Just recently, the Houston Astros were handed down their punishment for the sign-stealing scandal that affected the 2017 regular season, playoffs, and, of course, World Series (and totally only that year – wink). Part of that punishment was the 1-year suspension of Astros Manager A.J. Hinch, who was subsequently fired from the organization all together.
So with pitchers and catchers reporting in about a month, the Astros managerial search needed to get underway quickly, and to that end, there’s some movement related to the Cubs:
If #Astros want to interview #Cubs 3B coach Will Venable, CHC will grant permission, source tells The Athletic. Timing of departure just before spring training would be inconvenient, but Cubs would not stand in way. Venable on list of managerial candidates, per @MarkBermanFox26.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2020
As recently as this morning, we learned that Will Venable (along with Joe Espada, Jeff Banister, Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter, Bruce Bochy, and Raul Ibanez) were being considered for the role, but this is confirmation that he’s actually getting an interview. Technically, the Cubs don’t have to allow the interview, but they’ve never stood in the way of a promotion from another organization – be it front office or coaching staff – and they’re not going to start now. It’s just good business to be good to your people. Even if they’re not going to be your people for long (and, of course, the Cubs could always find themselves in a similar position).
I mean, heck, I guess they did when they interviewed Joe Espada to replace Joe Maddon! See – what goes around, comes around.
Speaking of that process, you might recall that the Cubs actually interviewed Venable, themselves, because he is widely considered an up-and-coming managerial type. With that said, I tend to agree with Brett’s take on delicacy of this particular hire at this particular time:
It does seem more likely than not that the Astros, if they hurry to hire a full-time manager before Spring Training, will go with a veteran manager on a shorter-term deal. It’s a helluva lot to ask of a young, inexperienced guy to go into that situation at all, let alone with almost no time to prepare AND no GM.
Of course, perhaps the opposite is true: maybe a more experienced manager – with more certain options elsewhere – wants to stay away from this job.
In any case, losing Venable would suck for the Cubs, because he’s clearly a valuable asset. But, of course, we wish him the best.