With Joe Girardi out of the picture, the Cubs may not be getting their ideal candidate. However, this is a front office that has to have the trust of the fans to make the correct choice, despite failing the first time. Reports have surfaced that the Cubs are targeting a bilingual, Latin manager. This makes a lot of sense, considering a good amount of players on the team are Latino. Also, three of their top four prospects have Spanish roots. Getting a bilingual manager that can relate and make good connections with players such as Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo would be an excellent decision. A few names in particular have been on the Cubs radar, only one of which has major league managing experience.
Manny Acta has been a name that has been floated around for quite a while. Acta has managed parts of six seasons in the big leagues, but has yet to record a winning record and has been fired twice midseason. He has had stints with the Indians and Nationals. His best season came in 2011 when the Indians finished 80-82 and stuck around in playoff contention until mid August. Acta’s main problem has been after recording an impressive year, his teams tend to decline the following year. Acta is a sabermetric lover, something that puts him and the Cubs front office on common ground. He is also bilingual and well liked throughout the game. After interviewing for the Cubs job last week, reports quickly surfaced that the interview went very well, making him a viable candidate for the job.
A.J. Hinch is the only non-Latino among the suspected finalists for the job. He also has major league managing experience, but it was a disastrous stint. He posted just a .420 win percentage, the second lowest in Diamondbacks history. He is currently the vice president of professional scouting with the Padres, a job he has held since 2010, meaning he has experience working in the front office with such names as Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. His familiarity with the front office is a big reason as to why he is in consideration. Many fans are shying away from Hinch because of his dismal track record and I personally feel that if the Cubs want to hire him, he should be considered more for the bench coach position.
Dave Martinez is currently the Rays bench coach and has served under Joe Maddon, who is commonly viewed as one of the top managers in all of baseball. Martinez was actually drafted by the Cubs, but they dealt him to Montreal in 1988. He is also bilingual and his time with the Rays could prove to be crucial in the decision. Tampa Bay has had a ton of success under Maddon/Martinez, which also helps his cause. If he isn’t hired as the manager, I could see him being the favorite for the bench coach position.
Rick Renteria has emerged as a front-runner for the job, even though his name wasn’t tossed into the hat right off the bat. Renteria is currently the bench coach for the Padres, an organization the Cubs front office is familiar with. He has some experience managing, as he was the manager for Mexico during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Renteria has great communication skills and his Latino background makes him a good candidate. Like Martinez, he seems to be a bench coach candidate if he isn’t the manager.
My pick for the job would be Dave Martinez. I think he is a diamond in the rough and is similar to Joe Maddon, who has had a lot of success with little talent to work with at times. Martinez fits all of the criteria the Cubs are looking for in a manager, even though he doesn’t have previous experience managing in the MLB or with the current front office.
There have been reports that the Cubs could be leaning towards Hinch and would hire a guy like Martinez or Renteria for the bench coach job. Either way, it should be interesting to see how this plays out. Expect a resolution by this week or the next. Stay tuned at CCS for the latest on the Cubs managerial search.