(CBS) With the 2015 season serving as evidence, there’s no doubt the Cubs have properly navigated the path to a rebuild since the Ricketts family bought the franchise in 2009 and endured five consecutive losing seasons, the first couple with an aging, expensive and underproducing veteran core.
So that’s not up for debate. But that doesn’t take the fun out of what-if scenarios, and there’s an intriguing one regarding the polarizing, entertaining and successful Ozzie Guillen, who managed the White Sox to the 2005 World Series championship.
Amid the 2011 season — in which Guillen now admits he knew by that July he’d be on his way out — there was a plausible path to Guillen becoming the Cubs’ manager for the 2012 season.
If Jim Hendry had continued as the general manager of the Cubs in 2012, he would’ve offered Guillen the team’s managerial position, Bruce Levine reported on air during Inside the Clubhouse on 670 The Score over the weekend. Hendry had always had a good relationship with Guillen and thought highly of him.
Instead, as the Cubs’ ownership group led by Tom Ricketts looked to the future, they decided it was best to dismiss Hendry that August, before there was even any inclination that Theo Epstein would be available. After hiring Epstein, the Cubs then hired Dale Sveum as their manager ahead of the 2012 season.
For his part, Guillen took the Marlins’ job and had a one-year stint in Miami, but he confirmed his preference would’ve been to remain in Chicago.
“It’s funny, because a lot of people say I left the White Sox,” Guillen said. “We couldn’t make a deal, either one — the (White Sox) front office or myself. Not just myself (for the breakdown). And my No. 1 priority was to stay in Chicago. I’d just moved out of Miami (as a permanent residence). I’d just sold my house in Miami and buy one in Chicago, and the front office people know about it. And we couldn’t make a deal (with the White Sox). Then I always believed that this (baseball) was the only thing that I can make my money (in). And we not agree together in Chicago for whatever reason why. Then I left.”
Guillen, now 51, reiterated that he will return to coaching at some point — if not in the majors, then in the minors.
“I can bring more positive stuff than negative to the ball club,” Guillen said. “I know that … I’ve learned more. I’m older.
“I really love to coach. I really love to be on the field.”
Guillen currently is an analyst for ESPN, but he doesn’t envisioning doing that forever.
“When I’m watching Kansas City and the Mets on the field, I’m jealous,” Guillen said of the recently completed World Series.
“I feel like I belong on the field and not with the mic.”
Guillen added his next job must be the “right place” and “right time.” He doesn’t want to be a “checkmark” for interested teams that want to put up a front of chasing a minority manager but aren’t truly interested.
“I told my kids I will coach in the minor leagues before my career is over,” Guillen said. “Because I never did it, and I just want to do it to have the feeling.
“I just love it.”
Listen to Guillen’s full interview below. The Cubs-Guillen-Hendry connection talk begins around the 41-minute mark.