Cubs Searching to Define the Next Manager

Merriam-Webster defines a manager as someone who is in charge of a business or department, someone who directs the training and performance of a sports team, especially a person who directs a baseball team, and someone who directs the professional career of an entertainer or athlete. The Baseball Thesaurus lists captain, field general, the man, pilot, professor, skip, skipper, teacher and diligente as synonyms for a baseball manager. But which of the known candidates will check all of the boxes for the front office in order to become the 53rd manager of the Chicago Cubs?

With the Fall Classic beginning on Wednesday night, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will likely wait until after the Series before announcing their choice for the next Cubs manager. Major League Baseball frowns on announcements during the Series, unless they are made on off days and there are only two scheduled during the seven games (Oct. 25 and Oct. 29). According to David Kaplan, “the Cubs managerial search will continue for the next several days” which will give the front office “time to conduct second interviews and consider all of their options.”

Indications are that the Cubs will wait until the series is over so they have a chance to formally interview Red Sox’s bench coach Torey Lovullo before making a decision. Multiple reports surfaced on Tuesday that Rick Renteria is the favorite for the job, but if that is the case, what is the delay in announcing him as the new manager? The Sun-Times confirmed the Cubs interest in Torey Lovullo on Tuesday night and reported the “candidate pool could grow by one or two mystery candidates by the time the process is complete.”

Gordon Wittenmyer explained that Rick Renteria “was considered a favorite of the front office as soon as Girardi was off the table” and Torey Lovullo “is admired by the Cubs’ brass for his leadership, intelligence and ability to relate to a wide range of players.”

There are so many rumors and reports contradicting each other right now that make it impossible to know which one of the candidates the front office actually prefers at this point of the process. Theo Epstein stated the managerial search would not be made public this time around and so far that has been the case.

Theo Epstein put a loose deadline on having a new manager in place by the start of the GM Meetings on November 11. And unless something changes or the series goes seven games, the Cubs should not make an announcement before November.

The Candidates

David Kaplan posted information he received from a former AL general manager who is now a National League scout on the Cubs’ managerial candidates. Kaplan reported if the Cubs wait to talk to Torey Lovullo, they could lose one of their candidates to teams such as the Tigers, Mariners, Nationals and possibly the Dodgers.

Brad Ausmus is high on Kaplan’s list and could be in line for the Tigers and Nationals openings. According to Kaplan’s report, the Cubs have not asked the Padres for permission to speak with Ausmus. Kaplan’s source is also high on Ausmus and said, “They better hurry if they want to land him because Detroit and Washington both love him. I think he has the most upside of all of the candidates on their list because while he hasn’t done it, he looks to me to have star written all over him. Intense, educated and a great understanding of the game. His passion should excite the Cubs fan base once they get some of the kids from the system to the big leagues. He needs time to develop as a manager but that’s exactly what the Cubs can give him. They aren’t winning next year so why not take a shot on hitting a home run.”

Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra also likes Ausmus and thinks the Cubs job would be a good fit for him.

As for Torey Lovullo, the scout indicated, “Another solid baseball man who is ready to manage at the big league level. He has a very good resume and he is a good guy. Not sure that he is the exact profile of what Theo and Jed are looking for but he is solid and would do a good job.”

Bruce Levine and Dan Bernstein reported on Tuesday that Rick Renteria is the frontrunner for the Cubs’ job. Kaplan’s source had this to say about Renteria, “Super guy and very well respected around baseball. Knows the game and understands player development and is ready to be a major league manager. I’m just not sure his laid back personality plays to the pressure cooker environment that is Chicago. A very solid candidate.”

As for Dave Martinez, “Solid guy and a solid baseball man. Was always exceptionally well prepared as a player despite not being the most talented guy on the roster. He played the game the right way and he has worked very hard to learn his craft as a coach next to maybe the best manager in the game in Joe Maddon. I would expect his teams to play hard and to be very well prepared. I would have no hesitation hiring him in Chicago.”

