Although the process continues largely behind the scenes, it was a relatively busy weekend in managerial tidbits, so let’s catch up …
- Bob Nightengale caused quite a stir when he tweeted that, “The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be Cubs manager.” That may well be true, and there were indications prior to Nightengale’s tweet that Renteria was the current favorite among the guys who’d been interviewed thus far. That said, given the ongoing process – including recent reports of interest in Torey Lovullo and Mike Maddux – it’s hard to square things like “staggering” and “clear cut favorite” with a continuing process. Renteria as the current favorite? Sure. I could buy that, and that’s as far as I’ll go. Keep in mind: there are a number of voices involved in this search, and some might be pulling more strongly for some candidates, and not for others. That’s why it’s a process of drilling down, and getting to the right candidate.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell says his bench coach Torey Lovullo (in whom the Cubs reportedly have interest) is a “manager-in-waiting” and will eventually get a managerial job. Farrell praise of Lovullo was effusive, but he noted that he hopes any team interested in him will be sensitive to the Red Sox’s playoff run before reaching out to him.
- … speaking of which, there are conflicting reports out there about how the Cubs have dealt with their interest in Lovullo so far. Peter Gammons reported that the Cubs have “talked to” Lovullo about the job, but that further discussions will wait until after the World Series. Some folks took that to be Gammons reporting that the Cubs have interviewed Lovullo, but to me, it reads more like the Cubs reaching out to Lovullo to confirm that he would be interested in an interview if the Cubs held the position open for another week or two (otherwise, maybe they go ahead and make a decision now). Whether that actually happened, I can’t say – though I’m sure whatever has been done has been above-board. The Cubs front office isn’t going to do anything shady, especially with respect to the Boston front office.
- Indeed, at least one report out of Boston says the Cubs have not formally requested permission to talk to Lovullo about the job. They’ll wait until the World Series is over, if they want to wait on Lovullo, that is. To that point, Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs may act sooner (i.e., make a decision before the Red Sox are done).
- Dave Martinez, who was interviewed last week, told the Tampa Bay Times that he thinks his interview went well. He described the interview a little bit in that article, which is fun to check out. Lineup construction, in-game questions, and a video simulation. Cool. I’d think a lot of the focus was about non-in-game stuff, too.
- Dave Kaplan offers lengthy thoughts on many of the publicly-identified candidates, sounding a bit down on Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch, while sounding up on Rick Renteria and Dave Martinez. Kaplan then throws a curveball by suggesting that the guy the Cubs should actually hire is the guy that doesn’t appear to have ever emerged as a serious candidate: Brad Ausmus. The current San Diego executive has already been interviewed by the Nationals for their open spot, but has not been interviewed by the Cubs (who do reportedly like him, at least).
- Sahadev Sharma hears that part of the reason new names have been popping up since the initial wave of interviews is because the Cubs didn’t feel like they got a perfect fit yet or didn’t feel like some of the interviews went well. That is not to say the initial candidates have been eliminated, it’s just a process of making sure.
- Bruce Levine says the Cubs are considering Alex Cora as a possible coach.
- As of this morning, Jim Leyland apparently is stepping down as manager of the Tigers (he’s 68). So that’s another job to be filled.