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Ryne Sandberg still in line to manage Phillies?

By bullpenbrian - March 18, 2013 - 11:00 am Leave a comment.

Ryne Sandberg | Philadelphia Phillies

Ryne Sandberg is going to be the next manager of the Phillies, right?

At least this was the general consensus when the Phillies promoted Ryno to third-base coach this winter after spending the last two seasons managing the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

It only seems to make sense Sandberg will make a seamless transition to replace current manager Charlie Manuel, who’s 69-years-old (the second oldest manager in baseball behind 70-year-old Davey Johnson in Washington) and in the final season of his contract.

But Manuel recently offered a different view. ”I still want to manage,” Manuel told The Associated Press. ”I’m not ready for somebody to tell me to go home. I’m not ready to quit managing. I’m not ready to get out of the game.”

Manuel may be old in years, but his success with the Phils can’t be ignored. During his eight-year run he’s become the franchise’s all-time leader in wins, led the team to five consecutive NL East division titles, two pennants and one World Series championship.

That’s not a manager you push out the door easily.

However, the Phillies’ .500 finish last season was largely viewed as a disappointment, despite the fact several starters missed significant time due to injury (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, et al).

With the Phillies’ roster the fifth oldest in baseball entering the season, there’s speculation it’s time for Philly to hit the reset button and begin reloading their roster with younger talent–and with a fresh, younger manager like Sandberg to guide the ship.

But given Manuel’s desire to sign a contract extension, if offered one, and his past success, it’s very possible Manuel will be skippering the club next year, or for several more seasons.

Additionally, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro has said Ryno was promoted without any guarantee of taking over as manager. ”The fact of the matter is he’s not the heir apparent. We made no promises to Ryne Sandberg.”

Considering Sandberg’s extended stay in the minor leagues and having been passed over numerous times for big-league manager positions, it’s hard to believe Sandberg will choose to wait in the wings for Manuel to walk away from the dugout on his own terms, whenever that may be.

Should the Phillies tank badly under Manuel in the early going it could prompt the club to dismiss him mid-season. Then perhaps, Ryno is awarded his major league managing opportunity. But such a scenario of cutting ties with Manuel before season’s end seems unlikely.

Instead, maybe it’s time to start thinking of Sandberg as a replacement for other big-league managers who are on the hot seat, or on the brink of retirement (*), which could include:

Colorado – Walt Weiss
New York – Terry Collins
Pittsburgh  – Clint Hurdle
Los Angeles – Don Mattingly
Kansas City – Ned Yost
*Detroit – Jim Leyland
*Washington – Davey Johnson

I’m still slightly shocked Sandberg isn’t a major league manager. What more does the man have to prove?

What I do know is Sandberg will be a big-league manager some day. But the when and where, however, seems as unclear as ever.


Ryne Sandberg Moving Up, Moving On Post Cubs

By bullpenbrian - February 10, 2013 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

Ryne Sandberg Cubs
Hard to believe Ryne Sandberg isn’t part of the Cubs organization.
Even harder to believe Jim Hendry passed him over for Mike Quade.

Ryne did all the Cubs asked of him as a minor league skipper. He won games, developed players and gave fans a reason to flock to the ballpark. Not to mention, twice winning a Manager of the Year Award (2010-11).

What more could Sandberg have done?
What else did he need to prove?

Hendry of course had his reasons for choosing Quade as Cubs manager. It was the players, after all, who wanted Quade back after he replaced Sweet Lou in August. But that shouldn’t have mattered, Sandberg was the
no-brain decision.

Hendry’s hire to replace Piniella would be a final attempt to maintain his tenure with the Cubs. He needed to choose the right guy, his job depended on it, but ultimately, he picked the wrong one and sank to the bottom with Quade. Less than a year later Hendry was ousted, then Quade…and any bridge the Cubs had with Sandberg was badly burned.

