With new GM Scott Harris officially brought into the fold, the Giants may also be close to naming a successor to Bruce Bochy as manager. Though the wide-ranging hiring search has seen the club consider as many as ten candidates, “people familiar” with the process indicate that Astros bench coach Joe Espada is the current “frontrunner”, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area (link). Pavlovic adds that Espada was at Oracle Park a few days ago meeting with Giants’ officials.
We have noted a few times on Sunday alone that San Francisco’s pool was believed to be down to Espada, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, and former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. Most intriguing, perhaps, is the revelation that Espada was just recently meeting with club officials, as his second interview was reported as far back as Oct 27–it’s possible that this latest meeting was a third, and perhaps final, interview.
For those who have been keeping tabs on this offseason’s managerial hiring free-for-all, Espada has been a name to watch this winter. The 44-year-old was reportedly considered for the Angels post that went to Joe Maddon, in addition to the still-vacant Pirates seat. But the Astros coach, whose only managerial experience came in Puerto Rican winter ball in 2012, will be best remembered for his eleventh-hour surge in the Cubs’ interview process. Though that job ultimately went to David Ross, Espada may finally find a home with a Giants franchise that currently sits in the midst of a pivotal offseason.