New names emerge as Gi­ants’ list takes shape

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Kerry Crow­ley

SAN FRAN­CISCO — As the Gi­ants con­tinue their search to find Bruce Bochy’s re­place­ment, it’s in­creas­ingly clear what kind of qual­i­ties the fran­chise is look­ing for in a prospec­tive hire.

Most of the can­di­dates Farhan Zaidi is in­ter­view­ing are young, cur­rently em­ployed by successful or­ga­ni­za­tions and lack­ing pre­vi­ous MLB man­age­rial ex­pe­ri­ence.

Two peo­ple who were con­nected to the Gi­ants’ search on Thurs­day fit that cri­te­ria.

Joe Es­pada, the Hous­ton Astros bench coach, and Matt Qu­a­traro, the Tampa Bay Rays bench coach, are both re­port­edly in the mix to lead the Gi­ants. Jon Hey­man of MLB Net­work first re­ported the team’s in­ter­est in Es­pada while Quar­traro was tied to the Gi­ants by Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times.

Es­pada, 44, is also in the mix for the man­ager job with the Chicago Cubs af­ter the team parted ways with Joe Mad­don, the new An­gels man­ager, fol­low­ing the sea­son. The last Astros bench coach un­der cur­rent man­ager A.J. Hinch to leave the team for a new job was Alex Cora, who helped lead the Red Sox to the World Se­ries in his de­but sea­son in Bos­ton.

Es­pada worked in the Yan­kees or­ga­ni­za­tion as a spe­cial as­sis­tant to gen­eral man­ager Brian Cash­man prior to tak­ing over for Cora at the be­gin­ning of the 2018 sea­son. The Puerto Rico na­tive has man­aged in the Puerto Ri­can win­ter league and has served as a coach for the na­tional team.

Qu­a­traro, 45, only has one sea­son of ex­pe­ri­ence as the Rays bench coach but has spent the past two years with the or­ga­ni­za­tion as he coached third base in 2018. Prior to a fouryear stint as the Cleve­land In­di­ans as­sis­tant hit­ting coach from 2014-2017, Qu­a­traro was

Tampa Bay’s mi­nor league hit­ting co­or­di­na­tor.

Both can­di­dates were drafted and worked their way through the mi­nor leagues as play­ers, but nei­ther advanced to the ma­jors.

Es­pada and Qu­a­traro join sev­eral other can­di­dates who the Gi­ants are re­port­edly interested in in­ter­view­ing for the open man­ager job. Zaidi an­nounced that Gi­ants coaches Ron Wo­tus and Hens­ley Meu­lens were in­ter­nal can­di­dates while the team would con­sider any­where from six-to-eight ex­ter­nal can­di­dates.

Aside from Es­pada and Qu­a­traro, for­mer Phillies man­ager Gabe Kapler, Oak­land A’s qual­ity con­trol coach Mark Kot­say, Kansas City Roy­als qual­ity con­trol coach Pe­dro Gri­fol and Chicago Cubs first base coach Will Ven­able are also re­port­edly un­der con­sid­er­a­tion.

For­mer St. Louis Car­di­nals man­ager and for­mer Gi­ants catcher Mike Ma­theny’s name has also been men­tioned as a pos­si­ble can­di­date, but it’s not clear if Zaidi will in­ter­view him.

New York Yan­kees bench coach Josh Bard is an­other name to watch as the process con­tin­ues as Bard was a Dodgers spe­cial as­sis­tant and bullpen coach dur­ing Zaidi’s ten­ure as the gen­eral man­ager in Los An­ge­les.

The group of can­di­dates that has emerged thus far is rel­a­tively sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing com­ments Zaidi made im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. When asked about the me­chan­ics of a man­ager search, he noted that pre­vi­ous MLB ex­pe­ri­ence may give can­di­dates an up­per hand.

“I do think that ex­pe­ri­ence is a real po­ten­tial ben­e­fit espe­cially in the short-term,” Zaidi said. “Hav­ing been around some first­time man­agers, I’ve seen that the learn­ing curve can be pretty steep.”

One part of the search process that shouldn’t be over­looked is the in­for­ma­tion-gath­er­ing tak­ing place. The Gi­ants are interested in learn­ing more about the dy­nam­ics and coach­ing struc­ture of some of the most successful or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­ter­views with can­di­dates who have prior ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in Oak­land, Hous­ton, Tampa Bay, Chicago and New York sug­gests they’re ac­com­plish­ing that mis­sion.

It does not, how­ever, sug­gest there’s a fa­vorite for the job or even a small group of front-run­ners at this point.

AL­LIE GOULD­ING/TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Matt Qu­a­traro (33) talks to um­pire Bruce Dreck­man in June in St. Peters­burg, Fla.

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