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Cubs begin managerial search with Loretta

@MLBastian
October 4, 2019

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have started the interviewing process for their managerial vacancy. First on the list was bench coach Mark Loretta, who joined the organization last winter and learned the ropes from Joe Maddon in Chicago's dugout this past season. The Cubs confirmed on Friday that Loretta was interviewed

CHICAGO -- The Cubs have started the interviewing process for their managerial vacancy. First on the list was bench coach Mark Loretta, who joined the organization last winter and learned the ropes from Joe Maddon in Chicago's dugout this past season.

The Cubs confirmed on Friday that Loretta was interviewed for the job on Thursday, starting a series of sit-downs that will take place in the coming weeks. At the end of the season, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said the search was "full-steam ahead," and that will continue next week with interviews of Joe Girardi, David Ross and Will Venable.

Among that group of four, only Girardi has previous managerial experience. Epstein said on Monday that experience will not be a determining factor for the Cubs, but it will be a "significant" part of what the front office considers.

"I always have greater comfort level hiring for roles in which the person has done the role before, especially with manager," Epstein said. "But, I think there are ways for that to be overcome. There are a lot of different ways to get experience in this game. Beliefs, skills, personal attributes, those can outweigh a lack of experience, but experience certainly helps."

Girardi, who will turn 55 years old on Oct. 14, managed the Yankees for a decade from 2008-17, leading New York to a World Series title in '09 and six postseason berths overall. Girardi also managed the Marlins in ‘06 and won the National League's Manager of the Year Award for the team's performance that season.

Overall, Girardi has won 988 games as a manager with a .554 winning percentage, which is the 16th-highest rate all-time among Major League Baseball managers with at least 1,500 games at the helm. Beyond his 11 years as a big league manager, Girardi also has 15 years of MLB experience as a player.

Girardi was born in Peoria, Ill., attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and was selected in the fifth round of the 1986 MLB Draft by the Cubs. He suited up for the North Siders from '89-92, and again from 2000-02 as part of a career that also included stints with the Rockies, Yankees and Cardinals.

Girardi, who is currently an analyst for MLB Network and FOX Sports, was interviewed on 670 The Score in Chicago earlier this week and said he is definitely interested in managing again.

"Obviously, anything that comes across your desk, you're going to be interested in," Girardi said in the Wednesday morning interview. "Obviously, I have a lot of ties to Chicago. Any job out there is going to interest me, because I would like to manage again."

Girardi tiptoed around questions about the Cubs' managerial opening, but he did praise the roster.

"There are a lot of pieces in place there," Girardi said. "And that's always a good thing. And they talk about retooling, and I think the Cubs in a lot of ways have the ability to do that. Some markets don't have the ability to do that, but the Cubs have the ability to do that. I think they'll be clever in the things that they do. They'll look for every piece that fits their roster better than a piece now and do whatever they can."

Earlier this week, the Cubs confirmed that Loretta, Ross and Venable were the team's internal candidates to replace Maddon.

Girardi is the first external candidate identified by the Cubs, though Epstein noted that the team has "at least one" candidate from a team currently in the postseason. Two more names that have been speculated about as potential candidates are Raul Ibanez, who is a special advisor to baseball operations with the Dodgers, and Astros bench coach Joe Espada.

"We're not going to drag this out any longer than it needs to be," Epstein said on Monday. "But, we also want to be thorough. It's difficult. In the interview process, you want to make sure you don't end up with the candidate who interviews the best. You want to end up with the candidate that's going to be the best manager."

Jordan Bastian covers the Cubs for MLB.com. He previously covered the Indians from 2011-18 and the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.