Dave Martinez will interview for the Nationals’ managerial vacancy according to Bruce Levine.

Of the known candidates, A.J. Hinch has garnered the most questions … and not in a good way. Kaplan’s source said there is no way the Cubs can hire him. Hinch struggled in Arizona and he might not be able to handle “a pressure cooker like Chicago.” Kaplan’s source indicated that hiring Hinch would be a “huge mistake.”

David Kaplan did not list Manny Acta as a candidate for the job.

News and Notes

Jorge Soler has left Arizona due to “residency issues” according to Jesse Rogers and is expected back by the end of this week. Soler is recovering from a broken left tibia, and has not met Rogers’ expectations. Rogers spoke with scouts that said Soler is “raw”, “has work to do”, and “his bat speed is not there.” Brian Harper pointed out how much progress Soler has made in his first game action since June. But Rogers seemed to focus on him have the “roughest go” of the four top prospects in the system.

According to a report from Comcast SportsNet, Major League Baseball has a plan in place to bring increased Wi-Fi and cell service technology to all 30 ballparks by the end of the 2014 season.

And last, but not least, there will be an October in the near future in which the Cubs are focused on winning the last set of games of the season.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO and @TheCCO_Minors

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  • Ripsnorter1

    “And last, but not least, there will be an October in the near future in which the Cubs are focused on winning the last set of games of the season.”

    Two questions:
    1. Is that your opinion Neil only, or has a number of baseball execs confirmed that the Cubs are close?
    Your article didn’t say.
    2. What is the definition of near?

    Oct. 2014? Most definitely.
    Oct. 2015? Most would say this qualifies as “the near future.”
    Oct. 2016? 3 more years from now? This is the end of Theo’s contract. And this is the end of “near” for me.
    Oct. 2017?
    Oct. 2018? That’s getting out there. 7 yr rebuild.
    Oct. 2019?
    Oct. 2020? Is that near? I would not call that near.
    Oct. 2021 would be ten years from the start of Theo.

    How many years away do you think we are at this time?

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I’m obviously not Neil but I would guess that 2015 we’d expect to be competitive and 2016, realistically, we would have post season aspirations.

      • DWalker

        finance wise, its hard to see how they can sustain this, I have to think they need to begin putting pieces in place this year. they are loosing too many ticket sales and the associated vending, and look what its done to their advertising as even the radio contract is beign opened up because of lack of advertisers. They desperatly need some interesting players to start bringing fans back to fill seats, another year like these last two and they can call them the Rays. But, I just don’t see them letting Bryant and Baez break camp with the team even if they might be ready, and I can’t see a big FA splash so i think it will be a boring first couple of months then a few call ups may happen to boost later season interest.

        • cubtex

          yep. next year will be bad…especially in the 1st half.

        • J Daniel

          I agree with you about the decline, but this is the Cubs. As soon as they start to win the place will be packed.

      • CubbyDenCritic

        Not with three teams better than us in this division…..hopefully by 2016, but I think not.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Thanks, Mr. Brider!

        We could be competitive in 2015 IF….
        1. Our starting pitching is at least as good as it was in 2013: 94 quality starts.
        2. Baez and Bryant hit like Puig.

        • TheWrongGuy

          I hate to disagree with you on 2015 Rip but I believe if by following player progression I am correct… 2015 will be a year the roster will be FULL of rookies. Edwards/P. Johnson/Bryant/Almora/Soler/Baez. Yet I believe Baez will be up this year. So the CUBS line-up will be VERY young. overly aggressive at the plate, which is what made Castro/Rizzo fail in development this year. 2015 will be a challenging year, but should still pull a good crowd to “The Old Ballpark”, but not like a contending team would.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Rizzo wasn’t overly aggressive. He just stood up there waiting for a Theo, er…a walk.
            Likewise Castro lost his aggressiveness under the Sveum/Deer/Ransom/Team Theo philosophy.

