If not Girardi, then whom? 5 names to watch and 5 that may not be the right fits at this time

The Joe Girardi situation doesn't look quite as promising with the Yankees making a strong push to retain him, but the Cubs are confident they can find the right guy.

Disclaimer!  This is not the Cubs candidate list.  This is a list drawn up based on our knowledge of the Cubs criteria, a source with some inside knowledge on the Cubs, some industry opinion I was able to gather, and some good old fashioned informed speculation.

Here are 5 names to watch and 5 known names that probably aren't the right fits...

Manny Acta

Why he's a fit

Got some great feedback on Acta because he is analytics friendly, he has experience, and he has enough visibility that he could fit in this large market.  He has a calming influence on his ballplayers.  Acta was still highly sought even after getting fired by the Indians but has since been working in the broadcast booth.  He is looking for the right opportunity with a strong organization and while the Cubs aren't winning at this point, they do have a lot of young talent on the way.

Acta also understands the development process and this quote should be music to the ears of those Cubs fans who wanted to see younger players like Logan Watkins get more ABs,

""You want to try and find the other pieces that are going to go along with (your core players), for the long ride here. You still have to try and develop those guys....It's tough because you want to win and I believe we can win, but you don't want to lose the focus of building a [winning] team that is going to be here for years to come. There is a very fine line between winning two or three more games at the end of the year by playing a guy who is probably not going to be here next year [or] playing a guy who is going to be part of the future."

Experience and knowledge of analytics and development.  Seems like a pretty solid fit and one person I talked to told me he'd be very surprised if he wasn't a serious candidate.

Why he's not a fit

There's the matter of Acta not having much success in two different stints -- not that he had a whole lot to work with, but as mentioned above, he was not necessarily brought in for that reason.

 Sandy Alomar, Jr.

Why he's a fit

He has a reputation as a good leader and communicator.  He was a popular player and coach for that reason.  He's also a good teacher -- how can you not be when your father was an MLB player and coach?    As a catcher, he has a well-rounded knowledge of the game, including pitching-- and who better to take potential core catcher Welington Castillo to the next level?  He also has some MLB managing experience as the interim manager after Manny Acta was fired last year.

And considering he worked under Terry Francona for a year, not only will he have some insight and experience into Theo's philosophy. It also gave him the chance to shore up some of the statistical side of the game.  There are few people Theo would trust more to give a recommendation on this subject than Francona.

Edit 2:00 AM Since publishing, I have heard that Alomar was popular with the Chicago media during his time with the White Sox.  While I don't think that's a huge factor, it certainly can't hurt and maybe it's enough to be a deciding factor if it's close.

Edit 8:45 AM: One non-Cubs source said this about Alomar,

"He also understands pitching and hitting.  He teaches players by working to help their strengths and by doing that minimizes their weakneses."

Why he's potentially not a fit

He's a bit of an old school guy in terms of game management, but I  think that is lower on the priority list this time around.  The Cubs want a guy who can communicate with players and help them develop.  Alomar fits the bill there, but lacks extensive experience.

 AJ Hinch

Why he's a fit

Speaking of getting a trusted recommendation, Jed Hoyer can ask his old friends in San Diego about Hinch.  He's very familiar with player development, having spent time as the Diamondbacks Manager of Minor League Operations and then later earned a promotion to Director of Player Development.  He is now the VP of Professional Scouting for the Padres.  He's intelligent and familiar with the analytics side of the game.  His front office experience will make it easy for him to communicate with Epstein and Hoyer as well.

He also had managerial experience with the Diamondbacks.

Why's he's potentially not a fit.

He did not succeed as manager.  But, in his defense, he was just 34 years old -- the youngest manager in MLB history.  It's safe to say he's learned since then.  When Theo Epstein says that Dale Sveum will be better in the future based on his experience, maybe he had his own candidate in mind who would also be better because of a previous learning experience.   There is also a strong possibility that he will not be made available to the Cubs.

Tony Pena

Why he's a fit

Pena was a finalist when the Red Sox hired Bobby Valentine and in retrospect, maybe he would have been the right choice, though they've bounced back quite well under John Farrell.  As a manager of the Royals, Pena led the Royals to their first winning season in 9 years back in 2003.  He did a great job working with kids as the Royals manager and has the reputation of being a great motivator.  It also helps that he has worked under Joe Girardi recently and has likely learned some of the analytics side of the game from him.

