As you surely know by now, earlier this week, the Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum and are currently looking for his replacement. The top guy on the Cubs’ wish list appears to be New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, whose deal expires at the end of the month. A.J. Hinch, Sandy Alomar Jr., Brad Ausmus and Mike Maddux have been rumored as possible candidates. It is still early in the game, and the Cubs will surely be doing plenty of investigating on these and other candidates before making a decision.
One interesting name that popped up on Thursday Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. Ripken Jr. played third base and shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles for 21 seasons. Not only was Ripken Jr. one of the best players the game ever saw, he was also one of the smartest. At the plate and in the field, he rarely made a mistake, and he always seemed to be in good position. He definitely has plenty of knowledge that he could share with current players.
In an interview with David Kaplan on Wednesday night, the 53-year-old Ripken Jr. admitted that he has the urge to get back in the game. ”The urge to do something in baseball has come back, and I guess I’d be more inclined to listen because I’d be a little bit more interested at this stage, but I haven’t figured that out yet,” he told Kaplan.
When asked directly about his interest in the Cubs’ open manager position, if they were to come calling, Ripken Jr. did not close any doors. ”I have to be very careful how I answer that question, because it seems like speculation runs rampant, but it’s an interesting position to be in. But yeah, I think I’d listen a little bit more than I would have certainly three or four years ago.”
After watching the interview, I think that Ripken Jr. would at least take an interview if the Cubs did come calling. That being said, you have to wonder if the Cubs would even consider Ripken Jr. He was an outstanding player, he obviously knows the game, and nobody would be surprised if he became a great manager. However, Ripken Jr. has zero coaching or managing experience.
While it is definitely interesting to speculate about Ripken Jr., I do not think he will be a serious candidate for this job. Cubs President Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer simply cannot get it wrong this time. With the impressive, young talent that is approaching the major leagues for the Cubs, they have to make sure they have the right guy in place to manage this team. Hall of Famer or not, I have a hard time believing that they will be willing to give this job to a man with no coaching experience. The hire is simply too important this time around.