Posted by: Chris | October 28, 2010

Quick Pick Thoughts…On The Chicago Cubs

Mike has yet another excellent post for the blog, I owe him big time for all the great work he is doing, enjoy this piece guys! It’s a personal favorite of mine:

It’s been bantied about this fall as to what is the next big move. The Major League Baseball hot stove is always smoking, but it seems like for the Cubs in particular, so much is still in question.

It is usually a revolving door in the modern world that players have no loyalty to a ball club, and vice versa when big dollars are being exchanged on a nominal basis. Bonuses, endorsements and business ventures seem to carry as much weight as the jersey on the back, if not more for some of the biggest names in the business. Rare is an occasion when a mega deal is made and a player actually honors the contract – Re: Derek Jeter playing out the string on his 10-year, $180+ million contract with the same club. While Jeter might be an exception on multiple fronts, emblematic as the face of the most notable franchise in the world, it makes one wonder why GMs bother to make contracts more than two years. Re: Jim Hendry.

The Cubs have a lot of work to do to get back to the level they set for a good portion of the past decade. The hiring of Mike Quade, while an interesting one, makes a lot of sense from the vantage point that the recent Cubs managerial hirings have been mostly for show, and for too much dough.

In Quade, you have someone who has paid his dues (19 years of sub-level coaching) and a man whom sounded as thrilled as anyone during his hiring press conference to have the managerial position full-time. Lou was on his way out the door. Dusty was interested in Dusty. Jim Riggleman and Don Baylor didn’t seem to fit well within the organization.

The hype machine during the final month of the season into the postseason centered around two former Cubs in Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi. While both guys have great claims to Cubs lore, Sandberg being the most obvious, both would come with a caviat.

Girardi was going to cost a lot of money to bring in. With the mammoth contracts of Soriano, Zambrano, Fukudome and Ramirez already on the books, adding manager money was going to make any player personnel movement virtually impossible. Most notably if the Cubs ever wanted to deal for a mid-season star replacement.

Sandberg comes with the hero tag. What Quade has is anonymity, a little bit of a leash to work with because his product is not in place. Sandberg brings attention. And lots of it. Not necessarily on himself – he did work through four years of bus rides as was asked of – but the expectation that he is a Cubs legend. The spotlight would burn brighter, the adoration a little stronger. With a team that is in need of a major rebuilding job, in my humble opinion, having Sandberg in the fray would only bring unnecessary attention to the franchise. Is he here as a sideshow, while the club is 72-80 next season? Or is he taking responsibility for the club while those in attendance can look past the #23 and focus on the product? Where would Cub fans stand after two seasons of .435 baseball with Sandberg as the face of that winning percentage? Chicago sports fans are loyal to their heroes – John Paxson still has a GM job with the Bulls despite some major embarrassments in past seasons, the ’85 Bears can do no wrong – EVER – and the Cubs are one of the best draws in pro sports with 102 years of misery over their heads.

I think Quade is better prepared for the responsibility of the manager’s role of the Chicago Cubs in 2011. Sandberg may still be a great manager down the line, and Girardi has obviously done it at the highest level in New York. But for 2011, temper the expectations and let Mike Quade do something much needed in this town, build from within. 

It’s been bantied about this fall as to what is the next big move. The Major League Baseball hot stove is always smoking, but it seems like for the Cubs in particular, so much is still in question.

It is usually a revolving door in the modern world that players have no loyalty to a ball club, and vice versa when big dollars are being exchanged on a nominal basis. Bonuses, endorsements and business ventures seem to carry as much weight as the jersey on the back, if not more for some of the biggest names in the business. Rare is an occasion when a mega deal is made and a player actually honors the contract – Re: Derek Jeter playing out the string on his 10-year, $180+ million contract with the same club. While Jeter might be an exception on multiple fronts, emblematic as the face of the most notable franchise in the world, it makes one wonder why GMs bother to make contracts more than two years. Re: Jim Hendry.

 

The Cubs have a lot of work to do to get back to the level they set for a good portion of the past decade. The hiring of Mike Quade, while an interesting one, makes a lot of sense from the vantage point that the recent Cubs managerial hirings have been mostly for show, and for too much dough.

In Quade, you have someone who has paid his dues (19 years of sub-level coaching) and a man whom sounded as thrilled as anyone during his hiring press conference to have the managerial position full-time. Lou was on his way out the door. Dusty was interested in Dusty. Jim Riggleman and Don Baylor didn’t seem to fit well within the organization.

The hype machine during the final month of the season into the postseason centered around two former Cubs in Ryne Sandberg and Joe Girardi. While both guys have great claims to Cubs lore, Sandberg being the most obvious, both would come with a caviat.

Girardi was going to cost a lot of money to bring in. With the mammoth contracts of Soriano, Zambrano, Fukudome and Ramirez already on the books, adding manager money was going to make any player personnel movement virtually impossible. Most notably if the Cubs ever wanted to deal for a mid-season star replacement.

Sandberg comes with the hero tag. What Quade has is anonymity, a little bit of a leash to work with because his product is not in place. Sandberg brings attention. And lots of it. Not necessarily on himself – he did work through four years of bus rides as was asked of – but the expectation that he is a Cubs legend. The spotlight would burn brighter, the adoration a little stronger. With a team that is in need of a major rebuilding job, in my humble opinion, having Sandberg in the fray would only bring unnecessary attention to the franchise. Is he here as a sideshow, while the club is 72-80 next season? Or is he taking responsibility for the club while those in attendance can look past the #23 and focus on the product? Where would Cub fans stand after two seasons of .435 baseball with Sandberg as the face of that winning percentage? Chicago sports fans are loyal to their heroes – John Paxson still has a GM job with the Bulls despite some major embarrassments in past seasons, the ’85 Bears can do no wrong – EVER – and the Cubs are one of the best draws in pro sports with 102 years of misery over their heads.

I think Quade is better prepared for the responsibility of the manager’s role of the Chicago Cubs in 2011. Sandberg may still be a great manager down the line, and Girardi has obviously done it at the highest level in New York. But for 2011, temper the expectations and let Mike Quade do something much needed in this town, build from within.

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