Mark Gonzales caught up with Ozzie Guillen prior to Game One of the World Series. The former Marlins and White Sox manager told Gonzales that “he would be willing to return as a coach, only with the Cubs, if asked.” Guillen said, “I just make it very clear if they want me as a coach, the only team I will coach is the Cubs. The reason is I live there. I don’t have to me my family in and out. As for a manager opening, if anyone is interested in me, at least give me an opportunity to express myself.”
Guillen would like to get back on the baseball field and indicated he would be interested in coaching third base for the Cubs, if they ask. Gonzales pointed out that Guillen could be “an asset to the Cubs, who are looking for more bilingual instructors to help the development of Latino players such as Starlin Castro, Javier Baez and Jorge Soler.”
Ozzie Guillen believes in what the Cubs are doing and feels the organization is “going in the right direction” and “it’s going to be only a couple of years” before the team is good again.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are reportedly interviewing possible coaches for the new manager’s staff while talking to managerial candidates. The front office will make recommendations to the new skipper for positions on his staff and reports have suggested that Chris Bosio, Lester Strode and Dave McKay will receive recommendations. Alex Cora could be in line for a coaching position as well according to Bruce Levine.
Updating the Skipper Search
According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the front office is not conducting second interviews. Wittenmyer reported that despite news of some of the candidates receiving a second interview, the Cubs are not at that stage of the process yet. Wittenmyer also reported that Rick Renteria will finish his first interview this week, in what became a two-part process. Renteria had hip surgery two-weeks ago and is unable to travel, so the front office is making two different trips to San Diego to talk to him.
As reported on Wednesday, a couple of “mystery candidates” could be added to the list in the near future while the front office waits until after the Series to speak with Red Sox’s bench coach Torey Lovullo. Jesse Rogers also reported the Cubs’ list of candidates seems to be expanding.
There is an ongoing “internal debate about several of the candidates already interviewed” and the list of candidates is believed to be “at least seven deep” at this point according to the Sun-Times … so at least two other candidates exist outside of A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta, Rick Renteria, Dave Martinez and Torey Lovullo.
The Cubs are not expected to speed up the process even with the Tigers, Nationals and Mariners looking for a skipper. The Dodgers are no longer without a manager after Don Mattingly, his agent and Stan Kasten quietly confirmed on Wednesday night that Mattingly would be returning to the Dodgers’ dugout for the 2014 season.
As for the four men that have interviewed for the job, Jesse Rogers reported that multiple scouts told him that A.J. Hinch would not be the right hire for the Cubs. Rick Renteria received good reviews from the scouts he spoke with and “was the consensus choice among many scouts as the right man for the job.”
According to the Sun-Times, Rick Renteria “remains the candidate who seems to have the most buzz in the front office and beyond.”
The Rumor Mill
Most think the Cubs will spend money this off-season on at least one “high-impact player.” The Cubs have been connected to Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Masahiro Tanaka and Brian McCann already with the front office believed to be looking to add a veteran presence in the clubhouse.
The Cubs payroll for next season is still unknown at this point with the Wrigley Field Restoration project on hold until the Ricketts family receives assurances from the rooftop club owners that they will not pursue legal action to protect their views.
Jon Heyman is convinced at least one of the big names will sign with the Cubs this winter as he has already linked Ellsbury, McCann and Choo to the Cubs … and the season is not over yet. Heyman listed the Cubs among seven teams that could ink Ellsbury to a long term contract on Wednesday morning, then mentioned the Cubs as one of seven teams that could sign Choo on Wednesday night.
News and Notes
Albert Almora and Kris Bryant are turning heads in the Arizona Fall League.