The Cubs’ pursuit of their next manager was put on pause Monday, but they continue to explore their options in the dugout as well as on their 40-man roster.
Their plan to ask formal permission to talk with bench coach Torey Lovullo was delayed because of the Red Sox’s intent to enforce an agreement made 2 years ago that prevents any employees from leaving for the Cubs as part of the terms that brought President Theo Epstein to Chicago.
The deal, believed to be over a 3-year window, was first reported by Fox Sports. The Cubs are continuing to vet patient candidate Rick Renteria and they are talking to other teams regarding players.
Naming a manager remains on the front burner with the general managers’ meetings scheduled to start Monday in Orlando, Fla.
Renteria, 51, still is a strong candidate to replace Dale Sveum, who was fired Sept. 30. But the Cubs have been deliberate in their search, especially after Joe Girardi elected to stay with the Yankees on Oct. 9.
The Tigers, for instance, hired Brad Ausmus, who interviewed Friday with the Cubs, as their manager over the weekend two weeks after Jim Leyland announced he was retiring.
For now, Lovullo will have to display the same patience Renteria has displayed since his second interview about 2 weeks ago.
As of Monday, Renteria hadn’t received medical clearance to fly – about a month since undergoing hip surgery.
A source familiar with the Red Sox and Cubs isn’t surprised the Red Sox are reluctant to let Lovullo talk with the Cubs given the tension between Epstein and Boston CEO Larry Lucchino.
Epstein resigned his position as GM after the 2005 season before returning about 2 1/2 months later. He eventually left for the Cubs after 2011 following a lengthy dispute over allowing him permission to talk to the Cubs as well as compensation after his departure.
At a news conference Monday, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington stressed no team had asked permission to talk to his coaches. “Right now, our hope and expectation is our coaching staff is back,” Cherington said at a news conference at Fenway Park. “There have been no requests for permission to talk to any of the major league coaches.”
A major league source confirmed the Diamondbacks have maintained interest in pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks initially were interested in Samardzija before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Cubs would have to replace Samardzija’s 213 2/3 innings and 33 starts if they were to move him, but they could get multiple players in return. Samardzija, 28, is expected to receive a healthy raise from his $2.64 million salary in 2013, but efforts to reach an extension with him before the season ended failed.
The Diamondbacks have a deep farm system that could help fortify the Cubs’ depth. The Cubs also have an interest in Diamondbacks free agent utility man Willie Bloomquist, whose versatility could fit the Cubs’ desire to become more athletic.
The Cubs, as expected, elected not to tender qualifying offers to catcher Dioner Navarro and pitchers Scott Baker and Matt Guerrier. The Cubs can continue to negotiate with those free agents but won’t receive compensation if they sign elsewhere.
Pitchers Kyuji Fujikawa and Arodys Vizcaino and infielder Mat Gamel were activated from the 60-day disabled list and added to the 40-man roster, which now stands at 37.