The Cubs managerial search will continue for the next several days with the World Series beginning on Wednesday night in Boston. Major League Baseball does not permit major announcements during the Fall Classic which gives the Cubs time to conduct second interviews and consider all of their options to replace Dale Sveum.
It appears that the top candidates for the vacancy are Dave Martinez, Rick Renteria and A.J. Hinch. Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is a possible candidate if the Cubs formally request permission to interview him. However, it does not appear that a decision on whether to talk with Lovullo has been made by the Cubs front office. With the Red Sox in the World Series it could delay the process as Lovullo is unavailable for extensive interviews due to his team commitments.
Waiting on Lovullo could cost the Cubs other candidates that are also under consideration for openings in Detroit, Washington, Seattle and potentially Los Angeles where it is unclear whether Don Mattingly will return to the Dodgers. Mattingly could intrigue the Cubs because of his reputation as a solid guy with an excellent baseball acumen but some around the game are questioning why the Dodgers would want to part ways with him if he is truly an excellent manager. Additionally, Mattingly could find the openings in Detroit and Washington more attractive because of the talented rosters that both teams have as opposed to the Cubs who are still at least two years away from contending.
One other name that is in play in both Detroit and Washington is Brad Ausmus who the Cubs front office knows and respects, but Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have yet to formally request permission to interview him. He is well regarded around the game for his baseball IQ and his ability to handle a pitching staff during his 18-year big league career as a catcher for the Padres, Tigers, Astros and Dodgers. Ausmus has gotten high marks as a future standout manager from many around the game including Joe Torre.
One former AL general manager who is now a National League scout agreed to handicap all of the Cubs known candidates provided he remained anonymous. Here are his thoughts:
“No way can they hire him. He did a very poor job in Arizona and he would be a terrible fit in a pressure cooker like Chicago. Theo has to get this hire right and risking it on Hinch would be a huge mistake. He is a good guy and he has good baseball intelligence but managing the Cubs? No way would I do that.”
“Solid guy and a solid baseball man. Was always exceptionally well prepared as a player despite not being the most talented guy on the roster. He played the game the right way and he has worked very hard to learn his craft as a coach next to maybe the best manager in the game in Joe Maddon. I would expect his teams to play hard and to be very well prepared. I would have no hesitation hiring him in Chicago.”
“Super guy and very well respected around baseball. Knows the game and understands player development and is ready to be a major league manager. I’m just not sure his laid back personality plays to the pressure cooker environment that is Chicago. A very solid candidate.”
“Another solid baseball man who is ready to manage at the big league level. He has a very good resume and he is a good guy. Not sure that he is the exact profile of what Theo and Jed are looking for but he is solid and would do a good job.”
“They better hurry if they want to land him because Detroit and Washington both love him. I think he has the most upside of all of the candidates on their list because while he hasn’t done it, he looks to me to have star written all over him. Intense, educated and a great understanding of the game. His passion should excite the Cubs fan base once they get some of the kids from the system to the big leagues. He needs time to develop as a manager but that’s exactly what the Cubs can give him. They aren’t winning next year so why not take a shot on hitting a home run.”