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manny actaIt’ll be a Girardi-free week in the Cubs’ managerial search, and the Cubs could narrow their focus rapidly and markedly. Indeed, you could say it’s bench coach week for the Cubs, with anticipated interviews of Rick Renteria and Dave Martinez – the Padres’ and Rays’ bench coaches, respectively – on tap.

  • For an excellent rundown of what the Cubs are looking for in their next manager, Patrick Mooney goes over the details. I significant focus that is emerging? A bilingual influence, be it in the manager’s seat or at least on the coaching staff. The previous staff was a markedly English-speaking one, but the developing prospect/young player core has a number of Latin Americans. Undoubtedly, the coaches do their best to communicate and the players do their best to learn, but fluency – just think about the nuances and subtleties that a batting coach, for example, tries to communicate – would be ideal.
  • Jesse Rogers also reports that the Cubs are looking for a Latin American influence in their search, be it at the managerial level or on the coaching staff. We may also see an uptick in Latin American presence among the minor league coaching group as well. (Careful about speculating on some of the managerial candidates being considered for coaching jobs – you’re not going to see Rick Renteria or Dave Martinez make a lateral move to the Cubs, and A.J. Hinch might not leave the front office for a coaching job. It’s conceivable – based on nothing more than current role, and the normal progression of other baseball men – that Manny Acta could consider a coaching role.)
  • Rogers’ piece suggests, by the way, that Sandy Alomar, Jr. – a finalist for the Cubs job in 2011 – is still a possibility for the Cubs, although he hasn’t yet been contacted. Alomar was recently moved off of the bench coach job for the Indians in favor of long-time Terry Francona bench coach Brad Mills. Alomar was moved to first base coach duties.
  • Renteria, 51, is apparently recovering from recent hip surgery. It isn’t expected to limit him with respect to possible managerial duties, and he’s expected to be good to go come Spring Training. Of course, with the Cubs’ luck, he’d likely require a follow-up procedure and would be on the 60-day DL to start the year.
  • Manny Acta, who has already been interviewed once for the Cubs’ gig, is getting a hearty endorsement from former Cub Luis Gonzalez. The two played together in the minors, where Gonzalez says Acta was already teaching teammates what he could.
  • A deeper look at A.J. Hinch, who has also reportedly been interviewed by the Cubs.
  • As the process goes on, I’d encourage folks to remember to consider each of the candidates on his own merits, instead of focusing on the fact that he is “not Joe Girardi.” That kind of mindset is essentially a bizarre post-hoc revisionism, and ignores the fact that we never really knew much about Girardi’s merits as a manager for this Chicago Cubs organization in the first place (he was going to be expensive, he used to be a Cub, and he’s had success managing the Yankees – that’s all that 99% of us actually knew about him with respect to this search process). If every managerial search was doomed to failure if it didn’t land an experienced, currently-successful, big name manager, then almost every search would be a failure. And the Cubs’ searches of the early and mid-2000s would have been deemed herculean successes.
  • Fishin Phil

    “Renteria, 51, is apparently recovering from recent hip surgery. It isn’t expected to limit him with respect to possible managerial duties, and he’s expected to be good to go come Spring Training. Of course, with the Cubs’ luck, he’d likely require a follow-up procedure and would be on the 60-day DL to start the year.”

    This would be much funnier if it weren’t so true.

    • Jon

      Time hasn’t been kind to Renteria, when I first saw his pic online, he looked like a 65 year old man.

  • TommyK

    The frustrating thing is I know nothing to differentiate these candidates or to convince me any of them is better than another (or the guy they fired, for that matter.) Just have to trust the process.

    • JM

      I feel the same way, but is most likely due to my not really knowing who these guys are, like Brett suggested.

    • Jono

      I pretty much feel the same, maaaybe except for Dave Martinez for learning under Maddon. I’m not really sure that means a whole lot, but at least it’s a tiny little something that he has that no one else has.

    • Jono

      In other words, none of these guys are going to put addition eyeballs on Wrigley ads

  • Mdavis

    Based on nothing but my gut feeling I feel like Acta could be the front runner. Would Alomar come with as the Bench Coach?

    • macpete22

      Was wondering that myself

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        I think Alomar loves the indians. I’m not sure he’d leave for a roughly lateral position.

