Obsessive New Manager Watch: Manny Acta Reportedly Interviewing

manny actaWhile everyone else waits on Joe Girardi’s Yankees decision, the Chicago Cubs are setting about their managerial search unabated.

That, according to Dave Kaplan, who drops a massive report today full of new details on the search. It should go without saying, but it’s a report you’ll want to read.

Kaplan notes that the Cubs have already spoken to managerial candidate A.J. Hinch, who has been discussed here before, and that they may be considering San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria (kudos to ESPN Radio in Cedar Rapids for mentioning to me during an interview of me that Renteria could/should be a candidate – that’s why you’ve got to tune in for the radio spots, folks!). Other reports, including one from Bruce Miles, confirmed Kaplan’s information on Hinch and Renteria. Indeed, Miles says an interview with Renteria will come later this week or next week.

Kaplan also downplays the seriousness of the Cubs’ interest in Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., who was a candidate for the Cubs’ last vacancy.

The real meat of Kaplan’s report, however, is word that former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta is currently in Chicago to meet with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer (a portion also confirmed by Bruce Miles). Acta, 44, has been mentioned as a candidate for the Cubs gig before, and is popular among the sabermetric crowd, having been one of the forerunners – in the managerial world, that is – of the statistically-heavy concepts.

Acta was the Dale Sveum of the Washington Nationals’ rebuild, serving as their manager while the team plunged to the depths of its worst records, and saw some of its young players emerge on the big league roster. Before that, Acta managed in the minor leagues before becoming a Major League coach with the Expos and then Mets, all before he was out of his early 30s.

After his stint with the Nationals, Acta was hired almost immediately by the Indians, choosing them over the Astros, who’d also sought to hire him. Acta was let go after the 2012 season, and has taken some time as an analyst. Clearly, despite the poor records, Acta has been a desirable managerial candidate over the years, and I suppose it’s likely that he’ll land another managerial job before he hangs ‘em up. Again, he’s just 44, despite the long track record.

Given his work with young teams, and his statistical bent, it’s easy to see why Acta is among the Cubs’ non-Girardi managerial candidates.

Aside: That the Cubs may be formally interviewing Acta today – I say “may” be not because I doubt Kaplan’s reporting, but instead because we don’t know to what extent this is a full-on formal interview, or just a chat – is interesting, given the depressed fanfare. Remember the 2011 process? When a guy came in for an interview, it was an intentional media circus, with a media interview being part of the Cubs’ interview process. Perhaps that will happen later in the process, or perhaps the Cubs have changed their approach this time around. Or perhaps they’re simply not going to get to that stage until they know whether Girardi is going to be available or not.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

97 responses to “Obsessive New Manager Watch: Manny Acta Reportedly Interviewing”

  1. aCubsFan

    And, maybe for Acta, since his have worked lately for ESPN and his previous managerial stints they don’t need to see how he plays to the media, they probably have all the tape on his press conferences to review.

  2. Brian Peters

    Excellent coverage, as always! To your last paragraph, Brett, I say this: Theo hinted, I believe, that this search was going to be different in the sense that the candidates most likely would not face the media. Could it be that the Cubs are taking the more “subdued” road while they pick their guy?

  3. Mike F

    Theo has to begin to be asked what winning has to do with it. In the candidates above the answer is easy, nothing……

    1. Eric

      I….I don’t understand…..

      1. MichiganGoat

        Acta does have a great win/loss record so therefore he isn’t a good manager and lacks the leadership needed to be successful… at least that what I think he’s hinting at.

        1. MichiganGoat

          sorry DOES NOT have a great W/L record

    2. Chef Brian

      So I guess you think the only criteria with which to judge a managerial candidate is wins? Since there has never been a successful manager that started off his career with a losing record.

  4. jon

    We talk about “developing players” but young players like Jimenez, Klube, Kipnis.Masterson all took major steps forward after Acta left. Myself, I am not found about this hire. He quotes some cool sabermetrics shit, but that’s about it.

    1. ClevelandCubsFan

      Yeah I feel like (being in Cleveland, though not following the Tribe anywhere like I follow the Cubs) the general sense was that Acta had talent that should have gone further and been more productive than it was. Not saying Acta ever had a tremendously talented team, but he had some good teams that underperformed.

      That’s kinda how I feel about the 2013 Cubs. They were a better talent team than they performed.

      That’s what makes me nervous about an Acta hiring.

      1. CubChymyst

        Wasn’t Acta not playing Chisenhall in favor of a veteran last year. I think Chisenhall spent most of his time on the bench in Cleveland in 2012.

