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.

  • HVAC Bob

    Former catcher. Knows the Cubs organization. Has a World Series Championship. Why not Bob Brenly?

    • Voice of Reason

      I really like the brenly idea.

      He had some bad feelings about the old owners but don’t think he has problem with ricketts or the front office.

      He has won a world series.

      I love the brenly idea!

    • another JP

      Because Brenly did nothing but bitch about Castro. I’m certain Starlin would just love BBs “motivational techniques.” And I imagine Theo must be thrilled with the way Brenly ditched the Cubs for the Snakes and acted all snarky when doing games between the two teams this season.

      • http://It'searly Mike F

        There you go capitol idea. Consult a dummy who hit .245 and lacked focus. Maybe Theo should consult him and get him to sign off his choice….. Oh yeah, he should stop at Starbucks and get him coffee and a croissant first….

        • X the Cubs Fan

          He was one of the best young shortstops in the league just two years ago but Svuem and his crew insisted on trying to make him a high BB%, patient hitter which is not what he does. Castro’s “see-the-ball-hit-the-ball” approach was working just fine and even in the last month of this season he went back to his approach and was playing good baseball.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            It was the FO wanted to do this: they correctly realized that Castro’s value was going to be limited while he was a “see ball, hit ball” batter with limited power because such guys depend entirely on the graces of BABiP. Castro also was not particularly successful in the last part of the season: but, that was due largely to BABiP, I think.

            • http://It'searly Mike F

              I think the issue is they have completely abandoned the right point and might as well bring back Rudy. The perception is that Castro, won and now is his own hitting instructor.

              My point is, I think there was a point to what they did, just think it was clear Castro didn’t have the capacity to be a disciplined ML hitter. Flat out when we was surround by better hitters and no focus, he seemed better than he was.

              Once ML pitching saw just how undisciplined he was, they adjusted and continued to push with no adjustment by Castro. He has been exposed. If he’s the reason Sveum was dumped, it wasn’t good. And most disturbing is how little his performance this year seems to bother him. A.J. Finch won’t change that dynamic, very very poor fit in my view. At least Brenly has the balls to make it interesting.

              All that said, anyone not named JG and possibly LaRussa will be a huge disappointment to the fan base and maybe owner. If he wins won’t matter, but if he loses…….

            • TOOT

              Did not want to bring it up, but Castro has been sliding since the rape charge. I don’t know if that has anything to with it, but I will put on the table for discussion.

              • MichiganGoat

                But you had to anyway hmmm

                • TOOT

                  It realy is a legit issue.

        • Crazyhorse

          Starbucks – that poor guy that spotted Theo , but at least Theo did come out and eventually say that man almost ruin the secret meeting between the Cubs . I doubt Boston misses Theo, his counterpart is doing a better job and the Redsox are in the post season. But the parallel joke is funny. Crazy!

          • http://It'searly Mike F

            Way too much damn excuse making for Castro, he is a fart in a wind storm. I get that all seasons are up and down to some extent, but HOF players and elite guys get it, they don’t take failure lightly and don’t make excuses. Sorry, this is not Sveum’s fault. Castro lacks power and discipline. See the ball and hit the ball is to some extent in Starlin’s situation an adjective for undisciplined. He’s never been a high OBP guy and never will. And as undisciplined as he is, I really believe they wanted him to up his OBP and get better pitches to hit and drive.

            Last year the excuse was he had his whole family and the money situation played into his performance drop. They rewarded him with a 70 Million and his offense was worse, and even after they told him ignore what we ask of everyone else and your do your own thing, he hit only .269 and that was by donating the leadoff spot to him. He’s not worth the fuss. He simply isn’t a pivotal player. I don’t think he has the capacity to adjust to what intelligent pitching does to him. He is to me a very dull player that familiarity in the majors has breed contempt for. Pitchers simply have dominated him. Tools can only take you so far. I think Starlin is lacking very much if you put him on a exalted pedestal.

            I like Starbucks a lot…. Cool place…..

            • mjhurdle

              Castro had the highest WAR of his career last year.
              but ya, that dam batting average sucks at the .283 (not the .268 that you created) that he hit last year…

  • MightyBear

    I say we bring back Charlie Grimm or Frank Chance. Jolly Charlie won the most pennants but Frank won our only two championships.

  • Brian Peters

    Rick and Paul Rueschel, anyone? Rick could manage Monday-Saturday and Paul could do Sundays.

