October 23, 2010

Gibbons, Macha Out of Consideration - Which Candidates Remain?

The Boston Globe is reporting that Ken Macha is out of the running for the Pirates manager job. This of course comes as a surprise to me because I expected Macha to be the guy. But I have to trust any newspaper that is primarily circulated by guys who buy the whole stack of papers out of a vending machine for 50 cents at 6 in the morning and then stand on the corner, surrounded by stacks of newspapers, selling them for 50 cents all day.

John Gibbons asked the Pirates Thursday to remove him from consideration. The original front-runner Eric Wedge signed with the Mariners. The other guys the Pirates interviewed were:

Dale Sveum - The '08 Brewers fired Ned Yost and installed Sveum as manager with only two weeks left in the season. Under Sveum the Brewers won six of their last seven games to make the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. Then they fired him and he hasn't managed since. Sveum seems like a possibility and would provide an important link to the amazing '97 Pirates.
Carlos Tosca - Tosca's father was an ex-girlfriend's pediatrician, which sounds legit until you realize that (a) he's still practicing medicine even now and his son is 57 years old, and (b) her parents chose this doctor by picking the cheapest doctor in a 2.7 million person metropolitan area.

Tosca interviewed with the Pirates on the 14th and then agreed to be the Braves' bench coach on the 15th. I am sure he could get out of the Braves commitment but the timing suggests his Pirates interview didn't go well.

Jeff Banister - Banister is a career baseball man with the Pirates, having been in the organization since 1994. He never managed above A ball, so this would be a curious hire. One would think the Pirates would have had him manage the Indianapolis team, or at least Altoona, if they were grooming Banister for the major league job. It seems like he just got this interview as a courtesy for his 17 years in the organization.

Bo Porter - Porter never managed above A ball and was just fired by the Diamondbacks after only one year on their coaching staff. I consider him a longshot for the job, especially since he is rumored to be the frontrunner for the Marlins job. The Marlins have often chosen unconventional candidates for their manager job; the Pirates have not.

Possibly interviewed was...

Bobby Valentine - The Pirates denied reports that Valentine interviewed for the job, although they have denied reports before which then turned out to be true. Really the Pirates would be honored to have Valentine considering them. Remember Valentine's 2000 Mets? Here was their starting lineup in Game One of the World Series.

Timo Perez RF
Edgardo Alfonzo 2B
Mike Piazza DH
Todd Zeile 1B
Robin Ventura 3B
Benny Agbayani LF
Jay Payton CF
Todd Pratt C
Mike Bordick SS
Al Leiter P

Even in the worst of times, the Pirates never had to resort to having a girl batting fifth and playing third base. Valentine is clearly the best candidate here. I've read that he wears out his welcome, yet he managed over six years for both teams he's worked for.

Many news sources have speculated about...

Tony Pena - Pena is a coach for the Yankees. A lot of sites have theorized that the Pirates were waiting for the Yankees to be eliminated so they could finally interview Pena. They've got their wish, but really? This is a guy who has had one managing job, which ended because he resigned effective immediately on May 10 of a season without even talking to the team's general manager in advance. I support his hiring only if he is immediately traded for Andy Van Slyke.

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