is to trade prospects like 16 game winners Gio Gonzalez and Daniel Hudson for short term fixes like Nick Swisher and Jake Peavy that haven't worked out. They also do a decent job of getting prospects from other teams like Zach Stewart, Gavin Floyd, and Jon Danks...as well as hitters like D'Aza, Quentin, Konerko, etc.

    It's a mixed bag and it's almost impossible to say how much hand Hahn had one either the positive or the negative.

  • John,
    What do you know about Roy Clark? Looks like he was with the Braves as their scouting director for a long time before accepting the AGM role with the Washington Nationals. Is he highly thought of enough to be a potential sleeper on TR's list? Do you see anyone else on teams that have done Tampa Bay Ray like things on a limited budget? Someone on teams like Arizona, Colorado or even the Brewers perhaps...

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Haven't heard anything mentioned about Roy Clark. He's a deep sleeper and I don't think teams are considering him just yet. He obviously did have a big hand in what is considered one of the best farm systems in baseball and he's done well early on with the Nats, albeit with some very high picks.

    One name I liked but didn't see surface was Colorado's Bill Geivett. He's a little older at 46 but he's considered one of the best farm system minds in the game. He has spent time with Montreal, Tampa, and LA as well.

    Arizona's biggest name is Jerry DiPoto, who's their AGM and spent time as an interim GM until Kevin Towers was hired this year. He has that Boston lineage, as does Josh Byrnes, who was AZ's GM before getting fired (and replaced by DiPoto). Byrnes is now getting some credit for the AZ turnaround since much of it has been done with his players.

    As for the Brewers, there's not really a candidate coming out of there at this point. Many of the Brewers top players were acquired when Jack Zdurenciek was around. He has since been hired as the Mariners GM. Had a good first season but has struggled since.

  • I feel sorry for Bill Geivett, in the pre-moneyball days he would be a hotter commodity , in my opinion. Now he might seem like a Logan White or a Tony LaCava, great talent evaluators but maybe too old school. I'm surprised Jerry DiPoto was never mentioned by the Cubs, he's respected and he came from the vaunted Red Sox front office. The Brewers have a candidate, Ray Montgomery, who is the VP/ Player personal director. I have seen his name once or twice as a name to remember down the road. If the Brewers continue to be good next year, his name will start popping up more and more.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    The man (Geivett) knows talent, though. One of the best old school scouting people in the game...as for Montgomery, like you say, he's still too far down the road for the Cubs to consider.

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