COMMENTARY | While the Chicago Cubs have had the job only open a little more than a week, the short list of choices for their next manager has taken shape.
In an earlier piece, I wrote about some potential candidates the Cubs might be considering.
While the inclusion of Jose Canseco on my list was a poorly received attempt at levity, it appears that I was well off the mark with assertion that either Mike Maddux or Brad Ausmus would be serious candidates.
It's been pretty clear from the start that the Cubs have one name at the top of the list, but several others have popped up, ranging from plausible to nauseating. Let's take a look at some of those names and odds of them actually taking over for Dale Sveum:
Joe Girardi - 2:1
The longer negotiations with the New York Yankees carry on, the more likely Girardi's move becomes. I wrote earlier about the reasons for him leaving New York for Chicago and CSN Chicago's Patrick Mooney recently discussed the possibility as well.
The general sentiment from Yankees fans in the comments of the aforementioned article seems to be "good riddance to Joe G." They appear to be rationalizing away his efficacy and bracing themselves for his departure by creating emotional distance from their manager.
Whatever the case, it's clear that Girardi is the frontrunner for the job at this point.
Manny Acta - 5:1
With a 372-518 career managerial record and stints with the then-rebuilding Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians, Manny Acta seems to me a strange candidate for this role. Say what you will about the additional tools they were given, but Acta's successors had far more success than he did.
Manny Acta was Dale Sveum before Dale Sveum, a guy who managed teams with little hope for success before being replaced. As fluent in sabermetrics as he is in Spanish, Acta does fit with both the team's stated vision and the wealth of Latin American talent in the Cubs system.
A.J. Hinch - 12:1
Like Acta, Hinch compiled a less-than-stellar record as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks over two partial seasons. Prior to being named skipper, Hinch was in the D-Backs' front office in a player-development role.
He currently serves as V.P. of pro scouting for the San Diego Padres, where he worked with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer during the 2011 season. Hinch's managerial and player development experience fit the requirements the Cubs are looking for.
In addition to his baseball credentials, A.J. Hinch holds a psychology degree from Stanford, which would probably serve him well with the Cubs.
Jose Oquendo - 15:1
Though his name has yet to appear prominently in a list of candidates (with the St. Louis Cardinals still playing), many Cubs fans have touted Oquendo as a great option. He has spent more than two decades as a part of an organization lauded for its player development and consistency.
Jose Oquendo's pedigree, familiarity with the NL Central, and his ability to relate to Latin American players are all high marks in his favor. His odds are sure to get better if either the Cards or Joe Girardi are eliminated from contention.
Rick Renteria - 25:1
When most people hear the name Renteria, Edgar is first person who comes to mind. But it's Rick (no relation) who has been brought up as an option for the Cubs. He has a decade of minor league managerial experience and has served for several years as an MLB coach.
Like Hinch, Renteria is currently employed by the Padres, which makes one wonder if Hoyer is just a bit too much infatuation for his former team's personnel.
Joe Maddon - 100:1
Though Maddon is still under contract with the Tampa Bay Rays though the 2015 season, the Cubs' hiring of Theo Epstein proved that that might not be a deterrent. Maddon has twice been named AL Manager of the Year, and he guided the Rays to a World Series berth in 2008.
Maddon was a candidate for the Boston Red Sox manager job that went to Terry Francona in 2004, so there is some familiarity with Theo Epstein. But despite their wealth of talented prospects, it's unlikely the Cubs leverage them to pry Maddon away from the Rays.
Sandy Alomar, Jr. - 200:1
Thought to be strong candidate at one point, Alomar's strength as a candidate has ebbed of late.
Ryne Sandberg - 1,000,000:1
Despite seeing Ryno spurned by both Jim Hendry and Theo Epstein (for Mike Quade and Dale Sveum, respectively), some Cubs fans continue to cling steadfastly to the notion that he will be brought back.
After leaving the Cubs organization for the Philadelphia Phillies, Sandberg moved from AAA manager to coach to interim manager to full-time skipper. Now that he's been given the reins in Philly on a permanent basis, his only time at Wrigley will be spent in the visitors' dugout.
Dusty Baker/Jim Riggleman 1,000,000,000:1
I'm all for second chances, but even I am shocked by the number of people (even 2 people is too many) who've advocated giving either of these two a second go-round in Chicago. Baker left a trail of disappointment, excuses, and toothpicks long enough to circle the globe twice.
Riggleman actually took over for the aforementioned Manny Acta in Washington in July of 2009. But he resigned abruptly in mid-2011 over a perceived slight regarding his contract.
If the Cubs want to do well in the regular season and then face-plant in the playoffs, or if they want to alienate all but 5 of their fans, maybe one of these two would be a good option.
Pete Rose - off
While he's banned from the sport, no list involving baseball and odds is complete without Charlie Hustle.
It goes without saying that these odds came not from the folks in Vegas but from my own mind. Where did I mess up and what name(s) did I leave off? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Evan spent his formative years on a farm and a sleepy town in Northwest Indiana in the days before Wrigley Field was illuminated. As a result, every summer afternoon was spent watching or listening to the Cubs on WGN, a practice that ingrained the team into his DNA. His kids are named after the team and years of frustration have made him a self-loathing, yet still unapologetic, Cubs apologist. And, yes, he knows that that is contradictory.
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