The Toronto Blue Jays are on the hunt for a new manager and Alex Anthopoulos is busy making his list and checking it twice.
Earlier this week, the Blue Jays GM said he hasn’t set a timeline for having a new manager in place, but he he does expect the process to be “significantly faster,” and involve a “much smaller group,” than two years ago when he settled on John Farrell.
Back then, it’s believed Farrell was one of four finalists along with Brian Butterfield, DeMarlo Hale and Sandy Alomar Jr. Once again the latter three are rumoured to be in the mix.
Other names being bandied about to replace Farrell such as Manny Acta, Jim Tracy, Tim Wallach and Brad Ausmus were not interviewed by the Blue Jays two years ago.
On Sunday, Anthopoulos was asked whether he is interested in speaking to individuals that were excluded from the process two years ago for one reason or another.
“Yeah, I think so,” Anthopoulos said. “I’ve just started to run through it in my mind a little bit here. There were some people that I just didn’t get a chance to speak to last time, whether it was not being granted permission by those clubs or just timing, maybe they weren’t available at the time, but they’re available now.
“There’s not too many, it’s a very, very small group but there were a few that I just didn’t get a chance to speak to either because I was denied (permission) by a club, or they were employed in a role they couldn’t get out of that I would definitely look to speak to.”
Two years ago, Acta (Indians) and Tracy (Rockies) were managing other clubs while it was reported the Dodgers denied the Blue Jays request to speak with Wallach. Ausmus wasn’t on anyone’s managerial radar in 2010, but both he and Wallach recently interviewed with the Red Sox.
Who knows just how “short” Anthopoulos’ short-list is, but here are eight names to chew on as the next manager of Toronto Blue Jays.
In no particular order…
Name: Sandy Alomar, Jr. | Age: 46
Current position: Been offered a position on Terry Francona’s staff in Cleveland.
Coaching Experience: Catching instructor, New York Mets (2008-09); First base coach, Cleveland Indians (2009-11); Bench coach, Cleveland Indians (2012); Interim manager, Cleveland Indians (six games, 2012)
Scouting Report: A finalist for the Blue Jays job two years ago… Interviewed by the Boston Red Sox for their managerial opening the past two seasons… Rumoured to be a finalist for Cubs opening last winter… Managed the Indians for six games at the end of 2012…Brother of Blue Jays Hall of Famer Roberto… Six-time all-star catcher.
Quote: “Sandy is a very good baseball man. He was very helpful to me for three years. He knows the game very well and he’s going to get a shot at managing.” – Former Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta.
Name: Tim Wallach | Age: 55
Current position: Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach.
Coaching Experience: Hitting coach, Los Angeles Dodgers (2004-08); Manager, triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes (2009); Bench coach, Los Angeles Dodgers (2010), Third base coach, Los Angeles Dodgers (2011-present)
Scouting Report: It’s rumoured Blue Jays wanted to speak with him two years ago but were denied permission by Dodgers… No such restrictions this time with contract with L.A. set to expire… Recently interviewed with Red Sox and said he’s ready to manage in Big Legues… Interviewed for Padres opening in 2006 and with Brewers in 2010.
Quote: “He could handle it. He has almost like a Tito (Terry Francona) type personality, where guys are going to get along with him. He could handle the media, for sure. He could handle that whole atmosphere, in my opinion.” – Former Red Sox infielder Nick Punto on whether Wallach could handle the Red Sox job.
Name: DeMarlo Hale | Age: 51
Current position: Baltimore Orioles third base coach
Coaching Experience: Manager, high-A Fort Lauderdale Red Sox (1993-96); Manager, double-A Trenton (1997-2000); Manager, triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks (2000-01); First base coach, Texas Rangers (2002-05); Third base coach, Boston Red Sox (2006-09); Bench coach, Boston Red Sox (2010-11); Third base coach, Baltimore Orioles (2012-present).
Scouting Report: Like Alomar, was believed to be one of four finalists for Toronto job in 2010… Was recently considered for Red Sox opening after not being interviewed a year ago over perception he was too close to Francona… 1999 Baseball America Minor League manager of the year… Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said hiring Hale was one of the organization’s best moves of 2011.
Quote: “He has sort of an inner toughness. He’s not the in-your-face type of guy, but when he wants to send a message, he knows how to send it without embarrassing the player. That’s why he gets players to play hard for him. I know he put out a lot of brush fires for Tito when he was here, and if you talk to anyone in that clubhouse who’s been around him, they’ll say the same thing I’m telling you.” – Hale mentor and 45-year member of Red Sox organization, Dick Berardino
Name: Brad Ausmus | Age: 43
Current position: Special assitant, San Diego Padres
Coaching Experience: None
Scouting Report: Believed to be one of the brightest managerial prospects in baseball, despite his lack of experience… Manager of Team Israel in 2013 WBC qualifying tournament… Ivy League graduate from Dartmouth College with BA in Government… Interviewed in Boston last week and is said to have impressed Red Sox brass… San Francisco Giants GM Brian Sabean calls him a “rising star in this profession.”… After failing to land Red Sox job said will listen if approached by other teams.
