Ryno Part Deux
This sounds like an article about a Cub fan's primal desire to bring back an old Cub to manage the team next year. Maybe, maybe not. Consider it an invitation to speculate about the next Cub GM and the first few trades the next Cub GM will make. The key to my thinking is that Tom Ricketts said the next GM was coming from outside the organizaton as in: the club management desparately needs a breath of fresh air.
That's where Sandberg comes in. In 1981, new Cub ownership, aka The Chicago Tribune, brought in GM Dallas Green from the Phillies organization only one year after the Phils won the 1980 World Series. Green raided the Phils for players he had some hankering for. His first trade (12-8-81) was sending pitcher Mike Krukow to the Phils for Keith Moreland, pitchers Dickie Noles and Dan Larson. A year later (1-27-82) out went Ivan DeJesus (SS and current 3B coach) and in came oldster, Larry Bowa and youngster, Ryne Sandberg.
If we are to believe the media speculaton about the top GM candidates, we should be looking at the Red Sox, Rangers, Braves, White Sox, Yankees, Rays and Giants for that first trade.
Tom Ricketts in his press conference yesterday listed the main qualities he's looking for:
A commitment to player development.
A strong analytical background, someone who has worked with some of the "new tools" (sabermetrics).
A background in a winning culture and a track record of success.
Fangraphs article lists Rick Hahn (White Sox), Thad Levine (Rangers), John Coppolella (Braves) and Kim Ng (MLB operations, previously Dodgers).
Tribune's Wrongway Phil Rogers gives his kiss of death recommendation to WSox Rick Hahn but also mentions 37 year old Ben Cherington (Red Sox) and former Diamondback GM Josh Byrnes. He also says there is the possibility that Yankees Brian Cashman, Dodgers Ned Colletti (just say no) and Rays Andrew Friedman could become available.
Sun Times Gordon Wittenmeyer's list of 5 candidates repeats Hahn, Byrnes, Friedman, Colletti and adds Nationals Mike Rizzo.
Baseball America's Will Lingo ranked Top GM Prospects back in March 2010. Rick Hahn was #1 followed by Jerry Dipoto (Dbacks), Dan Jennings (Marlins), David Forst (A's), Tony Lacava (Blue Jays), Bill Geivett (Rockies), Thad Levine (Rangers), Kim Ng (Dodgers and MLB), Logan White (Dodgers) and Damon Oppenheimer (Yankees). The BA links may need a current subscription.
I found a Baseball America ranking of top 10 GM prospects from December 2003 somewhat amusing, listing Tim Wilken, Josh Byrnes, Ned Colletti, Thad Levine and Kim Ng way back then. KC's Dayton Moore was #1 back then coming out of the Atlanta system.
In July, Sports Illustrated.com and former Baseball Prospectus baseball injury guru, Will Carroll tried his hand in ranking his 10 front office assistants in line to become MLB GM's. Rick Hahn was his #1 and Thad Levine as #2 but he had to reach for #10, listing current Cub statman Ari Kaplan. He has some nice detail on the candidates strengths and weaknesses.
As a recent example of that first trade coming from the GM's former organization, last year the Padres raided the Red Sox talent by making Jed Hoyer their GM. Among Hoyer's first trades was to move Adrian Gonzalez and his upcoming mega-contract demands for top Bosox talent, acquiring pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and OF Reymond Fuentes.
We all know Tom Ricketts has a man-crush on what Boston has done since owner John Henry took over. I'm sure Ben Cherington will get a close look. Here's a Chicago Now article by John Arguello on Cherington. He indicates Cherington is a line by line match for Ricketts GM criteria.
Bruce Levine on his radio show and blog has been particularly high on White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn. He also looks like a Ricketts criteria match, not to mention Hahn grew up in Winnetka as a Cub fan. Hahn has turned down GM offers from the Cardinals and Mets in the past few years. So he's clearly on the threshold of a GM position.
Completing the circle back to Dallas Green, I found this article about Hahn as a 12 year old writing to Cub GM Dallas Green:
In the early 80’s at the age of 12, Hahn wrote letters to Cubs GM
Dallas Green with trade ideas. Hahn recalls, “He was nice enough, or
perhaps foolish enough to write back. Rightfully or wrongly, it
encouraged me to throw different ideas at him, which I did every so
often. Candidly, at that time, I just thought it was pretty cool to get a
letter back in big league stationary.”
