Blog Entry

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:39 am

By Matt Snyder

Friday will mark exactly one week since the Cubs announced they had fired general manager Jim Hendry. Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts asserted he wants to find a GM with a strong track record, an analytical background and with an emphasis on player development. The latter two criteria would seem to point to someone opposite of Hendry -- who had a recent history of big contracts and trading prospects for veterans. The former criterion points to an experienced general manager, not a first-timer.

So many names have been tossed around for what is absolutely an attractive job. Now, this is where the Cubs haters all jump up and down and start screaming about how bad the Cubs "suck." No one in his right mind can deny nearly any general manager would want this job, though. As the Cubs' general manager, one would have the capability to work with a payroll that dwarfs any other in the NL Central. One would have a rabid fan base that is absolutely desperate for a World Series, so residing over one would be the ultimate sports accomplishment. Also, in the present, the Cubs have more than $50 million falling off the payroll next season, so there's a chance to basically start over. No ballclub can compare to the resources the Yankees have, but there's no reason the Cubs can't eventually be the Red Sox of the National League -- and there is no Yankees in the NL.

With this in mind, you'd have to figure almost every name is initially in the mix with few exceptions. And it sounds like that's true. Let's sum up the recent rumors:

ESPN's Buster Olney said earlier this week that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein "could" be a name for the Cubs to consider. What Epstein did under John Henry's ownership group is something similar to what the Cubs want under the Ricketts family, so it makes sense. Of course, Epstein also has very strong Boston roots and is currently in a better situation than what he'd be taking over with the Cubs. Unless he wants a fresh, new challenge or is simply tired of competing with the Yankees, it doesn't seem like he'd have any incentive to leave. For what it's worth, Henry emailed Red Sox reporters about the speculation:

“This kind of speculation happens from time to time to successful GMs and managers,” Henry wrote ( “The Cubs have one of the best presidents in baseball. I think this shows how highly regarded Theo is by the media and baseball in general.”

• Speaking of AL East powers, a "long-odds" option is Ricketts calling Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and trying to convince him to head to Chicago as a package deal with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman's contract does expire at the end of the season. ( This is total speculation on my part, but there's not much more Cashman could accomplish with the Yankees and he could very well be tired of ownership forcing his hand (a la the Rafael Soriano contract this past offseason that he didn't want to give). Also, keep in mind Girardi had two different stints with the Cubs as a player and was born and raised in Peoria, Ill. This scenario makes sense, if Ricketts could convince the two to leave New York. But, again, this was reported as a long shot.

• More AL East: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been named by pretty much every reporter in the business as a possibility. Friedman should be incredibly attractive because of what he's helped do with the Rays. He now has experience building a farm system basically from the ground up and in Chicago he'd be able to sign and keep higher-priced players. He also wouldn't have to worry about attendance or moving. ESPN's Olney wrote about Friedman's tough decision this coming offseason.

• Another small-market guy who might enjoy getting to have a few extra payroll dollars for once is A's general manager Billy Beane. According to Susan Slusser of, Beane "might consider an offer" if the Cubs came after him. Slusser also reports the Cubs are "expected" to talk to Beane. Another reason Beane might want to bail on Oakland is how long it's taking to get the A's stadium situation resolved. Beane is signed through 2014, but the report indicated owner Lew Wolff would let Beane out of the deal if he wanted.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an option, despite that he's a bit more old-school than Ricketts seemed to say he preferred. In the case of Colletti, one reported benefit would be that he'd bring Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs' manager, the job which Sandberg didn't get last season. (

• On the flip-side of much of the above notes,'s Jon Heyman reported that the big names -- Cashman, Beane, Epstein, Friedman -- are not likely to take the job. Heyman instead reports it's going to come down to Rick Hahn and Josh Byrnes. Hahn is the vice president and assistant general manager of the White Sox and is considered a true up-and-comer by several in the business. In fact, several outlets have ranked him as the top GM candidate in baseball (excluding current GMs). The issue, of course, is he doesn't have experience as the top dog. Byrnes is the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and has previously been the GM of the Diamondbacks. He had a hand in putting together the 2007 playoff team, but when things fell apart afterward, he was fired in 2010.

• According to Danny Knobler of, Cashman is "very unlikely" and the Cubs might have to pay something like $10 million a year to pry Epstein away from Boston.

So there you have it. Several huge names, a hot-shot up-and-comer and lots of things we don't know. We need to keep in mind that initial interest in either side doesn't necessarily mean a job offer -- or acceptance of the job offer -- is coming. We also have to keep in mind that guys presently on the job, especially those in the middle of pennant races, will publicly deny interest no matter what.

Ricketts will likely want a new GM in place very quickly once this season ends, but until then -- about five weeks -- we'll continue to see the names swirl.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:01 pm
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Posted on: December 18, 2011 2:11 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 4:17 am

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

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Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 12:43 pm

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

Dave Littlefield is out there,than add the experience of Neil Huntington.....good luck if that happens.Cool

Since: Aug 6, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 10:24 am

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search


Since: Jul 23, 2011
Posted on: August 28, 2011 8:43 am

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

Given their history of relative futility coupled with the financial resources available the Cubs GM position has to be attractive to anyone who aspires to go down in history as being one of the best.  It's an ideal building block for Cashman.  Given the money the Yankees funnel into payroll he and anyone else will get little credit for building a team.  The Yankees buy talent in bulk, so much that they can be so-so shoppers and still win.  If Cashman goes to the North Side of Chicago and wins suddenly he's a guy who could some day be considered for the Hall of Fame.  Plus he wouldn't have George's kids to deal with.

Since: Aug 14, 2011
Posted on: August 27, 2011 7:38 pm

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

PLEASE take Neal Huntington the GM of the Pirates. The guy is a joke. His track record of making bad trades is alarming. Sure he has done an okay job of drafting but when you consistenly pick in the top five you should get good players. Of course he did take catcher Tony Sanchez at #4 a few years back and that was a terrible pick. Some Pirate fans are blinded by the run the Pirates had up until this month. They were overachieving and the fact is what you are seeing from them now is how they really are. So Cub fans after we gave you A-Ram for nothing the least you can do is take Huntington off our hands.

Since: Apr 3, 2010
Posted on: August 27, 2011 5:26 pm

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

Cubs fans are the most classless fans in all of sports, i dont really see any high profile guy with the job

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: August 27, 2011 3:21 pm

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

"Bright" Billy Beane would never take the job.  Sure, he could do what he does best--churn the roster to no net improvement, deal veterans for yet more "prospects", cozy up to sportwriters who can't read the standings, rest on his laurels for having lucked into three good starting pitchers over a decade ago, believe his press clippings--but he couldn't fall back on perennial excuse of being in a "small market".  Deprive him of his best excuse, and he's left with a bad team and a lot of computer printouts.

If I'm running the Cubs, I'm looking at Friedman first, then Cashman.  It would be interesting to see what the former can do with some money to spend or the latter without the Yankee ownership. 

Since: Dec 7, 2010
Posted on: August 27, 2011 3:06 pm

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search

The Cubs are going to have a problem hiring a top of the line GM as long as Crane Kenny is around.  That guy is a boob with a capital B.  As long has he thinks he is a baseball man, no one in their right mind would come over to this situation.  I also am not convinced Tom Ricketts knows what he is doing and will hire the right man for the job. 

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