April 17, 2014
The Boston Red Sox’ two-year-old grudge with Theo Epstein and the Cubs could prevent the North Siders from interviewing the final managerial candidate on their list and hasten a decision to make front-runner Rick Renteria the new manager by the end of the week.
The Sun-Times confirmed reports that the Red Sox have invoked an agreement between the clubs upon Epstein’s hiring as Cubs president to refuse bench coach Torey Lovullo an opportunity to interview for the Cubs’ manager vacancy.
In a bitter process over compensation that dragged out for months in the fall of 2011, the Cubs eventually agreed not to hire away any more Red Sox personnel.
Despite how much time has gone by and the fact that Lovullo was a coach for the Toronto Blue Jays at the time of the agreement, the Red Sox still have the right to exercise the clause in this case if they choose, sources say.
It’s unclear whether Red Sox upper management — which had sparred internally with Epstein even before he left — is trying to make the Cubs squirm before relenting. Organizations rarely prevent employees from seeking clear-cut promotions with other teams, especially in the case of a coach and a manager vacancy.
But if Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino’s organization keeps Lovullo under its thumb much longer, Cubs insiders don’t foresee Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer having the stomach for another drawn-out hissing match.
As of Monday night, the Cubs still planned to stick with their original timeline of hiring a manager ahead of the general managers meetings, which open Monday in Orlando, Fla.
Renteria, the San Diego Padres’ bench coach, has been a favorite in the process for nearly a month, with Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch and veteran manager Eric Wedge also getting extended looks late into the process.
Former Padres special assistant Brad Ausmus interviewed Friday before the Detroit Tigers hired him over the weekend as their manager. Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and former Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta also interviewed.
NOTE: The Cubs on Monday officially activated right-handers Kyuji Fujikawa (elbow), Arodys Vizcaino (elbow) and infielder Mat Gamel (knee) from the 60-day disabled list, bringing the number on the 40-man roster to 37. Gamel was claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers a month ago.