The Chicago Cubs may have interviewed their final managerial candidate, Indians’ bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., who met with the Cubs yesterday. As per the protocol, Alomar met with the media after the interview…

  • On what sets him apart from the other candidates: “I think I bring a lot of things to the table that maybe some of the other [candidates] don’t bring in regards to being a player, going through injuries in their past, spending a lot of time in the Minor Leagues as a player. I’ve played in the postseason, gone to a World Series, played for 10 different managers and they all participated in the postseason. Seven of them went to the World Series and three of them won the World Series. I’ve played for winning people all my career, and that gave me the opportunity to learn their values and how to take abilities from other people and incorporate that to myself.”
  • On handling a player like Carlos Zambrano: “One of the things Zambrano has is he carries a lot of emotion on his sleeve. A lot of people from Latin American countries, those emotions come from way back when you’re a kid. The style of baseball that we play when we’re a kid in Puerto Rico, the Dominican, Venezuela and maybe Mexico, is when you’re a kid there, you have to win, you have to perform. I think as you grow, you think you have to bring that with you. When you become professional, sometimes you treat the game like you’re still a kid. You want to have fun but there’s other things that have to be addressed.I think he’s an emotional guy. I would have to have conversations with him, try to get in his mind and see what’s going on and hopefully figure it out — otherwise bring a stun gun myself.”
  • On why being a catcher helps his candidacy: “You have to make moves on the fly, you call games on the fly. You don’t have time to make decisions. You have to react and make decisions according to the plan you put in before the game. You visualize the whole field. Sometimes you even manage guys on the field. Having the ability to be in that position to see many players — you’re the only guy facing the other players and you’re the only guy who can see what the defensive positioning is. Having that in play, I think it helps a catcher make a lot of decisions and it happens fast. I think that’s why a lot of catchers hae the ability to manage.”
  • On his use of statistics in managerial decisions: “I don’t want to become a ‘fantasy manager.’ The goal for a good manager is to have players who can manage themselves on the field and be team baseball players, not fantasy baseball players.” Not a lot of insight there. He’s, of course, right, but the numbers do matter.
  • On the respect between players and a manager: “I take a lot of pride [in how I treat people], because I treated people the way I want to be treated. I give respect to people so they can give it back to me. I never disrespected a player. There were times I’d get angry about players for certain things, but it was just a matter for the team, nothing personal. And I don’t think there’s one manager who can say I disrespected any particular manager any time.”
  • On the interview process with the Cubs: “[The Cubs] go through every situation in a game, very professional about it, very bright about what they do. I had an opportunity to have an interview with Toronto last year, and it was pretty good, but [the Cubs] took it here to a different level.”
  • On the fans and the organization – in other words, telling us what we want to hear: “The fans here deserve a good show because they’ve been very supportive. This is a very traditional organization, and very respected among baseball players, and it’s beautiful here. I think they deserve better.”

Cubs’ GM Jed Hoyer also spoke to the media yesterday about the managerial search, indicating that the field was “probably” set…

  • On the candidate pool and the decision: “We may make some phone calls. I wouldn’t guarantee that it is [set], but we feel really good about the four guys we brought in. We had four very good interviews. I wouldn’t rule out an additional candidate, but it’s not a certainty …. All four guys have been very impressive, very well prepared. Theo said [Thursday] we’re in the sixth inning. Maybe now we’re in the seventh inning, but we still have some work to do, a lot of phone calls to make. We need to sit down now that these four are through, kind of go through our thoughts and figure out exactly what questions we need to ask next.”
  • On the timing of a decision: “We want to make the right decision, not the quick decision. We’ll be in Milwaukee next week [at the general manager meetings]. We’ll have a lot of meetings, a lot of conversations with other GMs and agents, but Theo and I will spend a lot of time on this process as well.”
  • On whether there’s a favorite: “Totally open for debate. We’re going to get back and have those discussions, and probably have some followup conversations. We’ve spent a lot of time with these candidates, but now we can think about followup conversations, and was there a hole in the process we want to cover up, and we can do that. We need to have those conversations before we can move forward.”
  • On the possibility of Terry Francona: “Certainly there are conversations that have gone on between Theo and Tito. They’ve had a great relationship for a long time. I’d let Theo expand on those conversations. He’s the one who’s had them. He’s the one who had the GM-manager relationship with him for a long time.” Unless Theo is looking to cut Jed out of the managerial process – and Jed has said he looks forward to having a close relationship with the next manager – that strongly suggests that Francona isn’t going to be the guy.
  • Caleb

    Agreed about the Francona bit. I’ve been rubbing it in to my Cardinal friends that Francona was caught gazing wistfully out the window towards Chicago during his interview in St. Louis. Takes some of the sting out of the Sandberg stuff.