When Sandberg wasn’t the right fit for Team Theo, essentially being snubbed a second time by the Cubs, he transitioned to the Phillies where he spent another year managing at Triple-A before a promotion to the bigs this winter. He’ll serve as Charlie Manuel’s 3B coach and bench coach, presumably until Manuel retires, gets fired or otherwise (Manuel has one year remaining on his contract).

In an interview with Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald, sections of which are posted below, it seems Sandberg has found piece of mind with Philadelphia. He sounds like a guy who feels appreciated, counted on and wanted. Imagine that, a Hall of Fame player who’s excelled as a minor league skipper being coveted by a major league team. What took so long?

Of all teams, the Cubs should have known better than anyone what they were losing by passing on Ryno the first time. And I’ve got a feeling when Sandberg does become a manger, for the Phillies or elsewhere, he’s going to remind the Cubs and baseball they shouldn’t have been so obtuse.

-Ryne Sandberg

  • "I see myself reaching goals and being where I want to be, and that’s in the major leagues," Sandberg said Tuesday while visiting family here in Chicago. "I fulfilled that goal with the Phillies.
  • "I would think that wouldn’t have happened with the Cubs, so with what I want to do with my career, which is stay in the game and get back to the majors, I’ve been able to do that with the Phillies and it feels very good."
  • "My six years in the minors were a great learning experience and it’s prepared me for my job this year, and prepared me to take on more responsibilities,"
  • "The dream of the ring is what keeps me going, keeps me driving forward. That, combined with the relationship I have with the Phillies, and being back in the game, being part of this coaching staff, is a big part of it."
  • "Through the two years with the Phillies, it has felt like I was being welcomed back, by the fans and the entire Phillies organization," Sandberg said. "The Phillies have a way of making everyone feel like they’re a part of something bigger, that your job — no matter what it is — is part of the Phillies trying to win the World Series.
  • "They give you responsibility and they want your input. It’s a great feeling. It’s great to be a part of it. It feels like home to me."

Ryne Sandberg Back In The Bigs

By bullpenbrian - October 5, 2012 - 4:15 am Leave a comment.

Congrats to Ryne Sandberg for being named the new third base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies.

It’s been frustrating watching Sandberg get passed over time and time again for a big league coaching position.

However, his latest promotion from Triple-A Lehigh Valley appears to have positioned Ryno to take over the reins for incumbent manager Charlie Manuel, whose contract expires after next season.

I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sandberg replaces Manuel even earlier if the Phillies struggle out of the gate in 2013.

Here’s wishing Ryno all the best, except when the Phillies face the Cubs, of course!


What’s Next For Ryne Sandberg?

By bullpenbrian - August 31, 2012 - 2:00 am 2 comments.

I’m baffled as to why a major league club hasn’t plucked Ryne Sandberg away from the minor leagues with an opportunity to manage in the bigs?

You look at what Sandberg’s accomplished from his first season managing in Peoria (2007) to his latest season skippering the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and it’s hard to find any reason not to hire the guy.

Everything from his drawing power at the gate, which is largely responsible for Peoria’s single-season attendance record (2007), to his two Manager of the Year Awards (2010, 2011) screams to how ready Sandberg is to manage at the highest level.

Yet, Ryne sits in waiting, much like he did behind Lou Piniella in Chicago, supposedly next-in-line to take over for Charlie Manuel in Philadelphia following the 2013 season.

But having been in this position before, Ryno knows there are no guarantees, no gentlemen’s agreement, that insures he’s the next man writing out the lineup card at Citizen Bank Park.

However, what I don’t understand is why major league teams in need of a manager let the Phillies keep Sandberg on lay-a-way?

How bad of a manger could Sandberg possibly be given all his successes managing from Single-A to Triple-A? What’s not to like about a guy who’s been a winner every step of the way?

Why not take a chance on Sandberg, pluck him up from Lehigh Valley and watch him turn a losing organization into a winning one?

Keep in mind, Sandberg’s HOF career as a player was grounds enough for Ryno to bypass the entire minor league system altogether.

Instead, Sandberg chose to pay his managerial ‘dues’, succeeded in doing so, and yet, still hasn’t received the big promotion. What gives?

