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The Cubs Next Manager?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 28, 2006 1:08PM

Chicagoist is clearly in the camp with those who believe that Dusty Baker's days as Cubs manager are numbered. With his contract expiring, the Cubs floundering and his blaming everybody but himself we just don't forsee Dusty manning the Wrigley dugout come April.

But who would the Cubs hire to replace him? We know that this story has been floating around for a couple days, but we thought we'd weigh in anyway. From the sound of things, it now seems that the best possible candidate for the Cubs will be available. Reports out of Miami are that there is "zero chance" that Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi will be back with the Marlins next year.

2006_09_sports_girardi_cubs.jpgGirardi is a former Cubs player, a very knowledgable baseball guy, with proven leadership characteristics. This a guy who was at the top of most lists compiled when Dusty's job was in jeopardy last off season. Instead he landed the gig in Florida, and it looked like the Cubs were going to lose out on a great candidate.

Girardi has proven his worth with the Marlins this year, his first as a big league manager. All he's done is take a team with the lowest payroll in baseball -- at $14.98 million, the entire team makes less than five different Yankees do -- and keep them in the wild card race until last week.

But the ego of Marlin owener Jeffrey Loria has caused him to act irrationally, and he'll cast off a guy who could help rebuild his franchise. And his loss could be the Cubs' gain.

The Cubs, of course, have remained quiet. With Dusty still under contract, as Girardi is with the Marlins, they can't really say anything, other than Jim Hendry's "Joe Girardi works for the Marlins," comment the other day. Now, once Baker and Girardi get the boot on Monday, maybe management can say more about the situation. Or Girardi, who wants to stay with the Marlins, could find a way to patch things up with management and remain and render the whole disucussion moot.