jed hoyer aj hinchWhile Joe Girardi is the most visible and maybe most desirable managerial candidate on the Chicago Cubs’ list, this front office won’t be caught with its pants down. Whether it’s a true Plan A, Plans B/C/D situation or not, the Cubs will have a number of candidates in mind as they go through this process.

We’ll discuss a number of those candidates this week, I’d think, and Ken Rosenthal reports that one of the guys on the list is former Diamondbacks manager and current VP of pro scouting for the Padres A.J. Hinch.

Hinch, 39, was brought into the Padres’ organization in September 2010 to head up their pro scouting department by then-GM Jed Hoyer. Before that, he’d served a little over a year (two partial seasons) as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Record-wise, he wasn’t very successful in that role, given that the Diamondbacks finished 89-123 in the games he managed. As it was with Dale Sveum and the Cubs, you could make the argument that it was a transitional period during which Hinch may not have been responsible for the record. After all, Kirk Gibson relieved Hinch halfway through 2010 and proceed to go 34-49.

Hinch’s connection to the Cubs’ front office actually pre-dates his time in San Diego. Before managing the Diamondbacks, Hinch was that organization’s farm director (so his background is very much on the player development side, though he now perhaps focuses on big league scouting). There, he was close with GM Josh Byrnes, who had formerly worked in the Red Sox front office with none other than Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

Before his front office life, Hinch was a big league catcher, with a career OPS+ of 65. Good thing that doesn’t matter. At all.

On paper, this is a match. Whether Hinch is a quality candidate for the Cubs’ gig is a separate question. He does, however, check all of the boxes, insofar as he’s a guy with managerial experience, as well as a great deal of experience developing young players at both the major and minor league level.

  • The Blind Side


  • 1ski


  • james k thanks

  • Troy


    • clark addison

      Sounds like Sveum Lite

      • YourResidentJag

        Less filling….great taste??

  • MichiganGoat

    Here’s the future storylines for anybody not named Girardi (or Ryno fwiw) is going to be quite negative. The majority only has one person in mind but that one person may not want the job, we’ve got to have other options.

    • http://It'searly Mike F

      Absolutely, and given some of the stuff they have on the Cubs Den, this could be very difficult for Theo. He set himself up for this. Anyone not named JG, will be left overs and really under a microscope. This is a mess of Theo’s own making at the moment.

      • TWC

        It’s gonna get even worse when Girardi re-signs with NY (or takes some time off). Headline: “Girardi Rejects Cubs”. Comments section: “Ricketts too cheap to offer Girardi what he wanted!”; “Theo unwilling to shed his ego and share the stage with Girardi”; “Girardi obviously saw no hope in the Cubs’ organization”; etc., etc., etc.

        Can’t wait.

        • A_Mazz_Ing

          You are right on the money with that. I couldn’t have said it any better.

          • Eternal pessemist

            After listening to the cashman interview i don’t see Giardi going anywhere. yankees are talking like they are willing to spend to lock him up, and it was pointed out earlier that the yamkees hVe Lmost 100,000,000 coming off the books in 2014 to help reform a good team soon. I don’t thinking he comes to chicago feeling the odds for a good team is better here.

        • On The Farm

          Someone will be smart enough to point out that since Theo was a life long Boston fan, he will refuse to sign anything Yankee related.

          • Wilbur

            Afraid I do not follow the logic in this thread. I don’t seeing any well run FO, and I would call the Cubs FO well run, firing a manager without already determining that there were in their assessment multiple better choices available.

            The choices may be folks with marginal success at the MLB level (i.e., Hinch) or the sexiest of all (i.e., Girardi) or someone in between. However, I can’t see that this ends badly as implied if Girardi is not the choice for whatever reason. I don’t see ego as an element in this FO, I didn’t see it in these folks prior MLB lives, nor do I think it plays a big role in most business decisions.

            Glad to be convinced otherwise if you’re seeing something else …

          • Patrick W.

            And somebody will be dumb enough to point out Girardi’s not Jewish.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Hey, they accept converts these days. (Actually, they always did: it was just a bit daunting for most guys….)

        • Kyle

          Huh, because I get the impression it would be “Theo brilliantly avoids Girardi, Will Assuredly Find Better Choice, It’s All Part Of The Plan.”

          • TWC

            Sure, maybe if it were two years ago. After two years of suckitude, the bloom has faded a bit from that rose.

  • Voice of Reason

    There is no way the Cubs can afford to replace Sveum with another “chance” manager.

