February 23, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer (left) and president Theo Epstein (right) watch during spring training at Fitch Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
With President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer back in Chicago after a trip to Arizona to see some of the Cubs’ top talent playing in the Arizona Fall League, it is likely that the focus will now shift to hiring Dale Sveum‘s replacement as skipper.
The duo went with some of the organization’s top talent evaluators in anticipation of what could be a busy winter for the team, coming off its third straight 90-plus loss season; the worst three-year stretch in franchise history.
According to Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, the front runners for the job – A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta and Rick Renteria – will all continue to be researched by the Cubs’ front office, while the search could potentially expand to include other candidates, as well.
"“It all starts with the hiring of a manager, although a source said Friday the Cubs were putting a concerted effort into making sure their candidates blended with a coaching staff they likely will retool in an effort to improve communication and instruction.”"
One of the largest complaints that followed Sveum’s dismissal was his inability to mold young players and effectively communicate with the team, especially as the season wound down and the team’s record grew worse and worse.
A trio of incidents last month drew criticism from Chicago media, and seemed to play a role in the dismissal of the former Milwaukee Brewers coach after a mere two seasons as the team’s manager.
Under Sveum, the Cubs were just 127-197 in two seasons, finishing fifth in the National League Central both seasons. In 2012, the Houston Astros finished sixth, behind the Cubs, but the franchise moved to the American League West to begin the 2013 campaign.