Either showing a severe case of schizophrenia or at least a pendulum swing of the most dramatic proportions, the Florida Marlins swapped out the retiring Jack McKeon, who turns 75 next month, with Joe Girardi, who celebrated his 41st birthday last week.
McKeon departed after having
managed for a total of almost 2000 games with five big league clubs, along with
serving seven years as
Despite having no prior managing experience at any level and just one year as a broadcaster and one as a assistant with Joe Torre's New York Yankees after ending his playing career, former bench coach Girardi was this postseason's hottest head coaching commodity. In addition to the Marlins, Girardi interviewed twice with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a potential replacement for Lou Piniella. He received a three-year deal from the Marlins.
third base coaches,
For Girardi, no managing experience also means no negatives, no baggage - unless you count the Yankees' disappointing exit from the playoffs during his only season on the staff, that is. Oh, well… Girardi did collect three rings as a player, but then again, so have lots of other guys.
One report had Girardi on the fence, trying to decide if he should wait to take his first managerial position until the Chicago Cubs job becomes open – his hometown and original organization. I am sure beleaguered incumbent Dusty Baker was glad to read about that.
Anyway, good luck, Joe! As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Can't be Rich in
No, that is not a replay of former
owner, but unfortunately, current Commissioner Bud Selig's complaints about his
supposed money-losing years with
Instead, at the conclusion of the season, the Brewers announced a shake up of the coaching staff. Everyone named "Rich" was dropped – specifically, bench coach Rich Dauer and third base coach Rich Donnelly. Rumors that it was due to their names being too plain could not be confirmed.
However, a quick check of the middle names of the rest of the staff makes one wonder if Manager Ned Yost doesn't favor being around other guys with weird handles. Sure looks that way as bullpen coach Bill (Radhames) Castro, pitching coach Mike (Ausley) Maddux, first base coach Dave (Earl) Nelson and batting coach Butch (Harold Delano) Wynegar are returning for 2006.
(You can look up their names, honest!)
Little help for Bernie Brewer
OK, I couldn't help but have a second headline for the Brew Crew. Too much good material there. Replacements for the pair of deposed Riches are now known, each with their own weird name and story.
Grady Little, the former Red Sox manager, is rumored to be Yost's choice as bench coach. This would be Little's first return to active duty since being fired by the Sox following the disastrous conclusion of the 2003 American League Championship Series.
Suggestions that Little will get the job because it is assumed he will continue the Milwaukee tradition of leaving Ben Sheets in games too long are just speculation at this point. Little spent the past two seasons in exile, working for the Chicago Cubs as a roving catching instructor and special assistant to general manager Jim Hendry.
Seriously, the Brewers do train
On a side note, former Giants, Cubs and Sox third base coach "Wave ‘Em Home" Wendell Kim is not expected to be Sveum's replacement. Though many Sox fans have compared the two, it is not a positive subject.
Whisler's Mother unhappy, but Grandma Moses elated with Reds
Once the "interim" tag was removed
from his title,
Anyway, the Reds did make one coaching change. Narron invited everyone back for 2006 except first base and infield coach Randy Whisler. John Moses, who was named bench coach shortly after Narron became interim manager, is tentatively slated to assume Whisler's former first base coaching duties.
Moses has served as the team's outfield instructor and will stay in that role, so the Reds are looking to hire someone to tutor the infielders as the new bench coach. Rumors have Bucky Dent being that addition. Dent and Narron were coaches on the late Johnny Oates' Rangers staff from 1995 until 2001.
The other Cincinnati coaches expected back are pitching coach Vern Ruhle, hitting coach Chris Chambliss, third base coach Mark Berry, bullpen coach Tom Hume and bullpen catcher Mike Stefanski.
DePodesta dreaming of a delicious Dodger Dog
Los Angeles (not of Anaheim)
Dodgers canned five-year manager Jim Tracy after his club was one of only four
in history to fall from ten games over .500 to twenty below during one season. Sort of a reverse Astros thing, if you will.
