When Jim Hendry was fired – or, more accurately, the day we learned he had been fired – dozens upon dozens of articles popped up professing the plans for the general manager search, and listing the names the Cubs would be considering for the job. None of those lists had Jed Hoyer on them, and very few, if any, had Theo Epstein on them. At the time, I said I didn’t want to immediately toss out a list or thoughts until there was a bit of time for things to settle, clearer heads to prevail, and a direction to be set by Tom Ricketts.

I’d like to say the same for the managerial search, but, given the necessarily brief window in which the Cubs will be conducting the search, there’s little time for the kind of prudence I’d otherwise deem appropriate. Lists came out within hours of Mike Quade’s firing as manager of the Cubs, and the prognosticating didn’t stop this morning, so it’s time to get started on the Obsessive New Manager Watch.

  • Keep in mind: There is a bit of a tail-wagging-the-dog element to these things, as it was with the GM search. A name is mentioned because there is a superficial connection, so the next writer lists that name as well, and suddenly that person is “one of the candidates,” regardless of whether a Cubs’ source has indicated that the team has interest in that guy. Epstein and Hoyer have their list, and, until some sources come forward or some interviews are scheduled, we’re all just guessing at who’s on it.
  • That said, when reviewing the entire body of speculative lists, as well as sourced rumors, you sense that the prime candidates are, in no particular order, Rays’ bench coach Dave Martinez, Rangers’ pitching coach Mike Maddux, Brewers’ hitting coach Dale Sveum, Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, and Phillies’ bench coach Pete Mackanin. Other potential candidates include Red Sox third base coach Tim Bogar, Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., and longer shots like former Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Rays’ manager Joe Maddon. There could very well be many, many more names.
  • But the list of interviewees is expected to be just four or five. That, according to none other than Ryne Sandberg. When Epstein called Sandberg yesterday to inform him that he would not be a candidate, Sandberg says Epstein says the Cubs would be looking at “four or five candidates.” So there you go.
  • Bruce Levine lists his guesses at the candidates, with a bit of info on each.
  • Dave Van Dyke does the same, which he calls “Meet the Candidates.”
  • Gordon Wittenmyer says Rays’ manager Joe Maddon would be the frontrunner if he were willing to leave Tampa Bay, and they were willing to let him leave. Which, like, duh. It seems highly unlikely that Maddon would leave, but, after the last two months, I will not rule anything out. Separately, Wittenmyer notes that Mike Maddux and Dale Sveum are probably the leading candidates.
  • Buster Olney guesses that Phillies bench coach, and Chicago native, Pete Mackanin, will get an interview. He’s believed to have already interviewed – or at least spoken – with the Red Sox.
  • I’m not sure whether you care, but Steve Rosenbloom says the Cubs should target Terry Francona. Naturally, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cubs are unlikely to target Francona. Buster Olney also guesses the Cubs won’t go after Tito. Boom. Rosenbloom’d.
  • Rosenthal also says the Cubs are unlikely to target a sitting manager (a la Joe Maddon).
  • Phil Rogers pushes for Francona, as well. I’d be fine with Francona, I suppose, but there is a bit of trepidation given how things shook out in Boston, and there’s also a bit of … how to articulate it? … a feeling that I don’t want the Cubs to *just* be a regurgitation of the Boston Red Sox. I want the Cubs to win, and I was thrilled for the Cubs to get Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod, but there has to be some part of a future winner that’s uniquely “Cub,” no? Am I just being silly?
  • As with the GM search, make sure to “Like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook to get the latest rumors/news/etc. piped right into your feed.
  • Katie

    I’m fine with any of the choices as long as Sandberg doesn’t go to the Cards. Can’t take that. I completely trust Theo & Co.

  • Aaron

    I think Tito would be fine. He’s a good manager, can’t deny that. The only gripe is the end-of-the-season shennanigans that he got heat for. Let’s be clear: that stuff happens in the clubhouse in every organization. BoSox just needed a scapegoat for why they ended the year so terribly.

    I could see it, but I think the choice is likely someone else still.

  • Siquo

    “I want the Cubs to win, and I was thrilled for the Cubs to get Epstein/Hoyer/McLeod, but there has to be some part of a future winner that’s uniquely “Cub,” no? Am I just being silly?”

