Devil Rays begin the search for a new manager
The team has a long list of potential candidates according to the Tampa Tribune. Several are holdovers from the recently departed Lou Pinella's staff. Then there is a few recently dismissed managers and coachs with winning ball clubs. Like the Marlins, the Devil Rays are talking to Joe Girardi.
Managing in Tampa Bay has been a thankless job to date. The organization needs to change their management and build a farm system. Till they do, this team will continue to lose.
TAMPA The Devil Rays begin the search for their fourth manager today, with interviews scheduled with three holdovers from Lou Piniella's staff -- bench coach John McLaren, first-base coach Billy Hatcher, third- base coach Tom Foley and Durham Bulls manager Bill Evers.
There will be others eventually. Recently fired Tigers manager Alan Trammell will interview on Friday. The Rays also have received permission from the Yankees to contact bench coach Joe Girardi.
The Rays also are expected to request permission to interview Braves third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez.
The Rays have contacted but have not scheduled interviews with former Athletics manager Ken Macha, who interviewed with the Rays in 2002, former Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine and Angels bench coach Joe Madden.
Team president Matt Silverman and director of baseball development Andrew Friedman might want to follow the example set by Indians general manager Mark Shapiro.
In October 2002, the Indians were in the early throes of an unpopular rebuilding process.
Manager Mike Hargrove, who guided Cleveland to five division championships during his nine-year tenure, was long gone. Charlie Manuel and (briefly) Joel Skinner tried to keep the ship afloat as the era of Roberto Alomar, Charles Nagy and Jim Thome began to limp to a close.
Shapiro, already taking heat for the ownership-mandated dismantling of those wildly successful Indians teams, knew the foundation he planned to build needed an appropriate foreman.
Enter 34-year-old Eric Wedge, who was named the 2002 Sporting News Minor-League Manager of the Year after guiding the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons to the International League finals.
Three years later, Wedge's Indians weren't eliminated from playoff contention until the final day of this past season, and Cleveland's fortunes have risen in accord with the young manager's stature.
"I think youth is not a panacea," Shapiro said, meaning a young team doesn't necessarily call for a young manager. "In Eric's case, he had an understanding of what we're tying to do. He has good communication skills, an ability to understand and identify problems, an ability to teach and develop. Finally, he has a thirst and desire to not only manage, but to be part of a leadership team to help turn things around."
The key component for the Rays, as it was with Shapiro in 2002, will be finding a manager who is on the same page philosophically as Tampa Bay's new front office.
"There are two relationships that are crucial to success," Shapiro said. "One is the GM-owner, and the other is the GM-manager. If there's not alignment in vision in where you're trying to go between either of those two relationships, then what happens is wasted energy, frankly."
Foley, Hatcher and Evers also interviewed for the job in 2002, when Hal McRae was re-assigned. McLaren was Piniella's bench coach for the past seven years, including four with the Mariners, and told The Tampa Tribune last week that managing the Rays is his preference.