Now that the Chicago Cubs have parted ways with Mike Quade let's take an early look at what may be Theo Epstein's short list of managerial candidates:
Terry Francona, former Boston Red Sox manager: Coming off an eight-year run with the Red Sox, Francona's relationship with the Cubs' top three executives will definitely put him on the short list of any managerial candidates. Epstein's bond with Francona remains intact even though Red Sox ownership gave a thumbs down to a return by Francona. The only question on him is whether he is ready to manage again and whether there has been enough time between the alleged clubhouse drinking debacle in Boston for Francona to get re-energized and take on the awesome challenge of another hungry fan base looking to win a World Series after 103 years. Francona has the hardware and the moxy, having won two World Series in Boston.
Dale Sveum, Milwaukee Brewers coach: He played many years in the major leagues and has a solid reputation for handling and communicating with players during his coaching stops in Milwaukee and Boston. Sveum's previous claim to fame was managing the Brewers for the last 12 games of 2008 after the team fired Ned Yost. He interviewed with the Red Sox on Wednesday. Sveum is a known quantity to Epstein. He also coached in Boston for two seasons.
Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland Indians bench coach: Considered one of the best and brightest of the up-and-coming coaches, the former All-Star catcher is a baseball blue blood. He and his brother Robbie are second-generation players. Their father Sandy played in the majors for 12 years and coached for 20, including three seasons with the Cubs. Alomar was promoted to bench coach after the 2011 season after two years as the Indians' first base coach.
Pete Mackanin, Philadelphia Phillies bench coach: The Chicago native began his coaching career in the Cubs organization in the 1980s and was on a fast track to become a big league manager then when he ran afoul of then-GM Jim Frey after an infamous incident with pitcher Les Lancaster, who hung a dart board with a picture of Don Zimmer in Mackanin's Iowa Cubs clubhouse. Mackanin was the interim manager in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and is also known to be on the short list for the Red Sox's manager job.
DeMarlo Hale, Red Sox bench coach: Hale was one of Francona's chief lieutenant's in Boston. Known for strong communication skills, Hale's interview would be much more than just a courtesy to a former Red Sox employee. Hale was thought to be a finalist for the Toronto Blue Jays' job that eventually went to John Farrell last offseason. Hale began his managerial career in the Red Sox's minor league system in 1993.
Dave Martinez, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach: The former Cubs outfielder has been Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon's bench coach throughout his very successful run with the Rays. Martinez stock is high, and he was mentioned as a candidate for the Chicago White Sox job before Ventura was surprisingly named to the position. Martinez played for 10 teams during his lengthy big league career.
Others: San Diego Padres manager Bud Black would have been mentioned, but Jed Hoyer said Tuesday that there is a freeze on the Cubs being able to bring anyone from San Diego. For that reason, Black was not included on this list. There's an obvious connection between Hoyer, McLeod and Black, as well as Epstein, who is known to admire him. Blue Jays manager John Farrell would be at the top of the lists for the Cubs and Red Sox if not for the Blue Jays denying permission for other teams to talk to him about a manager's job.