The Cubs will at least entertain giving bench coach Mark Loretta or first-base coach Will Venable the full-time gig, that despite being part of Maddon’s staff. (It’s perhaps worth noting Loretta served for only one season, replacing Brandon Hyde after he was hired to manage the Baltimore Orioles.)
Who is the candidate on a playoff team?
On Sunday, the Chicago Cubs announced manager Joe Maddon would not return next season after a disappointing year in which the club underperformed and missed the playoffs. the interview process will begin during the coming week, and hinted about the identities of some of the candidates who will be interviewed, including at least one person on a playoff bench, some internal candidates, and ESPN analyst and former Cubs catcher David Ross.
It’s unclear who the individual serving on a postseason bench is, though our guess would be Joe Espada. Currently the Houston Astros‘ bench coach, Espada is well-regarded around the industry and has been a candidate for gigs in the past, including the New York Yankees‘ position after Joe Girardi — his former boss — was removed after the 2017 season.
Expect more names and speculation to surface over the coming weeks. Based on the early returns, it seems like Epstein and crew will be casting a wide net.
What about Girardi?
Let’s work through those categories, shall we? Former big-league outfielder Raul Ibanez is also said to be a candidate. He’s likely to draw interest elsewhere, including from the San Francisco Giants. Remember, Farhan Zaidi worked with Ibanez during their shared time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Ibanez serves as a special assistant.)
Who are the internal candidates?
Espada has also spent time with the Miami Marlins and has coaching experience in the World Baseball Classic.
Any other names in the mix?
A few other options from around the league who have either managed or have been connected to managerial openings in the past include Derek Shelton (Twins bench coach), Ron Washington (Braves third base coach), and Bob Geren (Dodgers bench coach). Epstein did suggest that he would feel more comfortable hiring someone with past managerial experience. That doesn’t mean Girardi is a shoo-in — it isn’t clear if he’ll be interviewed — but it might give him an edge were things to result in a tiebreaker.