The photo at the top of this post is one we might get quite used to seeing quite freqently over the next few years -- Mike Maddux speaking into a microphone with "CUBS" on the mic flag -- if he's hired by Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
So far, three men -- Maddux, Pete Mackanin and Dale Sveum -- have interviewed for the position. Sandy Alomar Jr. is scheduled to be interviewed on Friday.
And after that, Hoyer and Epstein are off to Milwaukee for general managers meetings next Monday and Tuesday; they'll no doubt see Epstein's Boston successor Ben Cherington there and the topic of the still unresolved compensation for Epstein's hire is likely to come up:
With the General Managers Meetings set to begin Monday in Milwaukee, Cherington said he and Epstein were hopeful they can strike a deal in person next week.
"The Commissioner's Office is giving us some leeway on it if we feel like there's progress being made," Cherington said. "I think we'll give ourselves until next week. We'll see each other in person next week, at least give ourselves until then to see if there's something we can't figure out."
If the Commissioner's Office has to handle the issue, Cherington said a date would be set where both sides present their case.
It doesn't seem to me as if Theo & Jed want either process to drag out much longer. Though there are other names (DeMarlo Hale, Dave Martinez and others) mentioned as possible managerial candidates, no further interviews have been scheduled past Friday. Theo & Jed have already said they don't need to interview Terry Francona (who is reportedly also up for the opening in St. Louis) since they know him so well.
It appears, then, that the four men interviewed already are the primary candidates and perhaps the only candidates. I've already gone on record as saying my choice is Mike Maddux. Yesterday's comments by and about him only solidified that choice in my mind. Maddux made some clever quips at his post interview news conference. Obviously, being clever or funny isn't a reason to hire someone to manage your ballclub. On the other hand, being able to do that does, in my mind, show a confidence that any manager must have. (You can't picture Mike Quade or Lou Piniella or Dusty Baker saying what Mike Maddux did yesterday, can you?)
So, vote in the poll for your choice among the four men who have been interviewed. I'm deliberately leaving Francona out of this because I don't think Theo & Jed really want to recreate the entire Boston experience here -- they do seem to want to move forward.
I think the Cubs will have a new manager in place within a week, maybe sooner.