As expected, first base coach and outfield instructor Torey Lovullo will not remain with the Jays, joining John Farrell– who brought him to town with him two years ago, when Lovullo was the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox– in Boston, according to an MLB.com report, and many others.
This, of course, takes his name out of the running to replace Farrell as the Jays’ manager– a vacancy that has somewhat suddenly vaulted its way to the top of the off-season to-do list for Alex Anthopoulos. But plenty of other names are being bandied about in various quarters. For example…
Jeff Blair has made the managerial search the subject of a lot of chatter on his show on the Fan 590 this week, offering a great deal of insight. Today, as passed along by @BringVottoHome (because there’s far too much on this subject elsewhere at the moment for me to go back and start transcribing things), he said that many feel that Sal Fasano ends up on the staff one way or another– note: awesome– and also that he hadn’t heard Jim Tracy’s name and doesn’t think he’d be a fit– note: triple fucking awesome.
Blair said that his impression was that the search begins with Sandy Alomar– who interviewed very well last time, and was reported to be the runner-up to John Farrell– but that the club might be more inclined towards someone with credentials and “knowledge” (which might be read as executive-like or player development knowledge), like Farrell.
Or maybe it just means somebody who has actually managed a game at some level. This leads Blair to suggest– again via @BringVottoHome– that Don Wakamatsu may be a leading option, though I think it would describe Manny Acta just as well. And for all the talk about Alomar, I think it needs to be remembered that it was Acta’s staff that he was on when he interviewed here two years ago, that as a manager himself Acta wasn’t able to be interviewed at the time, and that he has a connection to Alex Anthopoulos– he was third base coach in Montreal when AA was cutting his teeth– as well as assistant GM Dana Brown, who was there in Montreal as well, and in Washington, where Acta managed from 2007 to 2009 (he was fired during that season, and Brown left for the Jays mid-October).
“One thing about Manny Acta,” Blair added on Tuesday’s show, “I’ve always remembered this about him: when he managed the Dominican Republic’s team in the World Baseball Classic, he had a lot of personalities, he had a lot of guys who– frankly– weren’t entirely certain they wanted to be on that team. They played well; Albert Pujols raved about him; Jose Bautista raved about him. That’s something to keep in mind.”
He later added, however, that “I still think, from a distance, that Sandy Alomar Jr. is the leading contender.”
As of yesterday afternoon, though, according to a tweet from Cleveland beat writer Jordan Bastian, the Jays had yet to contact Alomar about the vacancy. Meanwhile, Robert MacLeod of Globe and Mail spoke to Wakamatsu, who says he’s interested.
Ken Rosenthal tweets a few additional names into the mix– though he’s hardly the first to suggest them, it’s just the other reports don’t bring the authority of a Rosenthal stamp of approval. Tim Wallach, DeMarlo Hale and Pat Hentgen are others he suggests, though Hentgen spoke to Jeff Sammut of the Fan 590 today (audio here), and reiterated what Blair has been hearing, suggesting that Anthopoulos and Beeston are leaning towards a manager with experience.
John Lott of the National Post adds a few other names to watch, like Brad Ausmus, Brian Butterfield (who from my understanding has been rather open about not wanting a seat in the big chair anymore), and Dave Martinez, plus darkhorse candidates Brad Mills (ex of Houston), Ryne Sandberg and Yankee men Tony Pena and Rob Thomson.
Jays Journal also looked at some guys they term darkhorses– specifically Ausmus, Wallach and Ryne Sandberg, while Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun attempts to handicap the field, throwing out a shit-tonne of names (including absurd suggestions Cito Gaston and Ernie Whitt), and putting Jim fucking Tracy up with Alomar and Acta as the odds-on favourites, while throwing Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux into the mix as well.
Elsewhere, Keith Law tweeted this week that he wonders if Doug Davis, who is already with the Jays as their minor league coordinator, might get some consideration.
Also interestingly, perhaps, according to a tweet from Nationals cheerleader and Washington Post reporter Adam Kilgore, apparently the Jays have not contacted Nats bench coach and Davey Johnson heir apparent Randy Knorr, who you very possibly don’t remember was on both of the Jays’ World Series teams. He’s not quite an Alomar in terms of nostalgic cache, but there’s another name to keep in mind. Though I still have a feeling it’s going to be Acta, which, of course, I base on absolutely nothing.