Hiring part-time managers is the latest in a series of revenue-enhancers, such as Cubs Fantasy Camp, the PNC Club, the Toyota sign and the Noodle, announced by the Cubs in 2010.

The latest announcement follows Lou Piniella’s decision not to return to the helm next year. The Cubs say that Joe Girardi, Joe Torre and Ryne Sandberg will be hired and that each will work fewer than 24 hours a week in the role of Cubs’ manager in 2011 and use their wives’ health insurance coverage, if necessary, since they won’t qualify for medical benefits as part-time employees.

Cubs president Crane Kenney says that although the team is mired in nonproductive player payroll debt, its recent failure to trade first baseman Derrek Lee precipitates this drastic action. Lee invoked his contract’s no-trade clause shortly before the July 31 trade deadline.

“Derrek’s refusal to let us trade him to the Angels and dump his salary creates a doomsday scenario,” Kenney says. He adds that something has to give, and that unfortunately that something is health insurance coverage for the Cubs manager.

“It would be a good idea if all of our fans who like to drink would drink to the continued health of our new part-time managers Ryne and Jo-Jo,” Kenney said.

By Rob C. Christiansen