        1. Kyle

          That seems kind of justifiable considering that Chisenhall sucks.

          1. CubChymyst

            Look at the other players that got time over Chisenhall at 3rd in 2012. Chisenhall was the best hitter of the bunch (granted it is not a strong bunch). It was Chisenhall 2nd year in the majors after being one of the top prospects for the Indians. Granted the stats make his defense look below average (small sample) and suggest he struggles with lefties. However, he still could of gotten a lot more at bats as the left side of a platoon. I can’t think of much of justification of Lillibridge getting as many at bats as Chisenhall that year.

    2. Professor Snarks

      I don’t know anything about Manny Acta, but there does seem to be some similarities with Sveum. Manages a young, bad, team, and is fired before the BIG star prospects come up.
      Yeah, no thanks.

    3. Cub Style

      I think I’m missing something here. Players developed and Manny Acta was a part of it.

      1. jon

        http://espn.go.com/blog/spring-training/post/_/id/331/chris-perez-not-a-fan-of-manny-acta

        “”I was wondering where we were going,” Perez said. “Stuff wasn’t getting better with Manny as our manager. I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. He’s very stubborn and he doesn’t really use input well, so I was getting frustrated. I thought, ‘If we have the same guy next year, it’s going to be the same stuff.’

        “When Francona came on board, that kind of changed the mindset. To me, that signaled that I have a good chance of staying here. Then he came and sat down with me in Tampa [Fla.] and that cemented it even more. With the moves we made, we’re not rebuilding. We’re here to win this year.”

        Is this the guy you want working with Castro….Rizzo?

        1. bbmoney

          Anecdotal evidence from a pitcher who’s not very good and has had his own issues over the last year even under Tito.

          1. jon

            Not good? He made the All-Star team in 2011 and 2012.

            1. bbmoney

              Correct, he stinks. All-Star games are a terrible judge of talent. fWAR he’s at 0.0 the last three years combined.

              Not that a pot arrest is so terrible in my book. But the way in which he was arrested for pot this year shows he’s not neccessarily the brightest light on the tree.

        2. Eric

          So we should consult Chris Perez on whom we should hire as manager.

          1. jon

            Not at all. It’s just a piece of evidence that questions his abilities when it comes to player development and communication. You could also point out the numerous younger internal players that had much more better seasons under Tito this year as well.

  5. I-CubsFanBoy

    Can I get an Alan Trammell anyone? I mean as long as we’re considering multiple candidates who been “thrown under the bus” in organizational rebuilds. Tram spent 4 years building the Tiger teams Jim Leyland later took to the World Series, he showed proficient in game managing ability filling in for Lou Pinella when he was the Cubs bench coach, and I can tell you from watching him during spring training in Mesa that he’s gifted at working with emerging talent. In fact, he’s already developed an extremely positive relationship with one young Cubs player; Starlin Castro.

    1. Fishin Phil

      I always liked Trammell, what is he doing these days?

    2. Myles

      I actually like this idea.

  6. jayrig5

    I think Theo said in the Sveum press conference that they probably wouldn’t be having the media interview candidates this time.

  7. Thad

    If we’re going old school I’d like to see Jim Tracy get a look at the manager job. Thought he did a great job developing cubs prospects

  8. SalukiHawk

    Manny Acta has a very Jim Riggleman feel about him…great baseball guy; well liked and regarded, but never put it together as a skipper. Was it because he has lousy teams, or because he MADE lousy teams? After a number of chances, once can’t help but conclude that for whatever reason, he can’t put it together as a manager. People skills? Coaching? Motivation? A guy who perhaps knows a lot and knows a lot of people, but doesn’t have the winning instinct for whatever reason.

    1. YourResidentJag

      I think he did have the players to make him more successful. He spent years in Washington when the organization was at a low point.

  9. Die hard

    Ozzie is in the house?

    1. chrisfchi

      No

      1. DarthHater

        Every day, Die hard must nominate a different former shortstop to be the next manager, because we all know that hiring a former shortstop is the key to helping Castro.

        1. Jason Powers

          We could dig up Honus Wagner…bury him at SS in Wrigley. Maybe Castro will:
          1) Soak up the Honus spirit
          2) Or be too freaked to play there, And Javier Baez, says “WTF, I’m game!”
          3) Expect a trade to an AL team (Tampa)

          2&3 being a likely. ;)

        2. Cubbie Blues

          They have to be Hispanic or Jewish though.

          1. cubbiesOHcubbies

            well Juan Epstein from Welcome back Kotter is probably his dream managerial candidate then…..