    If they don’t land Girardi — who is obviously top choice — then they must replace Sveum with a manager who has a proven track record in the bigs. They cannot afford to roll the dice on Hinch, Ausmus, Bogar, etc.

    It will make the front office and the owners look foolish! The certain question will be, “They replaced Sveum with this guy?” The every day fan will continue to shake his/her head and say… “They keep losing, they fire their manager for this guy… they don’t know what they’re doing…”

    • CubbieBubba

      or they will take their protests to the streets, just like they did after Quade.

      • Brian Peters

        Sarcasm? Nicely done.

    • mjhurdle

      If they are firing a manager for any reason other then they were unsatisfied with his performance, then we are already in trouble.

      They fired Sveum because he wasn’t the right guy for the job. Now they need to hire the guy who they feel IS the right guy for the job, not just some manager re-tread so that random fans can feel better about themselves.

      • Ron Roberts

        Sort of off topic of Sveum’s firing, this from Carrie Muskat’s post: “Sveum’s coaching staff, which included his former Brewers teammates, Chris Bosio and Rob Deer, were also dismissed, although some could be retained, depending on the new Cubs manager. The club told the coaches on Monday they are free to investigate other jobs.” No one has even mentioned this that I can see. Are the coaches gone or what? Does anybody know?

        • ssckelley

          Yes, it is up to the new manager to hire his staff.

  • DarthHater

    On the plus side, the hiring of Hinch would make it easy for people to immediately begin demanding his firing.

    • MichiganGoat

      Good point… FIRE ALL THE MANAGERS

  • Jason Powers

    No doubt on the relationship fit. He fits like peas and carrots (Gump ref).

    Rank: Girardi, A.J. Hinch, Ausmus

    Hinch won’t wow with these fans…inside baseball guys will applaud it.

    Girardi is the most popular, most resume successful, definitely not gonna get the FO canned if he doesn’t turn this into a 95-win juggernaut in 2 seasons.

    Ausmus: he’d be a bench coach for the Cubs. Maybe we construct a Manager staff around 2 of those 3??? Just because we are looking for really smart guys right? (Northwestern, Stanford, Dartmouth)

    • Jason Powers

      1) Girardi MGR, Ausmus Bench Coach
      2) AJ Hinch, Ausmus Bench
      3) Find another manager to put in the hopper.

      I have nothing against Jamie Quirk. But, maybe we are grooming one if the other fails??? Contingency planning..

    • CubbieBubba

      I agree, except I probably rank Ausmus above Hinch for the same reason you rank Hinch above Ausmus. Though Ausmus doesn’t have the experience that has so far been a stated requirement – outside of a brief, though successful stint in the WBC.
      Girardi buys them 2 more years of patience, which the Cubs may need more than anything at this point.

      • Jason Powers

        That’s fair.

        Certainly this IS the FO criteria:
        1) College educated from a heavy weight university
        2) Between 39-49 years old – personally can related to MGMT
        3) Known to be analytical, intelligent, able to work well with others (from an equals or mgmt level relationship)
        4) Known Success in some aspect: player development, scouting, field MGMT, pitching staff MGMT

        Ausmus is/was known for pitching staff control. AJ has the player development & scouting. Girardi the front-line MGR success. So we are looking to blend those aspects.

        But I do not have much worry that they will get the guy they can work with.

        • DarthHater

          5) Jewish

          ::runs for cover::

          • Jason Powers

            Well culturally that could be at play. (We don’t know these guys…seem like guys that would be able to do all-night bull sessions, drink the good stuff, and eat pizza, and do glory days.)

            But in public, they put their IVY league faces on – lights camera action!

          • Wilbur

            As a Roman Catholic if that’s what it takes to win a WSC I may need to consider changing ecclesiastical teams …

            • Jason Powers

              Let us pray…

  • Kevin

    It’s time for the Cubs to make a BIG statement and hire Girardi at any cost. Fans need to know this front office is serious about winning. Even if the Cubs are 2 years away from fielding a competitive team, it extremely important for the fans to know the Cubs are serious about winning even if it’s a couple years down the road.

    • bbmoney

      I’m not a fan of doing anything as a statement or at any cost.

      That’s the kind of mentality that leads moves that can really hurt teams in the long term.

      • mjhurdle

        agree 100% with this.

        • Eternal pessemist

          Yep. Cooler heads will prevail. If he is going to sign for money he will be in NY. If he wants to bring a championship to chicago for a discount, then he will come to Chicago. I doubt he will be our guy. You just can’t spend unlimited funds on one guy.

