Chicago Cubs: Bobby Cox

Cubs manager search to pick up soon

September, 8, 2010
9/08/10
3:45
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs minor-league manager Ryne Sandberg will be one of several candidates the team meets with over the next 10 days, according to a major league source. Former Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez will also have a meeting with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry during that same time period.

Eric Wedge, the former Cleveland Indians manager, most likely will go through a second interview process over the next month as well.

Interim manager Mike Quade, along with those three, are considered to be top candidates. As part of the process, Hendry most likely will talk to Washington Nationals third base coach Pat Listach and broadcaster Bob Brenly about the job as well.

The Joe Girardi situation is difficult for all those involved. The New York Yankees would never allow their manager under contract to interview for another job. The Cubs would not risk tampering fines upwards of $1 million for trying to talk to a player or manager under contract with another major league team. Girardi wouldn't allow public distractions from his Yankees managing job.

All that said, if Girardi is the Cubs' first choice, they risk losing other prime candidates if they wait for the Yankees season to finish before asking for permission to talk to him.

Girardi's contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season.

Hendry is on record stating that there are no favorites for the job nor will there be until he completes his interview process. After Hendry makes his choice, he will bring his candidate to owner Tom Ricketts as part of the process to hire the next manager.

Hendry has said that the hiring process may well take him all the way through October. The Cubs would like their manager in place when they start their organizational meetings in Mesa, Ariz., on Nov. 2. All that known, the World Series doesn't end until the first week of November, and if the Yankees are a part of that, Girardi's availability may still be unknown.

Major league sources tell ESPNChicago.com upwards fo 10 managing jobs may be open after the regular season ends Oct. 3. Among the managers in the last year of their contracts are the Los Angeles Dodgers' Joe Torre, the Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox, the Toronto Blue Jays' Cito Gaston, as well as Girardi. Interim manager situations already exist with the Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Marlins. Cox and Gaston are said to be retiring after the season.

Cox wants Piniella to return

August, 21, 2010
8/21/10
4:35
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive

CHICAGO – Atlanta manager Bobby Cox gave a firm endorsement to his friend Lou Piniella in hopes that Piniella would return as Cubs’ manager next season.

Cox was responding to questions about his future and whether or not he’d be managing again after he retires at season’s end.

Piniella, who has missed time lately due to the death of his uncle and to care for his sick mother, was happy with Cox’s proclamation.

“I need to be home,” Piniella said. “My circumstances have changed a lot this year and especially the past month or so. I just need to be home. I’m concerned about my mom. I love baseball, but, you know, I love my family. When you talk about family, it’s a little more important than baseball. My circumstances have changed. I appreciate the fact that Bobby thinks that I can still [manage]. I’m convinced, when I take the uniform off here that I’m going to go home and enjoy my family and that’s the end of it.”

Piniella, who at one time may have considered a job as a consultant with a big league club, isn’t thinking back the 2010 season and finishing his obligations to the Cubs.

I asked Piniella if age alone impacts the viability of a baseball manager.

“The age doesn’t really have much to do with it,” Piniella said. “I turn 67 at the end of this month. There are things I want to do in my life. Also, everybody’s a little different. I know if I had any other [second thoughts] over the past month, they’re totally out, and I haven’t [changed my mind]. I’m going to enjoy my life a little bit and go home. My mom feels good when I’m home. All I know is when I take my uniform off here, it’ll be the last time.”

Piniella has made two trips back to Tampa in the past month. Once to attend the funeral of his uncle, Joe Madigan, and the other time to find a full-time care taker for his 90-year-old mother.

Piniella endorses Cox as a sure-fire Hall of Famer in the future.

“Why certainly,” Piniella said in response to the question. “There’s not even an iota of a doubt. He’s been an icon. A great career. Just a great, Hall of Fame career.”

Piniella was asked when Cox, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa are retired will there be managers in the future that will be able to have the longevity that he and his contemporaries have had.

“The job, I think, has gotten a little tougher,” Piniella said. “Twenty-nine years for Bobby [managing]! I think he’ll tell you it was a lot easier than it is now. I don’t know if [future managers will] have that longevity.”

Breaking down Marmol's struggles

Piniella and his staff went back and watched the tape of Carlos Marmol’s meltdown on Friday – during which Marmol walked the bases loaded then surrendered a three-run triple to Rick Ankiel.

“We looked at the film after the ball game,” Piniella said. “A few of those pitches looked pretty good. What happens invariably when an umpire sees a pitcher is struggling with command, the strike zone has a tendency to shrink a little bit.”

For Marmol, it was his fifth blown save.

Notes

• Right-handed pitcher Carlos Silva will face live hitting Sunday in a two-inning simulated game. Pitching coach Larry Rothchild said that when Silva goes out on a rehab assignment in the minor leagues, he’ll have to have at least two outings.

• Catcher Geovany Soto is expected to come off the DL on Sunday. Soto was out with a sprained right shoulder. When Soto returns, rookie catcher Welington Castillo most likely will be returned to Triple-A.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.284 25 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .908
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOE. Jackson 108