Is Sandberg no better than Robin Ventura, the likely American League Manager of the Year, who’s guided the White Sox to a first place standing in the AL Central despite zero time managing in the minor leagues? I think not.

No team, of course, was more foolish than the Cubs to pass on Ryno; not once, but twice, even though the aspiring manager was groomed from within their very own system. How’s that worked out?

I can’t say I’ll be shocked if Sandberg is passed over again this offseason–and that’s because I’m already shocked it’s taken this long. And that might not be the worst of it.

What’s really going to hurt is watching Sandberg succeed in the major’s once he does get his opportunity, and heaven help us if the Cubs are no better off than they are now when Sandberg’s time comes.

Either way, there’s no way of knowing what might have been with Ryne managing on the North Side. But chances are, it would’ve been special, just like his time spent in the minor leagues.


Is It Best Ryno Never Managed The Cubs At All?

By bullpenbrian - November 9, 2011 - 1:04 am Leave a comment.

From the moment Theo Epstein announced Mike Quade’s dismissal he made it clear Ryne Sandberg was not a candidate to become the Cubs new skipper.

So I’m curious to know what would have happened if Jim Hendry had gone with Sandberg over Quade in the first place–assuming Ryno did as poorly or even slightly better than Quade as manager?


In Theo We Trust?

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2011 - 1:01 am 2 comments.

Eliminating Ryne Sandberg from the Cubs managerial search appears a short-sided approach I didn’t expect from Theo Epstein.

It’s understandable Sandberg’s lack of coaching experience at the major league level is a concern, there is something to be said from learning on the job as a base coach or bench coach at the highest level.

But it isn’t as if Sandberg hasn’t paid his dues coaching successfully through the minor leagues as a leader for young men on and off the field—much like his playing days, no less.

More importantly, no other candidate would pull the respect of the players more so than Sandberg, who also has the best understanding of what it means to be a Chicago Cub—something that shouldn’t be over-looked in a baseball-crazed market like Chicago. (To be fair, a factor I fully believe Epstein will address). 

However, it’s a disappointing and difficult decision to swallow, especially if Sandberg ends up managing in St. Louis or elsewhere.

In Theo we trust, but it couldn’t have hurt to give Ryno an interview, a chance to plead his case…or even half the time Mike Quade got from Epstein last week.

Ryne Sandberg is a proven winner, but amazingly, not good enough for the Cubs managing job. Who knew?


D-Backs Show Cubs The Way

By bullpenbrian - August 19, 2011 - 1:05 am 2 comments.

I look at the Arizona Diamondbacks this year and think ‘why not the Cubs?’

After two straight seasons of finishing last in the NL West, the organization made swift changes in 2010 firing manager A.J. Hinch and GM Josh Byrnes in favor of a gritty Kirk Gibson and savvy GM Kevin Towers.

The cost of doing such business was extremely high: both Hinch and Byrnes were under multi-year contracts. But the turn-a-round, again notably expensive, has quickly paid dividends in 2011.

Perhaps most importantly was the revamping of the Snakes coaching staff. Gibson surrounded himself with former All Stars and well respected baseball minds.

Former Cubs coach, Alan Trammell, joined as Gibson’s bench coach. Don Baylor the hitting coach. Charles Nagy the pitching coach. Eric Young and Matt Williams man the baselines.

No question the coaching has strongly contributed to the D-Backs surge atop the NL West where they currently lead the Giants by 2.5 games.

Their 69 wins already surpass last season’s mark of 65. And wouldn’t you know, attendance at Chase Field is on the rise.

So why couldn’t the same formula work in Wrigleyville?

Ditching Mike Quade and Jim Hendry wouldn’t come at the expense it cost Arizona to make management changes.

A Hall of Famer like Ryno could lure the experience and expertise of some of baseball’s best coaches. Add a GM the likes of Pat Gillick and the Cubs could win again—and soon–packing Wrigley Field from the bleachers to the rooftops.