Why he's not a fit

Pena hasn't managed since resigning in the middle of a 100 loss season in 2004.

Torey Lovullo:  

Why he's a fit

Luvollo also has experience in the Red Sox organization and has been a minor league manager and a major league coach.  While his career as a manager wasn't as long or as successful as fellow Red Sox organizational veteran DeMarlo Hale (who is also a name that might get some consideration), it is more recent.  He managed 3 different minor league teams since 2006, most recently in 2010.   His familiarity with the Red Sox philosophy could give him a jump start.  He has worked in Boston and Toronto under manager John Farrell, who is a pretty good example of the type of manager the Cubs looking to hire.  They can't get Farrell, but maybe Lovullo could be an alternative.

Why he's not a fit

He doesn't have MLB managing experience and that will likely work against him in the end, but of all the managers without MLB managerial experience, Luvollo seemed to draw the most positive response.

 

Others mentioned but probably not the right fits at this time...

Brad Ausmus:  Ausmus has all the characteristics you'd like in a manager: intelligence, charisma, the abilty to work with young players, but other than a short stint managing Team Israel, he lacks the experience managing at any level and may be too much of an unknown for the Cubs to gamble on right now.  They've used up some of their goodwill capital on Dale Sveum and they need to get it right.  I got some mixed response on Ausmus.  He's well respected but experience -- especially MLB experience -- is a bigger factor than we might think.

Mike Maddux

Maddux just became available and we know the Cubs really liked him last year.  He has had tremendous success working with a bevy of good pitching prospects that have filtered through the Rangers organization, including Martin Perez, who started the play-in game last night. Family concerns kept him in Texas the first time around and it's not yet known if he's more interested in moving now than he was then.  I'm sure the Cubs will ask.  There is also the matter of a lack of managerial experience, though he appears to be an excellent leader of that pitching staff.

Eric Wedge

Heard from one source who thinks he might be a good fit.  He's a good teacher and has had some success with the Indians, including taking Theo's Red Sox team to the brink in the 2007 ALCS.  However, another source told me he didn't think he made sense for the Cubs.

Dave Martinez

Cubs fans worry about his history with the team but the bigger concern I heard was simply his lack of experience.  That will likely rule him out.

Mike Sciocia

He may not even be available but even if he was, nobody I talked to considered him the right fit.

 

Filed under: Manager

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  • Interesting. Of all these candidates, the only two with a winning resume (Scioscia, Wedge) aren't considered good fits for the job. Sort of screams how valuable Girardi would be as manager...

  • In reply to Paulson:

    They weren't considered good fit for the Cubs organization and for what they're looking for. Scioscia's philosophy in particular is just too different than the Cubs current front office.

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    In reply to Paulson:

    And the comments section jumps the shark.......

  • I'd bet on Hinch being at the top of their wish list. possibly even above Girardi.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I didn't get the feeling he was from anyone I spoke to. Got the feeling he's on the list, but not at the top at this point. Of course, things can change once the interview process starts. He could blow them away.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Dale supposedly blew them away too so I would shy away from that language ha ha. Seriously I believe you need someone who was very successful as a player, otherwise younger players don't have the respect for them. Dale was average player at best and that translated to his management skills as well. If not Girardi then I think Alomar might be a good candidate, whether he has the experience or not. I too believe they burnt a lot of goodwill with the fans by Dale being such a bust, I doubt many have the same blind faith in their next choice. Minus Girardi, there's not much out there that fit what they are looking for, I would love to have Maddon but there is no chance of that happening...

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    "I believe you need someone who was very successful as a player, otherwise younger players don't have the respect for them."

    Like Joe Maddon?

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    As Ken says, like Joe Maddon? Or Girardi, Manuel, Francona, LaRussa, Cox, John Farrell, etc etc. Sorry, that's not a requirement nor a qualification in any way. One's physical ability has absolutely nothing to do with his ability to communicate or teach.

  • I'm making the call right now. Ausmus is the next Cubs manager.

  • In reply to Ibleedcubbieblue:

    He's a long shot, but i think he's someone who fits in every area except experience. I can see him giving a great interview if he gets the chance.