            Remember Jody Davis said it best: “What’s wrong with this team? There’s only one aggressive
            hitter on the whole team, and that’s Jr. Lake.”

          • TheWrongGuy

            HAHAHA true except for about 2 and 1/2 weeks early in the season when he was hot. After that he Theo’d… errr walked a lot because no one would pitch to him anymore so he became super aggressive. =)

          • cubtex

            agreed. the young players will have growing pains. 2015 will be a year of ups and downs for the kids.

        • cubtex

          And Vizcaino closes games like Kenley Jansen. Those are 4 big IFS.

          • TheWrongGuy

            Where’s #3 I count 1 and 2 from Rip and then you jump to 4?

          • cubtex

            1. Starting pitching
            2. Baez
            3. Bryant
            4. Vizcaino

          • TheWrongGuy

            =) ok

          • Ripsnorter1

            How many Puigs in MLB?

            Only 24 .300 hitters in all of MLB. And there are 30 teams.

            I think that highlights the damage done to Castro, don’t you think?

          • cubtex

            I really think Castro will bounce back next year and have a big year! I am much more confident with him than Rizzo.

          • TheWrongGuy

            The umpires strike zone this season was huge. All hitters averages have slid or gone down the last 5-10 years. Either pitching is getting smarter or hitters are getting worse, or umpires are gettinjg old OR D) ALL of the above.

          • cubtex

            or roids are getting out of the game.

          • TheWrongGuy

            HAHAHA!

          • cubtex

            I really think the umps are calling the strike zone nowadays much smaller than years past. Defensive shifts have caused alot of averages to drop and hitters aren’t adjusting to the shifts…they still go up hitting into the shift…instead of trying to hit em where they ain’t.

          • mutantbeast

            dont tell that to the likes of Dale Scott or Marvin Hudson, who strike zones a GPS system would have a hard time finding.

          • John_CC

            First of all, Mr. Puig only played 100 games. As you know, he barely missed anything in his first 100 AB he hit .436/.476/.716 (!!).
            His next 100 AB: .287/.350/.486 (good)
            Next 100: .320/.400/.515 (impressive)
            And his last 100 AB: .214/.333/.450 (blah)

            97K in his 104 games.

            He had an amazing first month living on adrenaline and hollywood lights. Everyone was ready to crown him MVP. Then he became human but looked like a really solid hitter. Then he either wore out after 3 months of baseball or the league pitching started to figure him out.

            We’ll see who the real Puig is next year, but I’m guessing he’ll be more like Cespedes and less like DiMaggio.

          • Ripsnorter1

            Puig knows how to strikeout. No question about it.

            He also had a decent playoffs: he hit .333 when the lights and pressure
            was on. .366 OBP and .410 slug. That’s pretty decent.

            Puig had a great year. He will never be Joe DiMaggio.
            Joe only fanned 43 times in his entire MLB career.

            Also there is no question that all the pitchers will be studying the tapes to find a
            weakness over the winter. Puig will have to adjust. But he is an incredible talent, and
            if he doesn’t go completely insane with all of the fame, money, lights, and attention, he
            will be quite a player. The guy is very, very young, and with great bat speed, and also a pretty
            good eye–Soriano should have his ability to lay off the low outside slider.

            BTW, if Brett Jackson could hit .214 with .450 slugging, (Puig’s last month: Sept), he’d be your starting CF in Chicago.

          • jtrain23

            I’m fairly certain that DiMaggio never had 40 strike outs in a single season. Obviously a different era, but an amazing statistic.

            There are all stars that have single season strike out totals nearly as high as his entire career. I know this is slightly off topic, I was just marveling at the facts.

