Sometime in the vicinity of last call last night, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun laid down this deliciously frenzied tweet on us:

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.

Comments (80)

  1. I’d actually be really into them hiring Not Jim Tracy, just imagine.

  2. It is going to be AA himself

  3. It think it’s Tony Pena. Experience as manager, experience in AL East, ex-catcher, Dominican.

    • Quitter.

      • not only is tony pena a quitter – he quit his job under the most questionable of circumstances.

        he had a subpoena to testify in his neighbors divorce upon his return to KC…

        he resigned in toronto and didn’t even address the team.

        • People quit shitty jobs all the time. Hargrove and Riggleman also resigned from their jobs.

          • There are right ways and wrong ways to quit, and I think Pena did it in a notably wrong way.

            Just my opinion of course. It’s AA’s opinion that will matter here.

          • yeah – quitting on your team (without even speaking to them) so that you won’t have to admit in court that your doing the neighbor’s wife probably isn’t the best way to go out.

            riggleman’s quitting because your GM won’t give you a contract extension looks downright noble in comparison.

  4. “it seems awful late in the process”… assuming the process actually was under way as early as we thought.
    Given everything that’s happened recently, maybe the whole manager thing has actually been a lot more backburner than we imagined ever since Farrell left…. maybe…. possibly.

    Who cares. I just hope that they can ACTA quickly at this point. (see what I did there).

  5. I thought the Rockies had already filled their managerial vacancy?

    And wouldn’t it make more sense that if the Blue Jays are contacting the current Mariners regime, they’re looking for more opinions on, oh, I don’t know, Don Wakamatsu, a guy who has frequently been mentioned for this job?

    • Changed the tense, so hopefully it’s clearer that the Rockies’ search is over. Thanks.

    • I thought that as well. But it’s weird that Elliott would think they’re calling on Hargrove when Wak is far more obvious.

    • Similarly, perhaps, Mike Hargrove is code for ‘Felix Hernandez’, who he’s on the verge of acquiring?

    • Wouldn’t they know enough about Wakamatsu to form their own opinions? He has been the bench coach for 2 years, after all. If it was going to be him, they would’ve announced it already. Seems near certain the hire is going to be from outside the organization.

      • Agreed on both fronts.

        And I’m not quite sure why people figure that what’s happened hear is Elliott heard they were calling Seattle and just assumed that it was about Hargrove. He would have heard the name or he wouldn’t have printed it, I’m pretty sure.

        • It also doesn’t say he called Seattle… it says he called ” former Mariners executives”…. which would be the execs who were in place during Hargrove’s time presumably?…

  6. Who’s Jim Tracy? AA is not looking at any of these guys. His is busy tailoring windbreakers for Mark Buehrle’s pit bull and teaching it to chew bubble gum

  7. it’s totally gonna be Tracy…just to stick it to Stoets.

    • Although sticking it to Stoetes is alway fun, I looked up Tracy yesterday and found out a fews things that makes him a compelling candidate.

      First, if just Goolge “Jim Tracy interview”, and watch the first couple videos that come up you’ll be presented with an earnest, thoughtful and enthusiastic person. The compliment about him being a “leader” as described by Jose Bautista is quite apparent. He really sound to me to a guy who could get though to both a young player or veteran, the sense of perspective is impressive.

      Another thing that I dug up, although it was in a few opinion pieces and perhaps not fact (but interesting if true) is that 4 man rotation idea was not Tracy’s, but actually implemented o the order of Dan O’Dowd.

      That is interesting on 2 fronts, first, it shows a serious willingness by Tracy to do what the front office wants, which make him a real “management team player”. Considering that the idea was quite whacky with both ballpark they play in, and the players they had to work with.

      The other interesting point is that Tracy resigned from a perpetual option extension contract. Clearly he thought whatever madness that was happening in Colorado was worth walking away from guaranteed money. To me that showed integrity, this is way different from a Jim Rigglman playing a game of chicken in trying to get an extension.

      So, if all true, and put all in the above mentioned perspective Tracy is kind of amazing, and if the 4 man rotation idea was really Dan O’Dowd’s it makes KLaws platform for criticism look all the more unthoughtful and unresearched. This would also give question to why KLaw is not working in a front office.

  8. Johnny Mac player manager please…

    • Do we really have to let him play?

    • Vizquel was essentially a player-coach this year. How’d that work out?

      • Yeah and in other news this apple tastes like an orange…In all honesty I think Jmac will be a great coach someday…

        • Couldn’t agree more. But he’s not returning to Toronto.

        • I do hope another player-manager surfaces at some point. That’s one of those really unique to baseball things that pretty much only works in baseball, so long as it’s the right person. I remember last year the White Sox said they seriously considered asking Paul Konerko to do it…it would take that kind of universally respected player, like Konerko or maybe Thome.

          • Jose Canseco is the player/manager for the Yuma Scorpions, can’t get a more respected player than that. I think Ozzie C plays for them too! DO IT!

          • Unique to baseball!? May I present Paul Newman?

      • he was terrible at both, but he is the right age to manage, though

        • Only two player-coach examples I can think of outside of baseball are both in the NBA: Bill Russell with the Celtics at the end of his career, and Lenny Wilkens for about 6 seasons with both the Sonics and Trail Blazers.

  9. Hargrove? Sure, why not. You look at that clubhouse he had in Cleveland, he had to control the egos of Lofton, Justice, Vizquel, Thome, Baerga, Robbie (for 3 years), Matt Williams for 1, a young Manny, Jose Mesa, and of course Albert Belle. Maybe he wasn’t the best manager tactically in Cleveland, I don’t remember, but to get that group of crazy people, plus Albert Belle, to somehow check the egos out and win two pennants and however many division titles has to count for something.

