Now Cubs will miscommunicate in a different language

Cubs season-ticket renewals went out this week. Yeah, baby, seize on that Manny Acta mania.

Or is it Rick Renteria fever?

No, wait, it’s Dave Martinez delirium.

The good news for season-ticket holders is the Cubs will not raise prices next season. Same goes for expectations, looking at the known managerial choices.

Theo Epstein is working his way through his yawn list of candidates to replace Dale Sveum, Epstein’s first mistake as manager. Epstein probably shouldn’t be able to make a second mistake, but he probably will be given the chance anyway.

After writing that Joe Girardi’s decision to stay with the Yankees meant that Epstein already has lost his Next Manager Press Conference, I had several emailers suggest the Cubs trade for Rays manager Joe Maddon. Like, trade Starlin Castro for him right now, no questions asked, done deal.

I’m willing to throw in Jeff Samardzija, seeing as how nobody knows what he is. A No. 1 starter? A No. 4? Overpaid no matter what? The only thing we know is that Samardzija is 28 and will be over 30 -- probably well over 30 -- by the time the Cubs threaten to become any good.

You know what’s frustrating about this? It’s that the suddenly small-market Cubs didn’t hire the small-market genius, and I’m not talking about Billy Beane on Oakland. I’m talking the other coast. I’m talking Andrew Friedman, the Rays general manager. The Cubs reportedly knocked on that door and maybe even toilet-papered his yard to get his attention. But Tom Ricketts couldn’t pry him loose.

Bummer. Friedman was my first choice to replace Jim Hendry because of the miracles he worked with little money and a lot of player-evaluation and development smarts. Friedman looks like a bigger miss now that the Cubs are managing their baseball operations like a small-market team instead of a franchise that dominates the third-largest city.

Friedman didn’t just develop talent that went to the World Series and competes regularly with the rich kids in the AL East, but he also found the right manager in Maddon, arguably the best in baseball.

The Cubs couldn’t lure Friedman out of Tampa. They haven’t traded for Maddon. Maybe their only hope is a brush with greatness --- hiring Maddon’s bench coach with the hope that Martinez learned every lesson Maddon could teach.

If nothing else, Martinez’s presence would make the exchange of lineup cards before Phillies games a lot more interesting.

Epstein, of course, has two World Series rings while Friedman doesn’t have even one. Epstein of course, stocked and restocked the Red Sox with talent to win their last game in 2004 and 2007. Epstein, of course, did it with a ‘roided-up middle of the order, so now he has to find another kind of game-changer.

What’s Spanish for “game-changer?’’

Speaking fluent Spanish is believed to be a priority for the Cubs' next manager, given all the young Latinos coming through Epstein’s system.

But here’s the thing: Sveum lost his job largely because he failed to communicate in English with Anthony Rizzo. Seems so Cub, doesn’t it?

Rizzo had a lousy 2013. So did a lot of other young Cubs, but Rizzo is supposed to be the keeper. He didn’t respond to Sveum’s tough love. He didn’t think he had to earn the right to bat third. His regression was a central reason Sveum is an ex-Cubs manager.

And that’s where it gets sticky for Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

If Rizzo’s lousy 2013 was a referendum on Sveum, then a lousy 2014 from Rizzo will be a referendum on Epstein and Hoyer. It will be a disaster for the credibility of their program. It will prompt calls for impeachment because it will continue a trail of major-league bad.

Hoyer has been with three organizations that made it a priority to acquire Rizzo. Epstein has been with two of those franchises. Rizzo has had more uniforms than good major league seasons. Just to clarify: not a good thing.

It’s possible that Rizzo has been overrated and overhyped. Hard to believe, I know, when talking about a Cubs prospect, but it’s possible Rizzo might never figure out how to be a No. 3 hitter, or any kind of major-league hitter, just like it’s possible that Epstein and Hoyer never get this done.

Suddenly, the remaining three years on Epstein’s contract seem less than necessary. Or maybe too long to wait.

What’s Spanish for “When is Friedman’s contract up?’’

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Aldermen looking to stop stores from getting around plastic bag ban

    Chicago's ban on plastic bags starts to take effect at many big stores Saturday, but an alderman who helped craft the law already is talking about changing it in order to thwart a few large retail chains that he says are trying to skirt the new rules.

  • State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    State police: Man shot while riding in van on Eisenhower

    A man was shot multiple times while traveling in a minivan on the inbound Eisenhower Expressway on Friday morning, authorities said.

  • Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    Lollapalooza liquor gardening: fact or fiction?

    It may sound like an urban legend: Music festival-goers bury bottles of booze in Chicago parks, plot a GPS location for the goods and uncover them days later when the festival comes alive.

  • Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    Chicago plans to cut O'Hare noise by rotating runways at night

    The Emanuel administration on Friday will propose an experiment at O'Hare International Airport to rotate the runways used late at night, possibly on a weekly basis, to spread out jet noise, the city's aviation chief told the Chicago Tribune.

  • Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Almost 6 acres of land added near Fullerton Avenue Beach

    Along Chicago's lakefront at Fullerton Avenue Beach, cranes rolled along a causeway that only a few months ago was part of the lake itself. Every day this summer, roughly 40 construction workers are filling in Lake Michigan with dredged material and gravel, which will eventually add up to 5.8 acres...

  • Doughnut panic

    Doughnut panic

    I'm not ashamed to admit that for the past several years, I have mapped my walk to work around which doughnut shop I'd like an excuse to stop at on the way. There's nothing like the thought of a crunchy, craggy old fashioned doughnut or the sweet, yeasty chew of a classic glazed doughnut to help...