View From The Bleachers

Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003



October 2013



Step 1- Get a Coach

Written by , Posted in General

The shuffle.  Its not just a dance.  Its not just a song. In Chicago Cubs land, currently, it is a way of life.  So, for the foreseeable future it is time to learn to enjoy the song and dance.

Yesterday saw many roster fluff dumped back in to the Triple-A stock pile of ever so slightly more than laughable major league capable players. That may be a stretch or even an exaggeration, but if you get the call then your skills aren’t really anything to sneeze at.  The 40 man roster was purged for the highly anticipated offseason. An offseason that is expected to see even more dramatic turnover and many difficult roster decisions.

So where does the team go? Up? Down? Stuck in a rut of mediocrity? My answer would be one of the three options.

You hear and read a lot about the plan Theo and Jed have in place.  The plan has gotten pretty tricky to this point.  The ownership, from all accounts, is putting pressure on the front office to keep pay roll at or below this years level.  With plummeting ticket sales and costs of ownership soaring, from a business stance at the very least, you can understand why.  Yet, they find themselves in a catch-22.  Needing to spend money to make money.  Buying talent to put butts in the seats.

In past off seasons the front office has done well to hit on one year fliers who became very tradeable assets.  They have done a great job identifying talent that has been jettison off by other teams and gave them a solid opportunity to show what they are made of. (see Ryan Sweeney)  The one big acquisition they have made so far, in so far as the free agent signing of Edwin Jackson, has seemingly been a bust to this point. So again, where does the team go?

The first direction hinges on a solid acquisition of coach. Giardi is not available, but who wanted the superstar anyway?  Too much hype would have let to unreasonable expectations.  I thoroughly believe the next coach will be someone who can relate to the young players and demand their attention. Manny Acta, the seven-hour interviewee, would fit this mold as someone who could command the attention of and respect of Latin American players. AJ Hinch comes highly touted as a player development guru, but may lack the buzz to gain instant credibility.  Too bad Ryno and the Phillies worked out immediately when the Cubs seemingly would have been prepared to finally allow him to take the reins in Chicago. There could be a lot of candidates that no one knows about.

I have a proposal of two potential coaches who understand player development, have instant credibility, and are widely considered incredible baseball minds.  Greg Maddux and Cal Ripken Jr.

I admit that because I grew up as a child watching these guys I may be a bit star struck with both of these names have been bantered about in various nooks and crannies of the internet.  The only thing the two are missing is managing experience, but as Mike Matheney has shown, you don’t really need that with a good roster.  Greg Maddux has been said to be considering throwing his name around through the back channels.  Please discuss amongst yourself that possibility.  Cal would rival Maddux in my choices because of his reputation as being blue collar and tough as nails.  Some times when you are dealing with young, immature players, a tough dad who is affectionately known as the Iron Man, may be just what they need.

Step 1:  Get a coach who commands respect and understands how to use the resources he is dealt wisely.

Step 2: Fill out the roster, like a boss. (Read next week)

  • Doug S.

    While Girardi coming here would have made quite the
    news splash, can’t say I’m heartbroken at his staying put. G. Maddux or C.
    Ripken as Cubs skipper? Attractive names. Maddux could be interesting. Wasn’t
    the pre-Sveum prerequisite that the manager must have major league experience?
    Has the Sveum experience changed that?

    • Jedi

      I can’t believe there isn’t more dissatisfaction with the Front Office given that we’re going through a search for a manager less than 24 months since the last one. How Theo & Co escape all criticism is remarkable to me.

  • Jerry in Wisconsin

    I would be glad to see either Maddux. I just want to be able to root for someone to win the World Series instead of picking the team I dislike the least.

  • Eddie Von White

    It is not a catch-22. It is simple economics. If ownership wants to increase ticket sales they have to give the fans a reason to buy tickets. A two-year rebuilding plan that keeps getting two years added on, will not do it. It’s been said on here before, if the Cubs had kept the talent they traded away the last two years, we might have something to cheer about.

  • PLCB3

    Has Maddux or Ripken expressed a desire to coach or manage? I think Greg Maddux would make for a great pitching coach instead of manager

    • Mark_from_Toronto

      Ripken has, I read an article yesterday on espn that Cal had mentioned that he was interested in managing, but hadn’t yet had any contract with any MLB teams. Haven’t really heard anything about Greg Maddux, but I tend to agree he would make a good pitching coach that over time might eventually be a good manager candidate.

      • PLCB3

        I’m sure Ripken would love to manage at Wrigley. He never got to play at Wrigley.

  • Sherm

    It won’t happen, but it would be nice to sign the Maddux brothers. Mike to manage. The HOF’er as pitching coach. Just sayin’