Another name rumored to be in the mix


February 23, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer (left) talks to president Theo Epstein (right) during spring training at Fitch Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

One day after the Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum after just two seasons at the helm of the club, another name has emerged on the so-far short list of potential replacements.

A.J. Hinch, the former Arizona Diamondbacks manager, is rumored to be a potential option for Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

According to Rosenthal, Hinch is a more viable option for Chicago moving forward than special assistant Brad Ausmus, who was rumored to be a potential fit by Peter Gammons in a radio interview earlier this week.

Both men are currently employed by the San Diego Padres, where Jed Hoyer was the general manager for several seasons. Ausmus, as mentioned, now serves as a special assistant while Hinch is currently a VP of Pro Scouting for the organization.

Hinch, unlike Ausmus, has a couple partial seasons’ worth of experience at the helm of a Major League Baseball organization – but that doesn’t necessarily help his case. During that time, he compiled a record of 89-123 with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Personally, I have difficulties seeing Hinch as anything other than a Dale Sveum-like presence in the clubhouse. He has little to no experience shaping young players in an organization, has a poor record in his brief managerial career and doesn’t have the fiery enthusiasm that Epstein seems to be targeting as the Cubs move closer towards being regular postseason contenders.

Despite my personal opinion on the matter, it logically makes sense why the Cubs’ front office is taking a good, long look at Hinch. Prior to his Padres connections to Hoyer, he was a farm director in Arizona where he worked closely with GM Josh Byrnes. Byrnes formerly spent time in the Boston front office working with the now-Chicago duo of Hoyer and Epstein.

The ideal candidate that is on the top of the short list is Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. The ties to the Chicagoland area and Illinois have been beaten to death by this point, so we won’t go into those at this point in time. However, the Cubs could be in for quite the dogfight if one is to believe comments made to the media by New York general manager Brian Cashman.

"We’re going to give him a real good reason to stay, and I think he’s earned that through his first six years with us."

Furthermore, according to The New York Times, “Cashman met with Girardi over coffee Monday and plans to meet with Girardi’s agent, Steve Mandell, for lunch Wednesday, when a formal contract offer could be presented and the matter resolved quickly.”

So that leaves Cubs fans with a major question that the front office is tackling, as well. If Girardi re-signs with New York, where does that leave Chicago’s managerial search moving forward? The front office has stated they would like to have the matter resolved by early November in order to return focus to the roster.

Are candidates such as Brad Ausmus and A.J. Hinch the best the team has to choose from? For the Cubs’ sake, we all better hope not.