Quote: “He took charge in Houston and no one can read hitters and the game like he can. He has the respect of players already, so that is a huge starting point. I would place him in the mold of a Joe Girardi or Mike Matheny, low key but a brilliant baseball mind. I would not be surprised if Brad took a team to the playoffs very soon after he became a manager.” – former Astros teammate Brad Lidge.
Name: Dave Martinez | Age: 48
Current position: Bench coach, Tampa Bay Rays
Coaching Experience: Bench coach, Tampa Bay Rays (2008-present)
Scouting Report: Has interviewed previously for managerial openings with Indians (Manny Acta) and Blue Jays (John Farrell) and was reported to be a candidate for White Sox opening last winter… Light on experience but has the trust of one of the best managers in the game in Joe Maddon, who reportedly delegates a lot of responsibility to him… Familiarity with AL East, and Blue Jays nemesis Tampa in particular, a plus.
Quote: “Davey’s really well prepared. He understands the game very, very well, He’s been able to handle little sub meetings with players or other coaches, taking messages, making sure things get done. He’s made my job a lot easier, believe me. Being a manager, that’s just the next step for him. He’s pretty much ready for that right now.” – Joe Maddon.
Name: Manny Acta | Age: 43
Current position: Unemployed
Coaching Experience: Third base coach, Montreal Expos (2002-05); Third base coach, New York Mets (2005-06); Manager, Washington Nationals (2007-09); Manager, Cleveland Indians (2010-12)
Scouting Report: Popular to the sabermetric crowd for his adherance to advance metrics and his distaste for the bunt… Dominican Republic native managed the country to semi-finals of the 2009 World Baseball Classic… Posted a 158-252 (.385) record with the Nationals and a 214-266 (.446) mark with Indians. …His patient, laid-back approach drew heavy criticism from Indians closer Chris Perez this past season… Along with Wallach believed to be among those Jays would like to speak with who were unavailable two years ago.
Quote: “We’re together so much. It was just a weird dynamic. I have a great deal of respect for Manny. From what he’s accomplished and the charity work he does. I just disagree with some of his baseball tactics and strategies and how he runs the ship.” – Indians closer Chris Perez.
Name: Brian Butterfield | Age: 54
Current position: Third base coach, Toronto Blue Jays
Coaching Experience: First base coach, New York Yankees (1994-95); Third base coach, Arizona Diamondbacks (1999-200); Third base coach, Toronto Blue Jays (2002-07, ’10-present); Bench coach, Toronto Blue Jays (2008-09)
Scouting Report: Highly regarded for teaching skiils with infielders, communication and work as a third base coach… One of the Blue Jays most popular coaches with fans, players and media… Close lieutenant of Farrell and a strong advocate of Farrell’s agressive approach running the bases… A candidate to join Farrell in Boston, or Showalter in Baltimore, especially if the Blue Jays hire Hale… If the Jays are after continuity, might be the choice.
Quote: “I talk with my wife about it a lot. One of the most important things is No. 1, what kind of people are you going to be working shoulder-to-shoulder with. That’s not a knock on anybody else, but I really love the people here, the way they have treated me. I love the city. These people seem like home to me. They remind me of people in my hometown, blue collar, passionate.” - Butterfield this past April on his time in Toronto.
Name: Tony Pena | Age: 55
Current position: First base coach, New York Yankees
Coaching Experience: Manager, triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs (1999-2001); Manager, Kansas City Royals (2002-’05); First base coach, New York Yankees (2006-08); Bench coach, New York Yankees (2009-present)
Scouting Report: 2003 AL Manager of the Year… Resgined as Royals manager on May 10, 2005 with team record 8-25… Interviewed by Yankees in 2007 to replace Joe Torre… Interviewed with the Red Sox earlier this month to replace Bobby Valentine… Ability to speak two languages and familiarity with AL East won’t hurt his chances.
Quote: “He’s intense, he’s passionate, he loves the game, and he never has a bad day. That’s how I would describe Tony Pena. He’s done a lot. He was involved with a lot of playoff teams as player. He’s been involved with a lot of different aspects of the game. There’s a lot of experience there.” – Yankees GM Brian Cashman.
Other potential candidates: Jim Tracy (recently fired Rockies manager), Mike Redmond (Dunedin Blue Jays manager), Luis Rivera (Toronto Blue Jays assistant coach), Don Wakamatsu (Blue Jays bench coach), Mike Maddux (Rangers pitching coach).
Who would you like to see manage the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013?