Manny Acta is interviewing to be the Cubs’ manager

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While reports swirl that the Cubs are preparing to out-bid the Yankees for Joe Girardi they’re apparently still working on fallback plans, as David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta is in town to meet with Theo Epstein and company.

Acta has been one of the more vocal stat-head leaning managers–which certainly fits with the Cubs’ front office approach–and wears the hell out of a hat, but he went 158-252 (.385) in two-plus seasons with the Nationals and 214-266 (.446) in three seasons with the Indians, the last of which was 2012.

Acta joins A.J. Hinch as known candidates to interview with the Cubs following the firing of Dale Sveum and Kaplan reports that Padres bench coach Rick Renteria is also expected to come in for a meeting.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.