If any changes are coming to the Cubs’ coaching staff this winter, it might start with third-base coach Will Venable.
Venable, who has been on the Cubs’ coaching staff for three seasons, has interviewed with the Boston Red Sox for their managerial opening and also has talked with the Tigers about their managerial vacancy, sources confirmed Thursday.
Venable, 37, interviewed for three manager jobs last season, including the Cubs vacancy that went to David Ross. He also interviewed with the Astros (Dusty Baker) and Giants (Gabe Kapler).
During last winter’s process with the Astros, he called the offseason interviews “really good opportunities for me to talk to people about baseball and to try to showcase my abilities, but also to learn some things from them.”
This time around, he might be considered a more serious candidate, especially for a team like the Tigers, with enough young talent to think they might be on the verge of taking the next, early step from a rebuilding process. (The Red Sox are said to consider Alex Cora the favorite to return after a one-year suspension over his role as a coach in the 2017 Astros cheating scandal).
Other clubs also have sought the Cubs’ permission to talk with Venable about other, non-managerial openings in their organizations.
The widely respected Venable, who was a first-team All-Ivy player in both baseball and basketball at Princeton, joined the Cubs as a special assistant to the general manager and president after retiring from a nine-year big-league playing career following the 2016 season. After a year in the front office, he moved to the field as a first-base coach for two years before taking over at third this season.
His big-league baseball roots go back to his childhood and hanging around ballparks and clubhouses with his dad, Max, a 12-year outfielder for Giants, Reds, Expos and Angels.
The Cubs’ offseason remains in more limbo than usual at this point in the offseason, with team president Theo Epstein still said to be mulling whether to step down from the final, $10 million year of his contract during a time of deep cuts across all departments in the organization — including more than 100 layoffs in business and baseball operations at a time of steep pandemic-related financial losses.
The 2020 big-league coaching staff remained intact at midweek, according to sources, but it was unclear whether the decisions on 2021 staffing are fully settled.