There are a handful of teams currently that are looking to fill their newly opened managerial position, and the potential candidates for these openings aren’t exactly household names. Guys like Gabe Kapler, Scott Servais, Tim Wallach, and Andy Green are all in the news right now being linked to any of the managerial openings. But why those guys when legends like Dusty Baker, Ron Gardenhire, Ron Washington, and Bud Black are out there as well?
Baseball has changed over the past decade or so, as the moneyball aspect has taken the MLB by storm. Front offices no longer consist only of former players or coaches with heavy baseball backgrounds, but guys with a business sense as well, statisticians. Teams are starting to rely more on the value of prospects, building from within, rather than trying to win with a huge payroll of all-stars. With that said, many GM’s are now starting to look toward promoting coaches already part of the franchise, instead of hiring from the outside. For example, the Dodgers are seriously considering hiring Gabe Kapler, as he played in the Dodgers minor league system and is currently in charge of the farm system. Teams are starting to think in terms of not risking hiring from the outside due the potential hire not knowing exactly the team’s direction. The other reason behind these weird hiring’s, is that most of these new managers are not many years removed from playing major league ball. That means the front office wants the franchise to be a player’s team, not a coach’s team.
Is this a smart way of going about hiring a new head coach? Yes and no, as there are benefits towards each. However, despite the new guy being either a recent player understanding the team from both sides, or a coach from within the club who already who knows the team’s direction, the best guys on the market still need to be looked at in depth. Occasionally these moves have been successful like the Cardinals hiring Mike Matheny who was a catcher for the Red Birds for years, but he had no previous coaching experience, so he might fail with any other team. Then there is Don Mattingly, who might have been a coach for the Dodgers for years before taking over as manager, but the team’s failure in the playoffs shows he was never the right fit. Baseball is all about miracles and underdogs, so some of these newbies could work out, but at the end of the day, experienced ex-managers with tremendous resumes that fit the team they are interviewing for are the right hires.