While current managers John Farrell and Mike Matheny are busy preparing their teams for Game 1 of the 2013 World Series tomorrow night, general managers of 28 other Major League Baseball clubs are trying to get a jumpstart on 2014.
Since the end of the regular season five managers have exited — Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds), Dale Sveum (Chicago Cubs), Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers), Eric Wedge (Seattle Mariners) and Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals). Baker and Sveum were fired, Leyland and Johnson retired and Wedge resigned.
On Monday, the Reds filled their vacancy, hiring Bryan Price. Meanwhile, a lot of rumors are already flying about who the next Tigers manager might be.
The first name that surfaced in the rumor mill was Kirk Gibson, former Tigers player and current Arizona Diamondbacks manager. D-Backs GM Derrick Hall immediately stomped out that rumor, telling the AZ Central:
I had a conversation with him first thing this morning. My first inclination was to say I would not grant permission (for the Tigers to interview Gibson) because we want him to stay here. But I asked him, ‘If that’s what you desire, to go interview, that’s different.’ But he said he wants to stay here. That’s all we needed to hear. He’s not going anywhere.”
So, who? Hey let’s throw some names around. There’s a sense that Dusty Baker will get a lot of press over the next few weeks as the Tigers (and others) continue their managerial searches.
As if Washington doesn’t have enough problems, their baseball team has yet to decide on a manager, but they’ve been shopping. According to the Washington Post, the team has interviewed Trent Jewett and Randy Knorr. They are not interested in Dusty Baker, Charlie Manuel or Cal Ripken Jr., despite rumors. They are also interested in interviewing Matt Williams and Brad Ausmus. In fact, according to Adam Kilgore, the Nationals beat writer for the Post, Williams is the front-runner for the job.
What do all these moves mean for the Cubs? A lot, according to MLB.com. Another team is searching for a manager and the entire playing field shifts. More jobs mean more options for potential candidates. The Cubs have already met with Dave Martinez, Rick Renteria, A.J. Hinch and Manny Acta. According to MLB, Theo Epstein was hoping to wait and interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo after the World Series. But if he waits, his other candidates could get picked off by another team. Decisions, decisions.
Wedge notified the Mariners in late September that he would not be back. The moment the news broke, the rumor mill flooded with names: Omar Vizquel, Henry Blanco, Jamie Moyer, blah, blah, blah …
While managerial changes are certainly intriguing, the non-moves are equally compelling storylines. Both New York teams, the Mets and Yankees, missed the post-season in 2013 and both managers, Terry Collins and Joe Girardi, received contract extensions. The Dodgers spent a ton of money, only to fall short in the National League Championship Series. Will Don Mattingly keep his job? The Rockies extended Walt Weiss. The Phillies signed Ryne Sandberg to a three-year deal. Ron Washington, Mike Scioscia and Bo Porter all have jobs in 2014 … as of now, that is.
Open discussion, open thread. Post your comments on Twitter at #mlbmanagers or start the conversation below.