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.
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.