Cubs decisionmakers were not surprised that Joe Girardi decided to stay managing the Yankees where he's spent most of the last 18 years as a manager coach broadcaster and player and now Chicago appears to be honing in on a very short list of serious candidates including the already interviewed duo of A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta.

Cubs people will not label anyone as a "favorite" yet but with their plan to add perhaps only one or two names to their original interview list the assumption is they were impressed by Hinch and/or Acta and confident they will find their next manager from a roster that includes those two plus Rick Renteria who'll be interviewed next week perhaps Dave Martinez and maybe one other. Martinez is said to have a good chance to garner an interview as well.

Word is the Cubs may put their energies into callbacks/second interviews another indicator that they believe they have their next manager on their original short list.

Some baseball people partly by reading tea leaves are surmising Hinch and/or Acta may have an excellent chance. Both men have major-league managing experience which could be a plus over the other couple of known candidates though Cubs people are saying it isn't necessarily a prerequisite. Dale Sveum who was fired after two years as manager only had brief big-league managing experience as a Brewers interim for a few weeks when he was hired in Chicago..

Hinch now a Padres executive has an excellent reputation for his work with prospects and young players while working as the Diamondbacks farm director before his short tenure as their big-league manager. The Cubs have made clear that strength in player development would be a major asset. Acta currently an ESPN broadcaster managed both the Indians and Nats so he's certainly qualified.

Sandy Alomar Jr. and both Maddux brothers the Hall-of-Fame-to-be pitcher Greg and brother Mike have been speculated as possible candidates but it's uncertain yet whether they will be interviewed. Mike Maddux the respected Rangers pitchng coach and Alomar a beloved Indians coach had Cubs interviews two years ago when Sveum was hired.