Meet the Cubs Managerial Candidates: Pete Mackanin
It appears at the moment that the Cubs are focused on three names to take over for Q-Ball, shockingly three names that the Red Sox are also interested in.
Let's do a little vetting starting with Pete Mackanin.
Mackanin (pronounced muh-CAN-in) started his playing career with the Texas Rangers, well technically the Washington Senators before they moved. A 4th round pick in 1969 out of Brother Rice Catholic High School in Chicago. He ended up playing for four organziations as a utility infielder and accumulating a 226/263/339 career slash line. He played under such notables as Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Bobby Cox and Dallas Green, among others. He then went into minor league coaching as so many players do, his first gig with the Peoria Chiefs in 1985 leading them to the Finals twice, but losing. I can't find anything for 1987 (update - appears he was the minor league coordinator for the Cubs that season), but by 1988 he got bumped to Iowa for two more seasons before moving on to the Reds organization. Ultimately he managed 9 winning seasons out of 14, making the playoffs 7 of those times and taking the league championship twice while in the minors. He also led a Venezuelan team to the 1989 Caribbean World Series championship and won.
He earned his first major league gig as third base coach of the 1997 Montreal Expos under Felipe Alou. By 2001 he was back in the minors with the Pittsburgh Pirates, getting his first crack at managing the big league club in 2005 when the Pirates fired Lloyd McClendon. The Pirates went 12-14 to finish the season and Jim Tracy was hired for 2006. He took the demotion in stride and managed their Gulf Coast League in 2006 before moving on to a new organization.
He joined the Reds as an advance scout that year and then took over for for Jerry Narron after the team went 31-51 in 2007. The Reds went 41-39 the rest of the way and then hired Dusty Baker for 2008. He served as pro socut for the Yankees in 2008 and then joined the Phillies coaching staff in 2009 as their bench coach.
He said he "loved" statistical analysis, a tool he said he used extensively as a scout, and when asked if he considered himself a "players' manager" or a "disciplinarian," the stock descriptions thrown out about a job too complicated to define by such broad terms, he answered, "Both."
By all accounts, Mackanin has been a steady hand. Known for his intelligence and dry sense of humor...
"I think you have to have an element of both sides of that in order to be a good motivator," he said. "I think there's a juggling act that's involved in that, where you have to have enough discipline but at the same time let the players play easy. You don't want them tense.
(From Ben Cherington): "He can see the game from different perspectives, which I think is a benefit. He's got, as you saw, a good way about him, a good sense of humor, mature, and a good reputation from every clubhouse that he has been a part of.
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.