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June 29, 2010

Top 10 Week

Manager Prospects

by John Perrotto

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Top 10 Week continues here at Baseball Prospectus as we look at the 10 best managerial prospects in the game. Only those who have never managed in the major leagues on a regular basis were considered for this list, which was compiled with the help of numerous people in all facets of the game.

Dave Brundage
Age: 44
Current Position: Manager of the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett farm club.
Background: Brundage spent seven seasons as a minor-league outfielder then 14 years working in the Mariners' farm system from 1993-2006, four as a hitting coach and 10 as a manager. He has been a manager in the Braves' farm system the last four seasons.
Why He is Qualified: This is all you need to know about Brundage: Those close to the Braves believe if they stay inside the organization to replace the retiring Bobby Cox at the end of the season that Brundage will likely be general manager Frank Wren's choice. Though Brundage has never played or coached in the major leagues, his knowledge of the game and ability to communicate and motivate would allow him to overcome any experience disadvantage.

Joey Cora
Current Position: White Sox bench coach
Age: 45
Background: Cora was an infielder in the major leagues for 11 seasons from 1987-98 with the Padres, White Sox, Mariners and Indians. He became a minor-league coach with the Cubs in 2000 then was a minor-league manager for two years with the Mets (2001-02) and one with the Expos (2003). Cora was hired by the White Sox as their third base coach in 2004 then shifted to bench coach three years later.
Why He is Qualified: Cora is a highly intelligent guy and in many respects keeps the White Sox steadied while manager Ozzie Guillen and general manager Ken Williams continued their never-ending drama on the South Side. Cora can be a bit of a tough guy, though, and would likely need a "good cop" bench coach to serve as a buffer with the players if he becomes a manager.

John Farrell
Age: 47
Current Position: Red Sox pitching coach.
Background: Farrell pitched in the major leagues for eight seasons from 1987-96 with the Indians, Angels, and Tigers. He spent five seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, from 1997-2001. Farrell returned to professional baseball in 2002 as the Indians' player development director before joining the Red Sox as their pitching coach in 2007.
Why He is Qualified: Farrell has a wealth of experience, both on the field and in the front office, and is considered one of the game's progressive thinkers. He is also able to adeptly handle all the media attention that comes from being the Red Sox' pitching coach, something that would serve him well as a manager.

Tom Foley
Age: 50
Current Position: Rays third base coach
Background: Foley was an infielder in the major leagues for 13 seasons with the Reds, Phillies, Expos, and Pirates from 1983-95. He joined the Rays as their minor-league field coordinator in 1996 and worked in that capacity for four seasons before serving a two-year stint as their minor-league director then becoming the third base coach in 2002.
Why He is Qualified: Foley has been with the Rays since their inception and has a great understanding of how the game works from the ground up. He is an understated guy and certainly not a self-promoter, which has kept him under the radar, but is extremely bright and those close to him strongly believe he would be an outstanding manager.

Torey Lovullo
Age: 44
Current Position: Manager of the Red Sox' Triple-A Pawtucket farm club.
Background: Lovullo spent eight seasons as an infielder in the major leagues from 1988-99 with the Tigers, Yankees, Angels, Mariners, Athletics, and Phillies, and also played in Japan. He joined the Indians as a roving minor-league coordinator in 2001 and was a manager in their farm system for eight seasons from 2002-09, including four at the Triple-A level. Lovullo moved to the Red Sox' organization last winter.
Why He is Qualified: Lovullo has been considered ready to manage in the major leagues for the last few years and the biggest factor that caused him to lose out to Manny Acta for the Indians' opening last November was the perception that the organization was not willing to look outside for a different perspective. Lovullo is known as a great communicator who likes to play an aggressive style of baseball that puts the pressure on the opposition with steals and hit-and-runs.

Pete Mackanin
Age: 58
Current Position: Phillies bench coach
Background: Mackanin was an infielder in the major leagues for nine seasons from 1973-81 with the Rangers, Expos, Phillies, and Twins. He managed in the minor leagues for 13 seasons, winning 917 games for the Cubs, Reds, Expos, and Pirates. Mackanin was also the Expos' third base coach for four seasons from 1997-2000 and the Pirates' bench coach for three years from 2005-07. He served two stints as an interim manager in the major leagues, with the Pirates in 2005 and the Reds in 2007. Mackanin has also scouted for the Reds and Yankees.
Why He is Qualified: Mackanin is the oldest person on this list, which unfortunately is likely to work against him, but he is an outstanding baseball man who did a fine job in his two interim stints as manager in what were obviously very difficult situations. He relates well to people, commands the respect of players without being overbearing, has a tremendous wit, and handles the media extremely well. He truly deserves a chance to be a big-league skipper on a permanent basis.

