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Front Office/Coaching Notes: Red Sox, Venable, Marlins, Denbo, Cubs, Epstein, Hoyer

The Red Sox are beginning the process of bringing in candidates for their managerial opening. Cubs coach Will Venable has already come in to interview, while George Lombard of the Dodgers and Don Kelly of the Pirates are likely on the list of incoming interviewees, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). Venable has been a popular managerial candidate recently. He interviewed for openings with the Astros and Giants last season, ultimately returning to the Cubs to serve as their third base coach in 2020. The former player moved back into the dugout for the 2018 season after being hired by the Cubs as a special assistant. For the Red Sox opening, however, Alex Cora continues to be seen as the favorite, though he will not be able to interview for the role until his suspension lifts after the conclusion of the World Series.

  • The Marlins are looking to hire a Team President that can complete their upper leadership group in the player ops department. That means augmenting and supplementing the work of Gary Denbo, their Director of Player Development and Scouting. Derek Jeter and Denbo are close, making it easy to presume that he could be a candidate to fill Michael Hill’s Team President role, but that’s not the case, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson provides a quote from Jeter that shines some light on his thinking for the position, as Jeter said, “Gary has done a great job where he is right now. You look at how you build an organization; you have to have a great scouting department and a great player development department. Gary deserves a lot of credit for what we’ve been able to do to this point. Where he is right now is where he is most important.”
  • The Cubs and Theo Epstein remain aligned on the current plan for Epstein to play out the last year of his contract before likely departing after 2021. Executive VP and General Manager Jed Hoyer does not share Theo’s exit strategy, however, and it seems right now as if he’ll stay on to fully take control of the Cubs’ baseball ops department after Theo departs, writes The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney. Hoyer has served as Theo’s partner in the front office for many years, but Theo still steers the ship, as was the case specifically with the Cubs’ rigorous approach to COVID-19 testing this year when they were the only team in the majors without a positive test. Hoyer will preserve a healthy dose of continuity when Theo leaves, but there will be change when the buck officially stops with him.
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