With Theo Close, Could Sandberg Be Next?

With Tom Ricketts closing in on hiring Theo Epstein to run his baseball team, could Ryne Sandberg soon return to the organization? According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs want to renew ties with Ryne Sandberg.

According to the Sun-Times, “sources close to the Cubs, along with those close to Sandberg, have said in recent weeks that they expect a reconciliation this off-season.” The Cubs and Sandberg have not discussed the situation of late but all of that is expected to change once Epstein is officially in place.

Multiple reports have indicated Epstein and the Cubs have agreed to a five-year contract worth nearly $20 million. The only hurdle remaining is the compensation the Red Sox will receive. The Sox and Cubs are “working out the details of a compensation package of prospects and/or cash” and those negotiations could push the official announcement of Theo Epstein joining the Cubs’ front office into next week.

As has been reported, Theo Epstein interviewed Ryne Sandberg last winter about managing the Sox Triple-A team. Sandberg chose to take the managerial position with Lehigh Valley over Pawtucket … and Epstein was in attendance when Sandberg’s team knocked the Sox’s Triple-A squad out of the International League playoffs.

The Sun-Times reported that it is unclear if Sandberg would be a candidate to be the Cubs new manager or if he would hold a prominent spot on the Cubs’ coaching staff.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer, Sandberg “has been open to returning to the Cubs since Jim Hendry was fired” and one of the sources Wittenmyer spoke with suggested Sandberg “would be willing to accept a coaching job on the big league staff.”

Once Epstein is in place, he is expected to address the Cubs managerial situation and coaching staff right away. Mike Quade is still under contract for one more season. Rudy Jaramillo, Pat Listach and Lester Strode also have another year remaining on their contracts. The contracts of Mark Riggins, Ivan DeJesus and Bobby Dernier expire at the end of October.

If Epstein decides to make a managerial change, which is expected, DeMarlo Hale could be a candidate as well. Hale was Terry Francona’s bench coach and could become available if he is passed over for the managerial position in Boston. Hale, 50, is a Chicago native and is well respected in the game.

Stay Tuned …

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  • Dorasaga

    Batting coach on the big league level is quite overrated. The Rangers have still been the most productive lineup since Jarman left them. But Hale, I don’t think it makes sense. Sandberg will need to be promised a managerial position here anytime during the regular season (let’s see how long Quade survives). After all, the Cubs already slammed the door once, and that’s a history…

  • studio179

    It makes too much sense from a Cub baseball side and PR side for Sandberg returning to the Cubs. If he is not named the outright manager, he will be back in the Cub organization for 2012 and beyond. I am calling it a done deal.

    As reported, the Cubs have the compensation to the Red Sox to work out for the Epstein hire. They might as well work it out and wait until next Tuesday before the official announcement. That is the day before the World Series. They would have the whole day of baseball press focused on the Cub organization and can gear up for the organizational meetings in November and so on. 

  • Ryan7

    If ryno is named manager, what do u think of Mark Grace as batting coach, Greg Maddux pitching coach, Dawson and Dunstin 1st and 3rd base coach. And what if we even bring in Kenny Lofton as our fielding instructor.

    • Tony_Hall

      I answered you in the last thread as well.

      No chance

      Grace…are u kidding, he is too far into the TV gig, to go back to a hitting instructor…

      Maddux  likes to golf way more than being a full time pitching coach

      Dawson is an executive, not likely to give that up, to be a base coach

      Dunston would just wave everyone around, thinking he could have made it.

      Lofton, just don’t see it.

      I really don’t see a chance on any of them…

      • paulcatanese

        I agree Tony, no chance at all for those picks.

      • Gary J

        LOL at the Dunston comment 

    • Tom U

      One former Cub that Sandberg has been close to is Jody Davis.

      • Henry

        I would love to see Jody Davis apart of the new regime.  He was successful  in the minors but never seemed to get any credit

      • studio179

        I believe Davis was managing Daytona his last couple years with the Cubs and then left the organization. Rumors were he left because Ryno was not named Cubs manager, but I might be wrong. I can’t find any info if ‘Jo-Dee’ is coaching or if he is still in baseball.

    • J Daniel

      Why do we always consider that we have to bring back all of the old guys that played here?  Hell, they didn’t win most of them anyways.  Bring in guys that know how to coach and know how to win.  Winning is a culture!

      • John_CC

        Thank you, J Daniel.

        Let me guess, Ryan you are somewhere between 30 and 35 years old. You were a young Cubs fan in ’89 … the season that created the Cubs fan monster you are today?

