Considering The Toronto Blue Jays Next Manager

The John Farrell soap opera is behind us, but it leaves a sour taste.  I lauded the Farrell hiring because of his strengths in player and pitcher development.  This is exactly what he’d done in Cleveland and Boston prior to becoming the bench boss in Toronto and  TOR’s emphasis on rebuilding called for a man just like him.  However, the pitching is a major question mark.  Player development is tough to assess, particularly in the short term, but other facets of managing seemed to elude him.

Also troublesome have been various statements made since JF returned to Boston, and they don’t make Alex Anthopoulos look very good.  Farrell admitted openly that Boston was his “dream job” (http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/red-sox-hire-john-farrell.html).  How was this missed in the interview process?  It’s also become more widely known that AA and Farrell didn’t see eye-to-eye (Shi Davidi of Sportsnet).  Toronto is now looking for a manager who lines up closer with Anthopoulos’s vision for the team.  Again, isn’t this a key purpose of the interview process?  Finally, while it’s normal for managers to bring coaches wherever they go, Butterfield was with the Jays for years before John Farrell was hired.  Losing him to a division rival (other teams courted him) is irksome.

Regardless of the problems created by the process, selection, and trade of John Farrell, the Jays need a new skipper, their 8th since ’94.  They’ve made two things clear: first, they’re in no hurry; and second, they prefer a manager with experience.  Using these two criteria several names can be eliminated, but we should probably use a pencil when we cross their names off the list.  Here are some candidates who have been linked to the Jays, with several comments about each candidate:

Wet Behind the Ears

Pros

Cons

Sandy Alomar, Jr. Family history in MLB; connection to TOR No MLB experience; continues to get passed over
Tim Wallach History in Canada; solid reputation No MLB experience, removed from consideration
Brian Butterfield Well respected; abundant AL East exp No MLB experience; moved to BOS with Farrell
Matt Williams Up-and-coming candidate (?); has worked with Kirk Gibson No MLB experience; strong connections to ARI (no need to repeat Farrell blunder)
Sal Fasano Knows the Jays/system from MiLB exp No MLB experience
Dave Martinez Has coached with low-budget AL East team; worked with Joe Maddon; everyone wants him No MLB experience
Paul Molitor Connection to ‘glory days’ No MLB experience
DeMarlo Hale Respected in MLB; finalist two years ago No MLB experience
Brad Ausmus Solid reputation; someone everyone thinks about when there’s an opening No MLB experience; most of his exp is in NL; removed from consideration

Old Hands

Pros

Cons

Mike Hargrove Abundant exp; his nickname; worked with all sorts of stars; playoff success; top 5 in Mgr of the Year voting 6 times Age (63); hasn’t managed since ’07; didn’t fare well with less-talented teams
Art Howe Abundant exp; desires to work in TOR; good results in AL (4 straight 2nd place finishes in AL Mgr of the Year) Age (65); hasn’t managed since ’04;
Jim Riggleman 12 years exp; desires to work in TOR; replaced Acta with up-an-coming Nats Age (60); exp’d at losing (only 3 winning records); only 90 games as mgr in AL; replaced by Wakamatsu in ’09
Don Wakamatsu Exp with ‘weak’ team (SEA); 4th in AL Mgr of the Year vote in ’09; exp in TOR Part of the problem in ’12?; situation in SEA imploded in his 2nd season
Jim Tracy 11 years exp with reasonable success; ’09 NL Mgr of the Year (2nd, 3rd, 4th on other occasions) Inconsistent results as mgr; exp in PIT may be most relevant (poor results); removed from consideration
Manny Acta Six years exp Poor results with WAS and CLE; 2nd half team drop-offs; removed from consideration

(*mlbtraderumors.com was consulted for the creation of this table)

Some experienced candidates have been removed already.  Some have very little to commend them for the position (Paul Molitor) and little is known about others (DeMarlo Hale), though they may be good candidates.  Overriding these factors is the Jays’ desire to hire someone with experience.  This essentially eliminates first timers from the search, unless the experienced candidates fail to impress.

Alex Anthopoulos is wise to consider someone with experience but the list is short and not very impressive.  Three candidates (Hargrove, Howe, and Riggleman) are 60 or older, two (Hargrove, ’07; Howe, ’04) haven’t managed in a while, and one (Riggleman) has next-to-no AL experience.  Don Wakamatsu had personnel issues in SEA, and TOR had personnel issues this past season.  In neither situation did Wakamatsu emerge blameless.  However, they’re all good baseball men.

I confess to being under whelmed by the experienced candidates, though perhaps Hargrove emerges.  If the Jays are unimpressed by any experienced candidates, they’ll consider inexperienced candidates.  That group has several impressive prospects.  Among my favourites are Wallach, Hale, Fasano, and Martinez.  I know little about Hale and I’d prefer to keep Sal “The ‘Stache” Fasano in the system for now, leaving Dave Martinez as my favourite candidate.

I don’t know how the Jays perceive this group; part of me believes there’ll be a surprise selection.  I’d like to see the Jays find someone who maximizes the Jays’ potential.   It seems like it’s been a while since the Jays overachieved.

Wes Kepstro

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5 Responses to “Considering The Toronto Blue Jays Next Manager”


  1. 1 domain September 16, 2014 at 2:44 am

    I just like the valuable info you provide to your articles.
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  2. 2 Idiot Fan November 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Just a quality, top-notch piece Wes.

    Who’s your gut telling you?


  1. 1 Could Bobby Cox Be Next Blue Jays Manager? « AL Eastbound & Down Trackback on November 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm

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