By Jim Williams
Special to The Examiner
The Major League Baseball league championship series are underway, but the sports media still has time to help the Giants pick a new manager. We all knew that one of the most successful managers in Giants history, Bruce Bochy, was leaving at the end of the 2019 season, so fans have been well prepared for the rumor mill to begin, and of course, the media have been more than happy to help general manager Farhan Zaidi choose his next skipper.
While Bochy called the Giants gig the best in baseball, there are some other, very high-profile jobs on the market, including the Cubs, Mets and Phillies, where the right person could have an instant winner on their hands in 2020. Then, there are jobs like San Diego and the Los Angeles Angels, who have talent, but may need a little help in the free agent market. Then, there are the small-market teams in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, where you need creative people who can win on a budget.
About five minutes after the Phillies made manager Gabe Kapler the scapegoat for Philadelphia not making the playoffs, there came an interesting tweet from Bob Nightengale, USA Today’s lead baseball insider. He had Kapler headed to San Francisco.
While Zaidi was general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kapler was a finalist for the managerial job that eventually went to Dave Roberts. Kapler had been the Dodgers’ Director of Player Development, and has a reputation for being steeped in the analytic side of the game. Zaidi said himself in a post-season post-mortem press conference that prior experience would be a plus, even if that experience (Kapler went 161-163 with Philadelphia) wasn’t so great.
“A lot of times guys do better and have more traction their second time around because of the lessons that they’ve learned,” Zaidi said.
Nightengale wasn’t the only national voice saying Kapler to the Giants made sense. Turner Sports and Bleacher Report national baseball insider Joel Reuter also felt that the former Phillies skipper was a good match for the San Francisco job.
On Thursday, MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman said that the Giants were impressed with the A’s quality control coach Mark Kotsay as a strong candidate for the job.
Heyman followed the Kotsay item with the chance that the Royals’ Pedro Grifol — another young (49), analytics-minded coach — is also on the Giants’ radar. Heyman also added that he might be the new manager in KC if the Giants aren’t interested.
The Giants may also stay in-house with the search, as both third base coach Ron Wotus and bench coach Hensley Meulens were set to be interviewed last week, which has been reported by multiple outlets, including this one.
There are other sources to check, though, including the sports books.
If you want to bet, then Carlos Beltran (also up for the Mets job) is your best bet to land in San Francisco. According to BetOnline, Beltran — who had a brief fling as a Giants player — and Meulens are +300 co-favorites.
GamblingSites.com likes what former Yankees hitting coach Josh Bard brings to the table as an outside-the-organization pick, and has him as the best bet, even at +750.
Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon are both long shots in the betting parlors, but favorites for other gigs.
We will find out if any one in the national media or the odds makers hit their marks on this one. Who do you think will be the Giants’ next manager?
Leave your response in the comments section below.
Channel Surfing — The 49ers are on the road to face the Rams. The game will air on FOX 2 with Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth on the call.