With the GM meetings quickly approaching, the Cubs recently wrapped up preliminary interviews with four managerial candidates looking to succeed Dale Sveum. However, we have seen little movement since the front office finished the final interview, which was with current Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez. Torey Lovullo’s name has gained more and more traction, with him appearing to be the right fit. The team has to wait until the World Series concludes to interview Lovullo, since he is under contract with Boston.
Of all of the possible candidates to be the Cubs manager, Lovullo is the most intriguing name. It has become clear that none of the four initial interviewees, which consisted of Manny Acta, A.J. Hinch, Martinez and Rick Renteria, impressed the front office enough to where the search would stop. In fact, I believe that if one of the four was impressive enough, they would already have the job. David Kaplan of CSN Chicago talked to a National League scout who had this to say about the Red Sox bench coach, “Another solid baseball man who is ready to manage at the big league level. He has a very good resume and he is a good guy.” The part that sticks out in there is that Lovullo is ready to manage at the big league level. Martinez and Renteria, the two perceived favorites at this point, have had concerns that they aren’t ready to be in charge of a big league ball club.
With Lovullo in the mix, he should be the next Cubs manager. While one pitfall is his lack of major league managerial experience, he has managed a few AAA teams. Before being hired by Boston, he served as the first base coach for the Blue Jays for two years, where he continued to build up his solid reputation. Lovullo has a lot of qualities that I find appealing such as not being a fan of the sacrifice bunt. He is also very sabermetric savvy, and in an interview with the website Fangraphs, said that “One thing I look at a lot is projected strikeout percentage, and projected ground ball and fly ball percentage.” His new-age thoughts fit with mine and many other baseball minds. The sabermetric focus is also something that previous Cubs managers did not have, giving the fans and the players more of a sense of the new age of baseball taking over their organization.
After failing with Dale Sveum, it is imperative that the Cubs hire a manager that will guide the team on the right path. The length of the search as well as the amount of candidates shows that the team is willing to look wherever to find the best fit for the job. Lovullo seems to be the best fit in terms of his visions being parallel with those of the front office. At this point, hiring anyone other than him would be a colossal mistake, something the team simply can’t afford to do again.