Obsessive Manager Watch: Epstein Hints at Candidates, Ross Gets Love, Ibañez, Girardi, Pevey, More

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Obsessive Manager Watch: Epstein Hints at Candidates, Ross Gets Love, Ibañez, Girardi, Pevey, More

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs have no manager, and we don’t know who the manager is definitely going to be.

Because of the way the Cubs transitioned from Rick Renteria to Joe Maddon – canning Renteria explicitly so they could hire Maddon – they haven’t been in this manager-less state in six years. It’s a weird spot.

Among many other things, President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein addressed the managerial void and search process at today’s end-of-season presser, and, while he didn’t get into too many specifics. There were a variety of beans that he spilled:

  • David Ross is indeed on the Cubs’ initial list of candidates, and the fact that he has intimacy and familiarity with the players from the 2016 championship will not necessarily help OR hurt him in the process. It will truly be a question of whether he’s the right guy going forward. Epstein made it very clear that he doesn’t want to be backward looking at all.
  • At least one member of the current coaching staff is also on the initial list of candidates, and he’ll be meeting with the staff tomorrow, so he declined to name names. The most likely is bench coach Mark Loretta, who seems to have the kind of pedigree for current managerial targets (lots of front office experience, player development experience, big league coaching experience, and a communication conduit between the front office and the players). It’s possible that it could be Tommy Hottovy or Anthony Iapoce, but I tend to think there was a reason the Cubs brought Loretta in last year in the first place. He’s an option.
  • And at least one person who is currently working for a playoff team is on the initial list of candidates. Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada is going to be the big name speculated about, I reckon, because of his impressive experience with the Astros and Yankees. There are loads of other potential candidates, though. I’m just saying that Espada is a name you’re going to hear about – and other teams with openings will be interested, too.
  • Epstein declined to comment on any specific names outside of Ross (since he’s already in the Cubs organization, and he already spoke about it last night).
  • The interview process figures to start up, according to Epstein, sometime next week.

Other bits on the managerial search process …

  • The players’ perspective on the next manager may not be a decisive factor, particularly if the front office is looking to change the culture, but it’s not a non-factor. To that end, Grandpa Rossy still gets plenty of love:

  • Understandably, given his success in a major market, his home in Chicago, and his connection to the Cubs, Joe Girardi is going to come in for plenty of speculation. Indeed, he’s the guy Dave Kaplan is already stumping for. The question I’d have is whether Girardi’s style would play with the Cubs’ clubhouse (his failure to connect in the clubhouse was the primary reason cited by Brian Cashman for Girardi’s dismissal after a decade), or with what the front office is looking for.
  • Then again, Patrick Mooney’s writeup on the Maddon dismissal suggests part of what the front office is looking for is a little more “red ass, someone who will push different buttons and get in players’ faces.”
  • A long-rumored name in managerial circles could be a Cubs candidate:

  • More on Ibañez soon if we get a little more confirmation that he’s in the mix, once the Cubs move past the “big list” stage.
  • I wonder if the Cubs would have this conversation, as Pevey is certainly extremely well-liked and respected in the organization:

  • Pevey, 56, has a long post-playing career as a minor league manager, a minor league coordinator, and a big league coach. And, hey, not that it’s a direct translation by any means, but he did help lead the Iowa Cubs to their first postseason appearance in a long time despite massive shuffling in and out on his roster. After 10 years in the Cubs organization, it might at least be worth a conversation.
  • This is just a good read about what lies ahead for the Cubs:

  • The obligatory early odds, which don’t surprise me much:


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.