        That’s fine. I am a little older and remember ’84 and the crushing reality it brought upon my young psyche.  But I don’t want Larry Bowa, Ron Cey, and Leon Durham to coach this team into the 21st C. 

        Ryno, hell yes.  Then let’s wait for the new smart guy to pick the rest of the staff.  

    • PleaseStopLosing

      Nice fantasy… lets get back to the real world.

    • RICK

      You must have had too much to drink.

    • http://www.tickifieds.com Gary Tickifieds

      I hope you are kidding about this…especially with Dunston!  He has got to be one of the most fundamentally unsound players I can ever remember watching. 

  • Tony_Hall

    Say good bye to Q, Riggins, Dejesus and Dernier.  My guess is the whole coaching staff (Jaramillo and Listach, have the best chance of sticking around) will be gone.  It’s time to start fresh, clean slate, throw out the trash, so to speak.

    Sandberg your office is ready for you…we sincerly apologize for last year, but in many ways, we saved you from the being here when the team hit rock bottom.  You can now be a part of the solution, and the climb back up.

  • Tony_Hall
  • J Daniel

    So, was that Theo at the Starbucks over the weekend?  Just curious?

    • Tony_Hall

      I have to say absolutely.

      First he was in town, I believe twice if you read all the reports.

      Second, if you are Theo, and someone says “Are you Theo Epstein?” and your answer is NO, but I get that a lot.  You are not going to then say, “Who is Theo Epstein?”  Since you get that a lot, you have googled the guy, and know who he is, you wouldn’t have to ask.

      • Chuck

        A couple years ago, I was sitting at the Atlanta airport.  I looked over to the man sitting across from me and said, “Are you David Wells? and my response was NO, but I get that alot.  I am 99.9% positive that man was David Wells.  That is the stock answer that one gives.

      • J Daniel

        I am in 100% agreement with you. 

      • J Daniel

        Where have you read that he has been in town twice?

        • Tony_Hall

          Not sure which article, I have read so many in the last few days.  But in that article, it stated he had been to Chicago twice, and what I found strange was they said he met with Crane Kenney on one of them.  I hope, if that part is true, it was for him to feel assured that Crane Kenney would stay out of the baseball operations, maybe even forbid him from entereing the clubhouse, and most specifically the dugout.

          • John_CC

            I am really interested to see how the Crane Kenney part of this equation works out.

          • J Daniel

            My guess is that at sometime in the near future – a year or so – Crane will be going away as well.

        • studio179

          Theo was in town twice. He came in Chicago to meet the Ricketts family the first time. As Tony pointed out, Theo came in Chicago to meet Crane Kenney the second time. Ricketts came out saying Kenney was indeed involved with the interview process and praised his efforts.

          It is standard for potential upper level management to interview with current upper level management in that organization. Fine, Theo met Kenney, since he is the President on the business side. Beyond that, I hope Ricketts makes good and keeps Kenney away from the baseball side. 

  • cmschube

    If Theo resigns Mark Riggins, I’m gonna thrown up. Does anyone have any ideas for a pitching coach? Please don’t say Maddux, because, let’s be honest, that’s just not going to happen. Especially after he said he wasn’t sure he was going to be back after Hendry got canned.

    • woody34

      Pitching coach= Kerry Wood

      • John G

        I agree. His best throwing days are behind him, but I think he can bring a lot to the table. And he wants to stay associated with the Cubs.

        But Tony disagrees. He said so yesterday.

      • J Daniel

        NO he is going to pitch

      • Tony_Hall

        Kerry would not make a good pitching coach (my opinion).  The last thing I would want is for him to teach and fine tune pitchers mechanics.

        Mike Maddux would be excellent, but no way Nolan allows him to leave for a lateral position.  He is a miracle worker for what he has done in that ballpark.

    • woody34

      And a long shot candidate with Theo connections – Curt Schilling.

      • Agustinrexach

        don’t make me puke….Schilling is a primadonna.

    • Ryan7

      I am going to say Maddux, just not Greg Maddux, but his brother I believe his name is Mike Maddux.

  • Cloycub13

    OK, Christmas has come in October… I cannot remember a time when I was this fired up to be a cub fan… Oh wait I can it was right before a fateful foul ball.
    Theo is a HUGE signing, I don’t care what anyone else says, this is BIG. The Cubs organization just moved into the modern era and gained instant credibility.

    Theo GM
    Ryno Manager
    Hale Bench Coach
    Mike Maddux Pitching Coach
    Jaramillo Hitting Coach

    The rest is up to Theo and Ryno.