This offseason presents a perfect opportunity for Tom Ricketts to make his first bold move as owner of the Cubs.

Following Arizona’s lead would send the Cubs organization and its fans a clear message that enough-is-enough, losing is no longer tolerable on the North Side.

If the D-Backs can do it, so can the Cubs. Right?


Ryne Sandberg Still Open To Managing Cubs

By bullpenbrian - July 14, 2011 - 2:01 am Leave a comment.

I believe Ryne Sandberg remains open to the possibility of managing the Cubs. And no, it’s not just wishful thinking on my part.

Sandberg’s candor and diplomatic approach to answering this particular questions is the tell tale sign.

Despite his every right to shun the Cubs after the organization snubbed him in favor of Mike Quade last year, Sandberg refuses to do so. Why?

Because Ryne knows what we do–Jim Hendry and Mike Quade are far from a sure-thing in 2012.

That alone gives Sandberg leverage to unseat Quade heading into the offseason…in addition to having already done everything asked of him by the Cubs organization to earn the big league job, not to mention, earning the PCL Manager of the Year Award in 2010.

It’s a smart approach by Sandberg–quietly keep saying the right things while the Cubs close-in on 100-losses.

The Cubs, meanwhile, are fortunate Sandberg was also passed over by the rest of baseball last year. But with his Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (53-37) 16-games above .500 and leading the International League’s North Division…fat chance he’ll be passed over again this offseason.

Hendry and Quade are tied at the hip…if one goes so does the other. For either to survive a 100-loss season is unlikely, leaving Ryno there for the taking.

There’s no reason Tom Ricketts shouldn’t pick Sandberg this time around. The fans want him…and Ryno wants to be here.

True to form, Sandberg’s just saying it in so many words.


No brainer decision by the Cardinals to lock up Jaime Garcia for four more years.

The move by-passes Garcia’s arbitration eligible years and offers him a club option for a fifth and sixth season.

The 25-year-old leads the team in victories at the All-Star break. He’s (9-3) with a 3.23 ERA.

The lefty is also tied for the NL lead with two shutouts and has an MLB-best 1.14 ERA with his (6-1) record at home.

Garcia has proven he’s fully recovered from reconstructive elbow surgery that sidelined him two seasons ago…and shown he’s not too shabby vs. the rival Cubs: (2-0), 1.20 ERA.

Four more years of Garcia tormenting the our Cubs…great.


Welcome back Slowskys!


Are Cubs Fans Backing Quade?

By bullpenbrian - October 22, 2010 - 10:55 pm 2 comments.

Quade Spells End To Sandberg Era

By bullpenbrian - October 20, 2010 - 12:01 am 4 comments.

I gave Mike Quade a zero percent chance of managing the Cubs full time. But I’m ready to give the man his due. He made his own break, made the decision not to hire him a tough one and in the end won the job fair and square.

The speculation, however, that Quade’s hire was purely a financial decision is bogus. Jim Hendry’s job security is tied directly to his new manager.

If Quade fails, Hendry goes out the door with him, and probably much quicker than had he hired Ryno. That alone makes me believe even more in Hendry’s decision to pass on Sandberg.

Unfortunately, this decision officially slams the door on Ryno’s tour of duty with Chicago–possible for good. Despite doing all that was asked of him by Cubs management, doing it with success, and waiting his turn, Sandberg was shunned in the end.

He too deserves an opportunity to skipper in the bigs and I have little doubt Ryno earns one by winter’s end. In fact, I’d be greatly disappointed if he doesn’t.

Although Quade was never my choice–I would have gone with Sandberg–I couldn’t be happier for the man. I think his passion will carry over into 2011, which is super encouraging for Cubs fans.

On the other hand, Sandberg represented a clean break from the old regime. And while the Cubs owed him nothing, there’s a fair argument Ryno is a better fit than Quade for the position.

Lord help us if Quade turns into the next Bill Russell and Sandberg the next Mike Scioscia. Any Dodgers fans will tell you how that decision turned out!


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