    Totally agree with that, it’s not like all “curses” are the same and you just apply the tried and tested solution so everything is a-okay. Cubs need to write their own history of winning and how it was accomplished.

  • http://www.calliopevoices.com The Big Mustafa

    Hard not to like Francona, but I do have to wonder about the timing. Reasonable to suspect that he could/should want some time off.

    Have been reading about Dale Sveum…who really might be an interesting candidate. Seems to me that fans of Francona would be fans of Sveum. Lots of similarities. Does, however, have that pronunciation thing…

    And, it’s funny…I always thought of Mike Maddux as looking too sullen to be an effective leader, but baseball people are crazy about him, and his skills. They also say he can light a pretty good fire under a team; something I don’t always associate with pitching coaches.

    And…have always like Sandy Alomar, but hadn’t realized he was high on managerial candidate lists.

    So…in the early going…I think I like the Sveum or Maddux sightings.

  • hansman1982

    I agree on Francona – I want a manager that is not from that org or affiliated with Theo in that we get an outsider voice in those meetings and when we do win it all it wont be “Fenway West Wins World Series”

    Right now I am pulling for Maddon, Martinez and Mackanin (and anyone else with an M last name).  Like you I initially threw out Maddon but based on the past few months I hesitate to do so because my new found Cubdom has me believing we could get him.  On the other hand, I doubt they do much more than ask to interview him because I don’t think they want to get into three compensation discussions and deplete the farm system just building the FO

  • Todd

    Nice post, Brett. I’m with you on giving this management a “Cub” uniqueness. I try not to overstep my bounds of insight or intelligence on these matters but at first glance of bios, I like Sandy Alomar Jr. He seems to have that “buzz” that I’ve referred to in other comments.

  • chris margetis

    I think what you mentioned Brett is exactly why Theo and Co won’t hire Francona. I’m sure Theo wants to put his unique stamp on this as well. Lends more credence to his capabilities if successful. If the crystal ball told me the Cubs would win a WS, I’d consider the ghost of Saddam for the position. Short of that, I’d rather it not be RedSox version 2.0 as well.

  • http://www.aeryssports.com/soccer Dana

    You said “winner” and “uniquely ‘Cub'” in the same sentence. Does. Not. Compute.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett


    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Clearly you weren’t paying attention in the first third of the twentieth century.

      Kid’s these days….

  • ACS

    Nice list no Brenly?

    • Bails17

      Brenly would be on my list too.  But…I think Maddux would be the ticket right now.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Nope. No Brenly. If he’s a candidate, it remains a secret to all.

    • blake

      I only wish it would be Brenly. Maybe not the right scenario, but hard to ignore the possibility. His previous stance on the possibility makes me even more intrigued. Plus, he did get a ring with an expansion team. With purple hats!

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Brenly is really a fan candiate because he has a won a WS and is critical of the Cubs in the broadcast booth, but outside of his WS year he really hasn’t had much success.  He’s been out of a dugout for a while and I think Theo and Jed want someone who has been in a dugout recently and has worked in baseball post-steroid era and shown success developing talent, and I just don’t see any evidence that says Brenly is a quality candiate.  Sandberg has a better resume right now than Brenly and he wasn’t even considered.  So don’t expect Brenly.

      • johnbres2

        nice comments, Goat. And btw, Cub fans, nobody should care if Sandberg goes to the Cardinals. If that has to have any effect, it should make you hate the Cardinals less. In fact, there is really very little to hate about the Cardinals (at least now that La-juice-a is gone). They are an admirable franchise in every way.

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat


  • Diego

    Totally agree!….we need new energy and I’m not sure if bringing Francona in would give the Cubs the new fresh air they need.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Agreed he’s proven himself and I like to see (and this appears to be what Theo and Jed are looking for) a MLB experienced coach/manager that has shown growth and success on some level of the MLB, BUT still has something to prove and can be around for 10-15 years.

