Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Tampa Bay managerial search

Raul Ibanez might go from active player to dugout boss.
For no real reason, I'm intrigued by the Tampa Bay Rays managerial search. They were, most likely, not expecting to be looking for a manager, and then Joe Maddon jumped ship shortly after their general manager left for a (presumably) more lucrative job in with the Dodgers.

Their search started well after the Twins search. Maddon left after the Twins had essentially narrowed their field down to Paul Molitor and Doug Mientkiewicz, and Terry Ryan said during the Molitor presser that he had talked to Maddon until learning that Maddon was going to accept the Cubs job.

The Rays had released a list of eight preliminary candidates, none of whom were among the people the Twins interviewed or pursued. I thought at the time that there was one obvious favorite, Maddon bench coach Dave Martinez.

On Friday it was reported that the Rays had narrowed the field to three -- and Martinez was not among the three. All three were in the AL Central last season.

The Rays finalists: Kevin Cash, bullpen coach for Cleveland; Don Wakamatsu, bench coach for Kansas City; and -- surprise! -- Raul Ibanez, who played for Anaheim and Kansas City and hit just .167 as a part-time player.

The way things have been going of late, with teams tending to hire completely novice managers, I wouldn't bet against Ibanez landing the job. It's even possible he would be a player-manager, although I think that era ended with Pete Rose almost 20 years ago. Certainly there's no reason to think he's got much juice left as a hitter.

Meanwhile, I am stunned that Martinez not only didn't get the job, he wasn't one of the finalists. It's hard to imagine him staying with the Royals. Maybe he'll follow Maddon to the Cubs. I had expected the Twins to at least pursue an interview with him for the managerial job, and apparently they didn't, bu if he's interested in a lateral transfer, Ryan and Molitor ought to consider him for the bench coach job.

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