  • 07GreyDigger

    It would be silly to think that the Cubs haven’t made a decision internally about who their next manager is. I’m guessing though that a Lovullo interview is the last. They are familiar with him and consider him a possiblilty, but if he doesn’t blow them away vs. their top choice, I imagine the announcement will not come much after that interview.

  • cubtex

    Based on the requirements for the job….it seems to me that all signs point to Rick Renteria. Fatherly Latin figure for the Starlin Castro’s,Junior Lake,Castillo,Soler,Baez etc. Managed Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. This is more than likely another placeholder position….so Renteria would seem like a good bridge until they get competitive…at least another 2 years.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I don’t like the idea of another placeholder. We need a guy to get in there, cut his teeth, and grow with the club. To me Ausmus makes too much sense, therefore it won’t be him :).

      • cubtex

        that’s all Sveum was….but he didn’t last another year or 2. The problem is that this team is not going to be competitive for at least another 2 years. Girardi didn’t want to lose for 2 years…..until. Most of the names are either guys who failed in there 1st go around as manager or guys who have never managed in the big leagues before. Who cares if it is a placeholder position? At least if the young guys develop under the guy….they will at least be moving forward instead of where they were under Sveum.

        • cc002600

          “Girardi didn’t want to lose for 2 years”

          LOL

          watch how the mighty yankees do these next 2 years and beyond. it won’t be pretty. That team is in trouble.

          mark my words.

          • cubtex

            we already went down that road. Yankees have a boatload of cash to spend and an impatient fanbase.

          • TheWrongGuy

            As long as they don’t have to pay ALL of A-Rod’s contract.

          • cc002600

            it won’t help them. FA market is awful, you can’t buy your way to championship anymore.

            plus, they don’t have as much money to spend as you think. Cano will cost them a ton just to keep him, so no net gain there, and they want to stay under $189M luxury tax threshold.

            trust me, they are in deep do-do. You will see. They won 85 games this year with smoke and mirrors. Next year, no more Rivera & Pettite. Let me know how that works out. LOL

          • cubtex

            Shin-Soo Choo On Yankees Radar per mlbtraderumors

            The Rich get richer. We will talk after the season as they will be right there again. You can’t buy a championship anymore? 3 out of the top 4 teams in the Championship Series were in top 5 in payroll for all of baseball.

          • cc002600

            no, no, no.
            big difference.

            The teams in playoffs already have high payroll since they are just paying their own good players big dough to stay. Not the same thing as now going out and trying to acquire NEW talent on FA market where the talent is VERY thin and you have to overpay for crap, which is where yankees are at now. Good luck with that. The landscape has changed now, The FA market is horrendous.

            and if you think Shin-Soo Choo is going to put yankees over the top, please call me, I have bridge to sell you. he ain’t that good.
            LOL

          • Denver Mike

            I heard today where 17 of the 25 players on the Cards WS roster were draft or developed in their system. Their payroll for this year was $102.7MM, or $5MM less than the Cubs.

          • mutantbeast

            Unless they sign Tanaka and get Pineda back to some degree of health. OTOH, they are paying for overpaying CC, ARoid, Tex and Jeter.

    • jtrain23

      I know Theo is attached at the hip to Jed, but why must we keep hiring all Padre guys all the time. I could see if we were robbing from the Cardinals, Rays, Rangers, Braves, or any other perennial powerhouse, but I’m pretty sure the Cubs have even been about as competitive as the Padres have over the last several years. I just don’t get it.

  • CubbyDenCritic

    “Residence Issue”…..Soler forgot to unplug the coffee maker?
    Kaplan wants Ozzie Gullien to interview with the Cubs…..
    Let me make my Nostradamus prediction right now……the next Cubs manager will be fired by Theo before we see the Playoffs.
    I say this for these reasons……
    – three teams are better than us in this division…..
    – lack of “Ace” type of pitchers in our system
    – lack of future spending on quality free agents
    – too many Rookies, not enough Veteran leadership
    – current manager options are not on the high end.
    As I said earlier, Playoff teams like the Tigers, Nationals and maybe the Dodgers have a greater attraction for a future manager than the Cubs have.
    LA has Puig, Kershaw, Kemp, Gonzalez, Ramirez,, Hollywood, playoffs in their future, etc
    Tigers have Fielder, Cabrera, Verlander, playoffs, etc
    Nationals has Harper, Strasburg, Playoffs, etc
    Cubs have …..?????….what do the Cubs have to offer other then another 90 loss season?

