Sometime in the vicinity of last call last night, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun laid down this deliciously frenzied tweet on us:
Jays have phoned former Mariners executives and others asking ??? about former Seattle manager Mike Hargrove Next Blue Jays MGR?
— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) November 19, 2012
The former Mariners manager also managed the Orioles to four straight fourth place finishes in the early 2000s, following a tremendously successful run with Cleveland, in which his team won five straight division titles and made two World Series appearances, losing to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in 1997.
Gee, it’s almost like his success was somehow tied to the amount of talent on his club.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has heard the same, and says that the Jays have “told some people that they would prefer to hire a veteran ‘with an edge,’ according to one source.”
Does that make Hargrove the leading candidate now? I’m not quite buying it.
For one thing, we’re not given any indication of the timing of these supposed calls to the Mariners “and others,” and in my mind there’s no way that hearing this now doesn’t seem kind of odd. I mean, if they happened very recently, it seems awful late in the process for the Jays to be gathering that kind of information on Hargrove, if the intention is to name him as manager as soon as this week. And if the calls happened earlier in the process, it could simply be a matter of due diligence.
Also odd to me is the fact that there has been considerable turnover in the Mariners front office since Hargrove resigned from the club, despite having a 45-33 record, on July 1st, 2007, explaining, “I can not continue to do this job if my passion has begun to fade.” Jack Zduriencik took over as the M’s GM in October 2008, and his AGM, Special Assistant, and Senior Advisor all joined the organization thereafter, for example. Surely there must be some holdovers who’d know Hargrove, but… it’s been a while. (Of course, if I’d actually read the tweet I might have noticed that Elliott is talking about former execs, but… regardless.)
More importantly, to steal a thought that Drew had during the podcast we just recorded, it’s kinda funny that guys like Hargrove and Jim Riggleman, whose most recent exits from the game were ugly at best, or Jim Tracy, whose reputation is in the shitter, are rather conveniently having their names leaked as potentially viable options for the ultra-secretive Jays.
That doesn’t at all sound like something an agent might be doing in an attempt to shine up his or her client’s tarnished brand, right? No, they’re all totally real candidates here. Right?
Sarcasm aside, I obviously don’t know. But I also don’t think it entirely adds up that the Jays would have taken this much time to settle on one of these guys, especially given their reputations and prior exits. And I see how having their names associated with a possible opening here– and, curiously (albeit not in Tracy’s case), not the other lingering vacancy in Colorado, where management may not have been so quick to offer a “no comment” that left open the possibility of interest– would be good for them.
Knobler’s piece adds that “it doesn’t appear they have reached out to Lou Piniella, and they haven’t spoken to Jim Fregosi, Jim Riggleman or Bobby Valentine.”
Manny Acta, on the other hand, may have needed to see the changes on the field before considering the job– in yesterday’s Weekend Roundup I posted a link to a Spanish-language publication that reported (according to the guy who sent me the link) that Acta has said he would be more interested in a front office position than managing another mediocre team.
He’s still the guy I’d wager on getting the job, but again, I obviously have no earthly idea. And frankly, I don’t really care who it is… just as long as it’s not Jim Tracy.