  • JM

    Surprised more names haven’t surfaced. Regardless of their record, I would think guys would be lining up for a shot to win with the Cubs. Is it possible that the criteria set forth is keeping some names away?

    • pfk

      Just heard that Lee Elia is interested.

    • Jay

      The problem there is none of these guys is going to have the juice to demand a long-term deal, which means they’re just there to try to develop talent for the next manager after them and they have to know it. Not super-appealing.

  • http://permalink papad1945

    I read something on the net over the weekend about San Fran’s bench coach. I forgot his name, did anyone see the same article?

  • JB88

    Brett, no comment on Haugh’s hatchet piece in the Tribune today or should we expect a separate blog post on that?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I didn’t find it worth sharing.

    • http://CBSSports.com Matt Snyder

      He really, really needs to stop writing about baseball.

      • YourResidentJag

        He really needs to stop being a sportswriter. His “insights” on the Bears really aren’t.

  • Eric

    I haven’t seen many references about Girardi by anyone really, since he re-upped with the Yanks. I think Brett and I must must travel in different online circles.

    I really like what I’ve heard regarding Dave Martinez. I also like Acta. Outside of those two, I’d need to be convinced.

  • ETS

    “If every managerial search was doomed to failure if it didn’t land an experienced, currently-successful, big name manager, then almost every search would be a failure. And the Cubs’ searches of the early and mid-2000s would have been deemed herculean successes.”

    That’s a really great point.

  • Spriggs

    If they really are looking for a Latin coaching connections, I wonder if we might see Mariano Duncan or Mellow Carmello moved up from the minor league coaching ranks.

    • King Jeff

      I’ve thought Duncan would be a good manager for a while now. (Derek Jeter gives him a lot of credit for his development.) I would like to at least see him on the big league staff, but I think the FO likes how he works with the younger players.

  • Aaron

    Brett, Dave Martinez may be the best choice I see for the Cubs next manager.

    He may be free-spirited and energetic yet stern enough to make a positive impact with the team and more specifically helping our young players to relax, have some fun, be a little crazy at times, protect each other from distractions and learn how to play the game the right way.

    I believe Martinez could put together a solid coaching staff, given his vast contacts and how well he is liked throughout the league. He may not be the manager that brings the Cubs to the playoffs after 3 years, but he would be a breath of fresh air over the next 3 seasons while the team in learning and developing its player roster.

    • cubfanbob

      agreed,

    • CubbiesOHCubbies

      I don’t think the cubs needed Joe Girardi or Joe Maddon. They need the NEXT Joe Girardi or Joe Maddon. I feel out of all of these guys, Dave Martinez could be the best option for this. Of course he could just as easily be the next mike quade too…..

      • Jono

        Im starting to think the same thing

      • Boogens

        Just asking re: all the Dave Martinez love… aside from his proximity to Joe Maddon… what’s he done that gives anyone a genuine reason to think he’d be a great manager?

        • Jon

          He shagged Sandberg’s wife. That took balls. He’ll make a great manager.

          • Boogens

            Keyword was “genuine”.

        • Jono

          Nothing

    • Voice of Reason

      Aaron,

      You don’t know what Dave Martinez will do! For that reason, I don’t want him. Let him manage the Royals or the Mariners before we hire him. This is Chicago! Let’s not develop managers. Let’s hire a manager that is developed with a full background of success.

      I want to raise the bar around here. It seems like the Ricketts do too by whacking Sveum to try to land Girardi. Since we missed on the big fish, let’s not fish along the banks for the Dave Martinez’. Let’s stay in the deep water and get a manager who we KNOW can win because he has done so in the past.

      • Jono

        Hello. This is Earth. Have we met? ;)

      • King Jeff

        I’m sure that someone has pointed out that both Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker were established managers that were supposed to raise the bar, who were both equipped with backgrounds of success. The managers who are established are available for a reason, they are either too old and apathetic, or they are flawed and it keeps showing up. I don’t think any of the guys being interviewed are a perfect candidate, but I think the only way we get an established guy who is truly going to be a fit here is if the Cubs pay off a team to get someone under contract like Bochy or Maddon. None of the old recycled names who are established are a fit, unless you think Theo could talk LaRussa out of retirement.

        • Voice of Reason

          While I totally agree with your point about established managers that were supposed to raise the bar, I’ll still take a guy with a resume of success over the resume of someone who has nothing to list.