    • MightyBear

      Buffets and cargo planes to carry them would cost too much. Ricketts has notes to pay.

  • MightyBear

    How about a goat to manage the team? Maybe one from Michigan? Maybe that would break the curse.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah that would also explode BN the hate, bile, and screams would choke the interwebz.

      • MightyBear

        What? I’m shocked! I believe there would be nothing but love for MMG.

        At least until 90 losses.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Well, it would be nice to have a manager that we can roast literally instead of just figuratively if things get desperate.

  • Brian Peters

    Lmao!!! I didn’t expect that answer!

  • Oswego Chris

    One year too late on Francona

  • auggie55

    I thought Hinch was a moron when he managed the D-Backs. I’m happy Sveum has been fired, but I won’t be if Hinch is his replacement.

    I think we’re just hearing some names being thrown out there to try and throw us off the path of who the Cubs really intend on hiring and that’s Girardi.

    • caryatid62

      Anyone who manages the Cubs (or any team, for that matter) will likely be considered a moron by a large chunk of the fanbase within 3/4 of his first season.

      • mjhurdle

        very true.
        Cardinal fans have been going at Matheny off and on all year. So even success doesn’t make a manager moron proof.
        If the team wins, it is because of good players, if a team loses, it is because the manager pulled a player too early, or didn’t call that obvious hit and run, or isn’t getting the most out of his players.

  • Ed — pretty much sums up my feelings on hiring Hinch.

    • cubmig

      Lol….Didn’t even have to put on the sound and I agree…………….it all means “no, ne, nej, nee, hindi, den, lo, nyet, nein, non…”

  • Popeye

    I don’t think that Charlie Manuel is busy these days.

  • Die hard

    Don Kessinger would make great mgr and he knows how to get thru to kids based on college success and vets as Sox mgr and former player and coach

  • Patrick W.

    Ok, who had Don Kessinger in the “Who the heck is Die hard?” pool?

    Come collect.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Damn: I had Henry Kissinger. A guy who is willing to bomb the enemy when his allies won’t agree to peace terms would be a great motivator, right?

      • Patrick W.

        Close. I had Jeff Keppinger.

    • MichiganGoat

      Die hard is just trying to hedge his Bud Black prediction, I expect we will see dozens of predictions so he can claim he had predicted the manager all along.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Every time I hear “Bud Black,” I get this amusing little sketch in my head where the Anheuser Busch CEO gets the idea that adding black ink to Budweiser might make people think that his beer has flavor.

        (It also involves learning of his childhood accident with a bottlerocket going up his nose and an extremely rotten chicken in his trash can.)

  • Cub Lew

    Hank White 4 manager!!

    • Cleanup Poster

      Or Walter White

    • http://Bleachernation Jay

      Yes & Glenallen Hill as the hitting c

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Was reading on MLB trade rumors about the Cubs arbitration expected numbers. Dang, Barney should get over 2 million next season. Seems like a big number to be paying a 0 WAR player. They speculate that the Cubs will be possibly shopping Barney, and Samardzija if he won’t sign an extension this winter. They think he would bring a big haul with two years of control left.

  • Jason Powers

    First Sam Fuld getting an insurance run last night.
    Marlon Byrd, Mr. won’t walk, goes deep.
    Ex-Cubs doing the playoffs….

    • bbmoney

      Did you miss DeJesus last night too?

    • Jason Powers

      I missed Kim. 😉

  • cub2014

    cubs gave up on marlon 2 quickly after the
    beaning. 2012 has been his only bad year

    • Eternal pessemist

      Hindsight is a wonderful thing…but yes!

      • X The Cubs Fan

        He was on steroids, Theo probably knew the whole time.

        • Eternal pessemist

          He was probably pushing the needle in.

  • Brian Peters


  • Dean

    Ricketts/Theo go balls out for Girardi, just like Tom went after Theo when he was looking for a GM. Great fit. But can they convince Joe to take the job?

  • Chef Brian

    I thought we robbed the Padres FO of all the talented execs. Do we really need to add insult to injury?

  • Die hard

    Girardi wants 5 mil for 5 years and 3 Jumbotrons won’t be enuf for that — Kessinger would sign one year for 1 million and see what happens– win win

    • MichiganGoat

      So just so we can track your predictions are you saying Black or Kessinger will be the next manager?

