CHICAGO -- Experience or familiarity?
Those are the options facing Cubs President Theo Epstein and his cabinet in naming a manager from a search that enters its sixth and perhaps final week since the firing of Dale Sveum.
The pool of candidates shrunk Sunday when Brad Ausmus -- who interviewed Friday with the Cubs -- was named the Tigers manager. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski downplayed any suggestion that he moved quickly because of the Cubs' interest.
The Cubs meanwhile, were expected to ask and receive formal permission to talk to Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo.
Although Epstein's goal was to have a manager hired before the general managers meetings Nov. 11 in Orlando, there wouldn't be much catching up needed between Lovullo and the Cubs once a meeting takes place since Lovullo was the manager at Triple-A Pawtucket when Epstein was the Red Sox general manager.
Furthermore, Lovullo, 48, told the Tribune several times at the World Series that he's familiar with Epstein's operations.
Padres assistant GM A.J. Hinch, 39, has a blend of major league managerial experience (212 games with the Diamondbacks) and player development. In addition, Hinch worked one year with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer in San Diego.
Padres bench coach Rick Renteria continues to be a strong candidate because of his ability to teach in a positive and constructive manner -- particularly with infielders, his experience as a minor league manager (eight seasons with two organizations) and as a bench coach (three seasons with the Padres) and his ability to communicate (he's bilingual).
Renteria, 51, interviewed with the Tigers and Mariners. But with Ausmus now in Detroit, the Cubs are a much more attractive destination than the Mariners, as GM Jack Zduriencik is believed to be on less stable footing than Epstein.
Renteria hasn't been able to fly to Chicago for interviews because of hip surgery that was scheduled well ahead of the Cubs' decision to fire Sveum. At a news conference Sunday, Dombrowski said Renteria wasn't medically cleared to fly to Detroit for an interview on Wednesday.
Two sources said Renteria is expected to make a full recovery well ahead of the start of spring training.
The new manager will need to assemble a staff with input from Epstein and his clan.
"We need to hire a manager and have a staff that presents a unified message to young players because the big leagues are hard enough," Epstein said on Sept. 30. "We need to help them along that way."
The coaches were informed of their status by team officials on Sept. 30, and their contracts expired Friday.
First base coach Dave McKay, who was in charge of baserunning and the outfielders, left for the Diamondbacks. But his departure was expected. Bench coach Jamie Quirk interviewed last month for a similar position with the Rangers that went to Tim Bogar.
There could be some holdovers, such as pitching coach Chris Bosio.
Extra innings: The Cubs aren't expected to make a qualifying offer of $14.1 million by Monday afternoon to any of their four free agents -- catcher Dioner Navarro and pitchers Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg and Matt Guerrier. They can still negotiate with them but won't receive any draft compensation should they sign elsewhere.
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