The search has officially begun for the 13th manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. It still doesn’t quite feel real that the John Gibbons era is over, but he’s now the club’s “former” manager. Over the coming weeks, it’s up to Ross Atkins to whittle down a number candidates and select the Blue Jays’ new skipper.
MLB’s season-end managerial purge has already claimed three managers (Gibby, Jeff Bannister and Paul Molitor being the latest), Mike Scioscia retired and Buck Showalter is in the hot seat in Baltimore.
There is no shortage of candidates out there, giving the Blue Jays more than a dozen options to fill the void in Gibby’s fully-reclined manager’s chair. Whether it’s rumours, hearsay or just flat-out speculation, there is a bracket’s worth of candidates to in the running to become the next manager of the Blue Jays.
The next logical step? The official Blue Jays managerial bracket.
The Cleveland Connections
For the longest time, Eric Wedge was believed as the eventual successor to John Gibbons. Wedge resides in the Blue Jays organization as a field coordinator, but he hasn’t managed since being turfed from the Seattle Mariners at the end fo the 2013 season.
The “OH, HELL NO” award on this bracket goes to John Farrell. Optically, it would be a bad look on the Jays to bring back the guy who left Toronto for his “dream job” in Boston. However, Farrell has the Cleveland connection as the former director of player development with the Indians.
Sandy Alomar Jr. was one of the final few candidates the last time the Blue Jays had a manager vacancy back in 2010. He’s spent the last decade as a coach within the Indians organization, serving as the team’s first base coach.
In the “of course” category, Omar Vizquel hasn’t unequivocally been mentioned as a candidate, but he seems to fit all the criteria. He’s Latin, he’s a former player, his roots were established with the Indians and Vizquel is currently a coach in the minor leagues.
The Former Players and MLB Network Guys
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey broke into the big leagues with the Cleveland Indians. He’s rumoured to be in the running as Blue Jays manager, although he’s never publically expressed any public interest in managing a club.
Back in 2013, Mark DeRosa played the final year of his MLB career in a mentor-like role with the Blue Jays. Could he put the skipper’s jacket on next year? He interviewed a few years back for the Mets manager job and was reportedly tabbed for a coaching gig with the Cubs earlier this year.
He’s one year removed from a World Series championship with the Houston Astros. Is future Hall of Famer Carlos Beltran ready to step into the manager’s chair? The Blue Jays’ manager gig would be an appealing job for a first-time manager like Beltran.
This one is incredibly far-fetched, but Shi Davidi brought up Craig Breslow‘s name in the past as a potential manager for the Blue Jays. Fun fact: he spent the final two months of the minor league regular season as a reliever for the Buffalo Bisons.
The Internal Candidates & Former Jays
Fisher Cats manager John Schneider is poised as the strongest internal candidate to be the Blue Jays’ next manager. He managed the Fisher Cats to an Eastern League Championship, he’s quite young at 37-years old and is very analytics-savvy.
DeMarlo Hale has been John Gibbons’ right-hand man as the Blue Jays’ bench coach since 2013. He initially interviewed for the vacant Blue Jays manager’s job back in 2010, so the organization clearly thinks highly of Hale.
He made the shortlist for the Yankees’ skipper position last year and Chris Woodward currently serves as the third base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
John McDonald is practically a saint around these parts, so why not make him Blue Jays royalty by giving him the reigns as Blue Jays manager? Mark Shapiro speaks incredibly highly of McDonald … the only trouble would be prying him out of the Indians organization.
The New Hotness
Call it a hunch, but this the shortlist I think the Blue Jays will eventually hire somebody from. Heck, John Gibbons already offered up Stubby Clapp‘s name to take over his job. In his first year as manager of the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in 2017, Clapp took home a PCL title.
The in vogue thing these days is plucking a manager from the Houston Astros organization. The Red Sox did exactly that with Alex Cora last year. Astros Bench coach Joe Espada is another interesting candidate for the Jays. He’s Latin, fairly young at 43 years old and likely leans into analytics, given that he works for the Astros.
If you can’t beat ’em, court ’em! Despite a lower-tier payroll, the Tampa Bay Rays consistently baffle baseball experts. During his playing days, Rocco Baldelli was one of the more cerebral baseball players of his time and he’s parlayed that knowledge into a field coordinator position with the Rays.
Again, dipping into the Rays’ stingray tank, their third base coach Matt Quatraro is an extremely under-the-radar candidate to become the 13th manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Along with Baldelli, Davidi mentions Quatraro as a potential fit in his latest Sportsnet piece.