          There are managers out there who are proven winners and aren’t too old and will still have the fire inside to win. Find them. Interview them. Pick one of them.

          • Edwin

            Which managers are you talking about who are out there?

        • Brains

          There’s no way we’re getting a marquee manager. We refuse to make the MLB team better in the near future. Get over it guys, absolutely nothing is going to even begin to happy for 2-3 years. You’re running in place in the basement with no shoes on. We might as well goof around in the meantime instead of wasting our lives on idle speculation.

          • Brains

            Even worse, poor Brett has to put a smiley face on for the remainder of his 30s while the team wastes his free PR time.

        • Noah_I

          Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want Bochy if he was available. He is not someone who has been shown to be a good manager for younger players who may have growing pains, and he honestly lucked into the rotation. This is generally true of all managers. They typically luck into their talent, which they play no role in acquiring and little role in developing. But Bochy would cost too much for what he brings to the table, for me. Maddon (who isn’t available), at least does some interesting things with the numbers.

      • Noah_I

        So if prior success as an MLB manager is a prerequisite for you, then the Yankees hiring Joe Torre in 1996 was clearly a mistake. He had been a manager for 14 years before that, had a winning record in only 5 of those seasons, and had been to the playoffs only once (1982), and his team was swept by the Cardinals. In fact, Torre’s years managing the Cardinals (1990-1995), have been among the longest stretches of the Cardinals not being competitive in recent MLB history.

        The same would be true of Terry Francona in Boston, who in his four years managing the Phillies never had a winning season.

        In his 7 year managing prior to getting the A’s job, Bob Melvin had a winning record 3 times and made the playoffs once.

        On top of that, with Joe Girardi off the table, who is this manager with this amazing track record of success that is currently available and looking for a job? Davey Johnson retired. The Cubs aren’t bringing Dusty back. What, do you want the Cubs to bring in 70 year old Charlie Manuel?

        • Voice of Reason

          Off the top of my head, two come to mind:

          Bob Brenly
          Tony LaRussa

          • Noah_I

            There has been no indication anywhere that LaRussa (age 69) is looking for a job.

            And a lot of people in baseball believe that a team headed by two of the best pitchers in baseball (Johnson and Schilling were 2nd (Johnson)and tied for 10th (Schilling) in pitcher fWAR in 2000, and 1st and 2nd in 2001), won in spite of Brenly, largely due to his insanely bunt happy ways. And no one has hired Brenly in the 10 years since he left baseball.

            Brenly is a guy with a very short managing career who was handed over the best rotation in baseball, and it all fell apart very quickly despite Schilling and Johnson continuing to be great because the D-Backs developed no internal talent. He made it to the playoffs the first two seasons with a team he was handed, won the WS in one of them, then the team fell apart. He has shown that he can lead a team to sustained success (to the extent a manager has any power over that), to the same extent as Manny Acta. In other words, he hasn’t.

            • Voice of Reason

              No indications that LaRussa is looking for a job? So, let’s just pass him up? I’d like to be a little more aggressive than just saying, ,”He has shown no indication of LaRussa looking to return”. Give him millions of dollars of reasons.

              LaRussa and Duncan are the best manager/pitching coach combination in the HISTORY of the game, hands down.

              The front office needs to pick up the phone, if they already haven’t,and make a call to Tony.

              And, a lot of people can believe whatever they want about Brenly.

              The fact is, he lead the team to the World Series. All of the stiffs the Cubs are interviewing cannot say that.

              • mjhurdle

                “The fact is, he lead the team to the World Series”

                or “He was on the bench for a team that was good enough to get to the WS”.
                Im not saying Brenly is a bad manager, but i don’t think that you should go to the front of the line because you were handed the keys to a Porsche and it drove fast.

                As far as LaRussa, he also had a ton of talent to work with. Again, that doesn’t make him bad. But he was known for not playing rookies here in STL. He likes veterans, and doesn’t trust young players. Doesn’t sound like a great fit here.

                If the Cubs were a very talented team looking for an established manager that could simply keep that talent on track for the playoffs, then i would like LaRussa. But the Cubs are too far away for him to be a serious candidate imo.

                • Voice of Reason

                  I’d rather have a manager who drove the Porsche to the finish line and won instead of a coach who hasn’t even been inside the damn car!