  • With an entirely new FO and underperforming group of veterans, Theo & Co. deserve a bit of a mulligan on the Sveum hire. As the owner of a business, it's typical to hire known commodities and Theo had a lot to accomplish within a short time span; therefore, I understand why he went with past co-workers like Hoyer and Sveum when starting out. But with phase 2 of the rebuild and top prospects ready to graduate to the bigs, another disastrous choice as manager could cost FO their jobs. If Girardi is available, hiring him is easily justifiable based on his track record, but Hinch hasn't had JGs success. The Cubs desperately need the right man for the job this time.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Agreed. I do think the FO will get some assurances, however -- and that may give them some leeway of going with a guy like Acta who understands analytics, development, etc. but hasn't had the opportunity to lead a strong organization.

  • There isn't one "right man." Girardi's a good hire. Sandy Alomar, Jr might work out just as well.

  • In reply to wastrel:

    Agreed. I got the sense they feel very good about some other candidates.

  • Dear god not Eric Wedge. He did all he could not to play Jesus Montero. Not what I want around our young players.

    Good read and funny how much it reminded me of the player draft. Unless they're going for an established Girardi type, almost impossible to guarantee getting it right with this field. What makes me feel better about it though is that Theo said he had a really good idea what he's looking for, and that dude can bend spoons with his parietal lobe.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    One person liked him but that was not the consensus. Overall I didn't get the feeling he'd be a candidate.

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    Nice post, John. If they can't get Girardi, Theo's preference for someone with experience doesn't leave many options, at least that stand out. Sandy Alomar Jr. is intriguing and it seems like someone likely will get a good manager with him. But no sure things, like anyone on this list.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Thanks. It really doesn't. Hinch may not even be available and many of the others aren't great fits. That basically leaves Alomar, Acta, and Pena.

  • That's good stuff, John! Surprised DeMarlo Hale didn't get his own write up. Have you heard anything about him?

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Thanks. I did. He's respected, but the lack of MLB managing experience was the overriding issue. Lovullo got a bit more love, so I went with him.

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    Reds lost! Dusty out tomorrow. Theo brings him back to the Cubs.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    At the introductory presser, Theo announces that walks just clog the bases.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Maybe if he falls and hits his head before reaching the podium.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    On a more serious note, Acta, Alomar and Hinch would be my choices of those named above.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I think they have to be the top 3. Pena is a wildcard, especially if Hinch not available.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    My guess is that Hinch if available, would be the top guy. The big overiding factor is that he seems to have the same philosophy as Hoyer and Epstein. The fact that he works with Josh Byrnes, who's tight with Hoyer and Epstein doesn't hurt either.

  • One thing to know about Sandy Alomar, Jr., he was with the White Sox for a number of years and very well liked by the media. He's got a great personality, far different from the dry slug Dale Sveum was. He's 47 so he's not a kid and I could see him working well with the young guys. No managerial experience might not matter as much since he's been around baseball since he was a little kid via his dad.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    I think Alomar is almost certainly a top 3 candidate from what i was able to gather. One person put him at the top.

    As far as media, I'm beginning to realize he's more popular than I thought. Jon Greenberg seemed to like him too but I don't think the media is going to play a big role. It looks like development, the ability to communicate with players and managerial experience will play the biggest roles. Alomar stacks up pretty well with this group. Experience is a factor though, that was pretty evident with everyone I spoke with.

  • I'm curious as to whether or not this is going to be another stop-gap manager or one they see as a fit for the long-run.

    Would Theo entertain managers who haven't had as much success (Hinch, Acta, etc.) as a means of developing the young kids for a year or two and then hire a bigger-name manager who could possibly be available, or does he immediately hire an experienced manager who is willing to gut it out for a couple of years before the team is ready to compete.

    Interesting decisions to make, nonetheless.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    Also, I'm curious to see what the new manager does with the current staff. I love the idea of Dave McKay sticking around, and I think that Chris Bosio has done wonders developing some of the arms (Wood, Strop, Rusin, etc.) I think he could stick as well. Otherwise, no one else on the current staff really impresses me enough to warrant being brought back.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    They're going to make strong recommendations for certain coaches. I have to think those two guys are good bets.

