The Chicago Cubs’ managerial search has entered the “follow-up” stage of the process, with all of the candidates now interviewed. After follow-up, the Cubs can finally make a decision. Among the notes on the search from yesterday and this morning:
- The Cubs have acknowledged that there are six official candidates under consideration: Pete Mackanin, Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux, Sandy Alomar, Jr., DeMarlo Hale, and … Terry Francona. Yes, Francona officially, and actually, now is under consideration for the Cubs’ managerial job. It’s been hinted at for weeks, with Theo Epstein bobbing and weaving around the question, saying confusing things like “not sure if it’s a fit,” and “I talk to Tito regularly.” This doesn’t mean that Francona will get the job, mind you, but he’s on the table.
- Something to consider with respect to Francona: he would be considerably more expensive in salary than the other candidates, none of whom have full-time managerial experience at the big league level, let alone the success that Francona has had. Obviously that’s not a reason not to hire him, but it’s a consideration. When you try to get a read on whether Francona is going to get the job, you get conflicting responses from various reporters. Some (like Bruce Levine) say he’s the favorite. Others have been saying for weeks that there’s no chance.
- Jed Hoyer, who spoke to the media from the GM meetings in Milwaukee, was careful to emphasize that there is no favorite at this point (but, like, come on: there’s a favorite, Jed. You’re just not telling us who.). “Right now, we’re just focused on getting all the answers and answering the questions we need to have answered,” said Hoyer.
- The Cubs plan to meet with Dale Sveum today in something just short of a second interview. Jed Hoyer said yesterday that the Cubs have been in contact with all of the candidates in the days following their formal interviews, but that he wouldn’t consider the talks to be second interviews. And, Hoyer said, the Cubs don’t anticipate having any formal second interviews – just more follow-up, typically via the phone. But, since Sveum is in Milwaukee, and Cubs’ brass is in Milwaukee for the GM meetings, everyone thought it made sense to just meet in person. Sveum will also be meeting again with Red Sox’s brass.
- Mike Maddux is still working through his family concerns, according to Hoyer. “It’s something he’s still weighing,” Hoyer said. “Those conversations haven’t gone away.” Viewed by many as the favorite, I could see this revelation cutting both ways: on the one hand, if Maddux hadn’t already been told he was the favorite or among the favorites, why would he yet need to be weighing anything? On the other hand, maybe Maddux is still weighing whether he wants to withdraw before even getting to the “favorite” stage, which would seem to make him a less attractive candidate. Family issues trump all, but the Cubs do need to make sure they land a manager who is “all-in.”