Obsessive Manager Watch: Girardi's Interview Complete, Ross Goes Today, Why Ross Remains a Top Candidate

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Obsessive Manager Watch: Girardi’s Interview Complete, Ross Goes Today, Why Ross Remains a Top Candidate

Chicago Cubs

There are now eight managerial vacancies to sort out, which is the most in a single offseason in a long time, as far as I can recall. Interestingly, though, you don’t get the sense that there’s a ton of overlap between the Cubs’ list of candidates and that of other clubs, perhaps outside Joe Espada and another new name added by Gordon Wittenmyer …

  • Joe Girardi’s interview with the Cubs took place at the team’s offices outside Wrigley Field yesterday, with Girardi off from his coverage work during the Astros/Rays series:

  • As you can see there, Wittenmyer adds Yankees Special Assistant Carlos Beltran to the list of candidates for the Cubs, though, like Astros bench coach Joe Espada, an interview is still not a sure thing. Beltran, 42, is best known as an extremely successful player, but has since been a special assistant in the Yankees’ front office. He is expected by those who evaluate these kinds of things to be a hot managerial candidate when he fully puts himself out there.
  • Speaking of hot managerial candidates, the guy who has long been seen as the favorite for the Cubs’ job, David Ross, has his interview today. I find this framing by Patrick Mooney awfully interesting:

  • Indeed, there had been some thinking that the question on Ross wasn’t so much whether the front office wanted him for the job, the question was whether he was ready to commit to the full-time grind of managing. Like Beltran, Ross has long been viewed as a hot-up-and-coming future manager. And, like Beltran, Ross has been working as a special assistant in the Cubs’ front office since he retired a few years ago (while also broadcasting at ESPN). Sometimes I think Cubs fans get a little too close to Ross, and wind up forgetting that the interest in him as manager isn’t because he’s that dude who hit that home run and who we all love a lot as “Grandpa Rossy.” The interest is because he’s a smart, tough leader who knows this front office, and connects well with the current generation of players.
  • Mooney’s piece is a fantastic breakdown of Ross’s candidacy, and a reminder why he was ever viewed as a future manager in the first place. His time with the Cubs coincides with the Joe Maddon Era, but he wouldn’t necessarily be the same type of manager as Joe Maddon. And the fact that he’s really going through the interview process this time? Sure makes you think he feels like he’s ready.
  • To be honest, I just don’t feel like the Cubs have a bad candidate on their list right now. Maybe that’s a facile cop-out, but I think I also recognize that they’re going from one of the best managers in history, and they clearly have something very different in mind for what they want going forward. And given how disappointing the last two years have been, I suppose I don’t want to act like I have some tremendous insight into which managerial candidate – most of them completely unproven – would be best for the path ahead. I can see any of them working out.
  • As for Girardi, no real details on his interview with the Cubs, other than it was an eight-hour affair. I’m sure there was a lot to talk through, but given Girardi’s long and successful track record, the interview is probably a lot more about “feel” and “fit” and a general sense of things, rather than his specific answers to strategic questions or anything like that.
  • Meanwhile, a little more on the Phillies’ firing of Gabe Kapler this morning, and a reminder to Cubs fans on how much worse the process can look:

  • Woof. When the owner is injecting himself to this extent on the manager decision, in opposition to the opinions of his baseball ops guys, that just sets you up for disaster. Good luck, I guess.


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.