  • In reply to Average Samaritan:

    This front office hires with the intention of getting a long term manager -- including Sveum, so whomever they hire, they're hoping he will still be around when the Cubs win.

  • Hey John I need to add that Tony Pena did manage the DR team to win the WBC earlier this year.

  • In reply to Caps:

    True. Every bit helps.

  • Great article, John. These are guys I knew very little about. I'm a bit of a prospect-o-phile, but managerial candidates are beyond me at this point. Once again, I find myself very thankful for your contacts, sources and informed analysis.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Thanks Q!

  • Acta does seem to fit the criteria laid out by Theo and would appear to be the obvious choice if Girardi chooses to stay in the Bronx. It's impossible to know what Girardi is thinking, but if I were him, assuming he is still fond of Chicago, the timing couldn't be better to become the Cubs manager. The following are my completely speculative reasons why:

    1. Joe grew up a Cubs fan. He was drafted by them and came up through their organization. He came close to realizing his dream of helping the Cubs win a World Series in his rookie season when he was a member of the Boys of Zimmer. He wants nothing more than to come back and see that dream come true as their skipper.

    2. The Yankees future is as bleak as the Cubs' is bright.

    3. He respects the way Theo & Co. have been building this organization and has confidence that he will have a strong farm system throughout his time with the Cubs, something he has never enjoyed as a Yankee.

    4. The ownership situation is a lot less murky in Chicago than it is with the Steinbrenner family. There is no meddling by the Ricketts' here in Chicago. The one huge advantage the Yankees have had (payroll) is being scaled back, and while the Cubs revenue situation will never compare to the Yankees', it is clearly improving with the Wrigley renovations and future television contract.

    5. While the Chicago media aren't exactly a bowl of cherries, they are not nearly as annoying as the New York media.

    6. In my opinion, the Chicago area (certain surrounding suburbs) is a fantastic place to raise a family. Girardi went to Northwestern and may still have a fondness for Evanston. He grew up in East Peoria and likely has that midwestern sensibility deeply ingrained in him. New York has a different culture altogether. Girardi's kids are 14, 11 and 6. He may want a different environment for them.

    I could be dead wrong because this is all just supposition, but, to me, Girardi choosing to come to the northside just makes too much sense not to happen.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I should say that Girardi is indeed far and away the top candidate right now. He could make this real easy for them.

    Lots of reasons to think it can happen. I hope that it does.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    After Girardi, there's a fairly large drop-off when looking at qualifications. Acta then also seems to be in the 2nd tier all by himself. After those two, the choices listed above seem like slightly more than a lateral move from Sveum with the focus being on strong player development skills.

    Am I off?

  • In reply to Quedub:

    I think that's pretty accurate. I like Acta and Alomar best, but Alomar is a lot like Sveum when it comes to qualifications except for being more of a teacher/development type. He's also considered a strong leader despite not having managed much. Hinch is interesting because of his development skills and Pena has a few qualities they're looking for. Those are my top 5 (including Girardi) with guys like Ausmus and Lovullo as wild cards.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Quedub
    That's a great list of points, I agree especially team direction & ownership, & every reason that you list is a great reason for ANY manager to come to the Cubs.

    I think - and hope I'm completely wrong about this...
    1) The Yankees will pay Girardi. I don't think salary will be an issue with either team.
    2) The Yankees will still provide him players through FA. Especially if they can get past that A-Rod money through suspension or retirement. I don't think the Yankees can allow a Cub-like rebuild.
    3) Doesn't have to move his family.

    His quotes in the NY papers about not having too many ties left in Chicago & his kids entrenched in the NY school system have me thinking this way. Just my gut feeling. Like I said, I hope I'm wrong!

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Good post! My fear is that the Yankees' will make an offer that Joe cannot refuse(money and years). Also, uprooting one,s family, especially from school and children's friends is a difficult decision. I should add that kids make new friends quickly and adapt faster than parents.

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    John, assuming Madden was interested and the Rays would even give permission to talk to him, they'd assuredly want compensation for letting him go. What would be fair compensation?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I don't think Maddon is going to happen. They don't want to lose him and he's very happy there anyway. I think the comp would be a top 10 prospect at the least and that now means a lot more than it used to with the Cubs.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I was just thinking about the idea of trading for a manager. I believe it was rumored early in April that the Angels and Dodgers were going to trade manager for manager. I'm sure the Cubs could offer up a couple of prospects if they felt they had found the right guy.

