Chicago Cubs: Sandy Alomar Jr.
Several Latin American candidates have emerged in the Cubs' search to replace Dale Sveum. Former Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians manager and current ESPN analyst Manny Acta interviewed with the Cubs this week. San Diego Padres bench coach Rick Renteria is also expected to interview, according to a source. Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., who interviewed for the Cubs job before Sveum was hired in 2011, and former Cub Dave Martinez could be options, as well.
The Cubs' Franklin Font, a staff assistant, was the lone Latin American coach on the previous staff. In fact, the Cubs have only two Latin American rostered coaches in their minor league system.
The Cubs have several core Latin American players, including Starlin Castro, Junior Lake and Welington Castillo. Prominent minor leaguers Albert Almora, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez are on the way. There also is a belief in the Cubs' front office, sources said, that Castro, who had the worst season of his career, could have benefited from having a Latin American coach on staff this season.
The move to add more Latin American coaches to the system would be consistent with the team's commitment to developing talent in the region. The Cubs are constructing a training facility in the Dominican Republic.
"It's about doing everything we can to be the best organization in baseball, and you can't be the best organization in baseball unless you have a strong presence in the Dominican and a strong presence in Latin America," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts told MLB.com when the Cubs unveiled the plans for the facility in January 2012.
Forgetting the other aspects of the job, Alomar might be the best candidate to fill this role, although he has not been contacted about the job, according to a source. He's not so far removed from playing that he can't relate to current players and he has the respect of many around the league.
"Yeah, I think he likes it here," Cashman said in a news conference Tuesday. "If you're good at what you do, you'll have opportunities to stay. He's definitely going to have that. We're going to give him a real good reason to stay. He's earned that."
"Not able to say, but he is under contract and we have an interest in trying to keep him," he said. "Joe has been consistent since we've had him here."
But we've only heard from Cashman as Giardi hasn't spoken publicly since the season ended for the Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees understand their manager might be in high demand.
"I can't speak to other opportunities," Cashman said. "We can't control what other options may be out there. If you're good at what you do, people are going to have interest."
On Monday, Cubs president Theo Epstein said he would look "first and foremost" at people with managerial experience. If Girardi re-signs with the Yankees, Epstein's options turn to a manager under contract with a team -- which would take a trade to pry away -- or one who has been let go recently, like former Mariners skipper Eric Wedge. Or one who has been out of the managerial game for some time.
But Epstein didn't rule out a rookie manager again. In lieu of experience, the ideal candidate would have to show signs of being great leader, in whatever baseball capacity they've been involved. The Cubs undoubtedly gave some insight into this when they hired Sveum in the first place, before the 2012 season. They interviewed several other candidates.
Here's an update on where some of those names are now:
MILWAUKEE -- The Chicago Cubs are zeroing in on the hiring of their next manager, a major league source told ESPNChicago.com Wednesday.
Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer met with Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. It’s unclear if chairman Tom Ricketts attended the meeting – the team had said previously Ricketts would meet with the choice candidate before a hire was made.
The Boston Red Sox also met with Sveum on Wednesday afternoon
Sveum told Comcast SportsNet New England that he has not received an offer from either team.
"Nothing has been discussed beyond the interview process,” he told CSN. “It's kind of a stalemate now. The process is finished; it's just the decision-making process now. We'll wait and see."
The Cubs made follow-up phone calls to all the candidates they interviewed on Wednesday – including Pete Mackanin, Sandy Alomar Jr., Mike Maddux and DeMarlo Hale.
In spite of perception, Sveum may not be the team’s top candidate. Hoyer made a point of saying the reason the team met in person with Sveum was that he was in town to interview for the Boston job.
Former Red Sox manager Terry Fancona removed his name from consideration Wednesday after talking to Epstein.
The Cubs may pull the trigger on naming their next manager before the Red Sox. Boston GM Ben Cherington is on record as saying he is going to the Dominican Republic on Friday to scout free agent Yoennis Cespedes. He won’t be returning to the country until early next week.
“I felt positive about both interviews,” Alomar said on ESPN 1000’s ‘Talkin’ Baseball on Saturday. “I think that they try not to hint what are they looking for. They ask you so many different questions. All I got to do is just be myself. Regardless of what they are thinking, I’m just going to give you what I know.”
Read the entire story.
If the Chicago Cubs’ managerial search were a golf tournament, you’d have to say the leaders are in the clubhouse with a round to go. The team’s front office – led by president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer – completed its fourth interview in eight days on Friday. Cleveland Indians bench Sandy Alomar Jr. was the latest candidate to get consideration.
Hoyer said Friday afternoon that he’s not sure if there will be any more interviews. He characterized the process as “going into the seventh inning.” That comment came a day after Epstein told season-ticket holders that the hiring process was in the “sixth inning.” If you believe both executives, the team is going to need a closer soon. Hoyer said follow-up conversations with candidates – both on the phone and in person – are likely to take place over the next week. At this point, no other interviews are setup.
