And then there were five.

Yesterday, in a bit of a surprise, the Chicago Cubs revealed that general manager Jed Hoyer recently interviewed Boston Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale by phone for the Cubs’ open manager position. Last week, Hoyer suggested that it was unlikely the Cubs would add another interviewee to their already-completed list of four (Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux, Sandy Alomar, Jr.), but said he wouldn’t rule it out.

Hale, 50, was originally thought to be a candidate for the Cubs’ gig, given his Boston connection and the belief that he was on Theo Epstein’s short list of candidates when he still labored in Boston.

Epstein said he didn’t need to interview Hale, given their long-standing familiarity (much in the same way Epstein said he wouldn’t need to interview Terry Francona, with whom Epstein says he still speaks – take from that what you will). Instead, because Hoyer had been away from the Red Sox for two years, Theo and Jed felt a phone interview, conducted by Jed, would be the most appropriate process.

Hale has been a Red Sox coach since 2006, when he took over as the team’s third base coach from Dale Sveum. Before that, Hale was a coach with the Rangers, and a long-time minor league manager. Hale hails from Chicago, and was a finalist for the open Blue Jays’ managerial spot in 20110.

Epstein says, with Hale in the bank, the Cubs have completed their interviews for the job, and will now enter the decision-making phase. Epstein hopes that decision can be made this week, but cautions that there’s no deadline.

“[Just] getting it right [is the most important thing],” Epstein said. “There’s no real deadline, but this is an important week. I’d like to think we can move into the decision-making phase this week.”

And, despite reports to the contrary, Epstein says the Cubs aren’t planning a formal round of second interviews. Instead, the Cubs will reach out to a candidate (or candidates) for some follow up when the list is whittled down further.

If I had to guess, we’ll be hearing some more on the search this week.

  • JulioZuleta

    Bright and early this morning. Think this means they weren’t blown away during the first wave of interviews?

    • Brett

      Nah. I think it means they always intended to interview Hale, but knew it wasn’t going to require a full-on, formal interview.

  • Fishin Phil

    Well, at least he has a mustache.

    • Katie

      I was just getting ready to type that!

  • pfk

    Interesting. Why do the interview if you are satisfied with the 4 you’ve already done? Unless, in some way, they can get intel on what the Sawx are thinking. Maybe Theo has made up his mind but Jed hasn’t. I was hoping that they’d be so blown away by one of the interviews that they could reach a decision rather quickly.

  • Cliffy

    Another nugget from Arizona Phil he says he would be surprised if the Cubs don’t sign the Cuban free agent Cespedes.

    • Kyle

      He’s not exactly going out on a limb there. The Cubs are one of a dozen teams that have shown interest.

      • JulioZuleta

        He is going out on a limb. He is predicting that the Cubs will ultimately end up with Cespedes, not just be one of the many teams that get in on the bidding.

        Where are you finding that Cliffy? I just checked out TCR and can’t seem to come across any of his recent posts.

        • Kyle

          Oh, wait, I misread it. Too early in the morning to parse through the negatives.

        • Brett

          It’s in the comments to the most recent post.

          Phil adds that most MLB scouts consider Cuba’s professional league to be the equivalent of High A in the States, and sees Cespedes starting out in AA, and seeing what happens.

          • hansman1982

            2013 is starting to come together!

          • John

            How would you compare him to Bryce Harper?

            • Brett

              I don’t know enough to give a meaningful answer. He’s quite a bit older than Harper, though.

  • Cliffy

    Related: Red Sox Source: Scott Lauber on Twitter Nov 14 – 9:08 PM

    Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Monday that he expects commissioner Bud Selig to settle compensation over Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. “That’s probably best for all of us,” said Cherington. The two sides are still scheduled to hold face-to-face talks at the general manager meetings this week in Milwaukee, but it sounds like both sides are comfortable with Selig ultimately serving as an arbitrator.

    • hansman1982

      The Red Sox NEED Bud to be the arbitor so that when the appropriate compensation gets sent and their rediculous fan base gets ready to storm the Bastille they can wash their hands of this.

      I wish Cherington all the success of Jim Hendry.

  • ottoCub

    Has anyone else had the thought that the compensation for Theo might be related to the managerial search both clubs are conducting?

    It seems unlikely (and unprecedented?), but both teams interviewed a very similar slate of candidates… Is it possible that the BoSox might get first choice in managerial hire as part of their compensation? If this was part of the discussion, it would explain why neither team has made a manager announcement yet.

    • Brett

      It seems pretty unlikely, and, as you say, it definitely wouldn’t be part of any formal agreement. Sure, I suppose there could be a wink and a nod kind of thing among friends, but I highly doubt Theo would let the Red Sox take the guy he really wants.

      • Toosh

        Whoever Epstein hires, he’ll say that’s who he wanted all along.

    • MrCub73

      I saw an article to day out of Boston that Cherington said the compensation could possibly be resolved with a trade between the Cubs and Red Sox.  I cannot find it now to reference, could something be in play that has not really be discussed publicly?

  • johnbres2

    It is hard to see Madduz as the favorite anymore, since he is still waffling about “family matters.”  If you have to think about it this long, that would indicate he is not able to commit fully to the job.  I think the Cubs realize this, and that is why we saw Hale added, and why they are going to meet with Sveum again.

    • Cheryl

      I agree. He may have been number one in the beginning but his waffling may have caused him to slip to three behind Sveum and Alomar.

      • Toosh

        The job is Francona’s if he wants it to be.

  • Mike F

    I think it’s sign of good management. Maddux would have no one to blame but himself. You either want the job or you don’t, and as you say waffling, when you are interviewing for something like this, is not a good thing, especially as Hoyer indicated, he may still be working through the issue. The other thing, is people like Levine, seem to think there is more to Francona. So, it’s hard to say, they may be willing to go either Sveum or Maddux with Francona as a fall back. They hold their cards close to their vest.

    The other interesting thing, if you think about it long and hard, they need a big bat or two. They don’t have it, and don’t have it anywhere near the bigs. They seemed more focused on trading for pitching, so I won’t be shocked if in the end, they don’t make a big push for bat that can drive in runs, and bluntly Carlos Pena doesn’t qualify.

  • Mike F

    and as to it being Francona’s, that’s what Levine was indicating earlier today. I don’t know that it’s Francona’s per se though. If that were the case, having gone through this, and put all of these guys through a lot of interviews, only to hand it to Francona would be mistake. I think it would be more likely, they have questions about Sveum and he ends up taking the offer in hand from Boston, and for whatever reason Maddux decides he’s better off in Texas or they decide he’s not managed, then as a fall back they turn to Francona. But they know what they have in Francona, he’s an absolutely known quantity and as such to continue to dally with the other people, after they know the flavor and the quality of individual if they weren’t really interested, would be bush league. I don’t think it means Francona might not end up with the job, but seems to me, if they aren’t sincerely interested in both Maddux or Sveum, there not very logical to drag it out. They would just do it. Francona is the more likely fallback I would guess.

  • BetterNews

    Its looking more and more like Sveum is the man!

  • BetterNews

    Can’t say I have a problem with him either. Cubs are in a pretty good situation with who they have to choose from.

    But I personally do not think Alomar should be considered.