The Chicago Cubs are looking for their 53rd manager in franchise history. They are seeking a replacement for Dale Sveum, who was fired after his second season on the job Sept. 30.
Various outlets tried linking former Cub and current New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi to the job, but Girardi renewed his contract and decided to stay in New York for the next four seasons.
Nobody can always get what they want, or their first choices, but the candidates being tossed around don’t have too impressive of resumes. Among the names considered include former Washington Nationals and Cleveland Indians skipper Manny Acta and former Arizona Diamondbacks manager and current San Diego Padres executive A.J. Hinch.
Acta’s resume is underwhelming. During his first season as a big league manager with the Nationals in 2007, his team went 73-89, good enough for 4th place in the NL East and just two games ahead of the Florida Marlins. Things went from bad to worse in 2008. The team went 59-102, the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. The Nats finally had enough of him in 2009 when they showed him the door with a 26-61 record that season.
Acta got himself a second chance in 2010 when the Indians hired him. On the positive side for him, he set a new career high for most wins in a season, but the Indians finished in 4th place at 69-93.
In 2011, Cleveland started off 30-15, only to finish in second place in the AL Central at 80-82 and finishing 15 games back of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the division.
They started off nicely again in 2012, and were 50-49 on July 26. The problem is, the team went 18-41 from August until October. They ended up 20 games behind the Tigers and the second worst record in the AL at 68-94. Acta had been fired with six games left of the season and the team just nearly averted last place.
Since Acta was fired from Washington, the Nats went on to have the best record in all of baseball in 2012 at 98-64 and were one out away from the NLCS. In 2013, the Indians would go on to win the first of two AL Wild Cards and they though lost the Wild Card game, they went to the playoffs thanks to the best record in all of baseball in September and winning its final 10 games.
A.J. Hinch has never managed a full season in the big leagues. In 133 games in 2009, the Diamondbacks went 58-75 with him at the helm. They finished with a 70-92 record, 25 games back of the first place Los Angeles Dodgers and dead last.
The team got worse in 2010. They went 31-48 before the team fired Hinch and replaced him with former Dodgers MVP and World Series star Kirk Gibson. Though Arizona ended up last place at 65-97 and 27 games back of the NL West and eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, they went on to win the division in 2011 at 94-68. They lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in game 5 of the NLDS, but came very close to moving on.
The Cubs finished at 66-96 in 2013. That record earned them their first last place finish since 2006. Yet the candidates to replace a last manager, are last place managers. With the exception of 2011, Acta has never finished higher than 4th and though Hinch has yet to manage a 162 game season, his squads also finished in the cellar.
If this team wants to win a World Series and finally end its long-suffering drought, it doesn’t look promising given the resumes of these two men. That certainly isn’t to say they can’t be the ones to do it, but their track records may draw cynicism from fans.
Reports are also from Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com that the team met with Padres bench coach Rick Renteria. The Padres finished 3rd in the NL West in 2013 at 76-86. He’s been the other main candidate in addition to Acta and Hinch. Renteria has never managed in the big leagues, but managed Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
We do not yet know what Renteria is made of, or what Acta or Hinch could do if they get another chance. One has to wonder, however, what direction this organization is going in should they hire one of the two latter candidates to be the next skipper.
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