It has been four weeks since Dale Sveum was relieved of his duties and the front office is conducting second interviews with A.J. Hinch, Rick Renteria and Eric Wedge this week while they wait on Torey Lovullo. And it appears Lovullo is looking forward to an opportunity to interview for the job and thinks “it’s only a matter of time before things get real good” for the Cubs.
The Cubs were expected to formally interview A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria again, but according to Comcast SportsNet, neither Hinch nor Renteria will be interviewed a second time in Chicago this week. The Cubs will have their first face-to-face conversation with Eric Wedge. The Cubs reportedly spoke with Wedge in length over the phone and will sit down with him in Chicago on Tuesday. Hinch and Renteria have already interviewed and are thought to be high on the Cubs’ list, but maybe not as high as Lovullo.
Rick Renteria is thought to be the leading candidate for the Cubs’ job, and the Mariners are interested in hiring him as well. Jon Heyman reported on Sunday night that Rick Renteria and Brad Ausmus will interview this week for the Tigers’ managerial opening, but according to the Tribune, Dave Dombrowski has already spoken with Rick Renteria.
Buster Olney reported the Cubs are “said to be intent on hiring a bilingual manager.” Having bilingual coaches in place, like Mariano Duncan and Alex Cora, would help with the communication issues that were apparently a problem under the previous coaching staff. While the media seems to be focused on the Cubs hiring a bilingual manager, the front office should be focused on putting the right person in place to lead the big league team.
The San Diego Union Tribune’s headline on Sunday indicated Torey Lovullo is “eyeing the Cubs job.” Lovullo said on Saturday he is willing to listen to Theo Epstein if he calls about the Cubs job. According to Peter Gammons, the Cubs and Lovullo have spoken about the managerial opening. The key word to all of the reports in regards to Lovullo is “formally.”
According to the Sun-Times, when asked about the Cubs’ job on Saturday night Lovullo said, “Nothing has come up. Nothing formally has come up. Nothing that I’m aware of has even happened between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs.” The Sun-Times explained, “Sources from both organizations say the Cubs have not officially asked for permission to talk to him [Lovullo].”
While Hinch, Renteria and Wedge are scheduled to talk to the Cubs’ front office for a second time this week, Manny Acta and Dave Martinez appear to be out of the running. Neither Acta nor Martinez are thought to have second interviews scheduled with the Cubs … and then there is the mystery candidate. According to the Sun-Times, the front office has interviewed at least one other candidate.
Could that candidate be Brad Ausmus? According to Patrick Mooney, Ausmus “could be a stealth candidate.” Mooney’s sources have sent mixed signals about the Cubs possible interest in Brad Ausmus.
Theo Epstein set a loose deadline of Nov. 11 to have the new manager in place, and the process should accelerate once the Series ends and the front office has a chance to “formally” speak with Torey Lovullo.
Masahiro Tanaka and the New Posting Rules
The Cubs appear to be very interested in Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. According to multiple reports over the past five weeks, Tanaka is a top priority for the Cubs this off-season. But the Cubs are not alone.
The Yankees are reportedly planning to outbid every other team for the right to negotiate a contract with Tanaka. And even under the new posting rules, which could go into effect on Nov. 1, that does not bode well for the Cubs.
After months of speculation, the MLB Commissioners Office and Nippon Professional Baseball are “closing in on a posting agreement that the sides are optimistic with be in place by Nov. 1.” According to a report from Joel Sherman, “there will be alterations in the process, but still only one team will win the post and have exclusive negotiating rights.” The player could still have the freedom to pick between the top two or three highest bidders. If that is the case, a player like Masahiro Tanaka would have to be sold on choosing the Cubs and winning down the road over other teams that figure to compete for a division title much sooner than the Cubs.
The Rangers, Dodgers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Giants are also believed to be interested in submitting a bid for the right to negotiate for his services.
Masahiro Tanaka dominated the Yomiuri Giants in the second game of the Japan Series. Tanaka pitched a complete game with 12 strikeouts in the 2-1 victory. The Cubs were expected to have a heavy contingent on hand at Kleenex Stadium to watch Tanaka pitch.
News and Notes
According to Comcast SportsNet, “there are strong signals” the payroll for the big league team “won’t rise until plans for a renovated Wrigley Field and new televisions deals are in place and generating revenue. But there should be enough flexibility this off-season to add a high-impact player.”
Patrick Mooney examined the Cubs’ outfield situation … both present and future.
The feeling has been that Chris Bosio would return as pitching coach under the new manager. The front office reportedly liked what Bosio did during his two years on Dale Sveum’s staff. Patrick Mooney reported, “The anticipated return of pitching coach Chris Bosio means the Cubs can confidently keep taking chances with talented players who need a fresh start.”
Could the Cubs turn to a free agent such as Edward Mujica, Brian Wilson, Jesse Crain or Francisco Rodriguez to close games next season? Or maybe add a lefty to the pen such as J.P. Howell, Eric O’Flaherty or Oliver Perez? The front office might try to find a veteran reliever to fill a late inning role for next season like they did with Kevin Gregg this past year.