The Cubs and WGN Radio have begun the search to find a color analyst. According to a report from the Chicago Tribune, the search is still in the preliminary phase and Dave Eanet (WGN 720 Sports Director) indicated it could take up to three weeks to find a new partner for Pat Hughes.
Hughes will be involved in the decision that will be “a joint effort between the radio station that will employee him and the Cubs.” Tom Langmyer (WGN’s VP and general manager) and Crane Kenney (Cubs president) have “already consulted with Hughes” according to the Tribune.
Dave Eanet said they are hoping to have a decision in time for the annual Cubs Convention (January 14 – January 16).
Early reports indicated former Cub players were preferred candidates but according to the Trib, others will be considered. Pat Hughes has spoken with both management teams according to the report from the Tribune. Hughes said he appreciates being consulted but he does not have the final say.
Dave Eanet indicated that the list of candidates will include those that filled in for Ron Santo in recent years. Dave Otto and Keith Moreland will receive interviews and other possibilities are Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliffe, Dan Plesac, Eric Karros, Gary Matthews and Mitch Williams.
Todd Hollandsworth and Doug Glanville could receive interviews as well according to the Trib.
The Tribune pointed out commitments to FOX and ESPN could conflict with Grace, Karros and Sutcliffe taking the job. Plesac and Williams both work on the MLB Network but it is unclear if either would be interested “in going through the grind of a 162-game schedule.”
As for a return of Steve Stone to the Cubs … don’t count on it. The Tribune mentioned the long-term contract Stone has with the White Sox and the Trib’s sources indicated Stone is “not expected to seek a third act on the North Side.”
As difficult as it will be on the first game from Mesa (February 27) and on Opening Day from Wrigley (April 1), Pat Hughes will undoubtedly handle the situation flawlessly.
No one will ever replace Ron Santo and whoever lands the job next to Pat Hughes in the booth should not be viewed as Santo’s replacement … but as Pat Hughes’ new radio partner.