    Yet, I'm having a difficult time convincing myself that the front office would consider such an option.

  • In reply to PtownTom:

    I don't think they'll consider it. The only manager i'd give up a prospect for is Joe Maddon and I don't think the Rays are letting him go without a heavy price (if at all). And Maddon reportedly loves the organization.

  • How about Bob Brenly?

    Mgr. experience : check
    WS ring : check
    Cubs background : check
    Former catcher : check
    Strong analyst : check

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    He is better off with a more veteran team

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    In reply to DropThePuck:

    We already know he has issues with Castro. Nothing good comes of that hire.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think we can safely say Brenly will NOT be a candidate for the Cubs. I'm pretty sure Theo and Jed were not pleased the way Brenly ragged on Castro, justified or not.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Agreed. We also always remember Brenly's WS win, but forget how quickly he lost his players the next year and got fired. I think he's the next Bobby V waiting to happen if someone hires him -- which I think won't happen.

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    True, but don't forget how quickly he lost his players the very next season after the WS. They completely tuned him out. Communication and his work with young players are big red flags.

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    You know, it seems everyone likes Dave McKay so much, why not...Dave McKay?

  • In reply to SKMD:

    It seems the Cubs like him where he's at. He's a great, great coach so maybe they don't want to mess with a good thing there.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly, Sveum was a good coach. Manager not so much.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Yep, I think some guys are just better at being coaches. It's a personality thing for me.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    LOL. Sort of reminds me of corporate America where you "fail up." Sometimes when guys are too good at their jobs, they get stuck in a place because they are so valuable there and guys that aren't as good/qualified, get the better position. I wouldn't mind McKay as at least a candidate and I absolutely hope they keep him on as a coach.

  • My guess, other than Girardi, would be Hinch because his front office experience would appeal to Jed and Theo (when in doubt, go with what you know, and Theo and Jed know FO); and because of his extensive experience analyzing and developing prospects.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    He's definitely on the radar, not sure he's first and not sure he'll be available -- but he'd reportedly be interested.

  • Wasn't Wedge a candidate last time around? But not interviewed for some reason?

    I like his coaching & managing experience (especially in the Minors)

  • In reply to CubFan Paul:

    I spoke to one guy who liked him but it was more of his opinion than any connection with the Cubs. Another guy basically said "no chance". I think Wedge was brought up but never interviewed and I also think Jim Hendry was a fan, if I remember correctly.

  • My ability to log in and comment seems to come and go with my computer problems. Seems to coincidence with the timing of my recent comment on Jose Conseco volunteering for the job. But I have very much enjoyed the coverage John and, as always, the comments. My pal, Still Miss Kenny, seems sharp as always!

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    LOL! How could I forget Canseco?! And thanks for the kind words.

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    In reply to Hubbs16:

    If Ricketts really were interfering to drive up ticket sales, that's the hire to make. People would pay to watch that train wreck unfold.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Manager Jose Canseco would have some mind-boggling post-game interviews. Would make Ozzie Guillen's quotes sound like the Dalai Lama's in comparison.
    And as 7th-inning entertainment, Jose could bounce balls off his head and over the Jumbotron.

    (Hubbs16, see what you did by invoking Canseco's name? Plus, you shut down the government and I will miss my check. Nice going.)

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I fear I may be responsible for a lot of bad stuff......I once sat through a 21-3 drubbing by the Cards and got blamed by my three companions. Note: my check is at stake too!!!!!

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Also think hiring Canseco would make for a heckuva new Reality TV series so you can't say a Canseco hire wouldn't bring anything to the table.

    Back to reality for a minute, I think If Girardi wants the Cubs job he will likely get it. I'm in the camp that doubts Girardi will take the job for whatever reason. Plan B I think will have to be aces on player development and communication. We'd all love a brilliant game day manager, but I think that desired skill set clearly falls in priority to above skill set so long as the candidate's perceived managerial ability is deemed adequate. Ultimately, having/developing good players contributes more to a sustainable winning program than does brilliant tactical management.

