Now that John Farrell has left Toronto for his “dream job” in Boston there’s a vacancy in the Blue Jays dugout. So, who’s it going to be? Alex Anthopoulos has a tough choice to make if he hopes to find the right man to lead what was supposed to be an up-and-coming Blue Jays squad on the cusp of contending. Can he really afford to pick another manager that will only be around for a few seasons after burning through three managers in the last five seasons?
One really interesting note is that of the four coaches that were reportedly the four finalists the last time the Blue Jays were looking for a new manager, three that were passed over are all still available. Do all three still hold favor for AA, and would they still want to take the job if offered? All three of those names will appear on this list along with a pair of respectable candidates, that include a former manager and a guy that has interviewed for numerous positions in the past.
This list is a little different than previous Jays Listed lists. It’s not ranking the managers is order of who should get the job. It’s simply a rundown of the top candidates and what they bring to the table. Ready then? Here we go…
Manny Acta has been the man in charge before, but has never been able to take a Major League team to the playoffs. However, that has more to do with the talent he’s had to lead than his managerial skills.
Acta’s playing career began when he was signed by the Houston Astros as a 17-year-old. He spent his entire playing career in the minor leagues and never cracked the Astros roster.
Acta has a northern connection, getting his first coaching job with the Montreal Expos in 2002. He was hired to be the Expos third base coach, a position he held until 2005. After his time in Montreal he journeyed the New York where he was the Mets third base coach for a few seasons.
He eventually found his way back to the Expos organization, but they were no longer the Expos. Acta got his first gig as manager with the Washington Nationals beginning in the 2007 season. Despite heading a lackluster Nationals roster he led them to s surprising 73-89 record. Washington quickly came back to earth the following season, plummeting to a 59-102 record. The losing continued during the 2009 season and it caught up with Acta. In July with the Nats owning a 26-61 record Acta got the ax e.
He wasn’t unemployed very long. Following the 2009 season the Cleveland Indians came calling and made Acta their skipper for the 2010 season. A purged Cleveland lineup stumbled to a 69-93 record, but rebounded quickly in Acta’s second season at the helm. In 2011 Cleveland shocked a lot of people by going 80-82 to finish second in the AL Central. Cleveland came crashing back down to earth in 2012 and near the end of the season Acta was let go.
Acta’s lifetime record as a manager with Washington and Cleveland is 372-518, which is a .418 winning percentage.
Tim Wallach is also familiar with playing up north after spending the majority of his playing career with the Expos. Wallach was entrenched at third base for Montreal for more than a decade, from 1980 to 1992. During that time he was a five-time All-Star, won three Gold Gloves and was a two-time Silver Slugger.
Wallach’s Major League coaching career began with the Dodgers in 2004 when he was named Los Angeles’ hitting coach. He held the job for two years before being replaced by Eddie Murray. Wallach rejoined the Dodgers organization in 2009 as manager for their Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. That season he led Albuquerque to the playoffs and was voted the Pacific Coast League’s manager of the year.
After another year in Albuquerque Wallach returned to the Dodgers in 2011 as their third base coach. Two years ago when the Jays were looking for a replacement for Cito Gaston they reportedly requested to interview Wallach but were turned down by Los Angeles. Considering Wallach already interviewed for the vacant manager job in Boston Toronto should get to talk to Wallach this time if they are inclined to do so.
Sandy Alomar Jr. spent 20 years behind the plate during his Major League career. He began his career with San Diego, winning the Rookie of the Year, before a trade that netted the Padres Joe Carter sent him to Cleveland. Alomar spent 11 seasons with the Indians, winning a Gold Glove and appearing in six All-Star games. Before retiring Alomar also made stops with the White Sox, Rockies, Rangers, Dodgers and Mets.
After retiring following the 2007 season Alomar spent a couple seasons as a catching instructor with the Mets. In 2009 Alomar made his way back to Cleveland as the Indians first base coach. He was promoted to bench coach before the 2012 season and after Manny Acta was let go near the end of the year Alomar acted as interim manager. The interim tag stuck, as the Indians hired Terry Francona as their new managers after the 2012 season ended.
Alomar was reported to be one of the four finalist for the Blue Jays manager position two years ago. His family connections to the Blue Jays (you may know his brother), along with his credentials could land him the top job this time around.
DeMarlo Hale was drafted by the Red Sox in the 1983 draft. He spent his entire playing career in the minors with Boston and Oakland.
Hales’ managerial career didn’t begin until 1993 when he took the top job with the Red Sox High-A team in Fort Lauderdale. In 1995 he was the Midwest League Manager of the Year with Michigan. His managing carousel continued landing him with Sarasota in 1996 and with Boston’s Double-A farm club in Trenton in 1997. He remained with Trenton for a few seasons and led them to a league-best 92-50 record in 1999.
Starting in 2000 he managed the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A club in Oklahoma for two seasons before joining the Rangers as their first base coach in in 2002. He also served as outfield instructor until the 2005 season. After that season he returned to the Red Sox organization, serving as the third base coach in Boston. He was promoted to bench coach prior to the 2010 season and was reported to be one of the four finalist for the Blue Jays manager’s job before Toronto hired John Farrell.
After the 2011 season when the Red Sox canned Terry Francona and brought in Bobby Valentine, Hale moved on to Baltimore. Hale served as the Orioles third base coach for the 2012 season but could end up on the Blue Jays managerial short list once again.
Brian Butterfield has been with the Blue Jays for a decade now, but his coaching career dates back much further. His playing career was even longer ago.
Butterfield’s playing career began with the Yankees in 1979. He spent four years in the Yankees farm system and another season with the San Diego system before his playing career came to an end. After his playing days were over Butterfield got into coaching as a roving infield instructor with the Yankees. He stayed with the Yankees organization for nearly 10 years and worked with the big club as their first base coach in 1994 and 1995.
Prior to that he served as manager for the first time in 1988 in the Gulf Coast League with Sarasota. That season he was named Gulf Coast League Manager of the Year. Following the 1995 season Butterfield left the Yankees organization and joined the Diamondbacks where he spent two seasons as an minor league infield instructor. He also served as the Diamondbacks third base coach in 1999 and 2000 before making quick stops with the Yankees and the Devil Rays organizations.
While with the Devil Rays he led Tampa Bay’s Florida State League affiliate to a league title. In 2002 he joined the Blue Jays, initially as third base coach. During his 10 years with Toronto Butterfield has served as infield instructor, third base coach and for a short-time, bench coach as well. He was reportedly one of the four finalists for the Blue Jays skipper position before John Farrell was hired.
Butterfield’s contract with the Blue Jays was up following the 2012 season. This means even if he’s not the next manager, he may not be back at all. The Bangor, Maine native has already been rumored to be on the Boston Red Sox, and John Farrell’s wish list.
A few other managerial candidates: