CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs minor-league manager Ryne Sandberg will be one of several candidates the team meets with over the next 10 days, according to a major league source. Former Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez will also have a meeting with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry during that same time period.
Eric Wedge, the former Cleveland Indians manager, most likely will go through a second interview process over the next month as well.
Interim manager Mike Quade, along with those three, are considered to be top candidates. As part of the process, Hendry most likely will talk to Washington Nationals third base coach Pat Listach and broadcaster Bob Brenly about the job as well.
The Joe Girardi situation is difficult for all those involved. The New York Yankees would never allow their manager under contract to interview for another job. The Cubs would not risk tampering fines upwards of $1 million for trying to talk to a player or manager under contract with another major league team. Girardi wouldn't allow public distractions from his Yankees managing job.
All that said, if Girardi is the Cubs' first choice, they risk losing other prime candidates if they wait for the Yankees season to finish before asking for permission to talk to him.
Girardi's contract with the Yankees expires at the end of the season.
Hendry is on record stating that there are no favorites for the job nor will there be until he completes his interview process. After Hendry makes his choice, he will bring his candidate to owner Tom Ricketts as part of the process to hire the next manager.
Hendry has said that the hiring process may well take him all the way through October. The Cubs would like their manager in place when they start their organizational meetings in Mesa, Ariz., on Nov. 2. All that known, the World Series doesn't end until the first week of November, and if the Yankees are a part of that, Girardi's availability may still be unknown.
Major league sources tell ESPNChicago.com upwards fo 10 managing jobs may be open after the regular season ends Oct. 3. Among the managers in the last year of their contracts are the Los Angeles Dodgers' Joe Torre, the Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox, the Toronto Blue Jays' Cito Gaston, as well as Girardi. Interim manager situations already exist with the Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks and Marlins. Cox and Gaston are said to be retiring after the season.