    Through that prism I think I'm most intrigued w/ Alomar of the other mentioned candidates. Hinch may be knowledgeable about the process although I'm not sure he's the best candidate to bring it about on the field. From others comments, Acta sounds like another reasonable candidate although having two failed runs causes some concern even though he may not have had sufficient time and/or talent to draw a fair conclusion from that experience. Ausmus sounds like an intriguing team leader and manager but I don't know if that necessarily translates to outstanding player developmental abilities.

    Great stuff from you, John, and the many commentators!

  • A word of correction. AJ Hinch (who I consider to be Dale Sveum Lite) wasn't the youngest manager in MLB history. Lou Boudreau became manager of the Indians at 24. During the era of player managers, a lot of them managed in their 20s. Including Frank Chance, the most successful Cubs manager of all time.

  • In reply to clarkaddison:

    True, that was meant for someone hired strictly as a manager. It's a different game now. i don't think we'll ever see a player/manager that young again, if we see one at all.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I believe the two most recent were Pete Rose and Don Kessinger, correct?

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I think so. Pete Rose was the last one I remember. Maybe I'm wrong and it will happen again. I know Konerko has gotten some attention about being a player/manager.

  • Of the 5 names mentioned, I'd go with Tony Peña.

  • Whoever the Cubs choose really needs to have a better relationship with his young players than Sveum and not have diarrhea of the mouth. About the time Theo supposedly sat down with DS and told him about concerns regarding his managing style during the AS break, Sveum tells the media after Lake's first game that Junior basically was the first prospect he'd seen in Chicago that had a clue. What a way to not only bash BJax, Vitters, etc. (after Sveum lobbied for their promotions in 2012), but he also threw his own FO under the bus. Using the veiled threat of sending any prospect back to Iowa early this year when talking about Castro & Rizzo's struggles had to mortify Theo... especially after committing long term contracts to each as building blocks of the organization. And these are just the statements we know about. The next Cub manager will definitely be mgmt. friendly IMO.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    That's what I liked about Acta's quote, but I've heard good things about Alomar and Pena. And Hinch worked in player development, so I think those 4 guys can all potentially do a better job in that area.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    You do make a good point there.

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    That list is a whole lot of blah.

    My choices based on this list would be, in order:

    Maddux
    Ausmus
    Alomar

  • I had seen enough of Sveum(not personal) so I'm good with the change, but none on that list excite me. If I'm the Cubs I go after Girardi and Tanaka all out and worry about anything else whenever.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    The Yankees will probably end up with both of them.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Ouch!

  • I like Ausmus after Girardi. As for Castro, his problems with Brenley were one thing that eliminates Brenley but Castro may be on thin ice with his relationships with managers (Quade and Sveum - however neither one was particularly good as a manager). If he has problems with the next manager he may no longer be a core piece for the future despite his potential.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I think Starlin may have turned the corner. Much of the stuff is usually handled in the minors, but he was rushed up. He is still a big plus, but a reminder not rush current top prospects.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    It has never seemed to me that Castro had a problem with the managers. He has seemed respectful and if anything he listened too much to the hitting coaches this past year. For all the flack that he took from Sveum, I never heard him say anything negative about the manager.

  • In reply to les561:

    I agree there. Sometimes I think Castro's biggest problem is that he is actually too eager to please and listens to too many different people.

  • Wow I go on vacation for a week and the world blows up.
    OK , choice one is Girardi if he's available. Second choice is Acta and Third is Alomar.
    On top of the Cubs needing a new guy is the other teams in the running for a top managerial talent. IMHO the Nats are going to be the team we are competing with the most when it comes to the managerial hire. Like us they will be looking for the guy who is strong at development and who ill be with a young team for a long time.

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    I think that's more or less how I like it. I go back and forth with Alomar and Acta for the #2 spot.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I symbolically flipped a coin there. So who else do you see out there with management needs and how much is that going to impact our search?

  • In reply to carolinacub:

    I think whatever impact will come from other teams will be minimal. The Nationals are the biggest competitors and they reportedly want Girardi. Other than that, the Cubs will pretty much get who they want.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I just don't like Acta. He doesn't have any idea about the Cubs, and he hasn't won. I am sure he is good with the metrics and all that, but does he have the "It" factor. I don't see it. He isn't one of those guys on ESPN that I can't wait to hear his take on teams. Francona had "It" even on ESPN, and we need that kind of guy. If not Girardi, make a big push for Maddon, Bochy, or Hurdle. I even like Bud Black. He gets a lot out of nothing in San Diego. Thinking out of the box, is Tony La Russa ready for a big challenge?