    And I liked Alomar’s response on Z. One, it was a deft way of saying “emotions are good, but let’s stay in control,” and two, thinking of Z as merely an overgrown youngster, whose actions only seem outrageous in a Major League context, was a pleasant and wistful thought. Not to mention that the more his behavior is glossed over in an optimistic light, the higher his potential value to another team.

    I like all of these candidates, really. I’m sure you’ll agree that the intense interview/simulation process that the Cubs are using bodes well for finding a manager who is in-line with the future direction of the Cubs.

    It’s hard not to be partial to Maddux’s mustache though. His commitment to prostate cancer awareness is admirable.

    And wouldn’t it be great if the entire Cubs team grew out similar mustaches in a show of solidarity? Seriously. Imagining an entire team of Maddux-staches is beyond hilarious. It would be legendary.

    • Robbo

      Caleb – good call on the Maddux stache. All great Chicago coaches had staches…Ditka, Phil, Quenville. If you hire the stache it will deliver.

      • Caleb

        That’s my escort service calling card. … Now I just have to grow the stache.

  • pfk

    This will be interesting. I think the idea of having them be interviewed by the media was a good one as it gave some insight into their personalities and philosophy. In reviewing the candidates, I’d say that Mackanin was the weakest, then Alomar jr, then Sveum and then Maddux. I pick Maddux, not just because he was awesome with the media (which is very important) but because pitching is the name of the game and he is way out front of the others in dealing with pitchers, which a manager has to do 3-5 times a game for almost 162 games. And, being able to do the best to keep them healthy and prepared. Also, he is obviously quick on his feet in his ability to think (no time in a game to sit and ponder) and exudes self confidence, which is infectious to players. Plus, he has a brother named Greg who happens to be in the organization too.

  • Todd

    Alomar Jr. has been my pick from day one, and I think he’ll get the nod. Just guessing, but I think Alomar Jr. probably performed best during the in-game scenarios. As a former catcher, he’s been dealing with strategy longer than the other candidates. Even as pitching and bench coaches, the other candidates didn’t necessarily have as much in-game decision making responsibility as a seasoned catcher. Being bilingual and fluent in both Latin and American culture is a huge plus, as well.

    I’d be happy with Alomar or Maddux, but the only thing I’m impressed with on the other two is their reputations. I agree that Francona is politely being passed over.

  • Andrew

    I’m going to honestly be happy with Maddux, Alomar, or Sveum. Very excited about this process. It’s weird to be a Cubs fan and actually think that the organization has narrowed down their decision to only candidates who would be good at the job. So weird.

  • MC2

    I like Maddux and Alomar both. I think Maddux will be a little more analytical in his approach. You also look at these guys and wonder what other angles they bring:
    Maddux= Can bring Greg and possibility of C.J. Wilson in the mix.
    Sveum= Good Knowledge of the division and Fielder connection.
    Alomar= Good field commander/defensive mind. Might have connection w/Buehrle.
    Mackanin= Brings the whole Ted Danson/Sam Malone look Boston/Cheers aspect.
    Francona= He’s in the mix more than anyone thinks.

    I really believe with Maddux/Alomar they are more likely to keep Zambrano around. He still has a upside and face it management of pitchers sucked this year even when they were healthy.

  • Cliffy

    Boeringer new hire for scouting coming up at 930 on AM 1000 Bruce Levine show.

  • die hard

    Cubs looking to salvage Z by hiring Alomar? May work. His ability to communicate in Spanish huge plus. Likewise being a catcher. A Latin Joe Girardi. Works for me.

  • johnbres2

    Alomar’s ability to communicate in Spanish is no doubt a bonus.  But coupled with this is that English is not his first language and it shows.  Does anyone consider this a factor at all?

    • Brett

      It’s a factor, but I don’t find his English to be so bad as to rise to the level of a problem (of course, I haven’t had complex statistical conversations with him).

  • ReiCow

    I may be in the minority, but reading this dropped Alomar in my eyes.. I dunno.. it left me with an impression that he’d be too Quade like (going with his gut, etc).

  • Ian Afterbirth

    You gotta listen to your gut sometimes.

    Alomar is now my #2 choice behind Maddux.

    I would not be disappointed if he were chosen (bad stun gun joke notwithstanding).

  • johnbres2

    Wow, this column by Jon Greenberg is probably the best I have read abou the Cubs/ managerial search.

    • Ian Afterbirth

      Thanks for linking that – it is great.

      Go Alomar!!!!!

  • Derek

    We are still going to need a pitching coach maddux cant do it all. He will have alot on his plate with the team hows he going to deal with 4 bad starting pitchers and garza