The wildcard in the process remains former Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Major league sources have indicated Francona is close enough with Epstein to have two or three conversations a day if necessary about where he may stand in the process. Francona is also said to be a top candidate for the St. Louis Cardinals’ opening, which he interviewed for this week.
Let’s take a look at my managerial leader board. Please remember, this is for amusement purposes only.
1. Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland Indians bench coach:Look past his lack of experience as a bench coach or a third-base coach. A baseball lifer, Alomar has been training to be a manager since his father, Sandy Sr., began to teach him and brother Roberto the game 40 years ago. Alomar has enough coaching experience and instant credibility with players, having retired in 2007. The no-nonsense former catcher knows pitching – one of the front office’s most sought-after attributes for the team’s next manager. He can communicate with both American and Latin players. Alomar is a nice guy who can also be tough when he needs to get his point across.
1a. Mike Maddux, Texas Rangers pitching coach: The Cubs’ front office loves the idea of a top pitching instructor managing their team. There’s little question that Maddux fits that bill. Hoyer worked with manager Bud Black, a former pitching coach, in San Diego. So don’t discount this type of process working with Maddux and the Cubs. The reason Maddux might be a bit behind Alomar was his heart-felt comment to the Cubs’ brass, admitting he might hesitate to move his family from Texas after having uprooted them for previous jobs.
2. Pete Mackanin, Philadelphia Phillies bench coach: This outstanding baseball man has the most experience of the four baseball men the team has interviewed thus far. Mackanin has managed 100 games as an interim manager in both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. His resume also includes the longest coaching career to offer among the group. At age 60, Mackanin is the oldest candidate, but he still could be an outstanding choice. He's also a candidate for the opening in Boston.
3. Dale Sveum, Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach: Sveum has one advantage over the other three candidates: his previous relationship with the Cubs’ brass – he worked with Epstein and Hoyer for two seasons in Boston. Although it’s only a small sample size, Sveum had a successful 12-game managing record in Milwaukee under extreme pressure. He came away a winner in 2008 with the Brewers. It’s hard to judge his candidacy with just one news conference. However, he is highly thought of in both the Chicago and Boston camps.
If Epstein, Hoyer and team chairman Tom Ricketts can work their way through Francona’s sudden departure in Boston, he may still end up being the favorite for the Cubs’ opening. The GM meetings in Milwaukee this coming Monday and Tuesday will preclude either exec from doing much work on the manager search. Don’t expect a conclusion to the process until the end of next week at the earliest.
Alomar began his long major league career as the 1990 American League Rookie of the Year with the Indians. He made his first of six All-Star Games that season, playing the 1990 game at Wrigley Field. He had two hits, helping the AL to a rain-shortened 2-1 victory in the last All-Star Game played at Wrigley.
Alomar interviewed with the Red Sox on Wednesday in Boston and is one of five candidates Boston has contacted.
Alomar, 45, was a .272 lifetime hitter with 112 home runs. He was originally signed by the San Diego Padres before being traded with second baseman Carlos Baerga to Cleveland for Joe Carter. Alomar played for the Padres, White Sox, Rockies, Rangers, Dodgers and Indians before retiring after the 2007 season.
The Alomar family name has been a trusted brand in baseball for the past 45 years. Father Sandy played 15 seasons in the majors and then coached for another 25. His brother Roberto was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011 after completing an remarkable career as one of the top second baseman in the game.
Alomar Jr.'s coaching career began with the New York Mets in 2008 as a catching instructor before he moved back to the Indians as their first base coach in 2010 and 2011. Cleveland manager Manny Acta named Alomar his bench coach for 2012.
Most baseball people who know Alomar believed he was a managerial candidate early in his career due to his great instincts for the game and tremendous communication skills. Wherever Alomar played he seemed to bring teammates together. Being fluent in Spanish and English also gives him a leg up as a possible manager in the future considering 30 percent of players are of Latin descent.
The White Sox and GM Kenny Williams thought so much of Alomar that they obtained his services three different times in a six-year span. Alomar played for nine different managers in his career, and all of them reached the postseason at least once during their careers as manager.
Alomar lives in Chicago on the near North Side. He was a finalist for the Toronto Blue Jays job in 2010 before they hired John Farrell.
Others: San Diego Padres manager Bud Black would have been mentioned, but Jed Hoyer said Tuesday that there is a freeze on the Cubs being able to bring anyone from San Diego. For that reason, Black was not included on this list. There's an obvious connection between Hoyer, McLeod and Black, as well as Epstein, who is known to admire him. Blue Jays manager John Farrell would be at the top of the lists for the Cubs and Red Sox if not for the Blue Jays denying permission for other teams to talk to him about a manager's job.