    • 07GreyDigger

      I’d say Residence Issue is renewing his visa.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Your prediction about “the next manager will be fired by THEO before we see the Playoff” could
      be right, but I am thinking Theo will be fired first if we continue setting records for losing.

      • SuzyS

        Maybe…but I believe they are happy with the way he has rebuilt the minor league system at this stage.
        If some of the prospects begin to produce…he’ll be golden….If not, then you may be right.

      • J Daniel

        I think you will see a Theo extension at the end of next year.

        • Ripsnorter1

          I am skeptical. I’d think Daddy Ricketts, who doesn’t like
          baseball, would be putting the clamps down on Tom Ricketts, in
          that the Cubs are loosing revenue. Most businessmen don’t look at
          a loss in revenue, and lower profits, with much affection.

          And then Daddy Ricketts also knows that Theo is way overpaid.

          Nope. I don’t see it. What I do see is Mr. Theo Epstein drawing unemployment
          compensation–when his contract expires–if the Cubs are not winning and, much more importantly, drawing fans by the 4th year (2015) of Theo’s contract.

          You cannot bleed millions upon millions of dollars and keep Daddy Ricketts happy.

          • SuzyS

            Daddy Ricketts is already happy. His family’s 850 million investment is now estimated to be worth well over a billion, (an article in Crains last month). If the Cubs return to .500 Ball with promise of more in the future they’ll draw tons of fans with the new “baby stars” on the way.

          • Ripsnorter1

            I question his happiness. What someone “thinks” your franchise
            is worth, and what it will actually net, are often two different things.

            I think a businessman looks at the cash drain, at the WGN squalling, at
            the loss in revenue from concessions, and he thinks he’s losing money.

          • SuzyS

            The Ricketts family made an actual decision to go with this business plan of “rebuilding”.
            With the investment they’ve made in this team…they would have had to project a loss in revenues…following this concept.
            I find it hard to believe that they did not factor in losses when they started. There should be no surprises here.
            Re: The Tribune/WGN opening renegotiations. It is just that…a negotiating ploy.
            The Cubs have been vocal about their media contracts and the fact that they want to change the entire face of their broadcast rights when the deals are up….and that possibly, they would leave WGN behind in the dust while they investigate a “Cubs” broadcast network modeled after the Yankee’s “YES” network.
            The Cubs want 100% ownership of this channel.
            If you’re WGN what ammo do you have in your bag to combat this????
            Exactly This: Reopen contract negotiations early…to force the Cubs hand.

          • Ripsnorter1

            You could be right…I doubt it. Daddy Ricketts made a speech about why he bought
            the Cubs. In it he said that he didn’t like baseball, that he was only interested in buying
            the Cubs because attendance seemed to be the same whether they won or lost. That’s
            what piqued his interest.

            But I will say this: even Daddy Ricketts has limited funds. And he’s paying interest on
            this team, as well as principle. And losing revenue would be a concern to anyone who is
            a businessman, imo.

        • cubtex

          I doubt that(especially if they lose 90 games next year)

  • SuzyS

    While I don’t see us being competitive next season…I’m also not sure it will be another 90 + loss season either.
    The bullpen should be better. The starting pitching should be ok…depending on who they sign to fill in.
    Offense will struggle again…but there should be some pluses…especially if Rizzo/Castro/Castillo improve.
    Then there are the youngsters. The thing that is a plus here is that it won’t be retreads playing out the string.
    It will be prospects bringing their youthful energy and playing for the opportunity to become part of the core

    team…building for the future.
    That’s a lot different then trading away pieces at the trade deadline just for more prospects….We are now moving into “building the team phase” not tear down and rebuild.
    It will be a fascinating year…especially come August/September when some prospects begin to arrive.

