James Nosek | Press Box Perspectives Editor/Columnist
With the signing of Theo Epstein back in October, there has been a buzz around the north side of Chicago bigger than Harry Carey could have ever imagined. Could the Cubbies actually win a world series in the near future? That’s the question and with Epstein aboard along with his former assistant executives, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, from the championship winning Boston Red Sox teams, the Cubs are one step closer.
Expect a lot of young player development and solid off-season purchases, similar to what the Red Sox have done the past few years. MLB.com’s Jim Duquette called this gathering of former Red Sox executives, the “Dream team,” and if the Cubs sign former Sox manager Terry Francona, that might become more of a prophecy.
Epstein wanted a fresh start when he took the job and what a better way to start fresh with colleagues that he knows can get the job done. Now there are some issues with the Cubbies right now, a lack of a manager and contract problems but look at the opportunity that there is with this “dream team.” They are better off just changing the name to the Chicago Red Sox because that’s what it looks like it’s coming down to, a Red Sox filled front office, which is not a bad thing at all.
The possibility for Francona is only being considered right now, Epstein said yesterday that Pete Mackanin, Philadelphia Phillies’ bench coach and Mike Maddux, Texas Rangers’ pitching coach, are his top choices but of course at the end he had to bring up Francona, “I know him like the back of my hand,” Epstein said. Looking at these two top positions, the only one that makes sense is Maddux but Francona, the former manager under Epstein, makes even better sense, 1028 wins and two world series under his belt, what else can you ask for.
Everyone is wondering why Epstein would hire the guy that he tried to get rid of in Boston but why not, if he has another chance at him, he should go for it. You also can’t forget that Francona is getting a lot of lip from the St. Louis Cardinals, as they are looking for a manager as well after Tony La Russa’s retirement. Who cares about the Red Sox debacle at the end of the regular season last year, Francona is still a top dog manager and it would not be good if he went to the Cardinals and became a rival to the Cubs. Epstein has to be considering that because with St. Louis winning the World Series this year, most likely re-signing Albert Pujols and getting Francona, that doesn’t look good for the National League Central, more importantly that doesn’t look good for Epstein and the Cubbies.
Francona might not be the top choice right now but the Cubs should be considering him big time, forget about last year. They say “don’t fix what is already broken,” that’s pretty much the Red Sox right there, one bad choke job at the end of the year is not going to be the down fall of that organization, they are not “broken” one bit so why not bring that chemistry to Chicago. If it doesn’t work, it really doesn’t matter that much. It’s not like the Cubs have won in a while, it will just be another losing season, which is pretty common for the bleacher bums of Wrigley.