In some ways, it feels like the Chicago Cubs’ managerial search is only just starting today. Whether Joe Girardi was, in fact, the Cubs’ top candidate, he had certainly become the conscious focus of “the story.” He has now elected to stay in New York, and the Cubs can move on. That, too, is merely a “story,” of course, given that the Cubs have already started interviewing candidates without the Girardi surname.
- As expected, Girardi couched his decision in his family’s happiness in, and desire to stay in, New York. Girardi told the media that he was aware of the Cubs’ reported interest (as in, he can read), but that nothing reached any kind of offer stage (because obviously). He added: “As far as the Cubs fans, as I said, this involved my family. I have a lot of fond memories back in Chicago, but I have kids now and a wife. Everyone has to be on board with what we’re doing. I wish them nothing but the best of luck.” I question whether Girardi was ever particularly interested in coming to Chicago, or if he savvily utilized their reported interest to leverage an additional year out of the Yankees. By the time this week rolled around, surely he knew where his family wanted to be – and surely they were a driving factor in his decision. I don’t blame Girardi, the Yankees, or the Cubs a lick for how this played out. The Cubs may have been used, but it doesn’t look like it impacted their search process in any meaningful way. Fans who saw this search as “Girardi/Not Girardi” will simply have to remember that, by their own hand, the Cubs never had a real shot at Girardi in the first place.
- Speaking of that search process, Matt Abbatacola reports that Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez will be in for an interview next week. We’d heard Martinez’s name mentioned (a little bit last time around, too), but the Cubs weren’t free to contact the Rays about speaking to him until after his team had exited the playoffs. Martinez is a former Cub, though it was brief, and many years ago – I’d question how much his experience with the Cubs in the mid-to-late-80s would bear on his ability to understand the “idiosyncrasies” of the Chicago Cubs of the last 10 years. More importantly, Martinez has been working under one of the best managers in the game for the last six seasons. A chance to learn more about him in an interview should certainly be welcomed.
- Abbatacola also mentions that San Diego bench coach Rick Renteria should be in for an interview next week, as well, and ESPN agrees. Abbatacola calls Renteria the “early favorite,” as does Buster Olney. Renteria has been the bench coach in San Diego for three years, and was a coach with the Padres for three years before that. Prior to his time with the Padres, he was a long-time minor league manager. Renteria also managed the Mexican team in the WBC.
- Right now, the names clearly in play are Manny Acta (already interviewed once), A.J. Hinch (already interviewed once), Rick Renteria (interviewing next week), and Dave Martinez (interviewing next week). Sandy Alomar, Mike Maddux, Torey Lovullo, and others have been rumored/speculated, but that’s all at this point.
- Ozzie Guillen was asked about the Cubs’ job – not by the Cubs – and he was almost over the top in expressing his desire to be the manager of the Cubs. That won’t happen, and I seriously doubt even a coaching position would open up for Guillen, even as entertaining as that could be.
- Several commenters last night indicated that Bruce Levine said on Sports Talk Live with Dave Kaplan that he hears Greg Maddux wants the Cubs’ managerial gig, with Mike Maddux as pitching coach, Bobby Cox as bench coach, and Henry Blanco as bullpen coach. I was not watching last night, and I cannot find any repackaged video of that particular moment, so I can’t personally vouch for what Levine said. He has previously indicated that Maddux could be interested in the job, however, so it’s plausible. Anyone have a transcript or a video to review? Either way, that precise setup coming into play seems unlikely. (UPDATE: Kaplan reached out to Maddux, who said that he was not interested in the Cubs’ job, instead preferring to spend the summers with his family.)