Not that it was entirely Tracy's fault, as his four previous clubs each
registered winning records and general manager Paul DePodesta let many good
players depart such as Paul Lo Duca, Adrian Beltre, Steve Finley, Alex Cora and
Not that it was entirely Tracy's fault, as his four previous clubs each registered winning records and general manager Paul DePodesta let many good players depart such as Paul Lo Duca, Adrian Beltre, Steve Finley, Alex Cora and Shawn Green.
Jerry Royster is in the mix, too. He is manager of the Dodgers' Triple-A team in
decision is imminent. DePodesta is expected to speak with former Dodgers Kirk
Gibson, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine about the open managerial job or
perhaps other positions in the organization. Gibson was the Tigers' bench coach
under Trammell, Hershiser is
five years of mediocrity, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon was given
the ax with several weeks remaining in the 2005 season. He signed on to be Jim
Leyland's bullpen coach in
Fredi Gonzalez was the only other alternative who received an interview before Jim Tracy was offered the job and signed a three-year contract. Leyland and Ken Macha were also mentioned before they settled elsewhere.
Tracy is expected to bring his former Dodgers bench coach Jim Lett and pitching coach Jim Colborn with him to the Steel City. At least the two of them said they'd come if asked. There is also a rumor that Dodgers third base coach Glenn Hoffman could find a new home with the Pirates.
Bryan Price accepted a one-year
contract to become the new pitching coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks once he
learned that he wasn't going to get the Florida Marlins managerial job that
instead went to Joe Girardi. Price resigned as Mariners pitching coach earlier
in the month after spending 18 years with the
Rockin' Leo busts Braves' chops
Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone
left the organization of which he's been a part since 1979. Mazzone has been in
his current role since 1990 as the only pitching coach Bobby Cox has employed as
Mazzone joined the staff of best
buddy Sam Perlozzo in
Cubs coaching continuity looking to extend 2005 success
OK, so that is a cheap shot. What do you expect to read here, praise? Anyway, Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild rejected an offer to join former boss Jim Leyland with the Detroit Tigers. Instead, the former Devil Rays skipper signed a one-year contract to return to the Cubs for a fifth season.
As a result, manager Dusty Baker's entire staff will be back on the North Side in 2006. Bench coach Dick Pole, hitting coach Gene Clines, first base coach Gary Matthews, third base coach Chris Speier and bullpen coach Juan Lopez will rejoin Rothschild.
An interesting rumor that was
circulating was that if Rothschild had departed, the Cubs would have asked Greg Maddux to play the dual role of pitcher-pitching coach.
Baker was on the hot seat during his club's injury-riddled, fourth-place 2005 campaign. Some even linked him with the Dodgers' job, a team he once played with for eight seasons. However, Baker has one year remaining on his current four-year contract of between $14 and $16 million. Needless to say, his future in Chi-town beyond that will be directly dependent on the Baby Bears' 2006 campaign.
Double "z" footnote from yesterday
Reader Jody Madron confided in the fact that he thought he was the only one who had wondered about the double "z" name consistency between past and current Orioles managers Lee Mazzilli and Sam Perlozzo.
Jody then wondered out loud if they are the only double "z'ers" in the history of MLB managerial ranks. Not surprisingly, since we are so weird around here, I already had the answer – yes and no.
Mazzilli and Perlozzo are the only double "z" surnamed managers in history. However, one man also has the combination in his first name. Know who? Of course you do. He's in the World Series, for Pete's sake!
That's right! Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen is the only other skipper in the annals of major league baseball with the double "z" combination in his name.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Special limited-time offer - receive 60 issues of the Sporting News plus the 128-page hardcover book "Ozzie Smith: The Road to Cooperstown" included with your one-year subscription to thestlcardinals.com. thestlcardinals.com Total Access Pass(tm)