GM: Managing Cubs a challenge
As Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry begins his search for a new manager, he's aware the position carries with it qualities that can scare off a potential candidate.
"it's a double-edged sword," Hendry said Saturday morning on "Talkin' Baseball" on ESPN 1000. "It's certainly a tremendous challenge and a tremendous opportunity in a great, great place.
"But obviously, the weight of the world is on you as far as eventually having to win a world championship."
Lou Piniella announced he will retire after this season, and with the Cubs well out of the race in the National League Central, it's a safe bet the Cubs' drought of not having won a World Series since 1908 will greet the next manager.
"It's a marquee job," Hendry said. "The great city we live in, the ballpark and the great fan base we have, I think for [those reasons], just about everybody would want a crack at it.
"And also the intrigue of wanting to be the manager that eventually won a world championship. That's all part of the lure to everybody over the past 8-10 years that I've been hiring to manage."
ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine reported Hendry will interview more than 15 candidates. Citing league sources, Levine reported that Cubs Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg, Washington third base coach Pat Listach, former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and Yankees manager Joe Girardi, if he becomes a free agent, will get interviews for the Cub job.
Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly, ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine and San Diego Padres bench coach Ted Simmons also have been mentioned as candidates.
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"There's a heavier price to pay because of that long drought without a championship, and the scrutiny that you're under on a daily basis in that position," Hendry said.
Hendry talked about how the perception of the job, and perhaps of the Cubs, could have changed if moments in history had taken different turns under Piniella and his predecessor, Dusty Baker.
"If you go back in time, if we would have won just one more game with the Florida Marlins [in the 2003 NLCS], or had one more good inning that night against the Marlins in Game 6, how history would have changed for the franchise, and for Dusty, too, obviously," Hendry said. "In '08, we felt we were good enough to win the pennant, and why wouldn't we? You lead the National League in wins all year, and then get [swept] by the Dodgers.
"Some of it is how different their fortunes would have been if we would have had one more game with Dusty and a series or two with Lou, and the world would have been different. You have to do your best, to whoever the new manager is, to educate them on the strengths and weaknesses of the job. And how tough it's going to be if we're not reasonably successful in a short period of time. But that's certainly a challenge any quality manager who thinks he's capable of leading a team to the championship would want."