    I shouldn’t be throwing Thome in there though, that guy is pure class.

  10. So we can now officially rule out Mike Hargrove

  11. I think the article says “The Blue Jays have asked former Mariners executives about former Seattle manager Hargrove”, former execs, not current Mariner execs as you wrote.

    • Yeah, someone pointed that out above as well. Dumb of me. I’ve clarified.

      Thanks.

      • ‘Dumb of me’ – Not a chance! If it wasn’t for you, I’d have nothing to read, never mind nit-picking every little detail.

        Thanks for all you effort, it is appreciated.

    • They were asking him for an opinion on Jim Tracy perhaps?

  12. Reading Hargrove’s wikipedia (always beleivable I know), he was paid his full salary after quitting. Also, Ichiro whom he apparently didn’t get along with signed an extension just weeks after Hargrove left. Hargrove also left during like a 7 a game winning streak.

    Perhaps Ichiro said it’s him or me, so the owner let Mr. Hargroves know that he no longer had the passion for the job if he had the passion for the cheque in the bank. Not nearly as bad as Riggleman whining about an extension and quitting when he didn’t get it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Hargrove

  13. But the rule of thumb is, if they’re talking about him then it may not be true. Correct me if I’m wrong, but has Piniella’s name been linked at all? I don’t think I’ve seen it…

    • I saw it mentioned once off hand in the same breath as Cox, Torre and LaRussa.
      It was something like “Jays are going to reach out to some old farts to see if they want one more kick at the can”

  14. I am still hoping its Acta. Jim Tracy rumours are worrying but how many rumours surrounding AA have turned out to be true? Only one I can think of is Rasmus.

  15. Mariners fans hated Hargrove on his way out (or at least Sullivan and Cameron did to my memory). Of course, that isn’t a whole lot different than most teams’ fans relationships with their manager.

    I still hope it’s Acta.

    • Die a hero (Cox) or live long enough to become the Villain (pretty much everyone else)

    • Manuel Acta’s clubhouse was in worse ahape than the jays. Former Indian’s player last year mentioned the team was very clique, one of hte most divided he’s seen, and that’s an understatemnt. Had certain players report to him on other players who didn’t speak spanish…. Awful.
      Wish Hargrove waited a few more weeks that would of been great. Cardboard cutouts need not apply, no thank you to Manny.

  16. Yup, it’s not Hargrove because he’s the rumor. I can see Cito coming back for one year now that they have a veteran team with high(er) expectations. My choice is still Sandy Jr. or Wallach. But, I’d settle for Red Green. Red might suck at baseball tactics but the team would definitely play loose :-)

  17. Would they really wait this long on Acta Wirk Wakamatsu sitting right there? Is Acta really that much better?

    Let’s face it. It’s Joe Torre.

  18. random unrelated note:
    I saw this line posted on MLBTR and because I’m a child I laughed loudly:

    “The Mets would want a “monster package” if they trade Dickey….”

  19. Cibia’s about to get traded to the Rays for Martinez’s beard. The Beard will manage the Jays to back to back WS titles in ’13 & ’14 before dying in an alcohol related face trimmer mishap.

    • That’s just stupid.
      We already have Morrow and Jose’s beards… and Villianeuva’s beard if we want it back.

      • I’m not sure about the coaching bona fides of those guys’ beards. Sure, their on-field performance is superlative, it’s just that they haven’t proven anything in the decision making department. Plus, crazy and unruly beards are proven winners. Just look at the Giants.

  20. One great part of this entire saga that no one is talking about: for the first time in a very long time, Jays fans are going to vastly outnumber Sox and Yankees fans at our own ballpark. No more glorified home games for them, just little scattered pockets of those Masshole and Yankee idiots that can be drowned out very easily.

  21. Star says Jays will make an announcement today. About what they do not know. Could be just the trades. Could be the trades + manager. I can see doing it all at once before Thanksgiving especially if they want to sign a free agent pitcher.

  22. The Latin influence on this team is obvious and I think that is a path the Jays are going to continue to pursue into the future so I wouldn’t be too shocked if that is a big factor in their managerial decision making. No se lo que quiero decir?

  23. The managerial search speculation feels like the speculation about pretty well every free agent last off-season. AA’s got the lid on tight, and in the absence of actual information, everyone and their sister now has a source.

    To see a relatively plugged in guy like Olney look totally out to lunch on the Riggleman/Tracy speculation says to me that there’s really not much good information out there about all of this, and what there is is indiscernable from baseless conjecture.

    I hope there’s a manager in the next week or two, and I hope it’s a good pick, but I mostly hope that AA keeps on track polishing up the roster soon, so we can enjoy the peace and quiet of a winter without hockey.

    • “The managerial search speculation feels like the speculation about pretty well every free agent last off-season.”

      So you’re saying there won’t be a manager?

  24. its Acta……… (probably)

    “Several names have surfaced over the weekend — Acta, and veteran skippers Mike Hargrove and Jim Tracy.

    Hargrove, according to a source, has not been contacted by the Jays yet — which is telling at this point in the search.

    Hargrove “would definitely be interested” in the Jays job if contacted.

    Acta, meanwhile, has not returned emails or calls from insiders in Cleveland, leading to the belief that he may possibly be sitting on some kind of news.”

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/article/1289853–blue-jays-expected-to-make-announcement-monday

  25. If it’s Acta that would be better than Wakamatsu in my opinion.

  26. It’s really going to suck if somehow Olney is right in all of this.
    (Bracing myself).

  27. What about Ken Macha, he’s not doing anything these days.

  28. I’m just going to throw this out there, how about Ozzie Guillen?

  29. Its very clearly going to be Cito Gaston, to relive 92.

  30. Gibbons? Should I slit my wrists now or wait till may when we are 14 games out and all the new guys want to leave?

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