Welp. So much for the “tightly held secret” list of additional candidates for the Jays’ managerial vacancy– or at least one of them, as Jack Magruder of Fox Sports Arizona gives us another name for our list:
#Dbacks give Toronto permission to speak to 3B coach Matt Williams about managerial opening
— Jack Magruder (@JackMagruder) October 29, 2012
An interesting name, for sure. And as MLB.com’s Bernie Pleskoff tweets, the current manager of the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, meaning Jays AFL prospects like Jake Marisnick and HELLO KEVIN PILLAR! are playing for him.
Jonathan Hacohen of something called MLB Reports wrote about Williams just yesterday, anointing him as the MLB’s next great manager in a piece that’s far too staggeringly fanboyish and into the whole scrappy/gritty narrative myth to take seriously, but that at least gives you some kind of idea of what Williams might sorta be like– which comes back to his current role as the Diamondbacks third base coach. Not sure I’m keen on the whole Kirk Gibson model of managing, but… um… Williams was a pretty good player, so I guess that’s something. (I’m sure Giants superfan Parkes could better regale us with some stories of Williams’ days in San Francisco back in the late 80s.)
And it’s interesting, at least, that the Jays have bothered to request permission, seeing as the MLB Reports piece notes that Williams wound up in Arizona to be close to his kids, and that– as @GraffAttack noted on Twitter– his wife is a TV Anchor there, and he’s a part-owner of the club (Wikipedia backs it up!).
So, would he even be interested in coming here? How the hell should I know. Should we be wary of the potential that the Diamondbacks are his “dream job”? Probably. Even so, it’s not like he’s not worth interviewing. Due dilligence, and all. Because, y’know, it worked out so damn well the last time.
UPDATE: Despite not tweeting out a link anywhere that I can see, Magruder actually has a full report on Williams at Fox Sports Arizona, speaking to the long-time big leaguer about having also talked to the Rockies about their vacancy, and being ready to manage in the Majors.
That, he tells Magruder, “is what I want to do. Who knows if it will ever happen, but if you are never prepared. . . . It’s like taking B.P. or taking extra grounders. There may be an opportunity one day. There are not many of them. You want to be prepared if it does happen.”
So perhaps he’d be more interested than I initially was ready to give him credit for.
He also, to be accurate, may no longer be a part-owner in Arizona. An MLB.com piece on him from earlier in the month refers to the fact that “he had a small ownership stake in the D-backs” (Italics mine). So perhaps that, too, is a non-issue.
In the Magruder piece Williams explains his style: “I think I am aggressive by nature, in all aspects of the game. Pitching, aggressive within the strike zone, aggressive with fastball command. On defense, running bunt plays or turning the double play. You need to be aggressive on the field. I think that’s important.”
Not sure about that aggressive bunting business, but sure. And having worked with or played for Dusty Baker, Buck Showalter, Bob Brenly and Gibson can’t hurt, I suppose. So… maybe it’s a better fit than my gut tells me.
Hey, as long as the Jays get this damn thing done quickly and get fixing their roster, it could be Cito coming back for all I care. (Well… OK, not really).