      • Die hard

        If Kessinger is interested its his to lose

  • Chef Brian

    I thought Diehard said Frank Black was going to be next Cub’s manager?

    • hookersorcake


  • cubmig

    I like Bob Brenly. Imo, he expressed enough frustration over some of the game situations that went sour when he was our color commentator to indicate he’d be on top of things. His eye on and thoughts about players also told me, at least, he had ideas about improving their play—either at bat or on the field. Obviously, he couldn’t open up as a Cubs hire; criticism would cross the line. He has a son (Michael) in the minors, so I’m sure “Dad” is very well aware of a youngster’s life in the minors. I know it’s probably a non-starter, but if one is looking for a guy with experience, insight and perspective, Brenly should get a look.

  • Die hard

    Kessinger would rekindle some of that old time feeling for Cub fans and would be great bridge past til now — he would be great for Castro and good steady influence– worth a dime for Theo to make the call

    • MichiganGoat

      Oh you’ve said this about so many people I can’t even keep track of everyone you’ve mentioned.

      • Die hard

        Need something to bring the fans back and with a winner like Kessinger don’t need a Jumbotron

        • MichiganGoat

          Okay so Bud Black is off the die hard train?

          • Die hard

            Black is logical choice but Kessinger would be sentimental choice

            • MichiganGoat

              Any other horses you wanna place a bet on this race?

            • Jason Powers

              Need Joe Don Baker as Sheriff Buford Pusser. He’ll bust some heads in that dugout if you cross em! (Some of my kin had run-ins with the Sheriff…we’s moonshiners!)

        • DocPeterWimsey

          The vast majority of Cubs fans no longer remember Kessinger. As for what he could offer Castro, I have no idea: Kessinger’s idea of a successful PA was not striking out. I have no idea if he’s caught on to modern baseball, but I wouldn’t take the chance that his mindset is still pre-WeaverBall.

    • Jason Powers

      He’s running a real estate business in Oxford, MS. Die hard, he’s looking for partners!
      The Gas House Gang Rides Again!

      • CubsFaninMS

        Oxford huh? That’s not far from my stomping ground. John Grisham also has a home in Oxford. It’s a small town full of hoity-toities.

        • willis

          I love Oxford. Wonderful town and wonderful restaurants. We have season tix to football and basketball so I take that hour drive from Memphis down there plenty.

        • YourResidentJag

          College towns tend to be that way. I know I got my master’s degree in higher education administration. Oxford OH is the same way.

    • mjhurdle

      pretty sure no one cares about bridges.
      fans just want to win

  • macpete22
  • bbmoney

    I’m a bit behind…. But day dude Bp with a “nice” play. Couldn’t of happened to a better former gold glover

  • Crazyhorse

    A.J. Hinch should not be on any teams list to be a field manager. His background is more of a baseball executive that helps develop players and he seems to be good at that occupation. A crossover to field management is a gamble and although he has had limited experience he is better suited to be an organizational leader. He seems like a very capable person but his failures as a manager and his lack of experience to manipulate a 25man rosters into a full season grind is wishful thinking at best.CRAzy

  • Kevin

    Mike & Greg Maddux

  • Fastball

    Ron Washington can get this organization jacked up and playing ball. LOL…

  • Aaron


    Diamonds fired their manager A.J. Hinch on July 2, 2010, whose team was 34 games under .500 in his less than one full season on the job.

    At a news conference on that day, managing partner Ken Kendrick said the firings came after a 30-day review of the entire organization.

    “The evaluation that we made basically drew us to a conclusion that a change was necessary,” he said, “hopefully to bring a new energy to the club and to the organization.”

    Team president Derrick Hall said the baseball operations department needed new leadership.

    “There’s been a lot of underperforming,” Hall said. “I think we all know that. I think the players would be the first to tell you that they’ve underperformed.”

    The baseball department needed the changes at the top before any decisions are made on player trades, Hall said.

  • Cheryl

    I wonder how deep the evaluation process goes. There are certain players, especially Castro, who don’t seem to concentrate on the game. He can be brilliant and then be in another world, so to speak. But, he’s not alone. I hope the FO does well this time around. But we won’t know how good the pick is until next year. I’d like to see someone who doesn’t have some kind of a tie-in to Boston or San Diego. I doubt Girardi will come to Chicago. He’s pretty settled in New York.

  • Andy

    Hinch has a psychology degree. Here’s hoping he has a little Joe Madden in him.