Ryne Sandberg - Managerial Record 253-258 (.495) all within the Cubs minor league system. A lot of people consider Sandberg to be the favorite, however its possible that Jim Hendry would want a more experienced guy leading the team (remember he picked Lou Piniella over fan favorite Joe Girardi the last go around). For his part, Sandberg says he is ready and does not want (or need) on the job training (as a bench coach). Mark's Remarks - Its pretty much all or nothing for Sandberg. Either the Cubs hire him or he will probably move on to another organization.
Joe Girardi - Managerial Record 329-250 (.568), 1 World Series title. Despite his record and World Series title, he doesn't get a lot of respect in New York and may be willing to move on for the right opportunity. Mark's Remarks - He lost out to Piniella the last go around, but has said before that he wants to manage the Cubs someday. Cub fans like him and he has experience, but will he be willing to leave the ever contending Yankees for a potential rebuilding project with the Cubs?
Bob Brenly - Managerial Record 303-262 (.536), 1 World Series title. Managed for 3 1/2 years with the Diamondbacks and currently works as one of the Cubs announcers. He interviewed for the job back when Piniella was hired and has expressed his interest again. Mark's Remarks - Cubs fans like him for his blunt criticisms about the team. However, how would the players react to him as a manager, after being the target of those criticisms.
Alan Trammel - Managerial Record 186-300 (.383). The current Cubs bench coach, he spent 3 years managing a pathetic Tigers team from 2003-2005. Although he is not openly campaigning for the job, I'm sure he will be on the short list. Mark's Remarks - Well respected as a player and given a bad rep as a manager, I'm sure he's eager to prove himself. Will his next shot come with the Cubs?
Joe Torre - Managerial Record 2296-1960 (.539), 6 pennants and 4 World Series titles. If the Cubs are looking for a big name, here he is. Torre has managed for 29 years and at age 69 is probably about ready to retire. For his part, Torre told the AP that "he's not ruling anything out" but he doesn't anticipate managing anywhere other the Las Angeles next year. Mark's Remarks - this is probably a pipe dream at best and the Cubs could end up with another Lou Piniella. Even if he were interested, I think the Cubs should look elsewhere.
Pat Listasch - No major league managerial experience. A former minor league manager for the Cubs and the current third base coach for the Nationals, Listach recently threw his name into the hat. Mark's Remarks - Its hard to see why the Cubs would go with Listach, when they already have an internal candidate with no major league experience and a bigger name in Sandberg. He'll probably get an interview out of courtesy, but that's about it.
Fredi Gonzalez - Managerial Record 276-279 (.497). Recently fired from his position as Marlins manager, Gonzalez has already been tabbed as one of the candidates to be interviewed for the Cubs job according to a major league source. Mark's Remarks - Gonzalez was able to get a lot out of some young Marlins teams and might be a good choice if the Cubs go with a youth movement. However, it seems likely that he will replace Bobby Cox as Atlanta's manager.
Bobby Valentine - Managerial Record 1117-1072 (.510). Valentine last worked as a manager in Japan before taking an analyst position with ESPN. He was a candidate to replace Fredi Gonzalez at Florida. Mark's Remarks - Although Valentine blames the Marlins management for botching his hiring, something doesn't smell right about that whole situation and I think it best for the Cubs to just stay away.
So, there you have it. Eight potential replacements for Lou Piniella. If I were doing the hiring, I'd rank them like this:
- Joe Girardi
- Ryne Sandberg
- Fredi Gonzalez
- Alan Trammel
- Bob Brenly
- Pat Listach
- Joe Torre
- Bobby Valentine
I think the Cubs need to go with someone young, who could survive a potential rebuilding process, thus Torre and Valentine do not rank high. Girardi has Cubs ties and experience and therefore would be the ideal choice in my eyes. However, if they are unable to pry him away from the Yankees, then I think they should give Sandberg a shot.