                  And, you’re going to broad brush LaRussa with he had a bunch of talent? Boy, I can’t debate this point any further if that’s what you think of LaRussa!

                  • Jon

                    Larussa – Too drinky!

                  • Noah_I

                    You just don’t get it, which is the fun thing about these chains with you. There’s nothing that shows that a manager matters very much compared to the talent on the team. Tony LaRussa had a lot of very talented team in Oakland and St. Louis. Tony LaRussa had a lot of teams that won in Oakland and St. Louis. How much of the success goes to the talent (which LaRussa did not sign, draft, and largely did not develop), and how much goes to LaRussa? And is the amount that should go to LaRussa commensurate with spending millions of dollars on him?

                    • Voice of Reason

                      I don’t get it?

                      You’re going to type that LaRussa didn’t have much to do with winning in St. Louis and Oakland?

                      I don’t get it? Oh brother….

                    • Noah_I

                      Yes. I’m going to say that if, let’s say Davey Martinez, or Manny Acta, or Rick Renteria, or A.J. Hinch, or anyone else the Cubs are looking at or any other manager in baseball or person considered qualified to be a manager in baseball was given the same rosters at the same time period that LaRussa had with the A’s and Cardinals, the teams would have performed essentially the same over those periods of time. The good years would have been good, the bad years would have been bad. Their teams may not have won the World Series in the same year, and maybe you get one less or one more from another manager. Because managers do not overcome bad or mediocre talent, and there’s also no evidence that managers make good talent significantly better.

                  • mjhurdle

                    So you are denying that LaRussa worked with a lot of talent?
                    And if you admit that LaRussa had a ton of talent, then you are agreeing with my point that you have no idea what LaRussa would do with the Cubs because we dont have anywhere near that level of talent.
                    Not too mention i also pointed out the fact he is not known as a great manager for young teams. But you ignored that part…

                    • Voice of Reason

                      LaRussa had a lot of talent, but he also developed a lot of talent. He took players off the scrap heap, too.

                      That said, he is one of the best managers of all time and the best of his generation.

                      mjhurdle, where does Tony LaRussa rank in your mind in terms of all time great managers?

                    • Edwin

                      For what it’s worth, I think LaRussa was a great manager, and if he was looking to get back into managing, I’d love for the Cubs to pursue him. I just don’t think he’s interested, and I don’t think there is much the Cubs can do to make him interested.

                    • Noah_I

                      Who did LaRussa “develop”? How can you point to him “developing” the player as opposed to changes that would have been made otherwise?

                      Now, I’ll agree that Duncan improved a bunch of pitchers by focusing on inducing ground balls. But the Cardinals’ current pitching coach has had just as much success, and the Duncan mantra did not work for everyone. The Cardinals front office, however, was smart enough to cut ties when it was clear it wasn’t going to work.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      I can’t debate with you anymore whether or not Tony LaRussa was a great manager.

                      I don’t get it? Why do I even try….

                      I’ll stop here and say he is one of the best ever and the combination of LaRussa and Duncan is the best manager/pitching coach combination in the history of the game.

                    • Noah_I

                      And Edwin, I actually agree with you that LaRussa was a good manager. His bullpen use wasn’t great, but he was ahead of his time batting the pitcher 8th.

                      But the evidence shows that managers always get too much credit for success, and too much blame for failure. And that managerial success at one job does not indicate future managerial success. What indicates managerial success at both jobs is whether the players are good or not.

                    • Noah_I

                      So let’s say the 2013 Cubs would have had Tony LaRussa as their manager and Dave Duncan as their pitching coach. What do you think their record would have been?

                    • Jono

                      Noah- as far as I know, managers’ WAR doesn’t exist. But it would most likely be better. And we’ve seen the difference that even one game could make, ie, the Rangers this year. If the rangers won one more game, they would’ve been in the ALDS instead of the Rays.

                    • Jono

                      wait, I think I’m getting my series mixed up. You know what I mean

                    • Jono

                      ok, I meant to write that the Rangers would’ve been in the wild card game against the Indians if they only won one more game. Jeesh, sorry guys. I think I got it correct the second time

                    • mjhurdle

                      Totally agree Noah_I.
                      you could even say that the recent Cardinal success proves that it is more the result of a great FO than any manager they put in there. New manager, new pitching coach, losing Pujols, still really good. So either Matheny and Lilliquist are just as good as LaRussa and Duncan, or the Front Office is STL is doing a great job at putting talented players on the field.

