There are eight MLB teams currently searching for a new manager.
That’s a lot — nearly one-third of the 30 clubs will have a new leader when the 2020 season begins next March 26. In addition to the Cubs, the Mets, Padres, Phillies, Giants, Pirates, Angels and Royals are all seeking a new field boss.
Let’s look at each of the clubs, who’s already been interviewed, who’s been rumored to be connected with each job, and who the most likely hire will be.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: Joe Girardi, Mark Loretta, David Ross, Will Venable
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Raul Ibanez, or maybe one of these four I wrote about last week
The Cubs don’t have any more interviews scheduled, at least none that have been made public.
LIKELY CHOICE: Ross. He fits this team in so many different ways.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: Girardi (this week), Mike Bell (D-backs VP of Player Development, this week), Carlos Beltran
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Derek Shelton (Twins bench coach), Buck Showalter
LIKELY CHOICE: Girardi. He can handle the NY media and is exactly the kind of guy this organization needs.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: Gabe Kapler (this week)
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Pedro Grifol (Royals quality control and catching coach), Mark Kotsay (Athletics bench coach), Giants coaches Ron Wotus and Hensley Meulens, Raul Ibanez
LIKELY CHOICE: Kapler. He worked for Giants President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi with the Dodgers and the two are reportedly very close.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: Jayce Tingler (Rangers Player Development Field Coordinator), Rod Barajas (Padres bench coach and interim manager), Ron Washington (former Rangers manager), Brad Ausmus
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Loretta, Maddon, Showalter, Mike Scioscia
LIKELY CHOICE: I’d say Barajas, since he’s already in place and managed their final eight games of 2019, but the Padres seem ready to go in another direction from their current staff. Loretta worked in the Padres front office as a special assistant for nine years before coming to the Cubs as bench coach. I’m thinking they go with him.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: No one, so far. This job has only been open for a couple of days since Kapler was fired.
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Scioscia, Showalter, Girardi, Maddon, Espada, John Farrell, Rob Thomson (Phillies bench coach), Dusty Wathan (Phillies first base coach), Dusty Baker (!), Curt Schilling (hahahahaha!)
LIKELY CHOICE: Well, that’s a good question. This article from The Athletic detailing the “56 minute, 56 second” news conference where Phillies management explained their reasoning for firing Kapler was, per Matt Gelb (the writer), “dizzying” and all it really showed was that the firing came from owner John Middleton, not GM Matt Klentak or team president Andy MacPhail.
It almost certainly will NOT be Schilling.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: No one, so far
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: John Wehner (Pirates broadcaster), Jeff Banister (former Rangers manager), former Pirates catcher Jason Kendall, Shelton, Bell
LIKELY CHOICE: Banister is the only one mentioned above with managerial experience. It doesn’t seem likely the Pirates would go with Wehner, who despite his three-decade connection with the club has no coaching experience. Shelton might be a good out-of-the-box choice for them, if he doesn’t go elsewhere. Honestly, I don’t know what direction the Pirates will take here. That organization seems a mess and they probably should have fired the GM as well.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: Maddon, Showalter, Farrell, Johnny Washington (Padres hitting coach)
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Girardi, Espada, Eric Chavez (Angels special assistant), Dino Ebel (Dodgers third base coach)
LIKELY CHOICE: Maddon, although after this weekend’s revelations about Tyler Skaggs’ death, I wonder if Joe might want to steer clear of Anaheim.
INTERVIEWED, or will be: No one, so far
ALSO CONNECTED BY RUMOR: Grifol, Dale Sveum (Royals bench coach), Mike Matheny (Royals special assistant)
LIKELY CHOICE: Matheny. This is the one job where there have been very few real rumors out there besides Matheny. Our SB Nation Royals site Royals Review posted a large number of names, both internal and external, but other than the ones noted above, those articles were just a summary of men who might be qualified, not actual reported candidates.
At least three of these teams (and maybe four) seem likely to hire managers who previously had managing jobs elsewhere (Maddon, Girardi, Matheny, possibly Kapler). Only two, the Cubs and Padres, appear virtually certain to hire someone with no previous managing experience (Ross and Loretta).
Hey, I’ve been wrong before. And many teams in recent years have surprised us with their managerial hires. There are bound to be a couple of those this time around, too. Here’s an example of someone who might be a good manager, has “received calls,” but who isn’t yet connected to any specific opening:
Michael Young, the Rangers great who works in their front office, has received multiple calls with interest for managerial jobs. Friends say he hasn’t decided he’s quite ready to dive into the managing pool yet. Would be very good.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 13, 2019
As always, we await developments.