    Personally my expectations are this:
    Next year respectable and rejuvenated with a focus on playing the game right. And instilling a consistent philosophy from top to bottom.
    2013- Playoff contention
    2014-2015 Series contention

    I just personally feel that with that leadership core in place Great things can happen. Like many others my kool aid glass has been refilled and my goggles have been repaired. I now again have faith! Thank you Mr. Ricketts. Thank you!

    • cmschube

      I like the Mike Maddux idea, but I think you’d have a helluva time trying to pry him away from the Rangers.

      • Cloycub13


    • ghostofelvis

      Id like Mike Maddux- whats the odds Texas lets him go, especially now?

  • Rmercer

    if Ryno is back, he HAS to be the mgr.

    it simply won’t work for him to be a bench coach and be the heir apparent. EVERYBODY wants him as mgr and it would be a disastrous/tenuous situation for any mgr.

    no mgr in his right mind would take the job with Chicagos favorite son underneath him on the staff.

    I want Ryno, get it done already. BUT, if he isnt the mgr, don’t bring him back to be a coach and put him and everybody involved in a volatile situation


    • Cloycub13

      Another big time AGREED!

    • studio179

      Ryno recently said he will now do whatever it took to get to the bigs and would consider being a coach. I am sure he thought about it or was told that he should not overlook being an MLB coach. Better than being buried in a minor league system. Manuel was extended another two years. 

      That said, you are correct. It would be a disaster to have Ryno on the bench for the Cubs with another manager at the helm. Let’s face it, when Theo hires his manager, he will be there for the term. If it is not Ryno, he will not get a shot for another few years. Ryno on the bench would work in another city, but no way that goes over in Chicago. I could only see fans accepting Ryno as a coach on the bench if the Cubs hired someone with a ton of managing clout, like LaRussa, knowing Ryno was the successor. No way that happens. So no way fans accept Ryno on the bench with Quade or the same type of manager running the club.

      Maybe I am looking through my Cubbie glasses too much on this one. I really think the Cubs will right that wrong and bring Ryno back as manager.    

  • Gramps

    I have been a fan for over 60 years and finally this team has an owner who has a plan for the team. I have to applaud Ricketts for the way he has taken over the reins of the team. He has a plan for the future and a plan to make and keep the Cubs as an elite team in MLB. I have to think he really cringed when he saw the inside workings of the Cubs when he bought the team. It has taken a few years to clean up some of the crap that was left for him, and we all know there is even more to clean up. But with the signing of Epstein I think he is on the right road. Sure, Epstein has made some mistakes but what GM has a perfect record? I see 2 World Series champs since he has been a GM and that impresses me.

    I was also impressed with the amount of money Ricketts spent on the draft this year. I feel this is the right way to build a team, starting with youngsters and teaching them the right way to play this game. That is why I would love to see Sandberg named manager. I think he is ready to manage in the majors. I only ask that for this upcoming year that we begin to see improvement in the team. I finally feel that there is a light at the end of Cubs tunnel. GO CUBS!

    • J Daniel

      100% AGREED!  Ricketts has a plan!  His plan may not work or it may but at least he is executing it.  The Cubs have been a reactionary organization for years and for the most part have chased a bad decision with another one. 

      I to am impressed with the way he is cleaning up all the garbage and putting money where it is needed.  There is a long way to go but I finally believe that next year is not to far off.

      • John_CC

        Right on Gramps and J.  I put the link to Haugh’s Trib column above…he states the same thing. It’s good read, encouraging…very encouraging.

  • Rico Santo

    Bench Coach 1. bob Brenly 2. Riggleman

    • Tom U

      One person to keep in mind for coaching would be Brian Harper, who did an outstanding job in Tennessee.

      • Aaron

        I wouldn’t mind:
        Harper-bench coach (thought they might prefer someone like Hale in this case as he has MLB coaching experience)
        J. Davis-3B coach
        Dernier-1B coach
        Mazzone-pitching coach (could we lure him out of retirement?)…otherwise, see if Kranitz wants to come over

        • cubs1967

          I would take Baird as AGM, assuming they let him leave.  I like having Dernier back, I think Ryno would do that and Jodeeeeeeee as 3rd base coach.  Mazzone is too old, better off with Kranitz, maybe try for the better Maddux in 3 yrs when his kids are older.  I don’t know about the hitting coach other tham Jaramillo needs to go, overrated due to the ballpark in Texas, the heat that wears out pitchers down there and alot of his “pupils” were ‘roiders!
          for bench coach………Larry Bowa; he and Ryno had a good relationship when he was a rookie and Bowa knows the game…….plus he has some fire left in him, good for Ryno.

    • J Daniel

      Don’t think Brenly will be a bench coach.  Maybe to Sandburg?