      • 1060Ivy

        Yup, as it’s perfectly clear that anything the Cubs organization does that increases spending = losing.

        • bbmoney

          I have no idea what that means.

  • Chad Arndt

    Why is nobody discussing Dave Martinez? Joe Maddens right hand man, former Cub.

    • Kevin

      Because his involvement with Ryno’s former wife.

  • jmc

    FO not serious about winning next year. new manager is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic the next year. Give me a break

  • Oswego chris

    Hate to douse cold water on the Girardi flames, but I just don’t see it happening…one big misnomer is Chicago being home for Girardi and his family…hasn’t lived here in 7 years and he only has two brothers living in the area…his kids home is in New York

    If the Yankees want him back, he is going to be a Yankee…he met with Cashman today…

    Personally I would see if Mike Maddux is ready to leave Texas

    • itzscott

      >> one big misnomer is Chicago being home for Girardi and his family…hasn’t lived here in 7 years and he only has two brothers living in the area <<

      Boy, does this one sound familiar!

      I lived in Chicago all my life and just like Girardi moved to NYC 7 years ago for a job offer. I have to say that in this time, Chicago is in my rear view mirror and I'd be very hard pressed to move back to Chicago…. where I also have family.

      Most likely, like Girardi and his family…. I actually like living here more than I did living in Chicago.

      • clark addison

        Also, Girardi spent more years in Yankee pinstripes than in Cubbie blue.

        • Scotti

          Girardi was in the Cubs org for a combined 10 years and he’s been in the Yankee org a combined 9. He also grew up in Peoria and went to Northwestern.

          On the “Sounding Familiar” front… My wife and I had moved out of state and, after 7 years away, we moved back primarily so our son could grow up near extended family. I have no idea what the Girardi family is going through personally but I’m sure it is unique since every family’s needs are unique.

      • Rmalm

        Same here – it’s hard to go back to Chicago now that I’ve lived here a while. If I’m Girardi, the only reason I’m going to the Cubs if I’m convinced the talent of the Yankees will continue to decline, based on who Cashman will be putting out there.

    • Jason Powers

      The kids will adjust. They aren’t so old (say 15) as to be unable to adapt right away.

      It depends on whether Joe wants to call Chicago home after he is done. He could very well like New York over Chicago as a living situation. But I think cost of living factors into that….even when you will make over 3 million a year.

      For example: if you make $400K in NY(Queens) and go to Chicago, you could get by on 305K.

      Maybe Cashman made him an offer he can’t refuse. Or Kim is tired of the moving.

      He’s gotta weigh a bunch of factors. He could do the TV thing…so, it’s a choice with a myriad of factors.

      • Hee Seop Chode

        I was going to write a well researched response about how taxes are higher in Illinois, but it turns out they aren’t. The New York State Income Tax for personal income greater than $1,500,000 is 8.82%, while it is 5.00% for all IL residents. Neither city has an income tax.

        • Hee Seop Chode

          Correction: NYC has an individual income tax of up to 3.648%. So yea, the Big Apple costs more. I’m sure his $3MM a year are sufficient to feed his family.

          • Wilbur

            Not for Bear’s placekickers …

          • Jason Powers

            And while I did not factor that in, I pretty much figured that it was not 20%+ difference on the tax front.

            I suspect Joe knows and loves both places. But something might drive him back. Unfinished business? A chance to be a WALKING GOD if the Cubs win a world series.???..I’d do it. Last move ever.

            If Joe wins another WS in NYC in 2016/17 (project 2 years minimum), what does he get for that? (Many have done it before in NYC…)

          • MightyBear

            There’s actually a NYC city tax and depending on where you live ie Manhattan, there is an additional city tax. Moreover New York has one of the highest state income taxes and there are large county property taxes. Also, a large sales tax.

  • itzscott

    Here’s the way I look at it:

    When they had the #2 draft pick this past summer, everyone said that Theo HAD to get this one right.

    At this point I have to say the same thing about replacing Sveum…. Theo HAS to get this one right.

  • http://yahoo robert w pfauth cedar spring / grand rapids michigan

    ebstien and Hoyer there is a retired sussisfull Mgr. You could bring to the north side and he made St Louise world series champions I pick Toney Larosa .

    • cubsfanforever


    • DarthHater

      This is now my all-time favorite comment.

    • TWC

      Just. Amazing.

      • Fishin Phil

        Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the U.S. Education System at work!

        • Wilbur

          Funny …

        • DarthHater

          I’m sure the Grand Rapids, Michigan, School District would like to claim credit – if only they could spell credit.

