San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Updated: October 25, 2013 1:29PM
If you want a trusted player-development guy, there’s Rick Renteria. If you want a guy familiar with the traps of the market with a coaching pedigree from a model organization, there’s Dave Martinez.
If you want clarity to the Cubs’ managerial search, forget it.
As the Cubs await the availability of Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo for an interview and finish their two-part initial interview with Padres bench coach Renteria this week, internal debate continues about several of the candidates already interviewed.
Cubs officials won’t comment on the process, but sources say the working list of candidates is at least seven deep, with only five confirmed: Renteria, Lovullo, Rays bench coach Martinez, Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch and former manager Manny Acta.
Team president Theo Epstein has said he hopes to conclude the process by the general-manager meetings Nov. 11.
It might take every day until then, considering the Cubs haven’t held second interviews.
In the case of Renteria, who had hip surgery two weeks ago, he’s unable to travel. So different front-office executives split up the interview into two house calls, including one this week.
Several industry sources, including some with knowledge of details of the Cubs’ search, believe Renteria is the favorite. Some say Martinez is an ideal fit, especially as the only known candidate with experience in the market as a former Cub. And one GM from neither the Cubs nor the Padres believes Hinch is a strong contender for the job.
The only thing certain about the identities of the two mystery candidates is they’re not Jim Leyland, Don Mattingly, Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux or any in-house coaches from Dale Sveum’s staff.
Talk about clarity.
Where have you gone, Joe Girardi?
For now, Renteria, 51, remains the candidate who seems to have the most positive buzz in the front office and beyond, the one insiders consider the top candidate for working with young players, particularly Latin players.
“When you look at qualities to lead, I think that first and foremost there is a connection to the player,” said Padres manager Bud Black, who has had Renteria on his staff for six years, the last three as bench coach. “He’s a communicator. He’ll address things. He’s not one to let things linger. I also think he can motivate. He’s high character, and he’s consistent.”
Martinez, 49, has never managed, even in the minor leagues, but he has been considered a rising star for several years. He was considered briefly two years ago to manage the White Sox.
“He’s probably even more ready now than he was a couple years ago,” said his manager, Joe Maddon, who delegates liberally to his trusted bench coach. “I have no problem with him running a game. He’s got a good feel for it already, even when it comes down to pitching. He pays attention to everything.
“He’s heavily involved in the things we do on defense. He could also be a very good hitting coach in my mind, no question. And handling the clubhouse, he could do that very easily as well. He’s not afraid of the tough conversations, put it that way. That’s definitely a strength.”
The Rays might have had more success recently turning prospects into competitive major-leaguers than any other team, and Maddon credits Martinez with a lot of that. He pointed to rookie right fielder Wil Myers, young center fielder Desmond Jennings and first-year Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar as examples.
“He understands the developmental component,” Maddon said. “That’s what we do.”
What the Cubs do next with this process, well, that’s another matter.