Sandy Alomar Jr. interviews with Cubs

Sandy Alomar Jr. became the fourth candidate to interview for

the Chicago Cubs’ managerial vacancy and the team’s general manager

said Friday the field may be complete.

”Quite probably, yes,” new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said Friday. ”I

wouldn’t guarantee it is. But we feel really good about the four

guys we brought in. I wouldn’t rule out an additional candidate,

but it’s not a certainty, either.”

The Cubs had already interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete

Mackanin, Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum and Rangers pitching

coach Mike Maddux as possible replacements for the fired Mike

Quade.

”All four guys were impressive and well-prepared,” Hoyer

said.

Hoyer said now there would be internal discussions among the

front office members who participated in the interview process,

headed by president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who didn’t

comment Friday. And then there would be follow-up questions for

some or all of the candidates.

He said there was no timetable. General managers meet next week

in Milwaukee.

”We want to make the right decision, not the quick decision,”

Hoyer said.

One person who didn’t interview but would seem a top candidate

is Terry Francona, who was Red Sox manager under then-GM Epstein

when Boston won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

Francona has already interviewed for the St. Louis Cardinals’

post, but a Chicago Tribune story on Friday reported he was

interested in managing the Cubs.

Francona left the Red Sox after Boston’s September collapse that

cost it a playoff spot. There were also reports that some Red Sox

players were drinking beer and eating chicken in the clubhouse

during games.

Hoyer said Epstein and Francona have talked.

”Certainly there are conversations that have gone on between

Theo and Tito (Francona) who’ve had a great relationship for a long

time,” Hoyer said, referring specifics on those conversations to

Epstein.

Alomar, who spent parts of 20 seasons catching in the majors –

most notably as the 1990 AL Rookie of the Year and a six-time

All-Star for the Indians – has been the first base coach in

Cleveland for the past two seasons before being promoted to bench

coach. He has no managerial experience.

Like Mackanin and Sveum, he also interviewed with the Red Sox.

He called his interview with the Cubs interesting and challenging,

where he had to make quick decisions on the fly for hypothetical

game situations.

”I think I bring a lot of things to the table that maybe some

other guys don’t bring,” Alomar said.

He comes from a strong baseball family. As a catcher he was able

to see the game and defense in front of him and make split-second

decisions. He has the respect of many who watched him play and he’s

been thinking about managing for the last 10 years, even before his

career ended. He played for numerous winning managers and was with

the Indians when they made two trips to the World Series.

He said he also understands to a degree the emotional side of

players like temperamental Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano and

would work to try and understand his thought process, should he get

the job and Chicago brings Zambrano back.

But Alomar didn’t sound completely sold on the new baseball math

used to rate players and determine their potential for success.

Epstein and Hoyer are big proponents of statistical analysis –

coupled with scouting.

”That helps but doesn’t tell the whole story of the game,”

Alomar said.

”There is a lot of gut feeling you got to make. If you have a

stat and see a flashing number and you see that this guy is doing

very good against this other guy, you can use that in a game during

a key situation. Yes. But we cannot just depend on stats alone. You

got to depend on many other things. … I don’t like to become a

fantasy manager. The goal for a good manager is to have players who

are able to manage themselves on the field.”

The 45-year-old Alomar also played for the Padres, White Sox,

Rockies, Rangers, Dodgers and Mets. He had a lifetime average of

.273 with 112 homers and 588 RBIs.

His father, Sandy Alomar Sr., spent 15 seasons in the majors as

a second baseman, and his brother, Roberto, is in the Hall of Fame.

Sandy Alomar Sr. was once a coach with the Cubs, among other

teams.

Alomar Jr. still has a home in Chicago and his wife is from the

city.

Notes: Hoyer said he expects discussions in Milwaukee next week

between the Red Sox and Cubs over the still lingering compensation

issue for Epstein coming to Chicago. Commissioner Bud Selig has

said he would mediate if the issue can’t be resolved … Without

being specific or mentioning any players, Hoyer said the Cubs have

formulated a plan of attack for next season: They must add depth to

their pitching staff, improve their defense and be more athletic on

the bases. He said because of Wrigley Field’s changing wind

conditions from early in the season to later on, the Cubs would

need to have a team that can score in several different ways.