Add Eric Wedge to Cubs’ list of manager candidates
BY GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter October 25, 2013 11:16PM
Eric Wedge, who left the Mariners last month, is the most experienced candidate for the Cubs opening. | Ted S. Warren/AP
Updated: November 27, 2013 6:14AM
One of at least two so-called ‘‘mystery candidates’’ in the Cubs’ managerial search was revealed Friday, when multiple sources said veteran big-league manager Eric Wedge had begun the interview process and is scheduled to continue with a more involved interview Tuesday.
Wedge, 45, who resigned last month as manager of the Seattle Mariners over differences with the front office about their rebuilding vision, is the sixth known candidate for the Cubs job after their first choice, Joe Girardi, decided to return to the New York Yankees.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native, whose favorite teams growing up were the Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, also interviewed for the Cubs job three years ago before then-general manager Jim Hendry hired Mike Quade.
The Cubs still expect to complete the hiring process in advance of the Nov. 11-13 general managers’ meetings. They have to wait until the World Series ends to interview one of their candidates, Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.
But the potential cost of taking much longer in a process that began a month ago is starting to become apparent. Two other jobs are still open in Detroit and Seattle. Lovullo and Wedge both have been linked to the Tigers opening.
And the Mariners this week interviewed Cubs candidate Rick Renteria, the San Diego Padres bench coach who remains a front-runner, according to several industry sources, including some close to the Cubs’ process and others with knowledge of the Padres’ management team. One major-league source said the Padres are making preparations to fill Renteria’s post.
Wedge, who comes from outside the Cubs front office’s often-tapped Boston-San Diego pipeline, doesn’t have a first-hand relationship with any of the top brass and isn’t considered one of their top candidates pending Tuesday’s session.
Cubs insiders suggest the front office is comfortable hiring any of several candidates on their list, and that multiple interviews are being conducted with the candidates involving different layers of the upper-management team.
Other candidates interviewed include Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and former big-league managers Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch. Lovullo also is expected to interview.
Wedge, who managed young teams in transition in Cleveland and Seattle, is by far the most experienced candidate. The former catcher spent the last three seasons with the Mariners, finishing in fourth place each year. Before that he spent seven seasons with the Indians, with two winning seasons and a trip to the 2007 American League Championship Series, losing to Cubs president Theo Epstein’s Red Sox.
He missed a month during the second half of this season after suffering a ‘‘mild stroke’’ at the ballpark but returned proclaiming a feeling of renewed energy and youth. The cause of the stroke was related to a sleep apnea condition that he has corrected.
NOTE: Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo and second baseman Darwin Barney, who both struggled at the plate most of the season, are in the running for Gold Gloves, award-sponsor Rawlings announced Friday. Each is among three finalists at his position. Winners are announced Tuesday. Barney won his first career Gold Glove in 2012; Rizzo just completed his first full season in the majors.