The following are confirmed candidates for the #Dbacks managerial job. Additional candidates will join the list once permission… (1/2)— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 1, 2014
...is received by their current team: Sandy Alomar Jr., Jay Bell, Andy Green, Phil Nevin, Jim Tracy, Turner Ward. (2/2)— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 1, 2014
The #Dbacks have also received permission to interview White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing for the managerial opening.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 1, 2014
The #Dbacks have received permission to interview #KCRoyals bench coach Don Wakamatsu for the managerial opening.— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) October 1, 2014
Let's go through the list and fill in some background on each of the candidates.
Sandy Alomar Jr.
Playing career: Catcher, 1,377 games, 13.7 bWAR, six-time All-Star, 1990 Rookie of the Year
Coaching career: Six years with Mets and Indians
Managerial experience: Indians interim manager (2012)
Current position: Indians bench coach
His time as Indians manager lasted little more than a week at the end of the season, before being replaced by Terry Francona, who was the only other real candidate. Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti spoke highly of Alomar: "He's got a very great way about him. He's disciplined in his preparation. He connects with players exceptionally well. He relates to them well. He has a very high standard for success. I think when you combine those attributes, there's a lot of ingredients for him to be a successful manager.". He was also in the running for the Blue Jays' post after the 2010 campaign, and also in the running to become manager for both the Red Sox and Cubs following 2011.
Playing career: Shortstop, 2,063 games, 36.9 bWAR, two-time All-Star
Coaching career: Six years with D-backs, Pirates and Reds
Managerial experience: None
Current position: Reds bench coach
Bell spoke to the team about the managerial position yesterday, and would certainly be a fan favorite, being well-loved for his role in the 2001 World Series title, where he scored the winning run in Game 7. He also would be returning to the D-backs dugout, where he was bench coach from 2005-2006 and acted as an adviser for the three years after that. Bell says he learned a lot from Clint Hurdle: "If I ever have the opportunity to manager, I will take a lot of what Clint Hurdle does. He is a phenomenal motivator. He’s a terrific leader. He’s very thoughtful. He understands how to manage a game. There’s just tons of attributes he has that I would love to take."
Playing career: 2B/3B/LF, 140 games, -1.3 bWAR
Coaching career: Four years in Diamondbacks farm system
Managerial experience: AZL D-backs (2011), Advanced Rookie Missoula (2012), AA Mobile (2013-14)
Current position: Mobile Bay Bears manager
Green already interviewed with the team for the position, speaking to the team on Monday. He has had great success in the minors, being named Manager of the Year each of the last two seasons with the BayBears, putting together a combined record of 158-118 for Mobile. Some of the players who have joined the major-league team from Double-A have also apparently spoken positively of Green's impact on them. Due to that, he will already be familiar with a number of the players potentially on the 2015 roster, including David Peralta, Jake Lamb, Chase Anderson, Archie Bradley and Matt Stites.
Playing career: 2B/LF, 755 games, 0.9 bWAR
Coaching career: Seven years in White Sox organization
Managerial experience: A Winston-Salem (2009-10), AAA Charlotte (2011)
Current position: White Sox third-base coach
At about this point last year, McEwing spoke to Fangraphs, in a piece headlined "Joe McEwing, Future Big League Manager". Meaningful quotes? "Being a communicator is huge. As a manager, you’re also a psychologist. You’re a psychologist dealing with 25 different personalities every single day, finding out what makes each guy tick and putting them in the best possible position to succeed... You want guys to know what they’re doing when they come to the ballpark every day, but then there is that communication factor again. If they’re not in their usual spot, you have to let them know the reason why... I love the sacrifice bunt. It puts pressure on defenses, gets infielders moving."
Playing career: Third-base, 1,217 games, 15.8 bWAR, once All-Star
Coaching career: Six years, indie ball, Tigers and D-backs farm systems
Managerial Experience: Indie Orange County (2009), AA Erie (2010), AAA Toledo (2011-13), AAA Reno (2014)
Current position: Reno Aces manager
Nevi was interviewed by the Houston Astros.in connection with their open managerial position. They were also the team who picked him with the first overall pick in the 1992 draft, but the position eventually went to former Diamondback manager, A.J. Hinch. He said of his time with Reno this year, "I like the teaching part. As we've been successful, especially this past year, just being able to have an impact, telling a kid he's going to the big leagues, and going up and watch them get better, and having an impact on our Major League club. It's something that I really enjoy doing." He was interviewed on Wednesday.
Playing career: Outfielder, 87 games, -0.6 bWAR
Coaching career: 26 years in total
Managerial experience: minors (1987-91, 1993-94), Dodgers (2001-05), Pirates (2006-07), Rockies (2009-12)
Current position: Not apparently active
Certainly has the most major-league experience of any of the candidates, and that may be a significant asset. Tony La Russa seems to favor those who have been there, saying, "When you start managing the game, the more that you've pulled the trigger as a manager somewhere, there is an art to that. It's helpful if you've managed someplace before. It doesn't mean we won't hire someone like the Venturas, the Mathenys, the Weisses, but it's also possible we'll look for somebody that's pulled the trigger before." However, seems Tracy has been out of the game for the past couple of years. Maybe there's a reason for that?
Playing career: Catcher, 31games, -0.1 bWAR
Coaching career: since 1997
Managerial experience: AZL D-backs (1997), A High Desert (1998), AA El Paso (1999), AA Erie (2000), Mariners (2009-10)
Current position: Kansas City bench coach
Wakamatsu would also be returning to the D-backs, having been a manager in our farm system since before there was a major-league club. He became the first Asian-American manager in the majors leagues when he took the Seattle helm in 2009, and his name was another one mentioned for the Astros position. Reportedly, he was fired from the Mariners, after Wakamatsu "lost his clubhouse, in large part due to a lack of communication," in particular following the sudden retirement of local icon Ken Griffey, Jr. Chone Figgins also got into an argument with his manager, and had to be restrained. [You can read more about the whole story on Lookout Landing]
Playing career: Outfielder, 626 games, 4.5 bWAR
Coaching career: Nine years, with Cardinals, Pirates and Diamondbacks
Managerial experience: GCL:Pirates (2006), Short-A State College (2007), AA Mobile (2011-12)
Current position: Diamondbacks hitting coach
I'm reluctant even to mention Ward's name, because doing so probably causes MLB to impose a five-game suspension on Eric Hinske. But let's risk it. Given his current position, he will bring most familiarity with the current players, particularly the likes of A.J. Pollock, whom he knows from his Bay Bears days. He has a good reputation as a communicator, and in the minors, he was said to concentrate "less on hitters’ mechanics and more on their approach at the plate," such as the kind of pitch they were expecting, and what they intended to do with it. "I talk about trying to beat the pitcher with your mind," Ward said. "They can never beat you with your mind."