Don Mattingly
Current Position: Dodgers hitting coach
Age: 49
Background: Mattingly spent his entire 14-year major-league playing career as a first baseman with the Yankees from 1982-95. He rejoined the Yankees as a special instructor in 1997 and spent seven years in that capacity before becoming their hitting coach for three seasons from 2004-06 then their bench coach in 2007. Mattingly was hired as the Dodgers hitting coach midway through the 2008 season.
Why He is Qualified: Mattingly brings instant credibility to any clubhouse, as he was a superstar player in the game's biggest media market. He also has an outstanding personality, which allows him to easily connect with the players and others around him. Mattingly has learned at the side of Joe Torre, a master when it comes to maintaining a calm clubhouse environment and handling the media.

Jose Oquendo
Current Position: Cardinals third base coach
Age: 45
Background: Oquendo was a super utility man, before the term was invented, in the major leagues for 12 seasons from 1983-95 with the Mets and Cardinals.  He has spent his entire coaching career with the Cardinals, serving as a minor-league field instructor in 1997, a minor-league manager in the 1998, and the major-league third base coach for the last 12 seasons.
Why He is Qualified: Oquendo was nicknamed "The Secret Weapon" as a player and is much the same way as a coach as he works in the large shadows of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, hitting coach Mark McGwire, and pitching coach Dave Duncan. Oquendo knows the game inside and out, has good people skills, is bilingual, and his easygoing manner wears well with players.

Ron Roenicke
Age: 53
Current Position: Angels bench coach
Background: Roenicke was an outfielder in the major leagues for eight seasons from 1981-88 with the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Giants, Phillies, and Reds. He began his non-playing career with the Dodgers, spending five seasons as a minor-league manager, before becoming the Giants' Triple-A manager for one year in 1999. Roenicke has been on the Angels' staff the last 11 seasons, six as the third base coach before becoming the bench coach in 2006.
Why He is Qualified: Roenicke has spent more than a decade working on Mike Scioscia's staff and learning from perhaps the best manager in the game. Roenicke has the reputation of being a very calm and steady guy, who is also a great teacher, traits that would seemingly make him a great fit for a rebuilding organization. Some feel Roenicke is too nice to manage, but that was also said about the Angels previous bench coach, Joe Maddon, who has turned out to be an outstanding skipper with the Rays.

Lee Tinsley
Age: 41
Current Position: Mariners first base coach
Background: Tinsley was an outfielder in the major leagues for five seasons from 1993-97 with the Mariners, Red Sox, and Phillies. He spent two seasons as a minor-league hitting coach and three seasons as the roving minor-league outfield instructor with the Diamondbacks and another season as the outfield rover in the Angels' organization before coming to the major leagues as a coach in 2006. He was the Diamondbacks' first-base coach for three seasons before assuming the same job with the Mariners in 2009.
Why He is Qualified: The primary knock against Tinsley is that he has no managerial experience. However, his many supporters say that he would quickly make up for the lack of experience because he is smart and has a deep knowledge of the game. Tinsley hasn't interviewed for any major-league manager's jobs yet, but he will in due time.

John Perrotto is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see John's other articles. You can contact John by clicking here

Related Content:  Minor Leagues,  A's,  Major Leagues,  The Who,  Bench,  Manager,  Hitting Coach

22 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

wonkothesane1

I was thinking Randy Ready would be on this list. In San Diego he's talked about as a future MLB manager and I believe he was interviewed the last time the Seattle job opened up.

Jun 29, 2010 00:20 AM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

9 former major league players and a former minor league player. In practice, are there career paths to being a manager that don't involve being a former player? If not, should there be?

Jun 29, 2010 05:30 AM
rating: 3
 
dodgerken222
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

The thought that Don Mattingly is qualified to be a manager because he studied by the side of Joe Torre is quite laughable. The main reason the Dodgers have underperformed this year has been Torre's over reliance on two or three relievers and his long-held soft spot for over-the-hill veterans (Garret Anderson and George Sherrill, e.g.) Add to this that Mattingly has never managed a professional baseball game.
Meanwhile, Tim Wallach at Triple-A has been doing a superlative job for the Dodgers. To list Mattingly as a top ten managerial prospect is truly journalistic laziness.