                    • Noah_I

                      The “if they just could have won one more game” thing is such a cop out, though. There are a lot of teams that would have been in better situations if they just won “one more game.” Or just won “three more games.”

                      Saying that the Cubs would have been better under LaRussa is wholly speculative, though. Would LaRussa have not been forced to pitch Marmol early in the season in late game situations to try to increase his trade value? Would Duncan have made Samardzija into an ace? Would either have them have helped the anemic line up?

                      Every study into this issue, though, has shown that managers just don’t make a big difference. Now, maybe that could be changing with increased defensive shifts (which LaRussa did not do) or more teams batting the pitcher 8th (which LaRussa did do.)

                      But all the data shows managers get too much credit for good teams and too much blame for bad teams.

                    • Jono

                      it’s not a cop out. It’s true. It’s true for any team in that situation, I just used the Rangers as an example.

                      Speculative? Well, of course. I’m speculating that because LaRussa was a very good manager, he’d manage better than Sveum. Therefore, I can speculate that they would’ve won at least one extra game. One game can make a big difference in baseball. I’m not saying he’s the difference of 10 games. But even one or two games can make a huge difference for the next several Cubs seasons

              • Noah_I

                Ok, so how much money would you take away from player salary to give to LaRussa and Duncan? Because it would probably take $7 million a year to get LaRussa and $2 million to $3 million get Duncan. So would you be willing to take $7 or $8 million from player salaries for them? I certainly wouldn’t.

                • Voice of Reason

                  Yes I would

                  • Noah_I

                    Well then, I’m really glad you are not anywhere near the Cubs’ front office.

                    • Voice of Reason

                      Noah_I

                      Yet you’re not going to defend your statement that LaRussa didn’t have much to do with winning in St. Louis or Oakland?

                      Remember, it was part of the post where you said I didn’t get it????

                    • Noah_I

                      I did respond. Look above. And no, you don’t get it. Seriously, your viewpoint on this is why CEOs are given huge contracts with massive golden parachutes based on prior successes, when they are rarely able to repeat those successes.

              • Edwin

                Why do you think all it would take is money to get LaRussa interested? Tony has already made a lot of money throughout his career. At his age, is it really worth all the stress and time away from his family? I just don’t think money alone gets LaRussa back into the game. And other than money, I don’t see what the Cubs have to offer that he couldn’t get better from somewhere else.

                • mjhurdle

                  agreed. add to that Dave Duncan just lost his wife this year to a long struggle with cancer. No matter how much money you want to throw at him, he may just not want to enter the grind of an MLB season right now.

                  • YourResidentJag

                    I heard Duncan wants to get back into baseball. That’s why I wish McKay would at least garner an interview. You can always hire a Latino bench or basecoach.

          • Jono

            LaRussa was a great manager. Yes, he had talent, but he was also a great manager. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive. He didn’t become one of the most successful managers in history just because he has good rosters .He always got the best out of his players and his teams played with good fundementals. I’d love to get him, but If he didn’t want to manage the cardinals, he’s not gonna want to manage the Cubs. If there was a chance of getting LaRussa, his name would at least get mentioned.

            • Voice of Reason

              Thank you, Jono!

              You certainly do “get it”!

              • Edwin

                Still, of the two managers you wanted the Cubs to pursue, LaRussa seems like a long shot, for the reasons that have been mentioned above.

                Brenly just doesn’t seem to be that desirable, even with his WS win. He’s made it known he wants to manage, and plenty of teams have had an opportunity to bring him in, but no team has. Maybe these GM’s know something about Brenley that we don’t. I think, given the talent he had in Arizona, Brenley should have accomplished more. He didn’t.

                Look, I’d love for the Cubs to go after the kind of candidates that you mentioned above, but I just don’t see where those guys are out there. Sometimes, the market just isn’t what you want it to be.

    • YourResidentJag

      Tony Pena then needs consideration.

  • Blackhawks1963

    So we know several things.

    1. Manny Acta, AJ Hinch, Rick Renteria and Davey Martinez are the interview pool as things currently sit. Maybe another name or two gets added once Detroit, Boston, St. Louis and LA finish out their respective playoff runs (e.g., Jose Oquendo, Torey Lovullo).

