While 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.