According to a report from the Sun-Times, Ryne Sandberg had lunch Tuesday with Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein. Sandberg told Michael Sneed that it was “just a friendly little lunch” and acknowledged he is moving back to Chicago.
Sandberg did not comment further on the meeting or his future plans.
Sneed reported Sandberg “is selling his house in Arizona and plans to move to the North Shore.” And Sneed’s sources indicated Sandberg “is looking to reconnect” with the Cubs.
It is hard to see how Sandberg would fit in with the coaching staff. The Cubs are Joe Maddon’s team on the field and it is unlikely Sandberg would be added to his staff. The Sun-Times did not give any indications on what role Sandberg may or may not have moving forward with the Cubs.
Ryne Sandberg stepped down as manager of the Phillies at the end of June after posting a 119-159 record as Philadelphia’s manager. Sandberg said at the time the losses got to him and he did not want to be in the way of the changes coming within their organization. Sandberg replaced Charlie Manuel on an interim basis in 2013 before landing the full-time job.
The Hall of Famer started his managerial career in the Cubs’ system after showing interest in the Major League job before Jim Hendry hired Lou Piniella. Sandberg worked his way up the minors starting with the Peoria Chiefs in 2007.
Sandberg skippered Low-A Peoria in 2007 (71-68) and 2008 (60-78) before his promotion to Double-A Tennessee in 2009. Sandberg led the Smokies to a 71-69 record and was assigned to Triple-A Iowa the following season. Sandberg earned the PCL Manager of the Year award after leading the I-Cubs to an 82-62 record.
Ryne Sandberg left the Cubs’ organization following the 2010 season when Jim Hendry removed the interim tag from Mike Quade and named him the Cubs’ manager.
Multiple reports four years ago stated Theo Epstein and Ryne Sandberg had a good relationship. Epstein was interested in Sandberg for positions in the Red Sox organization before he decided to take the manager’s job at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Phillies’ system. Epstein made the right decision when he took over the Cubs. Epstein told Sandberg he would not be considered for the Cubs’ job after Mike Quade was dismissed.
Ryne Sandberg played all but 13 games of his Hall of Fame career with the Cubs. Over 16 years, Sandberg batted .285/.344/.452 with 403 doubles, 76 triples and 282 home runs. Sandberg earned the 1984 NL MVP Award after posting a .314/.367/.520 line with 36 doubles, 19 triples and 19 home runs for a .887 OPS. Sandberg led the Cubs to the NL East crown and the first pennant in 39 years.
Ryne Sandberg was the best second baseman in the National League for a decade and won the Gold Glove nine straight seasons (1983-91).
Mending any fences that may or may not have been broken with Ryne Sandberg over the years to a point he can be back with the organization in any capacity can only be seen as a positive.