Thursday, September 20, 2012
10 hot managerial candidates
By Jim Bowden
With the season winding down, we're starting to get a sense of which teams might have managerial openings. But who might fill those holes? Here are the names that will be discussed most frequently this winter.
Ryne Sandberg, manager, Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies) Sandberg has more than paid his dues in the minor leagues, and the Phillies are so high on him that he has become the heir apparent for their big league managerial job. However, he’ll probably get that opportunity somewhere else before Charlie Manuel retires. He would be an excellent choice to replace Bobby Valentine should he not survive in Boston.
Dave Martinez, bench coach, Tampa Bay Rays Martinez is highly respected by Rays manager Joe Maddon, who recently told me that Martinez is ready for the opportunity. He would be an excellent fit for either the Houston Astros or Cleveland Indians and their long-term rebuilding plans.
Mike Maddux, pitching coach, Texas Rangers There will come a day when Maddux manages and brother Greg Maddux is his pitching coach; the only question will be where and when. In the meantime, both enjoy the success they are having with the Rangers.
Bo Porter, third-base coach, Washington Nationals Porter is extremely hardworking and coaches with high energy, enthusiasm and love for the game. He will be given serious consideration in Houston as well as with Miami if the Marlins decide to make a change.
Tim Bogar, bench coach, Boston Red Sox Bogar has paid his dues working his way up the minor league ladder, spending four years in rookie ball, Class A and Double-A in Akron. He’s been a major league coach for the Red Sox the past four years at first base, third base and now bench coach. He’s extremely well prepared and should succeed when he finally gets the managerial call.
Joe McEwing, third-base coach, Chicago White Sox Players and coaches rave about McEwing. He was the hitting coach at Triple-A Charlotte of the International League in 2008 and was so impressive that by 2011, he was managing Charlotte and quickly became one of the game’s best managerial prospects. White Sox manager Robin Ventura didn’t waste any time naming him the major league team’s third-base coach this year. It won’t be long before he gets his first gig in the bigs.
Francona could be the biggest name on the managerial market this winter.
Pat Listach, third-base coach, Chicago Cubs Lou Piniella told me a few years back that Listach will eventually become a successful manager. It was just the second time Piniella ever recommended someone to me; the other was Don Mattingly, who has become a huge success for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 1992 American League Rookie of the Year has four years of minor league managing experience on his résumé as well as four years of major league coaching.
Torey Lovullo, first-base coach, Toronto Blue Jays Nine years as a minor league manager, including the past five at the Triple-A level, have Lovullo well prepared for a big league managing job. He’s been the first-base coach of the Blue Jays the past two years, and several people believe that if current Jays skipper John Farrell were to leave for Boston, his replacement would be Lovullo, who’s known for his in-game managing skills and ability to handle a pitching staff.
DeMarlo Hale, third-base coach, Baltimore Orioles After eight years of managing in the minor leagues and 11 years of coaching in the majors, Hale continues to grind and remain patient for his first opportunity to manage in the big leagues. He is well respected in the industry, but at 51, time might be running out for Hale.
If the Red Sox do let Valentine go, they might try to trade for Farrell or San Diego Padres skipper Bud Black just as Ozzie Guillen was traded to Miami last year. And consider Jason Varitek a possibility, albeit a long-shot alternative for the Red Sox. But given the successes of Ventura, Mike Matheny, Kirk Gibson and Mattingly -- new managers who all had no or very little managing experience before taking their current positions -- the crowd and front-office favorite Varitek doesn’t seem at all far-fetched.
Terry Francona, ESPN analyst Francona led the Red Sox to two pennants and two World Series titles. He finished first or second five different times and won 90 or more games six times. He can afford to be picky and probably would take a job only where he can win quickly.
Also on the radar are another trio of broadcasters -- ESPN’s own Orel Hershiser and Barry Larkin as well as MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds. All three would make terrific big league managers, and the desire is there, but considering the lifestyle and compensation changes a move back to the dugout would entail, it’s hard to envision any of the three giving up their present jobs. For Hershiser, it would have to be a club that had a chance of winning immediately and a large-market team like the Angels or Red Sox. For Larkin, it probably would be at least five years until Dusty Baker, who just managed his 3,000th game, walks away from the Reds.
Other names you'll hear: Don Baylor, Aaron Boone, Larry Bowa, Joey Cora, Luis Gonzalez, Tony Gwynn, A.J. Hinch, Trey Hillman, Gene Lamont, Pete Mackanin, Chris Maloney, Jerry Manuel, Dave Miley, Jose Oquendo, Tony Pena, Eduardo Perez, Mike Piazza, Bo Porter, Willie Randolph, Jim Riggleman, Tom Runnells, Alan Trammell, Tim Wallach