April 18, 2014
Rick Renteria or Brad Ausmus?
One insider said he expects the Cubs’ decision on their next manager to come down to those two candidates from the San Diego Padres organization after Ausmus formally joined the process late, with an official interview Friday in Chicago.
But another source close to the process said veteran manager Eric Wedge’s interview Tuesday went well. He’s by far the most experienced candidate.
Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo is expected to get an opportunity to make his case next week, once he has had a chance to celebrate this weekend with the World Series champions. The Cubs hadn’t scheduled that interview as of late Friday.
If there’s one certainty about a process that has lasted more than a month, it’s that there’s little certainty — apparently even among the executives involved — regarding which candidate will be offered the job.
Team sources say the club still expects to hire a manager within the next week.
Ausmus, the longtime big-league catcher without so much as a day of professional managing experience, has been the focus of most of the buzz surrounding the Cubs job in the last week. It was amplified by his interview for the Detroit Tigers’ opening.
His name was raised in media speculation more than a month ago as a possible replacement for Dale Sveum, with top Cubs officials dismissing the possibility at the time.
Suddenly, the 44-year-old Dartmouth graduate could become a front-runner, despite a managing resume that consists of a brief stint at the helm of the World Baseball Classic team from Israel that failed to qualify for the 16-team field last winter.
A special assistant in the Padres’ front office the last three seasons, Ausmus is one of three candidates from GM Jed Hoyer’s former organization. That makes up half the field of candidates who already have interviewed (including assistant GM A.J. Hinch).
Like Renteria, Lovullo and Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, Ausmus is considered one of the currently hot names in the game among potential first-time managers.
The Cubs might not get the chance to hire Ausmus if the Tigers offer him their job over in-house favorite Lloyd McClendon.
NOTES: The Cubs lost one of their best and most experienced coaches when the Arizona Diamondbacks announced the hiring of first-base coach Dave McKay for the same position.
McKay, who was credited with Alfonso Soriano’s remarkable defensive transformation in his first year as a Cubs coach in 2012, said team president Theo Epstein kept him updated on the managerial process and expressed interest in keeping him. But he said the uncertainty as the process lingered made the move his best choice. “This is going to work out best for everybody,” he said. “I really enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
◆ Though Epstein told McKay he didn’t want to commit any coaches to the 2014 staff before hiring a manager, sources say pitching coach Chris Bosio will be back. Staff assistant Mike Borzello, who earned praise for his work with catcher Welington Castillo and breaking down film, also is high on the Cubs’ list of coaches they’d like to keep. But the Los Angeles Dodgers are said to want to hire Borzello.