In case you missed it, I was on The Score 670 in Chicago last night with Joe Ostrowski. We talked about...what else? The Cubs manager situation in light of Joe Girardi's decision to stay in New York. Many thanks again to Joe who asks great questions and makes the show very easy.
Per Gordon Wittenmeyer, the Cubs aren't looking for a brand name manager.
Insiders say the Cubs’ priority in choosing their next manager is the ability to help young players transition and develop in the big leagues.
Speaking of the Cubs managerial situation, there are some fans who aren't satisfied with the names out there and are digging for guys with experience or name value. I don't expect this to happen. One name mentioned is Cal Ripken but he just doesn't fit any of the criteria. He doesn't have any kind of managing or leadership experience outside of his time as a player. He is not known as a development guy or a guy savvy with analytics.
Patrick Mooney talks about Ozzie Guillen, who says he'd always be interested in managing the Cubs. He doesn't think he'd be a candidate saying, "Team sources said Guillen has zero chance of getting the Cubs job this time. But could you think of anyone better to show Starlin Castro some tough love?" Whatever we say about Ozzie that White Sox team was better when he was there, he kept the heat off his players, and he worked well with youngsters. But as Mooney says, no way is he a candidate for this position.
Joe Maddon isn't coming either. The Tampa Bay organization is like family. He doesn't want to leave there and the Rays don't want to see him go. Even if it were possible, it would take a lot of compensation, probably a top 4 prospect -- and again, that's if he even has any interest in leaving Tampa and they have interest in letting him go.
Former Cubs analyst Bob Brenly is also not a candidate and there seems to be mutual disinterest there. Brenly is happy with a cozy analyst job in his home state while the Cubs likely consider him too old school. And while everyone likes to point to how he won a World Series ring, they conveniently leave out how he had the two best pitchers in baseball when he won, began to decline 2 years later-- and then eventually lost his team completely in 2004
The Cubs Den favorites
We talked about some candidates yesterday and the two favorites are Manny Acta and Sandy Alomar, Jr (each with 24% of the vote). I suspect it could break down that way in the general public as well. Acta is going to be the new school favorite while Alomar will be the old school favorite as well as the likely new favorite of the media. I don't want to characterize them as one of the other, however. Alomar probably learned a few things from Francona. Acta is also known for developing players. He's not just a stat head. Both managers are likely a blend of the two but with Acta being far more proficient with the analytics part of the game. It'd be great to have them both, actually, but that likely isn't possible. The Cubs clearly have Acta higher on their list right now but Alomar remains in the mix.
The 3rd most popular candidate was Dave Martinez, who finished with a somewhat surprisingly high 17%. He's a new school guy who has had the advantage of working with Joe Maddon. He lacks MLB experience but Maddon delegates a lot of responsibility to Martinez and while it's always a different story when you are the guy, the transition for Martinez should be easier than most. According to Gordon Wittenmeyer, the Cubs are planning on seeking permission to speak to him as well.
Even more surprisingly, Tony Pena finished 4th in our poll. It's surprising because he has not mentioned by the media yet. Pena is considered a great motivator and a guy who works well with kids. He has some name appeal and some MLB managing experience as well.
Other Top Candiates
Wittenmeyer also talks about Rick Renteria, who will be the 3rd candidate to get an interview after AJ Hinch and Acta. Renteria is a well-regarded coach with the Padres and has some experience as the manager of Mexico's baseball team. He's in the "other" category because he finished low in our voting, but considering he's one of the first 3 to interview, he has to be viewed as a serious contender, as does Hinch.
Renteria, 51, admired for his leadership skills by the Cubs’ brass, also is considered the top available candidate when it comes to developing young Latin players, according to a source.
A.J. Hinch has some experience as the Arizona manager and was the first candidate interviewed by the Cubs. He is seen as proficient with analytics and has extensive experience in developing players. The question is his managerial record but the Cubs will be more interested to know what he learned from that experience and how he plans to improve in that area.
A few guys who may draw interest but whose teams are still playing baseball...
Torey Lovullo is another guy we've mentioned but he is a long shot because of his lack of MLB experience as a manager. He has worked with current Red Sox manager John Farrell this past season as a bench coach and also when both were with the Blue Jays organization. Lovullo also was a successful manager in the Red Sox organization.
A couple of new names to throw out there are Chip Hale and Mike Gallego, both of the Oakland A's. Hale has been a candidate with the Mets and the stat-savvy Seattle Mariners and was the Pacific Coast League (AAA) manager of the year in 2006. Gallego is known as a good instructor, having played that role in the Rockies system and is the 3B coach with Oakland and does some infield instruction there as well.
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