Would the Cubs give Ryne Sandberg a second chance?

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Is it time to give Ryno a second look?

In case you’re wondering what Ryne Sandberg is up to, he’s managing the Leigh Valley Iron Pigs.  They are the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies and they are currently in first place with a 37-22 record.

Sandberg, as we all are well aware, was a finalist for the Cubs open managerial position last offseason.  And while Sandberg was disappointed that he didn’t get the job, he didn’t leave on bad terms.  According to Sandberg when Tom Ricketts broke the bad news, he said, “I told him I’m disappointed and that I appreciated the process and being involved. That was the end of the conversation.”

Not cheery, but he didn’t burn the place down either.

Before losing out, Sandberg often talked about how managing the Cubs would be his dream job and that he’d love to be the one to take them to the World Series.  It’s doubtful that has really changed.

I have to admit that I had some doubts about Sandberg.  As a player he was soft-spoken and I wondered if he could command the respect of his ballplayers.  After a slow start to his managerial career that featured seemingly as many ejections as big wins, Sandberg has clearly shown he can lead a team.  Like a prospect, he has gotten better at each level. He has produced winners in each of the last two seasons, with Iowa last season and Leigh Valley this year.

Sandberg also has an advantage in that he already is familiar with many of the Cubs minor league prospects — the ones who are certain to make up a good portion of the team over the next couple of seasons.  That would limit the disruption of changing managers and keep some continuity.

Lastly, Ryno would re-invigorate a fan base that is beginning to lose interest.  The team lacks fire, and while Sandberg didn’t overtly provide that as a ballplayer, he has done so as a manager.  But it isn’t just pandering to the fans, Sandberg has proven himself as a solid manager who understands the history of the franchise as well as it’s future.

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  • Just as promissed! Thank you sir

  • and another Sandberg team in 1st place? Let me act surprised!

  • regarding Hendry, do you think there is a chance the Cubs wanted him to help finish out the draft, then work on his release? We see this sometimes, in other sports especially.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    It's possible. It's definitely a time you want some continuity, even though it's really Wilken running that show. If the Cubs do fire Hendry, I don't see them hiring one of the names we've talked about right away. It'll probably be an interim guy like Asst. GM Randy Bush until the end of the season.

    It's kind of tricky to work this GM and manager balance because most GMs want to bring their own guys in. And you have to wonder if a guy like Cherington, for example, has his own guys in mind and make a clean break from the past...but if he wants to come in with a bang and make fans happy, Ryno would be the choice.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I was thinking that even though Wilken runs the show, he consults with Hendry, and with Jim likely to find other work within minutes of being fires, the Cubs wouldn't want him out there knowing what he would know.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Good point...if they were to fire Hendry there's no way they do it before the draft. GMs are always consulted, in on the meetings, etc. even if they don't do the actual draft.

    That being said, I think he'll be here at least until the end of the year and then they'll re-evaluate.

    One thing I'll say in Hendry's defense is that early on as a GM, he built up the farm system, and had a few shrewd trades (Ramirez and Lee for example), as well as some nice under the radar signings like Ryan Dempster. I wouldn't mind having the old Jim Hendry back, the one that built that 2003 team that won in the playoffs and almost reached the World Series before everybody started getting hurt...but I don't want the Jim Hendry that went wild between 2007-2009 with the free agent signings...although I've been saying from the beginning that I think the Tribune's sale of the team had something to do with that spending spree.

    If they do decide to keep Hendry though, they've got to bring in a quality sabermetrics guy to help him understand the efficiencies in the game. It's no coincidence that the Cubs had their best regular season in 2008 when they were among the league leaders in things like OBP, Slugging, and other saber-friendly numbers. Let's combine the things we did well in 2003 and 2008...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    think you're right. I'd like to see them cut ties sooner, but it likely wouldn't happen til the end of the season, if at all.

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