According to multiple reports, former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez has turned down the Chicago Cubs’ offer of an interview for the team’s vacant managerial job. Gonzalez was once called Jim Hendry’s favorite for the role, but the problem is that he’s apparently also Atlanta’s favorite to succeed Bobby Cox. And as for Gonzalez, he is apparently keen on returning to Atlanta where he spent time as a coach, and is confident enough in the opportunity that he’s turning down interviews (in this economy!?).
Some folks are relieved to learn that Gonzalez is out of the running for the Cubs’ gig given his abrasive personality, but given his success in Florida, it’s hard to argue that he knows what he’s doing. Getting fired by the Marlins is no real ding, either – remember, that’s the team that let Joe Girardi walk after he succeeded there.
Meanwhile, a new name has entered the running for the Cubs’ gig, commensurate with Gonzalez’s exit: former Mariner and D-back skipper Bob Melvin. Currently a scout for the Mets, Melvin managed the Mariners to a near .500 record in 2003 and 2004 (after interviewing for the open Cubs job), and then headed to the D-Backs for the 2005 season. He led the Diamondbacks to the playoffs in 2007 (remember that fun series?), and won Manager of the Year. The team slipped into disappointment by 2009, when he was dismissed early in the season.
The Cubs are expected to interview Melvin sometime this month. So far, the Cubs have interviewed former Indians manager Eric Wedge, are expected to formally interview interim manager Mike Quade, and have had preliminary discussions with AAA Iowa manager Ryne Sandberg (whom you may have heard of). Others will doubtlessly be added to the list – Bob Brenly, Bobby Valentine, and Joe Girardi come to mind – but for now, those are the only confirmed names on the list.