    • CubbyDenCritic

      One more tear down stage Suzy……Barney, Schierholtz, Villanueva & Samrdzija will be traded by next July…..and if we are lucky, Edwin Jackson also!
      Rome was not built in a day.

      • John_CC

        …or in 2 years.

  • jtrain23

    One of my fears potentially coming true. When these other jobs open, they could potentially take candidates away from the Cubs.

    I want the Cubs to do their due diligence in hiring the next manager. However, I do not want their list to dwindle because they wait too long for this guy or another. We’ve already waited once this off season to just watch a candidate go away. Let’s not let options 2, 3, etc. head for greener pastures as well.

    Hire Davey Martinez!

  • Ripsnorter1

    Reading my “Risk and Insurance” magazine….
    page 16…

    It seems the Nats filed suit vs. Westchester Fire Insurance Co. after they denied a $1 million claim.
    The Nats signed a 16 yr old Dominican, Esmailyn Gonzalez, to a $400,000 contract with a $1.4 million signing bonus.

    Unfortunately Esmailyn was really 20 years old, and his real name is Carlos Lug, and he “kicked back”
    $300,000 of his signing bonus to the special asst. to the Nats GM, a Mr. Jose Rijo–former ML pitcher, if you recall.

    Since he was 20, and not 16, they now view his signing as a complete loss. They want Westchester to cover the
    $1 million loss under “employee dishonesty.” Rijo denies even knowing Mr. Lugo.

    BTW, in July 2012 Mr. Rijo was charged with money laundering for a drug trafficker.

    He’s such a nice guy.

  • Dave_in_STL

    Here’s to hoping Olt finds his stroke this winter and Javy Baez & Kris Bryant shred AA & then AAA pitching until the end of June. With Villeneuva still progressing nicely, wouldn’t Olt become a tasty trade deadline candidate for some better SP help? At some point, Bryant will end up in the OF, Almora too, Baez @ 2nd, Castro @ SS, Villenueva @ 3b, & Rizzo (maybe) @ 1st. As everyone has mentioned, they would be very young, but if the Deadbirds run this season to the WS has shown, (Wacha, Carpenter, Craig, Adams, Rosenthal, Miller) young, inexperienced teams can still dominate assuming the talent really is “top shelf”. Everyone seems to concur that this group making their way thru high A & AA right now are exactly that. Hitters hit, great pitchers hit their spots, does the manager really matter? The kids are going to play, every single day, struggle or not. Other than the occassional double switch, hit & run, lefty vs. lefty bullpen chess match, will this mgr really be required to nail it on game days? Teaching and developing the good young talent will be priority #1 and that happens in ST, and on the bench during the games.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You ask, “Does the manager really matter?”

      Just look at how the entire team died under Sveum and Bosio.
      Castro. Rizzo. Samardzija. Ed Jackson. Russell. Barney.

      I think it matters a great deal. And it’s more than just “in game managing.” It’s also about
      coaching, and morale, and morale, and morale.

      • TheWrongGuy

        You forgot *Knowing how to manage a bullpen in-game*

        Something Sveum obviously didn’t know how to do.

        • Ripsnorter1

          Quade was even worse.

      • SuzyS

        I agree…it’s the mental aspect of the game that is most demanding…When a rookie goes into a slump…how a manager handles that is critical….So yes, the manager and his staff can have critical input to keeping a young team together and on a mentally positive approach.

  • DWalker

    Congrats to CJ Edwards, the MiLB article on him makes it sound like he totally slipped through the cracks on the draft. Looks liek the cubs got a good deal to get him.

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