Bench coach Dave Martinez spoke with Marc Topkin about his recent interview for the open Cubs manager position, saying everything "went really well."
The Cubs had previously interviewed former managers Manny Acta (current Padres VP) and A.J. Hinch, as well as the Padres' bench coach Rick Renteria. While no plans have been made, future interview candidates may include Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.
"I thought it went well,'' Martinez said Saturday. "I thought it went really well."
Martinez, 49, talked extensively during his visit with baseball operations president Theo Epstein and executive vice president/general manager Jed Hoyer and other members of their staff, and also met briefly with team chairman Tom Ricketts.
In addition to the standard topics, Martinez said they had detailed talks about lineup construction and game preparation, and watched some video sequences after which Martinez was asked what moves he would make in those situations. "Game-in-progress kind of stuff."
Chicago's front office has reportedly inquired on Maddux's status, who was the Cubs' first choice two years ago before the team hired Dale Sveum, but will not be able to speak with Lovullo until after Boston leaves the playoffs.
Maddux and the Chicago front office had talked extensively at that time before he eventually declined, citing a desire to stay near his family in Texas, but "sources" say that Maddux is more interested this time around, presumably because his children are older. Mike is the younger brother of Greg, who recently left the Cubs front office to join his brother at Texas in 2012 as a pitching coordinator.
According to our Cubs affiliate, Bleed Cubbie Blue, Martinez is the presumed front runner at this time, but Maddux may have the edge, given his experience as a pitching coach, but I might disagree. Martinez is bilingual and has six years of experience dealing directly with clubhouse relations, two levels of communication that were sorely lacking under Sveum, and key motivations for Chicago to change the guard.
Meanwhile, Bob Nightingale of USA Today Sports hears Renteria is leading the pack:
The support for Rick Renteria is staggering and he has emerged as clear cut favorite to be #Cubs manager— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) October 19, 2013
Dave Kaplan noted that Renteria has received high marks in player development, a major concern for Chicago who saw many cornerstone young athletes regress this season.
Renteria has received excellent recommendations... as a teacher and for his ability to get the most out of players that he works with. However... his personality is very low-key, according to those that I have spoken with, and the only question is his ability to command a locker room and 25 different personalities. Several executives spoke positively of his X's and O's abilities.
Kaplan closes his article by noting another option may be available in former catcher and current Padres front office assistant Brad Ausmus.