  • In reply to vh4bvu:

    Fair enough. I'm not sure an "it" factor is easy to define. I will say that he didn't win as a manager but he didn't exactly have talented teams to work with, so it's hard to say. It's obvious he gets it and he's well regarded by some very smart baseball people, so I have to assume Theo would be as well.

    Maddon is the gold standard but he, Black, and Bochy are under contract. Hurdle is under contract too but he's a guy who's been criticized for his managerial skills, so I think it's just that his team got better -- not his managing skills. I haven't heard anything to suggest that a) LaRussa wants to manage again or B) that the Cubs have any interest in finding out if he does.

  • In reply to vh4bvu:

    LaRissa! Are PED's coming back to Wrigley?

  • Maybe we should trade Castro for Bochy.

    Move Barney to stopgap SS, move Valbuena to stopgap 2B, while Baez and Alcantara force their way up to replace them.

  • In reply to HackWilson09:

    Oh, that's not going to happen. The Cubs won't trade a young MLB player for a manager. No chance on that.

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    If we're trading Castro, Castro to the Indians for Lindor. (I suspect the Indians would say no.)

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    In reply to HackWilson09:

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

  • Regarding Dave Martinez, you said "Cubs fans worry about his history with the team." Is this a reference to Ryno by chance, or something else?

    Also I still chuckle at Mike "Frank Zappa" Maddux's less than engaged appearance before the Chicago media after his interview last time. He came to the interview in a golf jacket and no tie, and seemed only interested if somehow he could get his brother on his staff as a part-time coach. It doesn't scream 100% commitment. I would be relieved to hear that Maddux isn't considered this time around.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Just that. Lack of experience was the bigger concern from non-Cubs sources.

    And you can probably relax. Everyone I talked to didn't think Maddux was a major player (or even a player at all) this time around.

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    You'd think leaks about the meeting with Girardi's agent will start slipping out soon.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Girardi meeting with Yankees right now and they won't grant permission until negotiations breakdown, so we probably won't hear anything until that happens.

  • After flip flopping numerous times,I finally am content if Girardi turns down the job and then the Cubs select Alomar Jr.

  • So if major league coaching experience matters, what does it say about the fact that aside from Girardi, the W-L records of the rest of the candidates are poor?

    Does it mean more "develop players at the major league level"? If not, it almost looks like the experiences of the candidates above are minuses, not pluses.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    It's about development, communication, and experience or at least proven leadership ability. The first two are primary and they go hand in hand.

  • What's the story with Dave Martinez's history with the team? I was pretty young at that time so I don't really remember what happened.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    This link is probably the best way to answer the question:
    http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2007/2/15/94017/8785

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I was wondering if it was something along those lines. I always knew about Rafael Palmero but not Martinez. What a lady! (sarcasm)

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    There is an interesting end to that story but out of respect I won't post it. Suffice it to say he is now remarried.

  • OK, John!
    Since you we're spot on with your predicted signings of Baker, Villanueva, and FELDMAN last year, who do YOU predict for the next Cub mgr?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    If I had to bet I'd say Girardi is still the guy.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Then we can go all out and land Tanaka. Oh that would be fun to do to NY.

  • Girardi is just running out the clock with the Yankees. This has been a done deal since September, maybe before then.
    All due respect John, no chance any of those guys would be hired. Main criteria for a manager right now is getting the fan base excited and stop the free fall in revenue. Those names ain't going to cut it. I give it 2 weeks, maybe less, and Yankees will see the writing on the wall.

  • While I agree that the Cubs may be confident in a Girardi hire, I do not agree that this is being done for the fan base or for revenue issues. If that is the case then it'd be purely an ownership decision and we have no evidence of that. No good front office makes a decision to appease fan base. That was one of Hendry's downfalls but that is not what this FO does.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Collateral benefit!

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I guess that side benefit would justify additional money that it will take to land him.

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    Agree 100%
    All the other names seem like a managerial version of what we've seen on the field - buy low, hope to catch lightning in a bottle. If not Girardi, hopefully the guy they choose is a schierholtz or arietta, not a Stewart or geurrier.

