According to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times, Joe Girardi’s interview with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer literally lasted all day. Girardi, who had a day off between games in the Astros-Rays series he’s calling for FS1, reportedly headed straight to the Cubs offices from the airport and was whisked right back eight hours later.
Eight hours. I can barely handle listening to Girardi and fellow former catcher AJ Pierzynski banter for three or four hours, let alone twice that. But the Cubs are hiring a replacement for the man who took them to the promised land three years ago, so they can’t very well afford to corners with this process.
Joe Girardi finishes an eight-hour interview process with Cubs Wednesday. David Ross on deck for Thursday.
Source says Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Yankees special asst Carlos Beltran also on Cubs candidate list. pic.twitter.com/OICQbEzwkq
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubMLB) October 10, 2019
Girardi didn’t stick around to share much with reporters, hurriedly telling them he was “happy” with the interview before rushing off into a waiting SUV. Had he not needed to catch a flight to Houston, maybe he’d have stuck around to reveal that he’d explained to his potential employers how his experiences in New York changed him for the better.
Known somewhat pejoratively as “Binder Joe” during his time in the Bronx, Girardi was not the anti-stats troglodyte some have tried to paint him as. He was, however, a little obstinate when it came to integrating the advice of the Yankees’ research department into his own preferred collection of data. Thus his tenure ended much the same way Joe Maddon’s did in Chicago, with lack of communication and borderline insubordination leading to his contract not being extended.
There obviously wasn’t any shortage of communication between Girardi and members of the Cubs front office Wednesday, though whether that worked in his favor only a couple people know for sure. He may have really needed to bowl them over, especially since the presumed frontrunner, David Ross, is reportedly scheduled to interview Thursday.
Also on the list of candidates is Astros bench coach Joe Espada, who could be available by Friday if Houston drops a third straight game to the Rays. Cubs bench coach Mark Loretta interviewed last Thursday and first base coach Will Venable met with the brass Monday, so the process seems to be moving along pretty quickly.
There could be yet another entrant on the list of candidates, one who had not previously been connected to the Cubs, as Wittenmyer reported per a source that the Cubs would like to talk with Carlos Beltrán. They have not scheduled an interview and it’s not clear whether they’ve even sought permission from the Yankees, with whom Beltrán is currently employed as a special assistant.
If you’re keeping track, that’s six total candidates and three interviews already conducted. Though many around the team believe the job is Ross’s to lose, the Cubs certainly aren’t rubber-stamping his return. Or they’re still leaning heavily in his direction and want to milk every last ounce of analysis and information from the other guys they’re talking to.