In case you’ve been living in a trash can for the last few days, the Astros are in need of a new manager to replace AJ Hinch. The World Series-winning skipper was canned after MLB suspended him for a year as the result of his role in doing absolutely nothing to stop a player-driven sign-stealing ring. Even if you argue that Hinch smashed the monitor they used, he otherwise turned a blind eye rather than saying anything.
So Houston is now engaged in a search for their new manager, which could have them calling the Cubs for permission to interview third base coach Will Venable. And according to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs would not stand in the way should Venable receive an interview request.
If #Astros want to interview #Cubs 3B coach Will Venable, CHC will grant permission, source tells The Athletic. Timing of departure just before spring training would be inconvenient, but Cubs would not stand in way. Venable on list of managerial candidates, per @MarkBermanFox26.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2020
Venable was hired by the Cubs in September of 2017 as a special assistant and joined the coaching staff at first base the following season. Best known for his time as a player in San Diego, Venable spent part of 2015 with the Rangers and then bounced around the Indians, Phillies, and Dodgers organizations before retiring. Though he was a solid player over the course of his nine-year career, it wasn’t necessarily his on-field performance that spurred the Cubs to bring him in.
Venable’s time with the Padres coincided with Jed Hoyer’s tenure there, so they no doubt got to know each other well in SoCal. We’ve seen in the past how the Cubs front office is loyal to those co-workers and players of whom they’ve grown enamored, so it makes sense that Hoyer would want to bring an old charge back around. Then you’ve got the fact that Venable’s an Ivy League guy, starring in both baseball and basketball for Princeton.
He’s thought of very highly in baseball circles and was a candidate for the Cubs job that eventually went to David Ross. Though Venable’s chances were probably nil given the preference for Ross from the start, being part of the process likely served to raise his profile at least a little bit.