    • Tony_Hall

      No chance Brenly takes a bench coach job.  He will be a manager again, in the right situation, but he has no reason to take his World Series ring to sit next to another manager.

  • Tony_Hall

    Red Sox aren’t waiting for a compensation deal to be finalized before moving forward.  I think this means they aren’t holding out for a top prospect.


  • gocubs

    Epstein and Sandberg is probably what we are looking at.  Great combo.  

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Cubs, Red Sox discussing compensation, staff re: Theo. Several details to be finalized. No word expected today bit.ly/qw9UEr

    • studio179

      My guess is they use this time to work out compensation and get an official announcement out early next week before the World Series.

      • J Daniel

        Expect a press conference on Tuesday.

    • John_CC

      Neil, your journalistic integrity is amazing!  Everyone, I mean everyone has moved ahead with Epstein as the GM and are onto staffs and players etc, but you will not make that call till it’s inked! 

      I like that.  Did you go to J-school? 

      • Calicub

        People keep talking to me about this whole Theo thing and I just tell them its not official yet….

        When I see:  “From the wire…Cubs ink Theo Epstein to 5yr deal”

        then we’ll know its legit

      • Dorasaga

        J as in Jedi?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        John, thank you very much. No, I did not. Brian is the J-school grad.

  • paulcatanese

    My choice for  the batting coach would be Paul Molitor, if available, he was one of the best,and not too old.

    • Chuck

      Paul Molitor is a Minnesota native and committed to the Minnesota Twins. He is a roving coach during the minor league season for the Twins.  He is involved in spring training and was here in Fort Myers scouting for the Twins in the Fall instructional league. Some thought on Ryno:  yes, he did turn down the Pawtucket manager job.  He went to Lehigh Valley  (AAA Phils) because he was first signed by the Phils organization.  He wants to stay in the NL.  With the Phils as the top team in the NL, he got to know that organization very well from the top to the bottom in terms of players.  He also has invaluable knowledge about players coming up with the other organizations that are in the NL. Makes it alot easier managing when you have some idea about the players who will play against you; strengths/  weaknesses.

      • paulcatanese

        Thanks for the information on Molitor, I didn’t quite know where he was at or what he was doing. Would have been nice as he was one of the best in the game. Taught his and Charlie Lau style of hitting in high school and it really worked out well for the kids.

  • Dorasaga

    Why are the Cubs bad business? Very, very funny:


  • bpot92

    Wow some sox fans are really over reaching on Epstein. Half of them are saying good riddance, the other half are insisting on ridiculous compensation. One wanted the rights to Aram and two prospects, a lot want to hold out for garza, and some think that they can have jackson szczur and mcnutt while also making us take lackey.http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/10/compensation_ta_1.html?comments=all&plckCurrentPage=2

    • John_CC

      Sounds like some of the things I’ve read here, just different names.

      • bpot92

        I understand One top prospect, but even that both marlins players had horrible seasons and were the #4 and 10 prospects. Precedent has told us top prospects don’t normally get traded for managers or execs, maybe one but not multiple. Plus its already been reported that no major leaguers would be involved

    • Calicub

      this mentality of ‘If you think he’s the best then you should give us your best” is ridiculous..

      • paulcatanese

        I wash my hands altogether of this. Give the Sox money for Epstein, and then pay Epstein to come to the Cubs to spend the Cubs money to get ballplayers that will cost the Cubs more to keep the players here , plus pay to get rid of players that are under contract now and a lame manager plus pay big for a good manager to come here, seems to me its a one way street with money going out, glad its not mine.

  • John G
    • cubs1967

      not sure how the Red Sux think they have any leverage anymore; Theo has told them he won’t stay after 2012; so they would owe him this year’s salary plus the 3.5M bonus the Cubs are paying now; do they really want to pay him 5M plus for 1 lame duck year??………Bush could run the Cubs for a year………..who cares after 103 yrs; what’s 1 more really?

      take the cash and 4 yr bust Josh Vitters and be done with it.

      typical east coast NESN arrogance by the Sux.

      and this is typical Cubs…………..drama-drama-do i dare say Dave McGinnis………..NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

      • Demitri

        Vitters is young still cmon man haha. I still have hope for him

      • bpot92

        apparently they like Baker. I say Baker Jay Jackson and some cash

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (10/13): Josh Vitters (1B): 1-for-4, RBI, BB; Trey McNutt: 2R, 1ER, 2H, 3BB, 0K in 2 IP (53 pitches, 23 strikes)

  • cornerlots baseball

    Cub fans would love a reconciliation that brings Sandberg back to manage the Cubs in 2012. And with Epstein also interested in Sandberg, now that’s encouraging.  There is light and hope at the end of the tunnel.