brad ausmusWe might never know why things played out like they did, but, today, according to multiple reports, Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus is interviewing for the open Chicago Cubs managerial position.

Initially an off-the-wall suggestion by Peter Gammons, and then a casually discarded possibility by “sources,” Ausmus is now a legitimate candidate for the Cubs’ position, and could be among the last to be interviewed (together with Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, as soon as the Cubs seek and receive permission to interview him). The Cubs are planning to have the position filled by the start of the GM Meetings (November 11).

Here’s what I wrote about Ausmus’s candidacy earlier this week, and it still holds true:

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.

Give the guy an interview, and see if he can dazzle, right? What’s the harm?

Ausmus, 44, is an up-and-comer whose only managerial experience is with Team Israel this year in the WBC qualifying tournament. Hiring him after Dale Sveum was let go would be something of a risk, but it would also be an opportunity to potentially nab the right young guy before the rest of the baseball world latches on (of course, he’s already interviewed with the Nationals and Tigers (and the Red Sox a couple years ago), so it’s not quite a secret). As for his chops, he was a catcher in the big leagues for almost two decades before joining the Padres’ front office as a Special Assistant in late 2010. That would be the same San Diego front office that featured Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod, and other familiar faces.

We’ll see what’s said when the interviews are through, but try to remember: the new thing isn’t always the best thing just because it’s new. Ausmus’s credentials will have to be evaluated alongside the other candidates, and there’s a paper argument to be made that he’s A.J. Hinch without the managerial experience. Does that make him better or worse? I doubt we’re in a position to know.

A hat tip to Julie DiCaro, who was first to note Ausmus’s presence in Chicago today.

  • toby

    Jesse Rogers tweeted that Renteria will get the Cubs job sometime next week.

    • roz

      It’s just his prediction.

      • someday…2015?

        @thekapman: More from same source: “Renteria definitely front runner but they’re considering talking to Lovullo. I think Renteria probably gets gig.”

        @thekapman: More con’t: “Cubs really were out in front on Ausmus weeks ago but they want proven teacher. Renteria will be good. Search very thorough.”

        Looks like Renteria is the man.

        • someday…2015?

          More from Kap…

          @thekapman: Just hung up w/great MLB source. “Cubs search has been really detailed + while Ausmus is hot name, Renteria makes more sense for this job.”

  • mjhurdle

    Personally, i think Ausmus is going to make a great manager.
    But im a computer programmer specializing in .Net web apps with SQL backends. I don’t get paid for my MLB manager opinions. Good for the Tigers, but i understand why Ausmus might be too big of a gamble for the Front Office. He had some really good qualities, and some giant unknowns. Time will tell.

    • Scotti

      I am not one to heap this sort of praise upon the FO but the last minute interest in Ausmus could have been a way to get the Tigers to move on him (they were reportedly waiting on Lovullo as well).

      • mjhurdle

        it would not surprise me if this was the case.
        I like Ausmus, but i honestly have no great reason why, beyond that i am sold on is rugged good looks and his reputation as an intelligent player.

        • Scotti

          Perhaps it WAS his rugged good looks that had Theo and Hoyer calling him in for a looksee… Never hurts to check out the eye-candy.

    • Jason Powers

      What sort of stuff do you typically do?

      Not a programmer, but do analysis and would like to do more in the baseball realm.

      Ausmus at least is on a win now team.

      And he will relate well with their veterans, one would think, being only 3 years removed from the game.

      • mjhurdle

        i work for a medium sized logistics company that handles shipping for a good amount of pretty recognizable companies. I build and maintain the web interfaces that link back to databases to process, track, and display the raw data back to people. As is probably evident, most of my work involves designing systems to make that raw data meaningful to a casual consumer.

  • Jason Powers

    Lovullo has a nice resume with:
    1) Foreign playing in Japan
    2) UCLA grad
    3) minor league manager
    4) Boston, Cleveland, Oakland, Toronto stops

    So when is he interviewing?

    • someday…2015?

      Don’t know when he’s interviewing but it sure sounds like it’s down to him and Renteria. I just hope a decision is made by then end of next week.

      • someday…2015?

        the end of next week*