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    Ausmus is not on the Cubs list according to ESPN, and they also said ownership is pushing for Girardi, who I think is going to stay in NY anyway, but that is just a gut feeling.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I don't have him on my list either. Have him in the "not the right fit at this time" section.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Yeah I know -- that was for the community. My only question is why would Gammons float that? He may have jumped the gun since Hinch and Ausmus are both former catchers and are in the same organization.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    May have. He knows Theo and probably has a good idea of the kind of guy he likes, so I think under different circumstances, he could have been right. Cubs seem to be looking for a guy with more experience -- but Ausmus checks many of the other boxes. Somebody is going to give him a shot and be very happy about it, in my opinion.

  • First comment for managers job, for me if girardi is not the guy then I like alomar. He can be a nice influence on the latin players that are on the roster and the ones that are coming. He also knows pitching and hitting according to johns sources,and he is recognized around the league as a good teacher.

  • In reply to seankl:

    He does check a lot of the boxes, doesn't he? I think he'd be a great fit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like the idea of Alomar Jr as manager as well. Do you think that he would be apprehensive about interviewing this time around seeing as he basically came in 3rd place last time? I've also read that he's not as much a sabermetric guy as other potential candidates. Does that hurt his chances?

  • Great list John!

    I think Sandy Alomar Jr. would be an absolutely perfect match. I hadn't even considered him until I read this, but now the more I think about it, the more I like it. ALL the young players/prospects will know of Sandy & will respect him and want to learn from him. To me that's the key.

    A constant supply of prospects will begin arriving at Wrigley Field next year, and continue in "waves" after that. As far as managerial experience, he will be fine as the Cubs aren't ready to truly compete next year anyway, the key will be improvement & development, so he has time to fine tune his approach as the team grows with him.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Thanks Ghost Dawg. Alomar has a way of commanding respect and according to some media guys, he's a friendly guy with a great personality. I like Alomar a lot and if they dont' get Girardi, I'd be happy with him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Does that mean your first choice is Girardi? Or more just admitting that he's the Cubs' first choice?

    I like Girardi too (and he used to go to my aunt's restaurant -- she says he and his wife are super nice people), but only assuming he's good with developing players.

    I'm starting to wonder if I don't prefer someone else first, though. The Spanish-speaking thing compels me more and more. It's one thing to work with a 30 year old Latino veteran with a bunch of experience in the bigs and probably a good experience set with English. It's another to work with a 22 year old in his first year in the majors. The language barrier thing could be a bigger deal during development.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    That's a nice point, Matt. I think anyone who's spent a decade plus in a dugout knows enough Spanish and vice versa to communicate during games. Could really be key in the development process, I agree.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I was looking at the language/cultural barrier as well. When you consider that the majority of the Cubs top prospects are from Latin America, having a manager with that background is a plus. He can also help Wellington become a more complete catcher & help mold the pitching staff. It's no secret that former catchers seem to make the best managers. I'm really hoping Alomar Jr is in play.

  • I wonder if someone who has already gained the trust of some of the youngsters on the roster and the ones ready to come up might be a good choice, someone like Dave Keller? He strikes me as a good teacher and would play the kids for sure.

  • Its also interesting that theo said this process would be more private this time around. So maybe there will be some surprises, and it could be more private with alomar,maddux since they went through the interview process last time.

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    John, if you're not too busy..... what is your personal checklist (if you were GM, and just the short version) and how would you prioritize each bullet point?

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    For me, it would be 1) Player Development record 2) Communication skills, 3) Leadership Skils, 4) Knowlege of analytics, 5) Experience. But it's hard to say because these things intertwine. 1, 2 , and 3 go hand in hand. I put experience last, but then again, a lot of the other stuff comes with experience, so it's hard to separate one from the other.

  • Might as well go get John Farrell. The Red Sox have developed him for us.

  • Two things;

    1. Ricketts wanted Theo; he got him. He wants Girardi; he'll get him.

    2. In addition to the qualifications for a new manager that Theo outlined, I would also insist that the manager speaks fluid Spanish. Communication is the key to leadership and it would be great if the new Cubs manager could speak fluently with the numerous Latino players that are found on most MLB rosters. I think that's one of the things that makes Francona such a successful manager.

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