Jun 29, 2010 06:08 AM
rating: -6
 
Adam Hobson

Don't blame the messenger, it's not journalistic laziness to report common knowledge. Maybe this says far more about MLB than journalism, but Mattingly was one of three finalists for the Yankees job when Torre left, and is generally seen as one of, if not the single front runner to replace Torre for the Dodgers. Now whether that is a right move or a wrong move, it's not the journalist's fault for reporting it.

Jun 29, 2010 06:46 AM
rating: 7
 
TheRealNeal

In that case it's surprising that Ryne Sandberg isn't on the list - since he's considered by most to be the favorite as the 2011 Cubs manager.

Jun 29, 2010 08:11 AM
rating: 4
 
Adam Hobson

No one claimed this was an exhaustive list either. Though it is interesting that he's taking the opposite route of Mattingly to the overall goal of becoming a major league manager as he's worked his way up through the minors as a manager, while Mattingly has years of major league coaching experience, but no direct managerial experience.

Jun 29, 2010 08:36 AM
rating: 1
 
JoshT

I think it's a difference in organizations. Sandberg applied for the Cubs managerial job when Dusty Baker was let go, but was told he needed managerial experience before he'd be considered for the job and offered him the Peoria job instead. Sandberg took it. If they'd have offered him the hitting coach job like Mattingly was offered with the Yankees, I'm sure he'd have taken that too. I don't know that either way is right or wrong.

Jun 29, 2010 12:41 PM
rating: 1
 
StarkFist

Exactly. Torre's history of picking a reliever he likes and overusing him is well known (why do you think the Yankees put the Joba Rules in place?), and he's now doing the same thing to his catcher (Russel Martin has played in 66 games, starting 64 out of 76, and remember he was hurt early, which means thast he has rested almost not at all since returning to the team). Does anyone else remember when Martin was thought of as a perennial All Star? This is something any manager ought to know better than to do, but the fact that Torre was a catcher himself makes it even more inexcusable.

But you don't have to believe me. Look at Willie Randolph for a glimpse at how learning to manage on Torre's coaching staff preps a guy.

Jun 29, 2010 10:08 AM
rating: 0
 
Adam Hobson

I think that overuse is a bit overblown, and in fact may be a good thing. If there's one certainty with relievers its that most are wildly inconsistent. It makes sense to ride them while they are hot and discard them when they are not. The problem Torre has, is he's never supplied any decent alternatives to let him discard relievers when they are not hot, so he has to keep riding them.

Hell, isn't this the site that longs for the 2 and 3 inning reliever who'll pitch 120 innings per year? Torre is one of the few manager who'll actually utilize his closer for more than 3 outs at a time.

Torre may not be perfect, but he does have a few rings on his fingers. And something tells me that if the Yanks kept Buck Showalter in 1996 rather than switching to Torre, they wouldn't be flying a championship banner for 1996, and sans-Torre they probably wouldn't have one for 2000 either.

Yeah Torre probably isn't a top 5 manager anymore (if he ever was), but can you honestly claim that there are 15 managers you'd rather have at this moment?

PS: The Yankees put the Joba rules in place because at that time Joba had been a starter for his entire career and had never pitched back to back days before. It was to protect a starter asset, while getting some use out of him immediately. And then all hell broke lose when relieved a little too well.

As for Russel Martin, Torre's use of Martin is almost exactly the same as the use of Martin the year prior to Torre's arrival, while the year prior to that was Martin's rookie year before he had established himself, so his use was a bit lighter.

Jun 29, 2010 11:06 AM
rating: 2
 
Shaun P.
(676)

Torre spent his last decade with the Yanks relying on two or three relievers, and almost no one else, since the Stanton-Nelson-Rivera triumvirate saved him so many times from 1998-2000. Bullpen by formula, that's Joe Torre. That's arguably what killed Steve Karsay's arm, and slagged Paul Quantril (among others). That's why Tanyon Sturtze kept getting used in the 7th inning, no matter how poorly he pitched, until he lied to Torre about an injury (I was always grateful for that). That's why Kyle Farnsworth kept getting run out there as the "8th inning guy" (until Joba arrived). The Bronx Banter archives, at the very least, are littered with comments about Torre's poor bullpen usage and over-reliance on 3 guys. (I know, I was there, and plenty of those comments were mine.)