    2. The focus “appears” to be on hiring a Latino or at least somebody who is bi-lingual.

    3. Previous managerial experience, either in the bigs or the minors, is an important criteria but not necessarily a deal breaker.

  • Aaron

    ‘‘Davey’s really well prepared. He understands the game very, very well,’’ said Joe Maddon, Rays manager, who says he has been able to use Dave Martinez’s uncommon communication skills and relationships with players to get what amounts to a second manager on his staff. Being a manager, that’s just the next step for him. He’s pretty much ready for that right now.’’

    • DarthHater

      Sounds like Maddon’s trying to get rid of him. I’d be cautious. :-P

      • CubbiesOHCubbies

        Good. At least somebody beat diehard to this comment. The only difference is diehard believes it to be true.

        • Brains

          two words: rob deer

  • Kev

    The reason why I love this site is that it’s the only Cubs blog that uses phrases like, “bizarre post-hoc revisionism.”

    Nice.

  • Brian Peters

    Disappointed that Renteria’s health is up in the air. He sounded like THEE guy.

  • itzscott

    Latin influence…. Lou Piniella, Preston Gomez, Rudy Jaramillo, etc.

    Been there, done that.

    How’d those guys work out for the Cubs?

    • Blackhawks1963

      Facepalm. A manager doesn’t trump the talent in place to win. You’re seriously going to label all Latino managers a failure because of past history in hiring a Latino manager in Chicago?!? Tinge of stereotyping to go with heavy dose of ignorance?

      Your post is Exhibit A for what is wrong with a lot of Cub fans…they place inordinate importance on the manager role. Is the manager important? Of course he is.

      • Kramden

        No…. I don’t think that’s the conclusion to be drawn at all. I think the poster is conveying that culture shouldn’t matter and the criterion should be best man for the job. All of those Latin managers and coaches managed and coached Latin players … Did it really make any difference?

        Cubs have had black managers coaching and managing black players. Did that make any difference?

        Best man for the job.., period.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      2 playoffs and 3 winning records? Worked pretty welll

    • Jon

      What was wrong with Jaramillo? At least he didn’t ruin Castro like his successor.

  • pfk

    Listening to the post game interviews during the playoffs, many of these guys can barely speak English. So I can see where having someone fluent in Spanish makes sense and, just as importantly, understanding the Latin culture. Tony LaRussa spoke fluent Spanish.

  • arta

    as long as he can manage/relate/teach i don’t care what language he speaks.

  • http://sportsdanny@blogspot.com Danny

    I find it amusing that the media is under the belief that “Latin American influence” is important for the next manager because of the “young latin players in the system”. Outside of Castro and Soler, Almora is from Florida and Baez has been in the US since 2005 and speaks fluent English – And Dave McKay is fluent in Spanish as was the pitching coach…They are going to hire the guy who they feel is the best “fit”…I think there is a candidate that has been talked about internally or has spoken with them already that isn’t on the media radar…remember Theo said they were going to do this search a little more “privately”…It makes you wonder if they are actually shooting for a manager of a current team – but I also think there may be someone on a current staff that they are interested in but cannot talk to until they are out of the playoffs

  • cavemencubbie

    One of my favorite movies is ‘Miracle’ the Disney story about Herb Brooks and the 1980 USA hockey team. I am never sure how historically honest Hollywood movies are, but I always wonder, if true, what Brooks saw in the players he selected. The quote was, “I’m not interested in the best players, Craig, but the right players.” Maybe hockey teams are not baseball teams, but I wonder if the MLB front offices and managers look for the best players not the right players; the players who have a will to win and refuse to quit? is this why the Cardinals seem to win most of the time in the playoffs?

    • Noah_I

      No, the Cardinals win because their players are really good. It’s not chemistry, it’s that they’re good. And they’ve invested in good young talent, keeping a consistent pipeline of inexpensive players to fill out holes on their Major League team.

      Well, that and the human sacrifice alter beneath Busch Stadium. That’s how they turn middling prospects into Allen Craig, David Freese, Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter.

