It’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.