Handicapping the Cubs’ 4 manager candidates
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter October 16, 2013 12:55PM
Dave Martinez is next up to interview for the Cubs' managerial position. | J. Meric~Getty Images
Whom would you like to see as the next Cubs manager?
Updated: October 16, 2013 11:37PM
Who are these guys? Are any of them better than Dale Sveum?
The only certainties about the Cubs’ pool of managerial candidates are:
1. None of them is Joe Girardi.
2. There will be no presumed benefit of the doubt for team president Theo Epstein’s choice this time after Sveum’s short shelf life. There also will be little way to know just how good the next guy is for maybe a year or more.
Epstein has said the ability to lead and the ability to communicate with and develop young players are key. The Cubs would like someone especially good at working with young Latin players. Knowing the gauntlet associated with the unique challenges of the goat-obsessed, fishbowl market is considered a big plus.
With former Cub Dave Martinez scheduled Thursday to be the fourth candidate interviewed, here’s a rundown of the final four (barring a late addition):
Rick Renteria, 51, Padres bench coach
He has no major-league managing experience, but the Cubs consider the former big-league infielder the best in the field for working with and developing young Latin players.
Renteria has been on the Padres’ staff for six seasons, including during Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer’s tenure as Padres GM from 2010 to ’11.
He had a successful minor-league managing career, spending eight seasons in the Marlins and Padres systems. He helped develop Miguel Cabrera and Josh Beckett and was Team Mexico’s manager in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Padres manager Bud Black said Renteria is adept at using advanced analytics as a managing tool. “But he also knows the human side of this game, as well,” Black said.
He might be the favorite, pending Martinez’s interview.
Dave Martinez, 49, Rays bench coach
He has the advantage of being the only guy in the field with first-hand experience with what Epstein called the “idiosyncrasies” of the market and the challenges to the job.
Drafted by the Cubs in 1983, Martinez spent all or parts of four seasons in the team’s outfield. He also spent three seasons with the White Sox, where he briefly was thought to be a candidate for the Sox job two years ago before Robin Ventura was hired.
Another plus: Spending six seasons as the right-hand man for Joe Maddon, one of the most respected managers in the game, in an organization many consider a model for player development and roster efficiency.
He has no managerial experience, even in the minors. But like Renteria, Martinez is a widely respected coach who interviewed for the Blue Jays job that went to John Farrell two years ago. Before that, Martinez interviewed for the Indians job that went to Manny Acta.
Manny Acta, 44
He’s the most experienced candidate of the group, having managed the Nationals and Indians for three seasons each.
Acta helped develop the young players who became the core of the Nationals’ 2012 division champions. He also had a hand in the development of Indians catcher Carlos Santana and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, a two-time All-Star under Acta.
However, he has a .418 career winning percentage with no winning seasons.
Acta might be the candidate who most embraces analytics, which could pave the way for a smooth working relationship with the front office.
A.J. Hinch, 39, Padres assistant GM
He also has managerial experience, albeit brief and spotty. He has a .420 winning percentage in parts of two seasons with the Diamondbacks.
The Stanford graduate (bachelor of science in psychology) has a like-minded approach to the game as the Cubs’ front office and a strong background in player development.
He oversees the Padres’ scouting and medical departments and spent three years in player development with the Diamondbacks before becoming manager.