Reader Blog: Who's Next?
So there has been a lot of talk, some offhand comments, some full rants, about the managerial competence and questionable deservedness of Lou Piniella continuing to be the skipper for our beloved Cubs. A few of these people have suggested replacements, but it doesn't seem that this part of the equation has really been fully developed. While this is in no way a post saying "Lou Should Go"... it is suggesting that whether it be on his own terms or someone else's, he will no longer be here between now and November.
So, who's next?
Let me first start off by saying I like Lou. He's led the Cubs to back to back playoffs (albeit with 0 wins) and 3 consecutive winning seasons. He's shown fire when he needs to, and it seems he's been paitient and calm when he needs to. He's given hilarious interviews and given new meaning to starting a sentence with the word "Look". But his heart just isn't in it anymore. Really, none of the guys from the deflating 97-win, 0-playoff win 2008 juggernaut seem to have their hearts in it anymore. So besides the roster being overhauled (it needs to be) how can you remake the mindset and passion of this team? Well, before we answer that, let's look at a few things that are wrong with them. (These will be mostly mental things as a manager has more control on his ballclub's outlook than he does on their skills)
- The Cubs are 10-16 in one-run games, 0-37 in games when they enter the 9th trailing and have blown 17 leads this year. Those 3 things together suggest that this team is not mentally tough enough to stay in close ball games or pick up their balls and win when they're down.
- The Cubs have scored 195 runs in their 31 wins (6.29 runs/game) and have scored only 100 runs in the 40 games they've lost (2.5 runs/game!). This again suggests that this team clearly has the talent and ability to score, but only when things are going well. A motivating, positive leader is needed.
- The Cubs have 58 errors this season, good for 3rd worst in baseball. This is clearly slightly more slanted towards the actual skill of a team, but still, mentally tough, fundamentally managed teams do not lead leagues in errors
So, when Lou is gone, who can change these things for us? I'd like to throw out a few suggestions and pros/cons, but this post is really about everyone giving their input. I mean... who the hell knew who Tom Thibodeau was 2 months ago?
Ryne Sandberg - Apparently the "fan favorite". But why? Cause he's one of the few truly likeable, succesful Cubs of the last 2 decades? I guess he's been fairly successful as a minor league skip, but his fast track to the big seat scares me. Highly touted prospects and "saviors" do not fare well in this city (see: Patterson, Corey)
Joe Girardi - The "other guy" from the 2006-2007 off season. His dream job was managing the Yankees. And they won a championship last year. I've heard his name kicked around recently, but why would he leave New York until they force him out?
Mike Scioscia - Talk about a guy getting the most out of his players. Year in and year out some dark horse AL West team is discussed as taking down the Angels finally, but it never happens. Him leaving is very much a longshot also as they're currently in second, and playing good baseball. (Not to mention he's under contract through 2018??) But stranger things have happened
Ron Gardenhire - Another quality guy who gets the most out of seemingly less talented players. Minnesota has done very little in the playoffs under his tenure, so with another early exit, or if they miss the playoffs altogether, he could be available.
Joe Torre - Not much needs to be said here. Great with young kids, great with juggling egos, great track record of success and has already managed in the two markets bigger than Chicago. His contract is up at the end of this year.
Bobby Valentine - Seriously, he hasn't managed in the MLB since 2002? Between 1997 and 2001 he worked a record of 449-362 (.553) and took the Mets to The Series. I admittedly don't know what his coaching style is like, but he has managed succesfully in New York with some pretty big egos and pressure.
So that's what I have for now. Again, by no means definitive, but it's a start. If we're all mostly in agreement that this season is lost and Lou is even loster, who's next? Let's get some discussion going. Thoughts on these "options"? Who are your ideal candidates?