  • John

    I don’t care who the manager is as long as they win the World Series. I don’t understand why Francona would not be a legitimate candidate. Theo even said that if Tito had stayed with the RedSox, he would have stayed also.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The Theo-staying-in-Boston thing wasn’t necessarily about Theo’s affection for Tito. It was about Theo wanting to leave at the end of his contract anyway, which ended after 2012; but, since Tito left and a new manager was coming in, Theo didn’t feel right about picking that guy. So, when he says he’d still be in Boston if Tito were still in Boston, I think that’s what he means.

  • ACS

    maddux is tops. I already see maddux brothers in cubs dugout with that intence glare of victory.

    • johnbres2

      I agree–Mike Maddux seems like a good candidate in his own right, but if it means Greg is closer to the Cubs, I am all for it. MM would be my first choice right now.

  • ACS

    Secret would fit the cubs new way lead by chairman Tom.

  • CubFan Paul

    after the quade debacle (calling games, keeping pitchers in Too long), we need a guy who’s a former Pitcher or Catcher – a Bud Black type..

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I would be happy to personally drive Bud Black from the coast to Chicago, if it helped get that deal done. I can’t see the Padres letting him go easily, though.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        It’s been reported that the Cubs expressly agreed not to take any other high level Padres’ personnel as a condition to getting Hoyer and McLeod.

  • ACS

    Bud Black would be perfect!

  • nonesuch

    Maddux or Sveum sound good. Maddon would be nice, doubt he leaves. I think Francona is genius but I think (and believe Theo thinks same) that catching lightning twice in that bottle is futile. (punditry: look, Prez Theo implementing BoCubs part deux)

    No ex-Cubs, but if Girardi was still available…

  • ACS

    He had the big unit and curt.

  • oswego chris

    I wouldn’t count on Greg Maddux joining Mike Maddux in the dugout, I get the impression Greg Maddux doesn’t want the “grind” of being an MLB coach, but I think it is safe to say he would keep a place in the organization….

  • Hogie

    Does Mike Scioscia have any coaches looking for a move? They seem to be given manager of the year possibilities, Bud Black, Joe Maddon, Ron Reonoke, am I missing anyone?

  • Dave H

    Doesn’t anyone remember the last time we had a Rays Manager come up here? I want to see someone like Maddux, Sveum, Martinez. But really anyone on that list would be great. Just not Maddon. I don’t want re-treads that resemble Pinella.

    • Kyle

      “Doesn’t anyone remember the last time we had a Rays Manager come up here? ”

      We immediately went from a 66-win team to back-to-back division titles?

      Sign me up :)

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        To be fair, there were a couple bucks spent on free agents in that time frame too. But yeah, Pinella was good when he got here. He wore out at the end, but he did have a good start.

      • Dave H

        0-6 in the playoffs – Don’t sign me up.

  • 1908Blues

    Would it be realistic that, despite not being a candidate for the managerial position, Sandberg is a candidate for an assistant position? Or would the possibility of meatheads screaming for him to take over if/when the Cubs stumble next year be too much? If this is going to take a few years, I could see Theo and Jed not wanting the headaches and distraction.

    • hansman1982

      right now there is 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000% chance that Sandberg will be working for the Cubs in the next 2 years.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Completely agreed, its time to move on Cub fans.  I wish him the best unless its with the Cardinals.

      • 1908Blues

        Are you sure there isn’t a 1 at the end of all that?

        Yeah he seems to be a victim of his own circumstances despite his efforts not to be.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I think its completely realistic, depending on who the manager is. Theo wants to go with a veteran manager or coach for the top job, and that rules out Sandberg. But Theo won’t be picking the coaches that work under the manager. That’s up to the manager.

      If the Cubs land someone like Bud Black who is an established manager, I can absolutely see him reaching out and offering Sandberg a base coach or bench coach job. After all, he will need someone to work with the Cubs’ young infield, and Sandberg would fit that bill. Mike Maddux is another one I think has been around long enough that he could fight off any Sandberg-related fan pressure.

      Some of the other guys on this list, maybe not. But whoever does get the job will have to staff nearly an entire coaching staff once they are hired, and Sandberg would be an attractive candidate for a coaching job for most major league teams. That includes the Cubs. It just depends on the manager.

  • ACS

    Pinella at least took this team to back to back division titles better than anyone could do unless we go back to Frank Chance.

  • Chop

    Rosenthal also said there was no chance the Cubs would get Theo either.

