Everybody is talking about all the great free agents who will be up for grabs this postseason. Torri Hunter. Andruw Jones. A-rod.
But don’t forget about that other group of free agents: the managers. Joe Torre’s tenure as New York Yankees manager would seem to be over, following tonight’s loss to the Cleveland Indians. And that means he’ll be one of many qualified candidates looking for a new gig next season. Let’s look at some of the names that could be out there:
1. Charlie Manuel. His contract is up with the Phillies. The Phils say they want him back, but they seem reluctant to sign him to more than a one year contract, especially since GM Pat Gillick is only staying one more year. Manuel wants a two-year deal for himself and for each of his assistants. He may walk. And the Phillies may let him walk. Manuel isn’t a great in-game manager, but he’s a candidate for Manager of the Year and he kept the Phils playing hard down the stretch.
If Manuel doesn’t end up back in Philly, I’d love to see him go manage the Astros, where his former boss, Ed Wade, is the new GM. That would be fun.
2. Tony LaRussa. Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty has already been shown the door and reports are LaRussa is all but gone. Say what you will about Tony, but he’s a great baseball mind. And he wins. He’ll have a job somewhere next season. My money is on the Seattle Mariners, who collapsed at the end this year and need a change at the top.
3. Joe Girardi. The former manager of the year is doing play by play for the YES Network. He’s obviously biding his time for the right offer. Doesn’t look like he’ll get the Yankees job, but maybe St. Louis? The Pirates could use a guy like Girardi, who worked magic during his one-year in Florida. But would Girardi want to manage in Pittsburgh? Doubtful.
4. Joe Torre. He says he’s “not ready to move somewhere and not do anything.” In other words, he wants to manage next year. But where? My money is on St. Louis, but don’t discount the possibility of Torre sitting out a year and then taking over for the Mets. Or, if Manuel walks, Torre could go to Philly. I don’t see him in Houston, unless he’s really in the mood for a change of scenery.
These are some serious manager candidates. And we haven’t even mentioned guys like Terry Pendleton (maybe Kansas City?), Tony Pena (New York?), Bobby Valentine, Phil Garner or Jimy Williams (taking over for Manuel?). Those are some big names, and there are only so many jobs out there. This should be a fun offseason.