Rookie or re­cy­cled skip­per to re­place Gibby?

Jays may con­sider ri­vals’ suc­cess with first-time man­agers

The Peterborough Examiner - - Voice of Business - RICHARD GRIF­FIN

TORONTO — John Gib­bons will fin­ish the sea­son as the Toronto Blue Jays man­ager but then what?

If, as has been spec­u­lated, there is an end-of-sea­son part­ing of ways be­tween the Blue Jays and man­ager John Gib­bons it will be an am­i­ca­ble one.

The sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing the fi­nal year of his con­tract has been dis­cussed be­hind closed doors with GM Ross Atkins. Gib­bons has also pub­licly stated that if push comes to shove he would pre­fer not to be a short-term man­ager for a long-term re­build. Gib­bons will earn his guar­an­teed salary of just un­der U.S.$2 mil­lion whether he works some­where else or not in 2019 and the Jays will be able to ap­point a man­ager they be­lieve is best for their young re­build­ing team mov­ing for­ward.

That Gib­bons is in that chair two years into the Mark Shapiro/ Ross Atkins regime is a bit sur­pris­ing, but it was not a char­ity case. Atkins hon­estly be­lieved af­ter ’16-17 that Gib­bons was a top-10 man­ager in the game.

Now with both sides seem­ingly com­fort­able with what­ever the fu­ture holds, it would seem un­likely that Atkins and Shapiro have not thought about some sort of pos­si­ble list of re­place­ments.

With that in mind and un­der­stand­ing that a com­fort level is im­por­tant with who­ever oc­cu­pies the man­ager’s of­fice, here is a help­ful list of nine pos­si­ble can­di­dates to re­place Gib­bons, if he is not back. The can­di­dates within each cat­e­gory, rookie and re­cy­cled, are listed al­pha­bet­i­cally.

Ma­jor-league rook­ies (5): Base­ball is very much a copy­cat sport and the suc­cess this sea­son of rookie man­agers Alex Cora with the Red Sox and Aaron Boone with the Yan­kees opens the door for oth­ers without ex­pe­ri­ence that have never man­aged at the ma­jor-league level. Here is a list of rookie can­di­dates.

Sandy Alo­mar Jr: The Cleve­land first-base coach was on the Blue Jays’ short list in 2010 when John Far­rell was hired and once again was men­tioned in 2013 when Gib­bons was named. Of course Alo­mar al­ready has a con­nec­tion with the cur­rent Jays in hall-of-fame brother Roberto and his dad Sandy Sr.

Stubby Clapp: Fresh off of a sec­ond straight man­ager-of-theyear award at Mem­phis in the triple-A Pa­cific Coast League and with the par­ent club St. Louis Car­di­nals re­mov­ing the in­terim tag from man­ager Mike Shildt, the win­dow of op­por­tu­nity has opened for 45-year-old Cana­dian base­ball leg­end Stubby Clapp to look else­where for a man­age­rial job.

Clapp was the hero of the 1999 Pan-Am Games, a tour­na­ment that raised Canada’s na­tional pro­gram to the next level. He has played and coached for his coun­try in many in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments. The Wind­sor, Ont., na­tive coached briefly in the

Jays’ sys­tem and his hir­ing would be well re­ceived.

John Sch­nei­der: A for­mer mi­nor-league catcher in the Jays’ or­ga­ni­za­tion, Sch­nei­der has been work­ing with the fran­chise’s young prospects since 2008. He man­aged dou­ble-A New Hamp­shire to a play­off spot this sea­son and has coached most of the young play­ers that will be with the Jays in ’19. At the very least, the 38-year-old should con­tinue to rise through the sys­tem with an as­sign­ment to triple-A Buf­falo.

Tim Wal­lach: The for­mer Ex­pos’ all-star third-base­man is cur­rently bench coach with the Mi­ami Marlins. He was on the Jays’ short list of can­di­dates in 2010 when Far­rell was hired and was of in­ter­est again in ’13. He spent seven years as a ma­jor­league coach with the Dodgers mixed with ex­pe­ri­ence as a man­ager in the sys­tem. Wal­lach is one of Terry Fran­cona’s best friends. Atkins and Fran­cona are very close. If he asks, the In­di­ans’ skip­per will give a glow­ing rec­om­men­da­tion.

Chris Wood­ward: A Jays’ util­ity in­fielder for six sea­sons, 19992004, he is cur­rently third-base coach for man­ager Dave Roberts and the Dodgers. Roberts be­gan his play­ing ca­reer with Cleve­land and is friends with Atkins. Wood­ward, 42, was on the ma­jor­league staff of the M’s in ’14-15 be­fore mov­ing on to the Dodgers. His wife Erin is from the GTA.

Re­cy­cled skip­pers (4): It would seem that for a re­build­ing ’19

Jays roster MLB ex­pe­ri­ence would not be a pre­req­ui­site. How­ever, as we pointed out com­fort and fa­mil­iar­ity are im­por­tant to any front of­fice and there is al­ways a large group of can­di­dates that have prior ex­pe­ri­ence that will ap­ply. Here, listed al­pha­bet­i­cally, are five of those.

Manny Acta: Cleve­land hired Acta as man­ager from ’10-12, fired him near the end of his third sea­son, with Alo­mar Jr. fill­ing in for six games be­fore even­tu­ally be­ing re­placed by Fran­cona. The 49-year-old Acta has 890 games as man­ager with the Na­tion­als and the In­di­ans. He is cur­rently bench coach for the M’s.

Brad Mills: An­other pro­tégé of Fran­cona’s in Philadelphia, Boston and now as bench coach in Cleve­land, Mills was a team­mate of Tito’s at the Univer­sity of Ari­zona and again with the Ex­pos in the early ’80s. Mills had his MLB man­age­rial op­por­tu­nity with a bad Astros team in ’10-12, fired in Au­gust of his third sea­son, but with rave re­views from play­ers about his han­dling of a young team.

Mike Red­mond: The for­mer ma­jor-league catcher was de­scribed as a ris­ing star within the Jays’ or­ga­ni­za­tion in sin­gle-A at both Lans­ing and ad­vanced-A Dunedin by GM Alex An­thopou­los, but was hired away as man­ager by the Mi­ami Marlins in ’13, fired in his third year. The 47year-old is cur­rently bench coach for the Colorado Rock­ies.

Eric Wedge: Wedge joined the Jays front-of­fice in player de­vel­op­ment in Jan­uary 2016 and has had to deny ru­mours that he is man­ager-in-wait­ing for Gib­bons. The 50-year-old Wedge once man­aged the Bisons and has a home in Buf­falo, then moved on to be Cleve­land’s skip­per from ’03-09.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

First base um­pire Jansen Vis­conti throws Toronto Blue Jays man­ager John Gib­bons out of a base­ball game against the Yan­kees in the sixth in­ning in New York on Aug. 19.

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