The Chicago Cubs appear to have narrowed their search for a new manager down to a final four or five candidates, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. No one has emerged as a "favorite" for the job -- at least not now that Joe Girardi is unavailable -- but the club has a very short list of serious candidates.
Former Indians manager Manny Acta and Padres exec A.J. Hinch, who have already been in for interviews with the club, headline the small group of prospective skippers. Padres bench coach Rick Renteria is scheduled for an interview next week, and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez may be headed for a one-on-one at some point as well.
The Cubs could bring a fifth candidate in for an interview as well, per Heyman, but the club may choose to focus on second interviews with the above-mentioned group instead. Sandy Alomar Jr., who was interviewed by Chicago two years ago, and the Maddux brothers -- Greg and Mike -- have been floated around as potential fits, but it's unclear whether they'll make it to the interview stage.
According to Heyman, some "baseball people" are speculating that Acta and Hinch have the best chance at the job because of their experience in leading a big-league club. Others aren't so certain, however, pointing to Dale Sveum's very short managing résumé as evidence that Theo Epstein and company may not care about that.
Sveum, who came on before the 2012 season to replace Mike Quade, was fired shortly after the end of the regular season. The Cubs weren't expected to win much the last two seasons -- and they didn't -- but Sveum still got the ax, presumably because (among other things) of the steps back taken by some of the club's younger players.