Cubs fans across Chicago and across the country are very disappointed that Joe Girardi decided to stay in New York to manage the Yankees. Just a week ago, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman refused to allow the Cubs to talk to Girardi before his contract ended, which was the end of this month. In response, the Cubs, while reportedly still hopeful to lure Girardi, started interviewing other candidates. Today, the Yankees signed Girardi to a four-year contract, extending him through the 2017 season.
It appears that the Cubs’ backup plan, going ahead and interviewing other candidates, was the right thing to do, but now they must really look at these candidates as potential managers.
According to a Tribune report, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has said the new manager must “have major league managerial experience and/or a strong reputation in leadership and working with the development of young players.”
“I can’t blame Girardi for not leaving New York. As a father of two in high school, I understand what uprooting his family would do,” said John Hanley, owner of John Hanley Artist.on a LinkedIn Cubs group. “Good for him and sticking with family. It’s not doom and gloom time. There have to be more candidates to the list than the media is reporting.”
So who is on this list?
Manny Acta: Acta, 44, met recently for about seven hours with Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer. He has managed both the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals, but was fired from both teams. He currently is an analyst for “Baseball Tonight.”
A.J. Hinch: Thirty-nine-year-old Hinch was in player development for the Arizona Diamondbacks before managing the team. His expertise is in player development. He is currently vice president of pro scouting for the San Diego Padres. .
Another name being tossed around is Rick Renteria. Renteria, who is 51, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins. Since his retirement in 1994, he has coached in the minors and majors. He managed the Mexican national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Many fans would like to see the Cubs talk to Mike Maddux again. Two years ago he was a top candidate before taking himself out of the running due to family considerations, like Girardi today. Maddux does not have major league managing experience. He has been pitching coach for both the Milwaukee Brewers and now the Texas Rangers.
With top candidate Girardi out of the picture, the Cubs will have to widen their search. Originally Epstein said he would like to have a new manager in place by the time the General Manager’s meetings start at the beginning of November. That may be stretching it. At this point the Cubs need to take their time and be sure they find the right person for the job. After all, after two years of declining attendance and fan unrest, they need to tread carefully and make a hire that will excite fans and make them want to come back to the ballpark.