One thing I really like about this site is our comments section, which I believe to be one of the best around and proof that not all Cubs fans are meatballs, tourists, beer-swilling frat boys, or some combination thereof.
I posed a thoughtful question today, Is Joe Girardi really the best guy to develop Cubs prospects? It's a question that I believe needed to be asked and I was planning a counter view/response for the question for tomorrow. But unsurprisingly, I got some thoughtful responses. So I started thinking, instead of writing the article myself, I'll let some of you do it. Besides, it's been too hectic for me to concentrate on guest posts lately (but I promise I will). Until then, consider this a guest post of sorts.
There were great arguments on both sides, but since my article covered the question, I want to focus on the ones who had counterpoints today. I'm not going to alter them in any way. I think they speak for themselves.
From MMU Cats Ball:
I've always looked at the manager's staff as the ones really developing the players. The manager is more about putting them in the position to succeed and keeping the clubhouse a positive place for them to grow, rather than doing the actual skill development. That would lie on the shoulders of the Bosios and McKays. I know every manager is a little different with respect to how they run things, but I think a lot of them are this way. How often do you think TonyLa's influence on a player was by tweaking a swing or a pitcher's mechanics? How often do you think his influence on a player was putting them in a position to succeed in a clubhouse that had great communication and chemistry? I think the latter happened more often.
To me the manager's top priority will be communication. As far as development, I think that lies more on what staff the new manager would bring over. Rothschild will never allowed back, so would Bosio stay? McKay? Would the FO want Girardi's staff coming over to develop our young players? Would Girardi want to come to the Cubs if he can't bring them? These questions are the ones that I think need the most attention. One man is not going to be relied upon to develop the young players, it's the crew that comes with him. My point, Girardi is fantastic at what he does, communication in general and putting players in a position to succeed. His staff on the other hand, does not come off as developmentally savvy like say, a St.Louis or TB staff.
The definition of "development" is what is causing different opinions.
I don't think the cubs are asking the new manager to recommend different batting stances to the players. This is more of a grammar school development
When they talk development I think its more a college type developmental environment. It's creating a consistent message. It's asking player what their goals are and keeping them accountable.
- Imperative that we create the best environment possible for young players
In Sveum's second year at the helm was that players were getting "different signals from different directions
- Communication skills will be emphasized.
- A manager who is "dynamic something that the low-key Sveum was not.
- someone who is "creative"
- "tremendous energy."
From Mike Partipillo:
John, I'll tell you why I feel Girardi would be an excellent choice to lead the young Cubs moving forward. Girardi is a leader. The reasons he was asked to address the crowd the day Kyle died are the same reasons he is a quality manager. He is respected. He is a clear communicator and people trust him.
When Girardi essentially told the crowd, "Go home. I can't tell you why, but something bad happened and you'll just have to trust me." They did. 40,000 people trusted him. There was no grousing, they did what they were told. Why? Because Girardi is a born leader who was trusted and respected.
He may not be the best at "developing" talent. He doesn't have to be. Development can mean a lot of things, but Girardi isn't being hired to tinker with someone's swing, he's being hired to be a leader. He's meticulous, prepared and professional, and doesn't need to resort to gimmicks like a bunting contest with participants that aren't even ball players.
With Girardi, there will be no doubt what's expected of the players, and there'll be a real leader at the helm, showing them what it means to be a professional. No circus, no games, no BS.
From SkitSketch Jeff:
As with anything with a manager, it's difficult to say what always begins and ends with him. Which managers are good developers of talent? And why? Well, we know Lou Pinella wasn't because he preferred playing veterans. But are Tony LaRussa and Joe Madden great developers of talent, or are they solid beneficiaries of a very well honed development pipeline? But what does make for a good manager of young talent are three things: 1.) Instills confidence, 2.) Commands respect, which allows him to be listened to by the young players, and 3.) Allows young players to play through mistakes. In the first half of 2013, Sveum obviously lost Castro - perhaps because of Castro, perhaps because of both of them. Castro's agent was calling the FO and complaining about comments by Sveum in the paper. Castro also wasn't happy with his performance and, until his high profile mental gaffes later, seemed eager to blame someone else. What you get with Girardi (and I too don't think he's our lone silver bullet here, but think he would be the best option all things considered) is someone who commands respect and eager ears. Winning World Series as a player and manager will do that. Also Girardi is far better with the media and players than when he was a first-year manager with Miami; however, in some ways, he had an easier situation in NY managing many seasoned veterans who were also his former teammates (Jeter, Rivera and Pettite). So it wasn't hard to maintain respect in that clubhouse when the team leaders are also your good friends. But if the Cubs sign Girardi and Rizzo & Castro don't further develop, then we do know that the problem is all with them.
From Dave Kreis (@swmrdak79)
I get Cubs R looking for manager that can help the young padawans, but I see a manager's biggest role is managing personalities and Girardi has show he can manage the up and comers(FLA) and the seasoned vets (NYY)
From Megan Montemurro, who writes for The Northwest Herald via Twitter (@M_Montemurro):
A valid point, makes Hinch intriguing option. Then again, would Girardi's stature garner more respect, etc from younger players? Also, I think hiring Girardi - instead someone like Hinch/Alomar/etc - would suggest to players Cubs are serious about winning soon. Girardi has a proven track record in terms of success and I think that'd be a powerful tool for a team with so many Ls past few yrs.
From Jordan Zuniga via Twitter (@chistyle82):
His stature but more importantly relating to bringing up to guys who was drafted like he was and went thru cub system. in other words he can relate to what they are going through to finally hitting wrigley plus he cn talk about leaving and coming back to cubs. It shows his commitment to bringing a title. After all that he just shows his 4 fingers.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the great responses and there were many others -- on both sides of the coin. Wish I could do more, but I think these cover most of the bases.
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