The World Series could be over by tonight, which could accelerate all open managerial searches for a number of reasons (a simplistic one: say the Tigers and Cubs are waiting on Torey Lovullo, and maybe the Mariners want Rick Renteria, but he’s waiting on the Cubs and Tigers, and so forth).
- Remember when Brad Ausmus was a vogue dark horse candidate for the Cubs’ gig, and then wasn’t mentioned at all, and then was pretty much mentioned only by Dave Kaplan? Well, Patrick Mooney is picking up the torch, and reporting that multiple sources say the Cubs have indeed discussed Ausmus as a possible candidate internally. Currently a special assistant in the Padres’ front office, Ausmus has already been interviewed by the Nationals and the Tigers this year for their openings, and is clearly viewed around baseball as an up-and-coming future manager. The Cubs are not yet believed to have interviewed, or requested to interview, Ausmus for their opening.
- So what do we make of the way things have played out with respect to Ausmus? He was an under-the-radar candidate, and then quickly dismissed as a legitimate possibility. Then interest in him picked up from other teams, and his name started to pop up again. And now he’s being mentioned as a maybe possibility for the Cubs. The most logical explanation is that Ausmus has a fan or two in the front office, but didn’t quite have enough support to be brought in initially as a candidate. As a wave of interviews proceeded and – I’m speculating – nobody knocked it out of the park, those pushing for Ausmus started have their voice(s) heard a little more clearly. From there, we’ll see what happens. I don’t think it makes Ausmus a kind of fallback candidate. Instead, I think we’re just seeing the front office take a very, very measured and thorough approach to this hiring decision after the last go-around ended after just two years.
- The other candidate with whom the Cubs haven’t yet met is Torey Lovullo, the bench coach on the verge of a championship with the Red Sox. It can’t have been easy for him to constantly deal with questions about a job (or jobs) for which he can’t yet interview while he’s trying to do his current job at the very highest level. But, as he’s been asked those questions, he’s had nothing but complimentary things to say about the Cubs and their current front office (much of which comes from Boston, where their time overlapped slightly with Lovullo’s). Lovullo is expected to be interviewed by the Cubs shortly after the World Series ends, so that could come later this week.
- Eric Wedge was yesterday’s interviewee, and he’s something more of a known quantity than the Ausmus/Lovullo/Renteria types that otherwise seem to lead the pack, although there’s no word just yet on how his interview went. Wedge left his job managing the Seattle Mariners after this season, despite management’s desire to bring him back. According to Wedge, the decision was not contract related, but instead was tied to a difference of opinion on the organizational philosophy the Mariners had adopted (from an outside perspective, I would describe that philosophy as: try a million different possible ideas, from signing six DHs to moving the walls in, to trading away successful pitchers, to yo-yo’ing prospects … ). Wedge would have preferred a more consistent, long-term, stick-with-the-vision-even-though-it-might-suck-for-a-bit approach. If nothing else, that certainly seems appropriate for the future of the Cubs.