This is probably premature; I was meaning to write this post after the season, but looked up and had it already, and I didn’t really have anything else good for today. Here it is. Tell me who I forgot.
It’s not every day you have to replace a man who’s managed the team for twenty years, the dominant figure in the history of the Atlanta Braves. There are a number of possible candidates. They may go completely outside the organization, as they did when hiring a pitching coach, but the names that come to mind are those who already have a connection.
THE INTERNAL CANDIDATES
Hitting Coach, Atlanta Braves
The connection: Braves player, 1991-1994, 1996 (MVP, 1991); hitting coach, 2002-present
Managerial experience: None
TP is probably the favorite; he’s been the rumored front-runner since taking the hitting coach job, and has been a candidate for several managing positions. The lack of managerial experience in the minor leagues is a concern.
Bullpen Coach, Atlanta Braves
The connection: Braves player, 1995-2001, 2004-2005; bullpen coach, 2007-present
Managerial experience: None, but has served as a GM in Venezuelan winter baseball
Always considered a smart player, as most defensively-oriented catchers are. A bit of a cutup; how that type of personality translates to being a manager is unpredictable. Consider, for example, Casey Stengel.
Third base coach, Atlanta Braves
The connection: Braves minor leaguer, 1977-1980; bullpen coach, 1985, 1988-1990; third base coach, 2007-present; affiliated with organization for more than thirty years
Managerial experience: 17 seasons in Braves organization at various levels
A dark horse candidate, a Braves lifer who’s filled a lot of roles but isn’t taken seriously. The rise of the bench coach in major league baseball has taken a toll on third base coaches, who used to be the manager in waiting a lot of the time.
Bench coach, Atlanta Braves
The connection: Minor league manager, instructor, and coordinator, 1996-2006; bench coach, 2007-present
Managerial experience: 10 seasons in low minors and rookie ball with Rangers organization, one partial season of rookie ball with the Braves
This bench coach is not generally considered a manager in waiting, but I’m not sure why not. He’s been around the game for a long time and at 53 is not too old. He’s been a candidate for other jobs.
THE EXTERNAL CANDIDATES
Manager, Chicago White Sox
The connection: Braves player, 1998-1999.
Managerial experience: White Sox manager, 2004-present; World Champion, 2005, AL Manager of the Year, 2005
Name doesn’t come up that much, but he’s an obvious candidate; an experienced and successful manager who has problems with his own front office and a connection to the Braves. Likes “small ball” which would make some people happy. Venezuelan.
The connection: Braves third base coach, 2003-2006
Managerial experience: Marlins manager, 2007-2010; minor league manager with independent team, 1991-1992, Marlins organization 1993-1998, Richmond Braves 2002
Probably the favorite among outside candidates. Gets a lot of respect for supposedly winning with less with the Marlins, just like Joe Girardi before him, even though his records aren’t any better than, or worse than, Girardi’s or Jack McKeon’s. The Marlins have talent, it’s just not famous talent. Has the same tendencies towards bizarre bench and bullpen use as Bobby at his worst, and more often.