Eric Wedge is not a Theo Epstein-type manager

Beware the Expanded Managerial Search

10/27/13 in MLB   |   PAULLEBOWITZ   |   109 respect

July 18, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein during batting practice before the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Miami Marlins at Wrigley Field.  Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY SportsWhen Theo Epstein left the Red Sox for the greener ivy and “final say” powers as team president with the Cubs, the Red Sox were left in disarray and dysfunction. No one knew who was in charge, they needed a new manager and elevated Ben Cherington to the general manager’s chair, but he wasn’t yet in a position to battle and win against Larry Lucchino. The Cherington preferred managerial candidates – John Farrell, Dale Sveum (who the Cubs hired), Gene Lamont, Sandy Alomar Jr. – were not jazzy enough for the sensibilities of Lucchino. So they went with the expanded managerial search.
 
To translate that in layman’s (or honest) terms, that means, “We don’t like the guys we’ve interviewed and want someone else.”
 
The Red Sox team president had grown enamored of name recognition, spice and keeping up with the Yankees in terms of headlines emblazoned across the backs of newspapers and the front of sports websites. With that came Bobby Valentine. The results of both Lucchino’s and Cherington’s preferences and approaches are now stark with the 2012 Red Sox being an overpaid, unlikable, paranoid, toxic wasteland and the 2013 club the American League champs with a group of gritty, gutty, “do anything to win” gamers.
 
Epstein was obviously under the impression that he wouldn’t have to deal with a meddling team president when he took over the Cubs because he would be the meddling team president. Except it wouldn’t be meddling because he was hired to run the show and oversee the organization. But after two years and 197 losses, the “expanded managerial search” which led the Red Sox to Valentine is now cropping up again with the Cubs.
 
After firing Sveum, the Cubs were interested in managers who would follow the organizational edicts of working in conjunction with the front office on formulating strategy, would work cheaply for the opportunity and basically do what he was told. The men they interviewed – Rick Renteria, A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta – all have positives and negatives. They certainly wouldn’t have been at the top of my list, but that doesn’t mean they can't be successful. The Cubs are also waiting out the World Series to speak to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo. They're not the only candidates.
 
In a surprise, former Indians and Mariners manager Eric Wedge's name has cropped up in what is clearly an order from owner Tom Ricketts. This is after the Cubs were reportedly going to top any offer for then-free agent manager Joe Girardi. I wrote about that here before the Yankees re-signed Girardi. Neither manager would be what Epstein is looking for. With Girardi, he was too pricey and could demand significantly more say-so to suit the tastes of GM Jed Hoyer and Epstein. 
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