Speculation begins about next Tribe skipper
Organization looking for a Wedge-like manager
CLEVELAND -- Now that manager Eric Wedge has officially been ousted, the Indians will begin considering options for his replacement.All the Indians will reveal so far is that they'll be looking for a guy similar to Wedge. "We will look for somebody who has some of the strengths that Eric has," team president Paul Dolan said. "Eric was a very good manager. We'd certainly do well to get somebody who has some of those same strengths." General manager Mark Shapiro, who used to commonly refer to Wedge as his "partner," said he will be looking for a candidate with whom he can have open dialogue and reach collective conclusions -- the same kind of dialogue he had with Wedge. "I would still hope that the next manager will be someone that I can have the same kind of open and honest relationship with," Shapiro said. "I would hope we can work hard together and that guy understands situations as well as Eric does." By that logic, perhaps Wedge should apply. But what Shapiro is really referring to is a manager who will understand how to guide a young, inexperienced ballclub in a challenging economic market. Some decisions will be made because of finances, and growing pains with unproven players will be par for the course in 2010. Given those constraints, it seems reasonable to suggest that veteran retreads -- guys like Buck Showalter or Bobby Valentine -- likely won't be on the Indians' radar, let alone within their budget. Based on a gauge of club sources, one aspect of the search that appears overwhelmingly clear is that the Indians will not hire from within. Triple-A manager Torey Lovullo, for instance, might get an interview but, barring an unforeseen change in thinking, is not expected to get the job. Shapiro refused to get into any details, no matter how vague, regarding the managerial search and what it will entail. He said he would discuss such details with reporters in the days following Sunday's conclusion of the 2009 season. So all that's available now is pure speculation. And truth be known, that speculation began weeks ago, when the writing was on the wall that Wedge would be dismissed. Former Tribe pitcher and farm director and current Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell has been a popular possibility listed by fans and the media, though he has no managerial experience at any level. According to a recent report in FOXSports.com, Farrell has a clause in his contract that prevents him from accepting a managerial job with another team until after the 2010 season. But a subsequent report in the Boston Globe indicated that the clause could be removed if the Red Sox receive some sort of compensation. It's believed the Red Sox view the 47-year-old Farrell as a potential successor to Terry Francona. For that reason, he might be difficult to land, though his relationship and history with the Indians is a strong one. Former Tribe manager Mike Hargrove has also been a popular name bandied about by fans. But much of that is sentimentality attached to the Tribe's 1990s glory days. It seems doubtful the Indians would go down that road again. If the Indians, who will still be on the hook to pay Wedge more than $1 million next year, value managerial experience while also saving a few bucks, then former D-backs skipper Bob Melvin might get a look. Melvin compiled a 337-340 record with Arizona over four-plus seasons before getting relieved of his duties in May. Melvin, like Wedge, will still be paid by his former club next season. Also like Wedge, Melvin was named Manager of the Year in his league following the 2007 season. He received credit for guiding a young D-backs club to the National League Championship Series. But this year, like Wedge, he took the blame for that same core of players not reaching expectations. Two other former big league skippers who are readily available are Manny Acta, who was recently let go by the Nationals, and Willie Randolph, who was removed by the Mets last year and is currently a coach with the Brewers. If the Indians value big league coaching experience and are looking to give a guy his first Major League managerial opportunity, then several names may emerge, including but not limited to: Cardinals third-base and infield coach Jose Oquendo, White Sox bench coach Joey Cora, D-backs third-base coach Chip Hale, Red Sox third-base coach DeMarlo Hale, Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills (though he is the father of Tribe prospect Beau Mills), Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Padres hitting coach Randy Ready and Braves bullpen coach Eddie Perez. This is but a preliminary list, and a speculative one at that. Much more will be known about the Indians' managerial search when Shapiro delves deeper into the topic with reporters next week.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.