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Tracy set to meet with Littlefield

Joe Rutter
| Monday, Oct. 10, 2005

Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield could have his next manager in place as soon as today after he wraps up his formal interview with former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. Tracy, 49, is the last of three candidates to interview for the position and has been considered the favorite since the process began one week ago. Tracy already had spent two hours last week discussing the job by phone.

Littlefield interviewed the other front-runner, former Oakland Athletics manager Ken Macha, for three hours Sunday.

“Dave said he wanted to get this wrapped up quickly,” Macha said last night.

It's believed the Pirates could announce their decision after Tracy's interview is concluded. That way, the new manager could accompany Littlefield to Bradenton, Fla., tonight for the organizational meetings that begin Tuesday.

Asked yesterday if he would like to have his manager in place prior to the meetings, Littlefield said, “Only if he's the right guy.”

Littlefield would not comment when asked whether he has discussed contract terms with representatives for Tracy and Macha. It is known that he had discussions with both parties last week when setting up interviews.

Tracy worked with Littlefield in the Montreal Expos organization in the 1990s. He emerged as the favorite last Monday when, by mutual agreement, he was let out of the final year of his contract by Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta.

Tracy had four winning seasons in five years with the Dodgers, managing them to a National League West title in 2004 and their first win in a playoff game since 1988. The process became muddied Wednesday when Macha became available. That occurred when Macha and A's general manager Billy Beane could not come to terms on a three-year contract.

Macha also could be interviewed for the Florida Marlins managerial vacancy.

Macha did not want to discuss specifics of his interview with Littlefield.

“I'll wait to talk about it when something happens,” he said. “I'll let it all run its course. All I'll say is I thought it was a good interview, but people always feel good when they come out of an interview.”

Macha, who won at least 88 games in each of his three seasons with the A's, made a good impression on Littlefield.

“It went very well,” Littlefield said. “He's a very personable guy. He has tremendous experience and very good insight into running a game and working with players.”

The third candidate is Atlanta Braves third base coach Fredi Gonzalez, who was interviewed last Monday in Atlanta. Gonzalez also has emerged as a candidate with the Marlins. “I feel good about the three candidates we have,” Littlefield said. “Tracy and Macha are established major-league managers, and Fredi is a well-respected guy who is up and coming and has a very bright future. “I feel very good about the capabilities of who we are talking to. We'll see how it goes.”

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