Dusty Baker keeps advice to himself after Cubs failed to listen
By Gordon Wittenmyer email@example.com September 5, 2011 11:00PM
Chicago Cubs' Geovany Soto, left, reacts after being tagged out at home plate as Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco holds up the ball during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Monday, Sept. 5, 2011. Chicago won 4-3. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Updated: November 26, 2011 12:26AM
The man who managed the Cubs’ lone postseason series victory since Frank Chance might have some advice to offer the new, yet-to-be-named Cubs regime. After all, he was five outs away from North Side immortality.
Then, again. …
‘‘Nope,’’ said former Cubs manager Dusty Baker, now in his fourth season managing at Cincinnati.
‘‘I can’t give them any advice and have them beat me,’’ he said. ‘‘I had answers when I was there, and they didn’t want to listen to them.’’
Like Lou Piniella after him, Baker was revered early and then ripped by the end of a four-year run, spending most of his final year as a lame duck before being fired by former general manager Jim Hendry.
Nothing about Hendry’s firing came as a surprise, Baker said.
‘‘It’s hard to surprise me at this point,’’ he said. ‘‘It happens. It’s part of the game. I’m sure they’ve got some more [changes] coming. That was a pretty good run Jim had longevity-wise.’’
Baker has won a World Series as a player and has managed three different teams to the postseason, so he should know like few others how hard it is to sustain success with the Cubs compared to other franchises.
‘‘They ask me that question all the time, and I’ve got the same answer: I don’t know why,’’ he said. ‘‘I tried to help them win over there. They ran me out of town.’’
Hunsicker on radar?
While much of the talk surrounding the Cubs’ GM search has focused on Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman, one high-ranking major-league executive believes another Rays’ exec is in the mix: Rays assistant vice president Gerry Hunsicker.
‘‘He might be a decent underdog,’’ said the source, who pointed to Hunsicker’s background in international scouting and development, along with stats analysis.
The Houston Astros reached the postseason five times in nine seasons with Hunsicker as GM, and established a talent pipeline in Venezuela. He’s been with Friedman in Tampa Bay since November 2005, helping construct the upstart 2008 and 2010 AL East championship teams.
Take the pen?
With uncertainty surrounding next year’s hierarchy, add Andrew Cashner’s role on the pitching staff to the list of 2012 questions.
Cashner, who was activated from the 60-day disabled list Monday, was all but assured of a second go-round in the rotation next spring after making the transition from reliever this year.
But since Hendry’s firing several weeks ago, ‘‘I have no idea,’’ manager Mike Quade said. ‘‘There’s a new general manager that needs to be hired. There’s just too many variable involved here — medical issues and everything else.’’
Cashner, who finishes this season in the bullpen, has been on the DL since April 5, when he suffered a rotator cuff strain in his first career big-league start, then suffered a setback during rehab in May.
‘‘I’d love to see him be a starter personally,’’ Quade said. ‘‘But health has a lot to do with it, and the rigors of starting vs. working out of the pen. So we’ll see.’’