Even Michael Kay picked up on it, when he nicknamed the Quantril-Gordon-Rivera three-headed relief "monster" QuanGorMo (later changed to TanGorMo, when Sturtze became the 7th inning guy).

All that said, I've paid almost no attention to the Dodgers this year, so I have no idea about what Torre's doing now, or how its affecting the Dodgers - but I sure know what he did in NY.

Jun 29, 2010 12:07 PM
rating: 1
 
Adam Hobson

I think you may be ignoring the facts.

Steve Karsay in 2001 between Atlanta and Cleveland pitched 88 innings in 74 games, in 2002 under Joe Torre he pitched 88.1 innings in 78 games. These were during the prime of his career, his age 29 and 30 seasons. Joe Torre pitched Karsay a single out more than he was pitched before. And then he got injured. Injuries happen, especially to pitchers, you can't attribute that to Torre.

Part of the reason Torre had to keep bringing out guys like Tanyon Sturtze and Kyle Farnsworth is because he wasn't really provided with any other options. Even his starting rotations in the later Yankee years were littered with pitchers who could barely go 6 innings (Wang aside), forcing Torre to rely even more on the bullpen and those relievers who showed even an ounce of ability.

Jun 29, 2010 13:46 PM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

If relievers are basically fungible and erratic from one year to another, and if you have financial resources like the Yankees do or the Dodgers did pre-divorce, is it necessarily bad to keep riding the hot hand?

Jun 29, 2010 11:46 AM
rating: 0
 
David Coonce

Well, it's bad for the relievers, right? I understand that Torre doesn't have to give a damn about a reliever's career, or even his life outside of baseball, but I think a guy like Scott Proctor, who is out of baseball because of Torre's overuse, might have an opinion about bullpen overuse.

This is a guy's livelihood we're talking about, after all - Joe Torre is set for life, financially, but a guy like Proctor is definitely not.

Jun 29, 2010 12:43 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Sorry but a manager's job is to win ballgames, not ensure job security for middling middle relievers who, at minimum, earn 400k a year. A guy like Proctor made $3.3 million from 2004-2009 (http://www.thebaseballcube.com/Salaries/P/Scott-Proctor.shtml) so he's far more set for life financially than I am (or for that matter, a lot of minor leaguers and some cup of coffee major leaguers). So, I'm not crying for him.

Meanwhile, Torre has kept his nonfungible bullpen pitching asset, Rivera, pretty healthy...

Jun 29, 2010 18:27 PM
rating: 1
 
Peter Labella
(218)

Chip Hale has always seemed like a potential manager to me--I remember suggesting as much to a Twins scout when Hale was playing with them and he agreed.

Jun 29, 2010 09:20 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Jose Oquendo would be real interesting... I think his managerial style would be similar to Ozzie Guillen in how to handle a pitching staff, and lineup flexibility similar to LaRussa or Pinella.

Jun 29, 2010 11:44 AM
rating: 0
 
Clonod

Oquendo may also be the best infield coach in the majors, fwiw. He's helped Brendan Ryan and Albert Pujols develop into GG-caliber fielders, and helped make David Eckstein, Skip Schumaker, and Troy Glaus tolerable. They all rave about the help he's given them.

Jun 29, 2010 12:54 PM
rating: 0
 
jpaternostro

Ken Okberfell's name was tossed around a bunch as recently as a couple years ago, has he fallen off the radar now?

Jun 29, 2010 13:15 PM
rating: 0
 
jake726

How close was DeMarlo Hale to making this list?

Jun 29, 2010 16:10 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

I read this article wondering if any these guys might be in line to replace Cito Gaston in Toronto next season. What's the buzz - if there is any buzz about Brian Butterfield

Jun 29, 2010 16:23 PM
rating: 1
 
Smokey

"...before the term was invented"? Paul Popovich wasn't just call a utility player, he was called the "Utility Pole."

Jul 01, 2010 21:37 PM
rating: 0
 
asstarr1

I seem to remember Dale Svuem's name mentioned as popular choice a while back, is he still seen as a good managerial candidate?

Jul 02, 2010 12:50 PM
rating: 0
 
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