Cubs Managerial Search Coming to a Close; Renteria the Favorite
Late Saturday night, the Cubs saw another one of their targets to be their next manager take another job when the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus. Reports the next day came in that Ausmus was never seriously considered for the job, despite getting an interview. The team has already stated that they would like to have their manager in place by the GM meetings, which start November 11. However, the ideal target date that they are really aiming for is to hire someone by Friday.
It is known that the Cubs followed up with second interviews with A.J. Hinch and Rick Renteria. Renteria seems to be the outright favorite at the time, according to David Kaplan of Comcast SportsNet as well as Tom Loxas of Cubs Den. He has served as the Padres bench coach for the last three years and managed the Mexican national team at the World Baseball Classic earlier this year. The big concern with Renteria has been that his laid back personality may not work when commanding a clubhouse. On the other hand, he has gotten rave reviews from many executives across the game of baseball and they seem to indicate that he would be the best fit.
Another question that has aroused is why it is taking the Cubs this long to him if they really think Renteria is their guy. His interview took place two weeks ago and the fact that they still haven’t hired him makes me think that they aren’t completely sold on him.
A.J. Hinch is further back in consideration. The current vice president of scouting for San Diego has drawn concerns from many after his failed stint with the Diamondbacks in which he posted an 89-123 record over the course of two seasons.
Other candidates include former Indians and Mariners manager Eric Wedge and, to a lesser extent, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. Former Indians and Nationals skipper Manny Acta seems to be out of consideration.
The real holding point in the entire process is that of the status of Torey Lovullo. The Red Sox bench coach is at the center of a feud between the Red Sox and the Cubs. When the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, they made an agreement that the Cubs could not hire anyone from the Red Sox organization for the next three years. However, Lovullo was with the Blue Jays at the time and didn’t come to Boston until this season, which was the following year. Therefore, he should not be a part of the original agreement. The Red Sox violating this agreement shows the small amount of class that the organization truly has. If they wanted the best for Lovullo, they would grant him permission to interview with the Cubs. The Cubs are still expected to continue to fight for permission to interview the 48 year-old, who has managed the Pawtucket Red Sox.
If Lovullo enters the fray, he could be a serious threat to Renteria for the job, with nobody else really challenging him.
One way or another, the Cubs should have their new manager hired by Friday, and while Rick Renteria is the favorite in the clubhouse, the team could still pull out a surprise.
Stay tuned here at ChiCitySports for all the latest on the Cubs managerial search.