Baseball managers are like Coke bottles: they’re recycled frequently.
So don’t be surprised if some familiar faces surface when teams with vacancies start searching for 2022 managerial candidates.
Among those who could be returning, in alphabetical order, are Brad Ausmus, Bruce Bochy, John Farrell, Fredi Gonzalez, John Gibbons, Mike Scioscia, Buck Showalter, Ron Washington, and Walt Weiss.
Awaiting their first chance are Carlos Beltran, Terry Pendleton, and Eddie Perez, all of whom have interviewed before – with Beltran actually winning a job with the New York Mets before fallout from the 2017 World Series electronic sign-stealing scandal ended his tenure after 73 days.
With the off-season less than a week old, two teams have already fired their 2021 managers, though more are sure to follow.
On the hottest seats are Aaron Boone, whose four-year contract with the Yankees has expired, and Rocco Baldelli, who couldn’t prevent the Minnesota Twins from finishing last after two straight AL Central crowns.
Beyond the teams that fired managers, the New York Mets (Luis Rojas) and San Diego Padres (Jayce Tingler), nearly a dozen teams have severed ties with coaches – an indicator that the front office is turning up the heat on the manager.
Several clubs could have sudden vacancies created by unexpected retirements or even managerial moves from one team to another (Gabe Kapler, fired by the Phillies, was unemployed less than a month last year before the Giants hired him).
That being said, here’s a Baker’s Dozen of potential managers with potent resumes:
1. Bruce Bochy – A future Hall of Famer because of the three World Series crowns he won with San Francisco, he also did well as manager of the San Diego Padres. He’s 66 and out of circulation for two years but has a good rapport with Sandy Alderson, chief of baseball operations for the Mets. He’d probably only leave the West Coast for a contract rich in years and dollars but the San Diego is open, if he’s willing to come back.
2. Mike Scioscia – Another West Coast guy with a World Series ring, he ran the Angels from 2000-2018 and won the team’s only world championship with the 2002 wild-card team. He also won six AL West division titles. The former Dodgers catcher, 62, most recently managed the U.S. national team that took a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The long-time Dodgers catcher hit .259 with 68 home runs.
3. Ron Washington – The current third base coach for Brian Snitker in Atlanta, he deserves much credit for the defensive development of the Atlanta infield of Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman. In eight years as a manager, all with the Texas Rangers, Wash won two pennants and posted a .521 winning percentage. A hands-on instructor who is well-liked by the players, the former big-league shortstop is always on the field before Braves games conducting individual drills with Atlanta infielders.
4. Brad Ausmus – Yet another catcher who became a manager, this 52-year-old Dartmouth grad spent 18 years in the majors as a player, then managed five years, guiding the Tigers and Angels. His Tiger team took a division crown in 2014 but his career winning percentage is only .478.
5. Buck Showalter – Though he never played in the majors, he’s found success with four different teams, from the third-year Arizona Diamondbacks to the now-moribund Baltimore Orioles. He also managed the Yankees and tolerated the tough New York media corps during the ‘90s. Showalter, now 65, remains a keen observer of the game as a MLB Network analyst. He’s regarded as a no-nonsense type who might be just the guy to whip the Mets into shape.
6. John Gibbons – Another man with Mets connections, the former catcher wants to manage again. He took Toronto to consecutive postseason spots in 2015-26 but last managed in 2018. Gibbons, 59, launched his career as a manager in the Mets’ minor-league system.
7. John Farrell – Like Gibbons, Farrell managed the Blue Jays. But he’s best-known for taking the 2013 Red Sox to a world championship. Farrell, who last managed in 2017, has ties to Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who employed him as pitching coach.
8. Fredi Gonzalez – During a 10-year managerial career, this bi-lingual Havana native posted a .506 winning percentage, finished first in the NL East with the 2013 Braves, and twice finished third in voting for the Manager of the Year. Extremely affable and cooperative with the media, he’s also young enough to relate to today’s players. A Bobby Cox disciple, Gonzalez coached third base for the Braves before the Marlins lured him away with an offer to manage.
9. Walt Weiss – Brian Snitker’s bench coach with the Braves in a New York area native whose only experience as a manager came in Colorado, where he managed the Rockies from 2013-16. A switch-hitting shortstop who hit .258 over 14 seasons, mostly with Oakland, Weiss was AL Rookie of the Year and an AL All-Star.
10. Eddie Perez – The long-time bullpen and first base coach for the Braves, Perez is another Bobby Cox disciple whose best years as a player came when Cox managed the team. The personal catcher for Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, Perez won MVP honors in the 1999 NL Championship Series as a fill-in for injured veteran Javy Lopez. His managerial experience consists of four years in the Venezuelan Winter League but he’s bi-lingual and just 53.
11. Terry Pendleton – Another long-time Braves coach under Cox, this former batting champ and National League MVP won three Gold Gloves for his defensive wizardry at third base. He hit .270 with 140 homers for five different teams and went to five World Series as a player without winning any of them. Universally considered a smart baseball man, the 61-year-old Pendleton coached from 2002-17, finishing as Atlanta bench coach under Snitker.
12. Carlos Beltran – With a .279 lifetime average, 435 homers, and 312 stolen bases over 20 seasons, this former center-fielder might find his way to Cooperstown – unless the World Series cheating scandal that engulfed the 2017 Astros works against him. It already cost him the job of Mets manager in 2020, when the scandal broke, before he could manage a game. Beltran, a 44-year-old native of Puerto Rico, speaks both English and Spanish. Since Alex Cora and AJ Hinch returned after their one-year suspensions, could Beltran do the same?
13. Bob Melvin – A finalist for the job when the Mets needed a manager in 2010, the cerebral Melvin has won three division crowns and taken Oakland into postseason play six times. A former Mets scout, he’s still under contract to the small-budget A’s, who could be persuaded to let him go if they received adequate compensation.