Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman examined three of the winter's open managerial posts (the Cubs, Mariners, and the potentially open Dodgers job) and passed along some info on who might be in the dugouts for those clubs come Opening Day 2011...
- Chicago. Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg "has been seen by everyone as the most logical choice." Heyman cites Joe Girardi as the second-most likely option to manage the Cubs in 2011, though he expects Girardi to remain in New York. Interim manager Mike Quade is "something of a longshot" and Heyman mentions Bobby Valentine's name due to Valentine's track record of working with young talent. Heyman's fourth-most likely Cubs manager is Tony La Russa, and while that hiring might equally horrify both Cubs and Cardinals fans, Heyman only opines that La Russa would "be an interesting choice," not one that's a distinct possibility.
- Los Angeles. "According to some in the know," Tim Wallach will be the next L.A. manager. Wallach is a former Dodgers hitting coach and has managed their Triple-A squad for the past two seasons. Los Angeles would save some money by hiring Wallach, though Heyman writes that the franchise has (and will) cut enough payroll to make signing a big-name manager feasible if the team wants to go that route. The intended Joe Torre/Don Mattingly succession may be no more given how that plan was the one favored by Jamie McCourt, not current sole owner Frank McCourt. Heyman ranks Mattingly third on his list of likely Dodger managers behind both Wallach and Dusty Baker, as "there are unsubstantiated whispers" that L.A. will make a play for Baker if he doesn't re-sign with Cincinnati. Of course, this could all be moot if Torre decides to return for another season, though Heyman feels Torre is probably done in Los Angeles.
- Seattle. Valentine appears again on the list of Mariners candidates, sandwiched between Heyman top choice Ted Simmons and No. 3 choice Willie Randolph. Simmons, the San Diego bench coach, has never been a manager, though he has a lengthy front office resume. Both Simmons and Randolph have worked with Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik before, and Randolph is also helped by the fact that Zduriencik told Heyman that "big league managerial experience will weigh heavily" in his decision. That said, Zduriencik also noted that he's just starting to explore a list of around 20 candidates.