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?
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