Obsessive Manager Watch: Cubs Down to Two Favorites? Girardi Confident of at Least One Offer? More

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Obsessive Manager Watch: Cubs Down to Two Favorites? Girardi Confident of at Least One Offer? More

Chicago Cubs

The Angels made their managerial choice today, giving Joe Maddon an opportunity to come full circle. That leaves seven openings remaining: Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Pirates, Giants, Padres, and Royals.

For the Cubs, they might know who they want very soon …

  • Gordon Wittenmyer reports via sources that the Cubs may already be down to two favorites for their opening, and it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn which two are indicated in the report:

  • Based on nothing more than a sense of things as an outsider, I think you probably would have already guessed David Ross and Joe Espada as the two favorites, given that the former has seemingly been groomed for the gig by the front office, and the latter is probably the hottest external candidate available. Wittenmyer suggests Ross is viewed as having the slight edge, though nothing appears to be ruled out by the report.
  • Patrick Mooney takes the day to run down the six interviewed candidates:

  • From Mooney, too, you get the sense that Espada and Ross are viewed as the likeliest candidates, though Mooney does not report as much. He does take the opportunity to offer the good reminder that an outsider like Espada would be coming into a uniquely challenging situation, not only taking over for an icon like Joe Maddon, but also being expected to win immediately in a sports culture environment with which he’ll be entirely unfamiliar.
  • Meanwhile, this seems to STRONGLY suggest that Joe Girardi expects he’ll exit this managerial cycle with a new job:

  • Girardi is a candidate for the Mets and Phillies jobs, in addition to the Cubs.
  • Local reporting out of Kansas City still indicates that Mike Matheny is the favorite to succeed Ned Yost as manager. But apparently the former (terrible) Cardinals manager has also received interest from the Padres, Giants, and Mets? Okaaaay …
  • Joe Maddon’s deal with the Angels is a baseline three years and $12 million, so that likely puts an absolute ceiling on any price tag this hiring cycle. Indeed, only Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter could realistically command a multi-million salary on a three-year deal.
  • Rookie managers these days tend to get two or three-year contracts for an annual salary just under a million bucks. My guess is the Cubs wind up paying their guy around $1 million annually on a three-year deal – i.e., top of market for a rookie manager (if they go that route). It will mean substantial “savings” over Maddon’s recent salary with the Cubs, which had escalated to $6 million. Hey, there’s another reliever right there!


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.