After initial interviews, Cubs sort their options

After initial interviews, Cubs sort their options

After initial interviews, Cubs sort their options
MILWAUKEE -- Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said he wanted to make the right decision, not a quick decision, regarding the team's next manager. But the Cubs may have to act quickly if they decide on the same person the Red Sox want.

Hoyer and Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein will resume their discussions on Monday regarding the managerial search prior to joining baseball executives in Milwaukee for the General Manager Meetings.

The Cardinals will introduce former catcher Mike Matheny as their manager on Monday. There were reports Sunday night that the Red Sox want Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum to come back for a second interview.

The Cubs are sorting through their notes. They have interviewed Sveum, Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux. After game simulations and meeting the media in the first round, here's a look at the final four. One thing they all have in common is that none of them have played for the Cubs:

Sandy Alomar Jr.

Alomar, 45, has the least amount of coaching experience with four seasons under his belt. However, the former catcher has the longest playing career, lasting 20 seasons, beginning in 1988 with the Padres. He was well respected in the clubhouse.

"I think I bring a lot of things to the table that maybe some of the other [candidates] don't bring in regards to being a player, going through injuries in their past, spending a lot of time in the Minor Leagues as a player," said the six-time All-Star. "I've played for winning people all my career and that gave me the opportunity to learn their values and how to take abilities from other people and incorporate that to myself."

The key to handling players, Alomar said, is communication.

"You've got to find time," Alomar said about talking to players. "You've got to find time to give guys [a chance] to vent and explain themselves and also give them an opportunity to hear what's going on in your mind when I'm making my decision."

He lives in Chicago, and his 7-year-old daughter goes to school near Wrigley Field.

Pete Mackanin

Mackanin, 60, has been influenced by Charlie Manuel, Gene Mauch, Whitey Herzog, Billy Martin, Dick Williams and Bobby Cox. Although he's old school, Mackanin believes in the increased use of statistical analysis in the game.

"The bottom line is the more tools you have to make that decision might lead you to a decision you wouldn't make if you didn't have those tools," he said. "Bring it on."

Mackanin has been a player, scout, bench coach, infield instructor, outfield instructor and manager. His playing career began in 1973 with the Rangers and included stops with the Expos, Phillies and Twins. He was an interim manager for the Pirates in 2005 and went from scout to interim manager with the Reds in 2007.

He's a proponent of communication.

"You show these guys that you're willing to listen to them and they should listen to you," Mackanin said. "If you have a nice symbiotic relationship that way, you can get a lot of things accomplished."

Dale Sveum

Sveum, who turns 48 on Nov. 23, was Boston's third-base coach in 2004-05. His only managerial experience came in September 2008 with the Brewers when he took over for Ned Yost, who was dismissed after a 3-11 start to the month. Milwaukee rallied to clinch the National League Wild Card spot but lost in four games to the eventual World Series champion Phillies in the NL Division Series.

"It definitely whet the appetite a little bit," Sveum said. "Once I got to manage that year, those 12 games and the four games in the playoffs, it was somewhere where I felt right at home and very comfortable doing."

A first-round pick in 1982 by the Brewers, Sveum played 12 seasons in the big leagues, including five with Milwaukee. But in 1988, he broke his leg in a horrific collision with outfielder Darryl Hamilton and was never the same player.

"I think one trait you have to have as a manager is never let [the players] see one way or the other how you're feeling, whether you're nervous or mad or whatever," Sveum said. "I think it's a bad trait to show body language to the players nowadays."

Mike Maddux

Maddux, 50, is the only Cubs candidate who did not interview with the Red Sox. The brother of four-time Cy Young winner Greg Maddux, Mike pitched 15 seasons in the big leagues, beginning in 1986 with the Phillies. He also spent time with the Dodgers, Padres, Mets, Pirates, Red Sox, Mariners, Expos and Astros. What kind of manager would he be?

"I'd be a guy who would trust his players," he said. "I'd be demanding, hold them accountable. You really have to hold your players accountable. You send the message, you give the message. You have to make sure they adhere to the ground rules."

He has spent the last nine seasons as a pitching coach, including six years with the Brewers and just completed his third with the American League champion Rangers.

Maddux had the best lines among the four, joking that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is a "big teddy bear" and he might "pick him up and just burp him." Maddux also said when he watched Zambrano face the Brewers, he was "the best thing since sliced bread."

"He was a great competitor," Maddux said of Zambrano. "He was the best pitcher in the National League. That's what I have in my mind about him. I've seen him dominate."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.