A while back when people were asking me whether any other candidates were going to be considered, my response was that only if they weren't satisfied with the original list, meaning they weren't happy with at least 3 of the 4 candidates. It's also very possible they weren't happy with all of them or that they liked them but just didn't think they'd be a good fit.
It could also mean they have reason to believe they're about to get Maddux-ed. That is, their preferred candidate may be sending signals that they may bow out.
We know that A.J. Hinch has mostly worked front office jobs and is considered a future GM candidate. The Cubs went outside the box here and maybe the interview was about gauging whether he had serious interest.
One source told me that he thinks Hinch would be a good choice -- if he wants the job and if San Diego is willing to make him available. Maybe that was the case.
As for Acta, he's been set up to fail twice and has said he wants next job to be with a winner. The Washington Post wrote,
After managing two organizations during rebuilding periods, he wants to manage again but will wait for the “right opportunity.”“I want to get one with an winning organization and the next level,” Acta said. “I’ve paid my dues and I will wait my turn"
Is it possible that after talking with the Cubs, he sensed he would be in the same situation as before. You don't normally get a 4th chance as a manager in this league if you don't win in your first 3. I wonder if Acta didn't find the Cubs as that "right opportunity".
As for Renteria and Martinez, no source I spoke with considered them serious candidates. My sense based on my conversations were that they were fallbacks who needed to wow in their interviews.
Apparently they didn't.
I also had a different source tell me that the Cubs didn't initially plan to interview Martinez and did so only at the recommendation of the Rays front office. I don't think he was ever their guy. One industry source told me from the start that Martinez wasn't the right fit.
So now the Cubs are interviewing Torey Lovullo, a candidate who drew favorable responses with the biggest knock being a lack of MLB managing experience. He was one of my original top 5 choices and if it turns out that the Cubs aren't happy or feel they can't lure any of the top 4, Lovullo becomes my favorite over Mike Maddux, who was mentioned by George Ofman of Newsradio 780 but I haven't seen it anywhere else. Even if he is a candidate, Ofman says there's no guarantee he wants to come. -- and even if he does want to come, my preference is still Lovullo. David Kaplan mentioned he thinks the Cubs should go with Brad Ausmus, a candidate we brought up a while back but then scaled down after talking to some about his lack of experience in both managing and development. Sandy Alomar, Jr. has mentioned as a secondary candidate in the past and one person I talked to like Tony Pena as a possibility, but so far I've heard he's not a candidate.
Speaking of Lovullo, there's an excellent article on him on Fangraphs and in it he mentions "Butter", who is "Brian Butterfield, 3B coach of the Boston Red Sox. Both coaches have worked with the Blue Jays and Red Sox.
A separate industry source mentioned some surprise he wasn't considered. Butterfield is respected around the league and is best known for his creative defensive shifts and his abilities as an infield coach. Orlando Hudson credits him for making him a good defensive player when that was once his biggest question mark. Could he come along for the ride if the Cubs hire Lovullo? Seems he could help Starlin Castro.
He also has good bloodlines, his father Jack, was the VP of Scouting and Development for the New York Yankees
However, we do know that the Cubs want to bring in bilingual coaches, perhaps as many as 3. And if they do recommend that coaches like Dave McKay and Chris Bosio be retained as some speculate, that doesn't leave a whole lot of room for bilingual coaches at top positions. Alex Cora has been mentioned as a candidate by Bruce Levine.
One thing seems certain, the Cubs know what they want this time around and aren't going to settle until they find the right guy and the right fit.
Filed under: Uncategorized