  10. Cedlandrum

    There is a feeling of blah for me over this whole managerial search. I mean Girardi would be fine, but the rest of the guys are retreads for the most part. I mean with the exception of Renteria. In the end though, it won’t matter if we have an outfield of Lake, Scherholtz, and Sweeney, with Barney holding down 2nd.

    1. Hee Seop Chode

      “In the end though, it won’t matter if we have an outfield of Lake, Scherholtz, and Sweeney, with Barney holding down 2nd.”

      This.

  11. BD

    I agree with the above comment regarding Acta’s development of young players. I don’t know that there is much proof that he is especially good at it (or even above average). I have similar feelings regarding Girardi.

    I would love if the Cubs poached Joe Maddon, but short of that, they somebody with those types of credentials at developing players. Tampa is always infusing young players into their team, and they still compete. Maybe Dave Martinez then, if he has anything to do with it. I know managers like that are likely not going anywhere (for good reason), but coaches involved with that type of development would seem ideal. Almost preferred over managing experience.

  12. I-CubsFanBoy

    To Fishin’ Phil….Trammell has been Kirk Gibson’s bench coach in Arizona through their post rebuild success. He joined the D-Backs when they were at a similar point in organizational development as the Cubs are right now. Just another selling point as far as I’m concerned.

    1. Fishin Phil

      Even better.

      1. wilbur

        Trammel would be a good alternative; he is no more old school or non sabre than Girardi is. I think he would be a fine hire. I’d rather have someone that can work with players and manage games to try and win than someone who can manage numbers to try and win arguments that are best kept off the field and out of the clubhouse.. If you don’t know when to use the stats and when not to, you’re not going to gain a thing by having the information. That’s what a good manager can tell you. That’s why Girardi would be a good hire, as would Trammel.

        The Dodgers have a team option on Mattingly for 2014, will probably require compensation to Dodgers to pry him away from there if the Yankees want to go that route. Cashman’s contract runs out after 2014, and the Yankees are trying to be under the luxury tax trigger for 2014. And the Yankees will be enmeshed in the A-Rod lawsuits and arbitration for at least the next year, so much of the time will be spent with lawyers. So the Yankees have a very unsettled situation to present to Girardi. If the Yankees haven’t extended Cashman yet why would a manager chose to extend? The yankees could be looking for a new gm in a years time. If not sooner. A team that is merely rebuilding with promising young players may look like a walk in the park (nice ballpark too) in comparison.

    2. Blackhawks1963

      The problem with Trammell is that he’s viewed as “old school” and does not embrace (or grasp) sabermetrics, etc. I can’t see him being a TheoJed guy under any circumstance.

  13. jt

    It is known that Theo does not want the likes of Grady Little.
    Grady did not communicate well with the FO’s attempt to meddle with all things computer.
    It is also known that Terry Francona worked well with the FO and integrated all things computer into his managerial style.
    I don’t know a thing about Acta. From Brett’s report it seems he fits the Francona profile more than that of Little.

  14. I-CubsFanBoy

    To Cedlandrum: I take your point, but don’t forget that most great managers are at some point “retreads”. Joe Torre had several horrible seasons with the Braves and Cardinals before the Yankees have him a chance to become one the greatest managers in history. Terry Francona had a similar situation in Philly before joining the Red Sox. You can’t expect everyone to step into instant success like they’re Tony LaRussa or Earl Weaver, those guys are the exception not the rule. The nature of the profession is that most managers get their first chance in less than ideal circumstances.

    1. Cedlandrum

      I struggle with the Joe Torre one of the greatest managers in history statement. He had resources no other manager other then Girardi has ever had. I understand your point with retreads becoming great, but for every Torre and Larussa, there are 20 other managers who had multiple chances and didn’t get the job done.

  15. Blackhawks1963

    There are a host of successful managers in the game who did not fare well in their intial manager roles. Tony LaRussa bombed with the White Sox, Terry Francona was fired in Philadelphia, Bobby Cox the same in Toronto, etc. etc.

    VERY simplistic therefore to automatically write off AJ Hinch or Manny Acta. People grow into becoming a good manager. And a manager is LARGELY a product of the organization he works for and the talent as his disposal.

    Sandy Alomar has been passed over multiple times for multiple jobs in recent years. Where there is smoke there is fire. I’ll defer to TheoJed if they have passed on him.