  • die hard

    Need someone who is familiar with what ails Cubs so as to avoid steep learning curve and another wasted season. So, need someone who as been within arms reach. Brenly and Listach should be at top of list for these reasons.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      A lot of what ails the Cubs may be gone or radically different by next season. I’m not sure that need for continuity completely applies in this case.

      • die hard

        well, at least someone who has played game at major league level for a few years so as to have respect of vets

        • hansman1982

          respect of the vets is a bunch of bullcrap – you think veteran players dont respect Joe Maddon, Jack McKeon because they didn’t play?  If you pick the right guy it doesnt matter if they played or not the players will follow him.

          • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

            Respect of the veterans doesn’t mean the person has to have played in the major leagues. In my mind the respect comes from the veterans knowing the guy is fair and knows what he is doing. Quade lost the respect of the veterans because of several factors.

  • ReiCow

    I’m not as keen on Tito as I used to be.. I presently live in New England and the scuttlebutt here is that he is a terrible in game manager.. which doesn’t bode well for a NL team.

    • Fishin Phil

      Tito is not my first choice, but I would take any scuttlebutt coming out of New England right now with a ton of salt.

      • ReiCow

        No no.. this is something that’s been known for a while. Long been a complaint about Tito.. this isn’t the sour grapes and smear campaign of the fast few months.

  • pfk

    We don’t need any continuity at all. We need a new culture and it has already started at the top. Maybe a coach could stay on for continuity if that is needed. I’m all for a 100% change in culture and a huge change in Wrigley itself. We will have new spring training facilities, new Dominican Republic facilities, new player development, incredibly revamped and enlarged front office and we’ll get a new Wrigley. Watching this makes it so apparent just how bad our front office really was. Embarrassing.

  • http://BleacherNation Bill

    Who cares if the Cardinals get Sandberg. There is a reason why the Cubs don’t want Sandberg. Obviously if there is a flaw there, then let him go to the Cardinals. Would you rather have the Cardinals pick up Francona or Maddon. Give me break. Sandberg was a Great Cub Player and MINOR league Coach. Ever wonder why he hasn’t been chosen here or in Philly as a Major league coach.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      He was passed on for the Cubs because Hendry opted for Quade, a guy with a ton more coaching experience who somehow won some games after Pinella left. In hindsight, that was a mistake, but at the time Quade had the more experienced resume.

      He was passed over in Philly because their major league coaching staff was set. It looks like it is set going into next season as well. That doesn’t mean Sandberg is flawed, it means that the Phillies don’t have a hole for him.

      Under the right manager, he could still wind up on the Cubs. I don’t think he will, but he could. He could also end up on any of the other 29 major league staffs. I don’t buy the theory that he is somehow flawed and that teams are afraid to promote him. If nothing else, he’s a tailor made third base coach / infield coach for a good team. I don’t get the Cardinals manager talk, but as a bench/base coach, why not?

    • Todd

      I’m guessing that he wasn’t chosen in Philly to be a coach because Charlie Manuel’s crew is doing well. I don’t think it needs an explanation as to why he wasn’t on the Cubs’ coaching staff last season. If he isn’t given a manager position somewhere else, I wouldn’t rule him out as a coach here but it’s unlikely.

      I support the decision to not interview Sandberg as a long shot candidate but I don’t want to knock on his abilities yet. He just needs some time on major league pine.

  • Brian

    *sigh*… Just thinking about what it would have been like to hear Harry try to say “Sveum” or “Mackanin”…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “The Cubs are ready to take the field, under the leadership of Dale … Saviorm. He’s all right.”

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      “Do you like Mackanin peaches, Steve?”

      • Brian

        I like to think that it would be “Dale S”, kind of like it was for “Mark G” Grudzielanek…

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Oh man, I forgot hearing Harry try “Grudzie’s” name a few times.

          • Brian

            Yeah, it was a classic. Almost as good as Andres “Gala-ra-hodgie”

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      “That Mackinaw sure has an island town named after him Steve, I remember having an ice cold Bud while I drove down the middle lane of his bridge.  Holy Cow that was fun”

      I like to think he trolled around Michigan in his off time.

  • Jim

    I think we can rule out Ryne as a coach with the Cubs if Dave Martinez is hired.