      • Brains

        They also have invested in plenty of stars each year when needed to anchor the middle of the lineup, and they’ve signed their own guys to long generous contracts that make everyone happy. And they haven’t spent a year trying to sue their own neighborhood, as MichiganGoat has pointed out.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Indeed, the Cardinals have for the last two years *under* performed relative to their talent, in that they win fewer games than you would expect given their peripherals. Isn’t that supposed to mean lack of chemistry, grit, managerial panache, etc.?

        ;-)

  • Joe Newman

    How about luring Tony LaRussa out of retiring? He seemed to do ok with developing Latin players. (See Albert Pujols). That is, as long as he still has the fire in his belly & isn’t a tired old man like Lou Pinella!

    • Jon

      Fire in the belly and a needle of roids in hand.

    • BlameHendry

      The day the Cubs hire Tony LaRussa will be the day I stab myself in the eyes with a pen. He’s a great manager, but I don’t want any Cardinals filth associated with this team.

      • Voice of Reason

        Cardinals filth?
        If winning World Series is filth, what are the Cubs?

    • wilbur

      Pinella wasn’t too old or too tired, he was just fed up with the absurd way the franchise was run by Crane Kenny and Jim Hendry. When Pinella indirectly commented on this to the team lapdog media, they tagged lou as old and tired when he was really fed up and couldn’t blast his boss Hendry and Kenny every day in the press. So the media covered for the incompetence of Crane and Jim by bashing Lou.

      Do you remember Lou suggesting, after the cubs lost in the playoffs that he may need to suggest some books on leadership and winning, after Kenny was spending the cubs playoff run preparing a book about the cubs 100 years of losing, complete with his own little greek priest in the dug out vignette?

      And who can forget Lou asking for one left handed bat in the offseason and Hendry coming through with Milton Bradley after they dined together and Bradley looked Jim in the eyes and told him he wanted to be a cub. Ok that’s enough.

      Maybe Lou was too much of a pro to criticize his bosses publicly and just chose to go quietly even if it meant the lame labeling by the lazy and homer media that he was too old. Lou was tactful, but truthful. The media wouldn’t write the real story until hendry was done, then they piled on him too. When Pinella said that the cubs job was unique, and a really different challenge than he expected he was pointing to how messed up the Front Office and ownership was under the tribune. No one wrote that story, until after the fact. And that was the media’s failture as much as anything.

      And he could even speak spanish! Eso es!

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    I find it disconcerting that we are suggesting that a Latino MGR is the linchpin to the Cubs succeeding. Do not get me wrong, we need Latino/Spanish fluent coaches AND/or the Mgr. However, it seems quite a few teams are doing fine without that particular criteria being met. If communication was solely verbal, then it would hold more water. But communication is MORE non-verbal. The phrase, “show don’t tell” seems apropos to baseball. Most technical tweaks are about showing how, and instilling confidence in the approach, beyond the language barrier.

    If Dave Martinez, for example, excites, then hire him. If we think Brad Ausmus is the ticket, and we can find 2-3 Latino coaches to support him, do that.

    Nevertheless, it will be critical that 2014 display more vigor on getting a move toward .500 baseball.

  • BlameHendry

    Most of these candidates seem pretty mediocre to me. I just want to make sure our choice is NOT Acta or Hinch. Please, for the love of God, give us ANY of those other candidates over Acta or Hinch, proven losers.

    My personal hope is now on Dave Martinez, but getting my hopes up for anything with this team lately is dangerous…

  • preacherman86

    Any chance it could oquendo once the red birds finish up their year?

  • Aaron

    cavemencubbie – I wrote a blurb this morning about this point this morning. I believe the Cubs ownership and more specifically the FO understands this point and are drafting players who can can play the game but have the right “mindset” to prosper in the big leagues.

    I like the fact that the Cubs are having many of their top minor leaguers play together on the same teams, including the AFL team, so they can develop a close bond that they will need in playing for the Cubs, which is like playing in a big fish bowl.

    The Red Sox had an us vs the world mentality in breaking their curse. We’ll need the same thing. Guys who play smart and hard…every inning…every play…every at bat. And a manager that will protect his players, but also hold them accountable.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “The Red Sox had an us vs the world mentality in breaking their curse. ”

      The ’04 Sox had a +.105 OPS and a run-differential of 181. Unlike Piniella’s Cubs, the winning Sox teams went into the playoffs having played very good baseball in the prior month.

