Phillies Interested in Sandberg, Samuel
Sandberg is a candidate to fill their managerial vacancy in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, according to sources, although it was unclear today if they have formally interviewed him. Sandberg had been a candidate for the Cubs’ managerial job, but once they hired Mike Quade instead he informed the Cubs he would not return as their Triple-A Iowa manager.
The Cubs said Sandberg is free to explore other opportunities.
“I can tell you that we have started the process of interviewing candidates for the Triple-A job,” Chuck LaMar said this morning. “But I’m not going to comment on candidates or a timetable or how many candidates until we get done.”
Sandberg still has connections in Philadelphia.
Dallas Green, who is senior advisor to the general manager, remains close with Sandberg. Green was the Cubs’ general manager when he fleeced the Phillies in one of the worst trades in franchise history. The trade sent Larry Bowa and Sandberg to the Cubs for Ivan DeJesus. The Phillies felt they did not have a position to play Sandberg and because they felt compelled to trade Bowa following a bitter contract dispute, Green astutely demanded the Phillies include Sandberg in the trade.
Sandberg invited Green to his Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2005.
“I would think he would make a great fit for us,” Green said. “We raised him. He’s been let down by Chicago a good bit. He’s a little bit bitter about that. … When he didn’t get the job I called him and commiserated with him. I knew he was disappointed. I still personally think he should be a big-league guy if that’s what he really wants to do. I love the guy. He’s got a great work ethic. I haven’t watched him, but I think he’s going to be a good teacher.”
Pat Gillick, who also is a senior advisor to the general manager, recommended to Sandberg recently that he should interview for big-league coaching jobs. But if Sandberg cannot find a big-league managerial or coaching vacancy – only the Pirates and Mets are without managers – the IronPigs might make sense for him. The Phillies also are looking for a first base coach since Davey Lopes left the organization, but the Phillies could be getting close to hiring Juan Samuel.
It had been expected Samuel would rejoin the Baltimore Orioles next season as their third base coach, but sources feel Samuel is headed to Philadelphia.
“We’ve been in touch with the Phillies, just very recently,” said Samuel’s agent, Rex Gary. “I don’t know where it’s going to go, but there’s obviously a position and Juan Samuel is still available. We’ll see. We’ve been in touch with other teams, too. But I will acknowledge that we have spoken with the Phillies.”