The Cubs are preparing to contact the Padres about front-office executive and ex-Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch regarding their managerial job.
Hinch is among the names on the Cubs' list of potential candidates to replace Dale Sveum, who was fired Monday after two years managing the Cubs. Hinch was first mentioned as one who would interest the Cubs by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.
The Cubs are first expected to look into hiring Yankees manager Joe Girardi, but he's viewed as most likely to remain in New York. Girardi's contract lapses at the end of the moth, so they technically couldn't talk to him until then, without Yankee permission.
Hinch, 39, fits the bill as the type of player-development guy the Cubs seek for their new manager. Hinch was in player development for Arizona when then-GM Josh Byrnes pulled him out of the front office and made him a surprise choice to manage the big-league team. Hinch currently works as San Diego's V.P. of pro scouting, but his background is in player development.
Looking back, most folks view Hinch's short managerial tenure in a much more positive light. At the time, his hire wasn't well received by old-time baseball people who wondered if he had enough field experience (beyond his playing days as an ex-big league catcher for four different teams). While he finished 89-123 in his tenure from may, 2009 to July 2010, there were no glaring mistakes cited.
It is believed Hinch would have interest in the Cubs job, especially since they have a stockpile of excellent prospects.
Yet another Padres executive, Brad Ausmus, also has been viewed as a potential Sveum successor. But Cubs president Theo Epstein suggested he'd prefer to hire a manager with major-league managing experience. That makes some sense after Sveum didn't work.
Hinch is credited with helping develop much of Arizona's bevy of young players, including Stephen Drew, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Max Scherzer, Miguel Montero, Gerardo Parra and Ian Kennedy. Sveum's undoing was a lack of progress seen in young talents Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Jeff Samardzija.
Hinch, a Stanford graduate, played for the A's, Royals, Tigers and Phillies.