      As for Tito, he was a very easy-going manager. He didn’t associate what happened in the clubhouse with what happened on the field: either that, or he saw a strong correlation between “rowdy frathouse” and “annual post-season ticket sales” and stuck with it!

  • Aaron

    “He didn’t associate what happened in the clubhouse with what happened on the field.”

    DocPeterWimsey…are you nuts?

  • Die hard

    Who woulda thunk dat Cubs need a Spanish speaking mgr? Could never have figured? Waddya know? Surprise surprise as Gomer would say to Andy? Which makes Girardi hoopla pure nonsense unless he speaks it fluently ? Likely next Cubs mgr on team still playing and so all this search stuff is just that- stuff

  • Die hard

    How about Manny Mota? He would be great and has perfect background and experience? Or is he too Hispanic for the job? Keep your eyes on that because would be a shock if Ricketts would commit to someone actually from the DR– we will see

    • DarthHater

      And the geriatric parade continues.

      • Jon

        Bonus points for this one at least being alive?

  • Cheryl

    Bilingualism may be a plus but doesn’t it come down to who’s the best fit? If candidate A has a superb record but doesn’t speak Spanish and candidate B speaks Spanish is well thought of but doesn’t have the experience of A I would think there’d be no question that they’d go with A.

    • wilbur

      If language is the key criteria then they had better find a japanese speaking manger if they are going to pursue Tanaka. Right? Some of the young players may just be uncoachable in any language, not just english, so getting a spanish speaker maybe be a foolish way to hire a manager. If that is what the cubs are going to use to determine their manager hire, they may as well put their sabremetrics, their new carmen program, their new sports vu data collection system and place it in the dumpster next to the team santo memorabilia. Los numeros no estan importante, solo el idioma del cabras.

  • aCubsFan

    Very intriguing interview with a potential manager candidate. http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/torey-lovullo-future-big-league-manager/

  • MattM

    You guys can speak about chemistry not helping etc., but I can tell you from a business standpoint and working in Human Resources that employee engagement works. It has done and will do forever. It’s what makes our military the most professional in the world. It’s turned around corporations regardless of what the pay has been.

    There was one article I read a couple of years ago that talked about the Cardinals losing a extra inning game and once the players got of the field they were in the clubhouse hanging their heads. LaRussa and the other coaches came in and gave them a standing ovation for the effort they put forth and told them that they won that game even though the score did not reflect it.

    You all may think that being rich that kind of psychological approach doesn’t work but I can tell you it DOES work and has worked and always will work on human beings. Conversely, look at how the Red Sox played last year with Bobby Valentine. The Cubs teams under Pinella had no fire to speak of. Despite what you all say Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez on more than one occasion showed a complete lack of care in certain situations and to be honest Starlin Castro has been that way as well.

    Calling players out in the media does not help that situation and in fact makes it worse. Under LaRussa I’ve seen a catcher develop into a base stealer as well as every single player from Berkman to Drew play as hard as they could no matter what. Do think that would have been a big difference in 2007 and 2008? Absolutely! The culture of ANY organization is EVERYTHING! Yes absolutely you need talent but think about this….Microsoft has as many smart talented individuals as Apple and Google, but on almost every occasion Apple and Google is leading in innovation.

    Look at Southwest Airlines as well…..they are INSANELY profitable and have been since the 70’s. Other airlines paid more yet underperformed.

    LaRussa was the MASTER at employee engagement. Our team would do well to start taking some of those strategies and start putting them to work because they do.

    • cub2014

      MattM, you nailed it. Winning
      requires discipline,talent and
      willingness to pickup the slack
      for other employees for the sake
      of the company (franchise).

    • mjhurdle

      While i tend to agree with the general theme that employee engagement is helpful, i also think you are over-estimating it.
      I think that most teams attempt to engage their players in some way or the other. And it just so happens that you hear about teams with extremely talented players having “chemistry” more than teams without talent. Did you know what level of “chemistry” the Houston Astros had this year? Would it have mattered?
      And just as a pet peeve…LaRussa did not demand that every player played hard. Pujols and Molina in particular have taken a lot of heat for not running out ground balls or seeming to take plays/ABs off. One of the Cardinal commentators even mentioned that on air during a game once and caused a big dust-up with Tony. Tony is more of a ‘let veterans do their thing’ types. Jim Edmonds used to come up with creative fake injuries to get out of Spring Training all the time here for the Cardinals.

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