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Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Managerial analysis: Hinch not the guy

By Jesse Rogers

MESA, Ariz. -- As the Chicago Cubs take a break from their manager search -- at least publically -- for the World Series, there are at least four candidates waiting to hear if they will be hired.

The Cubs have divulged that San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria, Tampa Bay Rays coach Dave Martinez, and former managers A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta have all interviewed.

A.J. Hinch
Former Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch has interviewed for the Cubs' job, but some scouts say he wouldn't be an ideal candidate for what figures to be a young team.
Some reports have said Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Boston Red Sox coach Torey Lovullo will be contacted, but neither has been yet. Lovullo will have to wait until after the World Series to get a serious look. If there was interest in Maddux, he probably would have been contacted by now, so those reports out of Texas might be exaggerated.

So what of the four we know about?

If there is one thing scouts at the Arizona Fall League have in common, it's having an opinion -- on players and potential Cubs managerial candidates, for example. Most scouts have been in the game a long time, and even executives admit they are the lifeblood of baseball.

Multiple scouts said they agree that Hinch would not be the right man for the job. If the Cubs want an emphasis on communication with young players, then Hinch is the wrong guy, they say. In this case, throwing out his bad run as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009-2010 would be a mistake. Some scouts say he didn't have a good team, but they also say he didn't do a good job communicating his message, something crucial to the Cubs' development.

Acta is well thought-of in the scouting world, but a few wondered if having little experience in a winning situation might come back to haunt him. He was "beat up" twice and "spit out" as one scout put it, amassing a career record of 372-518 managing the Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians. Can he handle another year or two of losing without veering from the Cubs' plan?

Like many in baseball, scouts respect the way Tampa Bay has developed its organization and figure Martinez must have learned something positive from manager Joe Maddon. But particulars about Martinez's abilities to manage elicited the fewest opinions. The scouts just don't know.

As you might expect, Renteria was the consensus choice among many scouts as the right man for the job -- at least among the four the Cubs have interviewed so far. Going from bench coach in San Diego to manager of the Cubs is a huge leap in scrutiny and attention, but scouts say Renteria has the demeanor for it. They claim his teaching is top-notch and that he's simply a likeable guy. Does that mean players will want to play for him, or does it mean they'll try to take advantage of him? It can go either way.

The Cubs haven't said it officially, but the list of candidates seems to be expanding. After all, none of the four interviewed has been hired yet. They, and Cubs fans, will have to wait for the World Series to end before knowing who will lead the team going forward.