The Marlins will interview Astros bench coach Joe Espada for their vacant manager position today, Jon Heyman of the New York Post tweets. He’s the second known candidate to interview, after The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweeted that Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol had also interviewed with the Marlins.
Espada, 47, was drafted in the second round of the 1996 draft by the Athletics and spent nine seasons in the minors. He made it as high as Triple-A but never got received a call up to the major leagues. After retiring in 2007, he quickly turned to coaching and held coaching and front office positions with the Marlins and Yankees before being named Astros bench coach in 2017.
Espada is a well respected member of the Astros coaching staff and has long been considered a manager in waiting. He’s already been interviewed by numerous major league teams and was a finalist for the recent Mets and Giants vacancies.
He’ll join Grifol as the only other known candidate to have an interview. It had already been reported that his current employers, the Royals, as well as the White Sox have interest in him, but the Marlins are the first known team to have given him an interview. Grifol, 53 next month, has followed a similar career trajectory to Espada. He spent nine seasons in the Mets and Twins minor leagues systems without reaching the majors, but has found success as a coach. He’s been with the Royals since 2013 but, like Espada, has been a candidate for a number of vacant managerial posts, including the recent Tigers and Orioles positions.
The Marlins are seeking a new manager after mutually agreeing to part with Don Mattingly at the end of the 2022 season. Mattingly led the team for seven seasons, but their 31-29 finish in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season was the only time they had a winning record during his tenure.