|Photo Credit: bleacherreport.com|
According to ESPN, this is what new General Manager Theo Epstein is looking for: "The next manager must have leadership and communication skills; he must place an emphasis on preparation and accountability; he must establish high standards and a winning culture; he must have integrity and an open mind; and he must have managerial or coaching experience at the major league level."
Bobby Valentine has over 1100 wins at the Major League level - he's won more than he's lost, led the Mets to the 2000 World Series, and won a Japan Series title with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005 - their first championship in over 30 years. So obviously he's shown that he's a winner.
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But here's what I think separates Valentine from the other candidates. Bobby Valentine was a manager in New York City. Sure, I know the Mets aren't the Yankees, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think they face some serious pressure from the fans and the media in a position like that. And Valentine didn't just manager in New York, he WON in New York. Chicago is a similar situation. The Cubs need someone who can handle the fact that every move he makes is going to come under scrutiny. No disrespect to some of the smaller market teams, but it's a lot harder to manage the Chicago Cubs than it is the Kansas City Royals. Shoot, I bet you can't even name the Royals manager (it's Ned Yost).
No disrespect to the other guys in the conversation, but other than Francona and Sveum, none of them have managed at the big league level and Sveum has only managed 12 games. I realize that once upon a time Joe Torre and Bobby Cox had never managed at the big league level either, but neither of them were winners right out of the gate. Cox's Braves finished in last place in his first two seasons in Atlanta while Torre endured 5 straight losing seasons to start his managerial career while with the Mets. I don't think you want to throw someone into this situation in Chicago that hasn't at least figured out what kind of manager they're going to be. The Cubs need to win right now, and they need someone who is prepared to do that. So I vote for Bobby. Is that realistic? Maybe not, but I'd be shocked if they didn't bring in someone with a similar resume. It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds in the coming weeks.