Cubs third base coach Will Venable will interview for the Astros’ managerial opening on Friday, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports (Twitter links). The Cubs granted Houston permission to speak to Venable about the position.
Mark Berman of FOX 26 first reported yesterday that Venable being considered by the Astros, and Venable brings a different profile than the two candidates who have already interviewed for the position. Whereas Buck Showalter and John Gibbons have combined to manage over 4500 MLB games, the 37-year-old Venable would be a first-time skipper. After wrapping up his nine-year playing career in 2016, Venable took on a new role as a special assistant to Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein in 2017 and then worked two seasons as Chicago’s first base coach.
Venable emerged as a managerial candidate earlier this winter when he was interviewed by the Giants and by the Cubs themselves for their dugout openings. While he didn’t get the big hire, Venable is slated to move into a new role in 2020, as he will move across the diamond to work as a third base coach.
As per the names on Berman’s list, Houston is taking a broad approach to its search, considering both veteran names and candidates without any managerial experience (i.e. Venable, Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Dodgers special advisor Raul Ibanez). It’s hard to predict how the organization might be leaning, both because the search is still in its early stages and due to the lingering cloud of controversy hanging over the Astros due to the sign-stealing scandal that led to the firings of former manager A.J. Hinch and former GM Jeff Luhnow.