So I'm thinking we've got the next Ryne Sandberg coming our way. With a new GM coming, we should get to speculate on a new manager too. I didn't see anyone predicting the assistant GM of the Phillies, Scott Proefrock. I think I'll add him to the list. He might know of a manager who the young Cubs could grow with as well as some mlb ready talent from Lehigh Valley.
This might be old news but Hammel was on ESPN 1000 and said that he changed his diet and workout routine over the off season and tweaked his delivery so it'd be more repeatable so he'd have a better second half. So...some cause for optimism anyway.
CHILDERS: RHSP Dylan Cease and LHSP Bryan Hudson are probably the top two SP prospects in the organization right now.
LHSP Jose Paulino has electric stuff (91-94 MPH fastball with sinking action and a mid-80's slider), but he also has trouble commanding it.
RHP Jose Albertos (2015 IFA - Mexico - $1.5M bonus) just turned 17 in November, and his fastball already sits at 95-96. He also throws a curve and a change-up, and is fairly advanced for a kid his age.
AZBOBBOP: Most of 2016 draft picks will get assigned to either Eugene or AZL Cubs, but the Opening Day Eugune roster will probably be almost 100% from the Extended Spring Training squad roster (pending the arrival of draft picks).
I think I can probably tell you which pitchers and players at EXST are in contention for roster slots at Eugene and which are in contention for slots with the AZL Cubs - AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW - (listed alphabetically):
* bats or throws left
# bats both
Eloy Jimenez atop the leader board for minor-league home runs in the Cub system, with seven. Tied with Balaguert and Vogelbach, two 24-year-olds. Jimenez won't be 20 until late November. Leads the Midwest League in SLG and OPS. Maybe he'll get promoted to the Myrtle Beach squad that visits Woodbridge, VA, in June or Frederick, MD, in August.
Watched two Pelican games at Frederick the other week. Was most impressed by Stinnett and Happ. Happ may swing harder than Javier Baez, though more compactly. (Also got to see Brockmeyer hit a bomb.)
E-MAN: Jose Paniagua isn't a string-bean, but I wouldn't say he necessarily bulked-up during the 2015-16 off-season either, He led the DSL Cubs in HR and doubles in 2014, and he showed XBH power when he arrived in Mesa last year, leading the AZL Cubs in HR, doubles, and RBI in 2015. It's just that he has taken his HR power to a new level this year.
Paniagua displayed plus-HR power in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training games in March, and that got him a slot on the South Bend Opening Day roster. But he was sent to EXST after only six MWL games.
More on the Cub Way.
Martinez is one of my least favorite pitchers in baseball. I'd love to see a game like yesterday's against him.
Send Soler down!
Awesome thanks AZ
Great report, Phil! This organization has so many hitters to be excited about.
Ben Zobrist is very enjoyable to watch!!!!!!
given that he seems to only be throwing low 90s these days rather than the 93-96mph he used to throw, along with his wildness issues this year, he may end up passing through.
i dunno if something is wrong with him physically or his past shoulder issues has rendered him what he currently is, but he's been throwing a lot of sliders he can't control well and his fastball isn't as sharp. even when his slider wasn't working in a game he was still throwing a lot of them.
Any scuttlebutt on where Neil Ramirez gets traded?
He seems better than some of the relievers on competitive teams. He ought to bring more than the waiver fee.
My guess? Toronto.
PHIL: It seems as if Paniagua has always played 1B with the Cubs. At 6'2 and 180#, what is his frame like? String bean? Have you seen him bulk up? Where do you project him? Thanks.
Phil, what's your thoughts on which position players are going to Eugene and who is staying in AZL?
Ahhh...way to bring me down BB.
Still - a win tomorrow will be an acheivement regardless.
Don't mean to spoil your mood, but with tonight's win the are 3-5 on the trip with one to play.
While I'm bringing the room down -- Richard comes in to pitch the 9th with a 12-1 lead...and can't finish the game. Woof.