Blue Jays believed to be down to five candidates for new manager

Stephen Brunt and Shi Davidi discuss the Blue Jays' list for the vacant manager spot. Astros bench coach Joe Espada, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Giants farm director David Bell and former Tampa Bay Ray Rocco Baldelli look like front runners.

PEORIA, Ariz. — The Toronto Blue Jays are believed to be down to five candidates in their search for a new manager and have begun in-person interviews to decide on a replacement for John Gibbons.

The identity of the finalists couldn’t be confirmed, although according to multiple industry sources, Joe Espada (the Houston Astros bench coach), David Bell (the San Francisco Giants’ farm director), Rocco Baldelli (the Tampa Bay Rays’ major-league field co-ordinator), and Brandon Hyde (the Chicago Cubs’ bench coach), are believed to be among them.

Since the season ended, the Blue Jays have considered and held phone interviews with a wide array of candidates.

GM Ross Atkins has said he’s looking for someone to fill an expanded vision for the manager role, which will include co-ordinating with multiple facets of the organization rather than focusing solely on the 25-man big-league roster.

The Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds are also currently looking for a manager, with Espada, Bell, Baldelli and Hyde each drawing interest from some or all of the other clubs, as well.

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