Would Epstein consider hiring Sandberg, 52, to replace Mike Quade as the Cubs' manager?
"That would be way premature to talk about," Epstein told ESPN 1000 on Wednesday, one day after being formally introduced as president of baseball operations for the Cubs.
"Ryne Sandberg obviously was a great Cub, great player, great guy by all accounts, but he's a Philadelphia Phillie," Epstein said. "He's a Triple-A manager. It would be just so premature for us to talk about that."
Part of the reason Epstein can't discuss Sandberg is because Quade has a contract for next season with the Cubs. Epstein hasn't dismissed the possibility that Quade will return. The two plan on meeting face to face in the near future.
"So before we talk about the potential of bringing in anyone from the outside, I need to get a feel for what we have here," Epstein said.
Sandberg, who has a residence in Chicago, led the Phillies' IronPigs to a franchise-record 80 wins and reached the International League postseason for the first time in club history. It was Sandberg's fifth season managing in the Minor Leagues; he spent four with the Cubs -- including two years with Class A Peoria, one with Double-A Tennessee and one with Triple-A Iowa.
Epstein said Sandberg was "the most humble Hall of Famer I ever met." The former Cubs second baseman also "demonstrated as much respect for the game as anyone I ever met," Epstein said.
"Those things stand out about him. Beyond that, you're not going to ask me about the Triple-A manager for the Royals, I'm sure."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.