    1. I-CubsFanBoy

      I agree with most of your post, but Tony LaRussa did not “bomb” with the White Sox. He and Dave Duncan, marched in, reworked the pitching staff and won the AL West in 1983 (first Sox post season in 25 years). “The Hawk” Harrelson shortly thereafter filed LaRussa for having the audacity to know what he was talking about.

      1. Patrick W.

        Would we all get behind Tony LaRussa as manager? Just curious.

        1. Voice of Reason

          Uuuuummmm…. yes! Tony LaRussa AND Dave Duncan, please!!

  16. Kevin

    How about the Sarge?

  17. David

    Brett,

    There are too many comments for me to check to see if this has been mentioned, but Theo already said that the very public nature of the last interview process and the media appearances by the candidates would not happen this time around.

  18. MightyBear

    This is off topic but the AFL starts tomorrow with the Mesa Soler Sox playing at 12:35 AZ time which is I believe 2:35 our time (AZ doesn’t have daylight savings so I’m not sure)

    I thought Brett/Luke would have a write up but maybe they’re waiting for tomorrow.

  19. ColoCubFan

    Pass

  20. Brian Peters

    If Girardi doesn’t come home, we gotta pick somebody. Everybody sound off: Who is an acceptable alternative to Girardi?

    1. jon

      IMG_0819-195×110.jpg

      1. jon

        IMG_0819-195×110.jpg

        1. jon

          fail, lmao

          1. Eternal Pessimist

            Come on Jon, give it the old college try again…now I’m really curious.

    2. YourResidentJag

      Ummm…Acta?

    3. Fishin Phil

      Dick Tidrow!

  21. Joe

    Be careful trusting Kap on things. While he has good sources, his reports/exclusives are really biased towards his sources. And the sources all know that….

    1. jon

      I personally thing he’s a douche when it comes to commentary, but he’s usually pretty plugged in when it comes to his sources.

  22. FastBall

    These guys are going to hire whomever they want. I’m just sitting back and waiting. I hope it’s not some guy without experience / success at the ML level. We don’t need somebody who is learning while in the chair. I don’t see these guys who have presided over losing teams in organizations that didn’t win or are not winning now. Knowing how to win is a big deal in my book. The FO and Ownership ought to step up and make this an impact hire. Anything less will result in the fanbase just shitting all over it before it even gets started. Cubs have gone the Cheopo Route the last two hires. Quade and Sveum were in line with cost reductions they wanted. If they are willing to pay JG then they should be willing to pay somebody else big $$ if it’s the right person and he can fill all the buckets. Hmmm since people are throwing out ridiculous names. How Bout Ditka. We need an intimidator in the dug out. Umpires will be scared. The players will learn how to bunt or get their assess kicked in the club house by The Man himself. Wrigley will sell out every game. Probably every stadium the Cubs played in next year would sell out. LOL I’m Kidding…. I vote for Brenly. He can do the job.

  23. fromthemitten

    do you think they may be interviewing people for coaching positions?

    1. Fishin Phil

      They said they were going to leave that up to the new manager, so I would say No.

  24. Cheryl

    I’m not as up on sabermetrics as the rest of you. If we threw that concept of measurement out completely and went by the older methods of judging managers who’d have the edge?

    1. DarthHater

      Tidrow.

      1. Cheryl

        Maybe he wouldn’t be half-bad. He’s certainly traveled a lot and been in a lot of different roles in baseball and with a lot of clubs including the Cubs, Yankees and Giants.

        1. Die hard

          Case closed

      2. MichiganGoat

        Well to be fair Girardi is the back up plan to Tidrow. Dick only needs one stat- and it is WAS Wins Above Stashe. Tidrow does not use metrics he is the metric.

        STASHE+ of 99999.99999
        WAS of infinity+stashe
        SSP (stash slap precentage) of 1.000 + stashe slap to da face

        Under Dick Rock, Paper, Scissors becomes Rock, Paper, Stashe and stashe always wins

  25. papad1945

    Chill out. Let’s have some fun. What about mad man Ozzie. I don’t The could handle that, but it would be fun.

  26. Die hard

    Ozzie would make sure Cubs are strong up the middle which is far from true now and he is very experienced and has been successful and he lives in Chicago and has matured and would take the heat off Theo and comes cheap if Cubs can take advantage of one year still owed to him and would boost attendance meaning Cubs could make part of salary based on attendance and he would attract Hispanic crowd which is lacking now– want any more reasons he’s favored over Kessinger?

  27. Rizzomaniac

    I nominate someone completely out of left field. Oregon st. Head coach Pat Casey.

