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The Miami Marlins hopped off the managerial carousel on Tuesday, and their selection shouldn’t figure to disrupt any of the White Sox’s plans, assuming they’ve been planning something.
The Marlins are making a skipper out of Cardinals bench coach Skip Schumaker and his terrible forearm tattoo.
While the reporting says that Schumaker established an inside track early, the Marlins tried to establish due diligence with candidate quantity. Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald says they conducted at least 10 in-person interviews.
General manager Kim Ng and select members of the Marlins’ front office conducted the first round of interviews. Marlins chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman joined Ng for the interviews of the finalists, a group that included Schumaker, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Yankees third base coach (and former Mets manager) Luis Rojas.
Sources confirmed to the Miami Herald that the Marlins also interviewed Tigers bench coach George Lombard, Royals bench coach Pedro Grifol, former big leaguer Raul Ibanez, Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan and former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
With the Yankees and Dodgers retaining their managers despite exiting the postseason with a thud, the Royals are the only other team with a vacancy, and they’re going through their own extensive process.
Internal candidates Pedro Grifol, Vance Wilson and Scott Thorman have all gone through first-round interviews with the Royals, sources told MLB.com.
They are in addition to the external candidates who have interviewed, including Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Dodgers first-base coach Clayton McCullough and Phillies third-base coach Dusty Wathan, per sources.
Maybe it’s because the White Sox have never given a reason to pay attention to the potential-manager pool, but I can’t recall seeing such a broad field of candidates. The Rangers snapped up the offseason’s only tried-and-true candidate in Bruce Bochy, although between Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon and AJ Hinch’s 2022 season with the Tigers, past performances haven’t guaranteed future results lately.
Beyond Bochy, experienced managers aren’t really getting a whole lot of oxygen. There’s Gibbons in Miami’s search, and Ron Washington was linked to the White Sox earlier in the winter, but otherwise, the field is largely unknown and untested, and you can greet the unfamiliar with all the excitement or nervousness your personality type determines. If you’re an optimist, maybe you’re seeing the league that’s working to expand its definition of “manager material.” If you’re skeptical, these candidates seem interchangeable because front offices want them to be.
Speaking of front offices, Scott Harris has been turning over various parts of the Detroit Tigers organization since he was hired as the team’s president of baseball operations.
Previously, Harris dismissed/opted against retaining the Tigers’ incumbent amateur scouting director. He also let go of their senior director of medical services, and strength and conditioning coach, while reassigning their head trainer down the chain. From the way Harris is talking, names won’t be the only things changing in that department.
Harris is already talking about these concepts on a deeper level than we ever heard from the organization’s old guard.
“We need to understand how our players are moving and how we can align those movements with our hitting coaches and pitching coaches,” Harris said. “If we have a medical and strength and conditioning department that has strong relationships with our pitching department and our hitting department, then all of a sudden we can work on movement patterns that are gonna help our guys to get a little bit more power out of their deliveries, or get a little more contact, or reshape their bat paths to allow them to perform a little bit better.”
The Tigers still have to hire a GM, but given the amount of major work that lies ahead and the hands-on approach he’s shown so far, Harris looks like the only guy you need to know for now.