Since announcing the departure of manager John Gibbons, the Blue Jays have begun their search for a new skipper as they look to return to contention for the first time since back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016. The search is now well underway, with the Jays narrowing a broad list of candidates to a smaller group that warrants closer consideration.
As we have done with other openings of this kind, we’ll use this post to track the most recent developments in the hiring process in Toronto.
Latest Update – October 18
- The Blue Jays also interviewed former Toronto third baseman and current Athletics coordinator of instruction Ed Sprague for the position, reports Bob Elliott of the Canadian Baseball Network (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether he’s among the five finalists, though Davidi’s prior report that the team is down to five finalists only mentioned four concrete names. It’s not clear of Sprague is the fifth or if he interviewed but did not make it beyond the first round.
- As they launch a second round featuring in-person interviews, the Jays are already “believed to be down to five candidates,” per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. He cites Espada, Bell, Baldelli, and Hyde as four of the candidates who are expected to remain in the hunt, though he notes that the team wouldn’t confirm that group.
Full summation of the Blue Jays’ managerial search below:
Except where otherwise noted, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reported the initial interest:
- David Bell, VP of Player Development, Giants: Bell has long been seen as a future managerial candidate, including with his current organization, and is also considered a potential frontrunner for the opening in Cincinnati.
- Sandy Alomar Jr., first base coach, Indians: Over the years, Alomar has often been cited as a possible skipper but has yet to be given the opportunity to run a dugout.
- Joe Girardi, former Yankees and Marlins manager: Girardi spent the 2018 season as an MLB Network analyst after wrapping up his tenure in New York.
- Mike Matheny, former Cardinals manager: Matheny was cut loose during the 2018 season, his seventh year in that role.
- Eduardo Perez, broadcaster/analyst: In addition to his TV and radio duties, the former MLB corner infielder/outfielder has worked as a hitting coach, bench coach, and winter league manager since wrapping up his playing career.
- Joe Espada, bench coach, Astros: Though he’s only in his first season on the Houston staff, he could follow Alex Cora in parlaying his time under skipper A.J. Hinch into a managerial job of his own.
- Rocco Baldelli, field coordinator, Rays: The 37-year-old has been on the Tampa Bay MLB coaching staff for the past four years. He’s also drawing wide interest in this hiring round.
- Rob Thompson, bench coach, Phillies: The veteran MLB coach just wrapped up his first season as the bench coach in Philadelphia after a ten-year run on the Yankees’ coaching staff.
- John McDonald, defensive coordinator, player development field staff, Indians: The long-time MLB defensive stalwart has worked in the Cleveland player development department for the past several seasons. He’s short on directly relevant experience, but is a widely respected player with ties to the Toronto org.
- Stubby Clapp, Triple-A manager, Cardinals: Though he only briefly touched the majors as a player and hasn’t made it back as a coach, Clapp has drawn attention for his success with the Cards’ top affiliate.
- DeMarlo Hale, bench coach, Blue Jays: The long-time minor-league manager and MLB coach has previously featured as a top candidate for the Jays managerial job.
- Bobby Meacham, Triple-A manager, Blue Jays: The long-time minor-league skipper and MLB coach has been with the Jays organization since 2013.
- John Schneider, Double-A manager, Blue Jays: Schneider, 38, has worked his way up the coaching/managerial ladder in the Toronto farm system since his playing career was cut short.
- Brandon Hyde, bench coach, Cubs: A candidate who has received consideration from multiple other teams, Hyde has logged five campaigns apiece as a minor-league skipper and MLB coach. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted that he’s a candidate.
- Previous names linked to the opening by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal include former Cleveland skipper Eric Wedge and MLB Network analyst Dave Valle (twitter links). It is not certain at this time whether they have received real consideration during the search process.
Not Under Consideration
- Sam Fuld has also impressed the Toronto front office, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). But the former big league outfielder, who has been with the Phillies as “Major League player information coordinator” for one year, does not seem to be in the competition for the Jays job. Per Jerry Crasnick, via Twitter, Fuld has withdrawn from the search.
- Though he was previously tabbed as a name under some consideration, Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward is not considered a candidate at this time, per Arash Madani of Sportsnet.ca (via Twitter).