  28. Obsessive New Manager Watch: No Response from Girardi Yet, Yankees Prepared to Wait | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

    […] Cubs are wise to proceed with their managerial search as though Girardi won’t be available (as it appears that they are). It could get tricky if the Cubs find someone they really like, but who is also being pursued by […]

  29. Bill

    What about Castro and Samardzija for Cargo

  30. Voice of Reason

    What about Bryant in left and solver in right? We have no room forctge injury prone cargo

    1. cub2014

      Soler is all potential, so far zero results.
      400 PA .288 with 8 HR. Do you want to
      wait 3 years to see if by chance he pans
      out?

      1. cub2014

        If I am in charge (and I am not) If possible
        I bring in CarGo and Choo . Then in 2014
        you have Lake keeping RF warm for Bryant
        Barney keeping 2B warm for Watkins or
        Alcantera and Olt keeping 3B warm for Baez
        Then 2014 will be a transition year with a
        potential chance at the playoffs. Will have
        to add a starting pitcher if no big splash
        (price or tanaka) then an innings guy like
        Arroyo. In 3 years you have the good problem
        of Almora and Soler knocking on the door.
        I really believe the FO knows they cant count
        on all these rookies being solid MLB players

      2. Voice of Reason

        I might be willing to add an outfield bat in year or two, but I certainly don’t want an outfielder in cargo who has proven that he cannot stay healthy for an entire year because he never has.

        Why would you want to trade one of our top prospects for someone who has never stayed healthy for an entire season?

      3. Jason Powers

        He best move up to the MLB roster by 2015. Get him through the system…if Yasiel Puig can do it after 262PA, he of a 6/42M contract, I think Soler should be able to after 600-800PA (of which he has 385 PA).

        Puig has provided 5.0WAR already!!! (4.0 Fangraphs)

        And Soler was a higher rated prospect than Puig, and is only about 14 months younger…

        Soler’s contract https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dEhlQ2VhNHpQQWhSVzh0dGlzUEtkQXc&output=html

        He’s making 2.66M (more than Scott Hairston) for 2014, 2015; all the way to 2020.

        Dude should be ready to go in 2015.

        Cost effective. Yes, But if he never pans, a waste of 30M.

        1. cub2014

          compare Puig minor league numbers to Soler
          Soler is not the same talent as Puig. Hasnt
          shown it yet so I wouldnt be counting on it

          1. MichiganGoat

            Solar was injured since ST so just how good he might be is still open.

          2. Jason Powers

            That’s why I am thinking another 400 ABs – 100 High A, 250 AA, 50 AAA should move him along. See him September 2014 in the MLB.

            We put 30M into him, what, about 4.5 times as much into him as Kris Bryant ($6,708,400). So I should expect he’s able to move quickly through the system…Injuries I allowed for – healthy 2014, he’s an always play.

            But you signed him thinking he was worth 30M. I suspect the ownership wants to see him up no later than September. No clock to worry about, that I am aware of. He’s on a 2020 deal end.

            1. cub2014

              Jason I hope you are right on Soler
              but I think all accounts are end of
              2015 with 2016 full season as the best
              case scenario. So I dont see how you
              can wait and hope he pans out.

              I know I am a bit optimistic but start
              2014 with Gonzalez-Choo-Lake in OF
              then when Bryant is ready he would
              replace Lake. But if I am the FO I am
              doing all in can to make that happen.

              1. Jason Powers

                If we dump 160M on Cargo (64) and Shoo (90-100, if Boras has his way…hint), well that will be a big.

                Soler has to be closer than 2016, I hope.

                1. cub2014

                  Cargo contract is a bargain and Choo
                  will be expensive, combined 26m/yr
                  that hadnt better be too expensive if so
                  this franchise is in trouble

                  1. Voice of Reason

                    Cargo makes $20 million dollars in final year of his deal. Cargo has never stayed healthy for an entire season.

                    For $20 million dollars I can do much, much better than an outfielder who is injured every year that he has been in the bigs. That’s every stinking year.

                    1. cub2014

                      In 4 full seasons he has missed on
                      average 30 games a year. His contract
                      does escalate over the next 4 years.
                      So please for the Cubs sake do much
                      better with that 20m in 2017. The fact
                      still remains we need some major league
                      hitters now.

                    2. ClevelandCubsFan

                      At $/WAR… I think Choo looks like a bargain…

        2. cub2014

          Kris Bryants numbers do compare to
          Puigs. I think we will see Bryant in 2014

          1. bbmoney

            kind of comparing a small sample to a small sample there. I’d be shocked if he’s in the bigs before September.

            But hopefully I’m wrong.

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