          • Gutshot5820

            Must be one of MichiganGoat’s students.

            • TWC

              Obvious joke is obvious.

            • DarthHater


            • mjhurdle

              i expect a better effort from the next attempt.

    • bbmoney

      I’d expect someone win my hometown in their name to be able to type or spell and hate LaRussa

    • jon

      This is the greatest post ever. Ever.

    • On The Farm

      There is a lot going on in this comment here

    • DarthHater

      Brett, you need to forward this comment to the Facebook Cubs guys.

    • Eternal pessemist

      Is that toney, like in a porn sense?

  • jon

    I want a manager that is going to make average players great players.

    • On The Farm

      Frank agrees with you

    • DarthHater

      Now, if we could just find a few average players…

      • dumbledoresacubsfan

        Damn. /dead

  • ssckelley

    Any other former catchers that we can throw into the mix? Jody Davis doing anything? How about bringing back Koyie Hill to be a player/manager?

    • jon

      Gary Carter?

      • Jason Powers

        Poor Gary. I couldn’t believe ‘the kid’ left so soon. RIP.

    • YourResidentJag

      Jason Varitek anyone?

      • itzscott

        Koye Hill

    • Scotti

      Zonk or bust!

      • TWC

        If it gets him out of the broadcast booth, I’m all for it.

    • chrisfchi

      Yogi Berra

  • Jono

    I like that he is a former catcher. Seems to be a pattern. And I like that we can just call him AJ. That’s cool.

    • WNebCub

      Hector Villanueva….

  • EQ76

    So I hate Tony LaRussa, but if hiring him means getting Dave Duncan as the pitching coach, shouldn’t we be okay with that??

    • justinjabs

      What’s wrong with Bosio?

    • cubfanincardinalland

      Just the image of Tony LaGenius in dealing with the Chicago media makes me laugh. LaRussa is one of the biggest prima donna babies in sports history. Chicago would eat him up. St. Louis writers were scared to death of him, kissed his ass for 2 decades.
      And hands down the most overrated manager in modern baseball. Should have won about 5 more world series with the stacked teams he had, almost always found a way to overmanage and screw it up. Go back and look at those A’s teams, full of great players, and he won 1 championship.
      And to think LaRussa would be a good choice to manage a team of young players is laughable. He always hated rookies, fought all the time not to have to play the young guys.

  • Kevin

    How about Harry Chiti?

  • jj

    Here’s a candidate with experience as a player, coach, manager, and working with the farm system: Joey Amalfitano. Perfect fit.

    • ssckelley

      Not a former catcher, do not want!

  • Steve

    If Joe does not take the job now he will never have a chance to manage here and could be his biggest regret if the Cubs somehow pull a World Series or 2 out of the sky. On the flip side Theo will be the laughing stock of the off season for another miscalculation. He wants a guy with experience etc. who else is left to choose from Hinch so he can add onto the fraternity!? First time Theo has gotten a C in his life. That is my assessment of his performance so far. Malholm for Arodys, Cashner for boy Rizzo, signing of 8-18 Edwin. Hmmmmm

    • Wilbur

      I think that if Girardi did come to Chicago it would be for the reason you just mentioned. It’s now or risk never having the chance to manage the Cubs, let alone win a WS with them. Sometimes opportunities in life do not reappear …

      As for the rest of the comment, don’t see it …

  • Cheryl

    You really want controversy, hatred, eyc., etc, etc, and journalists not knowing what to do – hire a woman manager. That would set everybody off. (P.S.: Kidding, it’d never happen, at least not for 150 years.)

  • Steve

    Todd Hundley

  • MightyBear

    I say we hire Charlie Manuel. He fits all the criteria.

  • Die hard

    No way unless its him to FO and Bud Black as mgr which I reported another ago as likely choice

  • Spoda17

    No chance Girardi comes to the Cubs

  • Steve

    I just thought about this, I think Ozzie once said this good players make a good manager, bad players makes a bad manager. So, maybe firing Svuem was not totally the right thing especially if Girardi sits out a year as manager to return in 2015 and the Cubs lock in another manager for 3 years and the Cubs under achieve they are out a great opportunity for sure a tough call and a risky call for the front office at this point in time.

  • Frank

    Is Leo Durocher still dead?

  • One-Ring

    Is Preston Gomez available?

  • Cleanup Poster

    Maybe Campana would like to manage the Cubs

    • TWC

      The pitching changes would be lightning-quick!