The Padres’ decision to fire manager Andy Green yesterday unleashed a firestorm of speculation about the franchise’s all-time winningest skipper. Bruce Bochy’s magnificent tenure at the helm of the Giants will come to a close next Sunday. What’s in the cards after that?
Bochy, 64, has no interest in discussing his long-term future, pointing to the need to focus on San Francisco’s final seven games. Giants’ players, though, were more willing to take the long view, with a handful of notable names sitting down with the Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly to discuss their clubhouse leader.
None was more forceful than Jeff Samardzija, who tells Baggarly he’d “be surprised” if Bochy doesn’t take a managerial job elsewhere. There’s no indication Samardzija has spoken with Bochy about the situation, it should be noted; rather, his prediction of Bochy managing elsewhere is rooted in the daily intensity Bochy still brings to his current position.
Samardzija wasn’t alone in praising Bochy’s energy level, with myriad other veterans, including Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Crawford, joining in to applaud Bochy’s fiery in-game nature and continued willingness to play bullpen matchups, even with the 74-81 Giants long out of playoff contention. Despite his age, Baggarly notes that Bochy has become receptive to analytics in recent seasons, a prerequisite for assuming a position of power in the modern game. That said, his players pointed to Bochy’s track record of being adaptable in-game and willingness to deviate from script when he feels the situation demands it.
In addition to the Padres, Baggarly speculates (and, to be clear, it is entirely speculative at these early stages) the Phillies and Cubs could make sense for Bochy should they decide to follow San Diego’s lead and part ways with their current managers. Unlike Samardzija, Baggarly isn’t convinced Bochy will return to the dugout, noting that he may prefer to spend more time with his family following an illustrious career. Nevertheless, it’s notable to hear from those closest to the situation that Bochy’s fire for the game continues to burn as bright as ever.
If Bochy were to pursue managerial jobs elsewhere, it would surely reignite speculation that Farhan Zaidi’s new front office nudged Bochy out the door last winter. That, Baggarly says, would be unfounded, as there’s no indication Zaidi and company forced the respected manager’s hand. Rather, Bochy took it upon himself to step away out of respect for the new administration, not wanting to risk overstaying his welcome and forcing the front office into an awkward and uncomfortable situation if they were to decide at some point they would prefer to install a new voice in the dugout.
In these early stages, with Bochy himself playing things close to the vest, we’re left with more questions and speculation than definitive answers. With 2,000 wins, four pennants and three World Series titles under his belt, Bochy is a surefire future Hall of Famer, one of the most accomplished skippers in recent memory. Whether he continues that career in 2020 and beyond will be one of the more fascinating non-roster stories of the upcoming winter.