BOSTON — It’s hard to measure the difference it might have made, but Boston Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo remains the stone left unturned in the Cubs last managerial hiring process.
The Cubs identified San Diego bench coach Rick Renteria early, and three months into his first year on the job, team executives say they’re happy with their choice.
But whether Lovullo eventually proves the Cubs were right to target him for an interview last fall, Theo Epstein’s former Class AAA manager in the Red Sox system has an idea what he might have missed when the Red Sox denied him the interview, because he has a good idea what the Cubs are building and how.
Lovullo said he found a comfort zone in the Cubs’ idea because he spent a year under Epstein in the Red Sox system.
“Mostly the comfort is that Theo was in charge, and Jed [Hoyer] was the GM that was going to put the situation in place very similar to this,” Lovullo said Tuesday at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox won a third championship in 10 years last October.
“Everybody wants that type of infrastructure. It was a simple reason they’ve been successful.”
In denying Lovullo the interview, Red Sox brass invoked the agreement — that the Cubs would not hire Red Sox personnel — made when Epstein left Boston for the Cubs in 2011.
It was an unusual move that may have had as much to do with leftover animosity over the compensation dispute between the teams. Teams rarely block staff from pursuing promotions elsewhere.
“I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the opportunity,” said Lovullo, 48. “But in this game timing is everything and if it’s supposed to happen, it’ll happen another way. If it’s not supposed to happen, I’m perfectly content with the people I work for. I’m in a good organization with great people.”
Lovullo, who was informed of the team’s position last fall from both Sox owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington, was reportedly taken care of with a contract extension.
Whether the Cubs were denied a chance at a best-fit candidate in this rebuilding process probably can’t be known until Renteria gets a reasonable stretch in the job and until Lovullo gets one at all.
If nothing else, Lovullo said he hopes the attention last fall eventually leads to another potential managing opportunity.
“You’re honored,” he said of being targeted last fall. “And then it makes you think these teams think highly enough of me that they would actually consider it, I’m ready for that next step.”
NOTE: Junior Lake hit .197 in June, including an 0-for-13 finish, and had more strikeouts (26) than and finished with is not enough to make the Cubs consider a demotion, manager Rick Renteria said. “It’s just a matter of us making sure we stay positive with him.”
CUBS AT RED SOX
The facts: 6:10 p.m., Ch. 26, ESPN, 720-AM.
The pitchers: Travis Wood (7-6, 4.52 ERA) vs. Brandon Workman (1-1, 3.27).