As I'm sure most of you have seen by now, Shannon Drayer came out with a post this afternoon naming four managerial candidates the are set to interview. Now that I have a moment, I figured I'd run down the four names real quick to offer a brief summary of my thoughts on each.
Note that these aren't necessarily the four finalists, but they're the four names we have to go on for the time being, and with the M's apparently wanting to hire a guy in short order, I wouldn't be surprised if these were the only four guys flying to town. You might see a small handful of other names, at the most. Ahandful.
We already talked about John Gibbons here last week. Suffice to say, the way I think about John Gibbons is the way a lot of people think about John Gibbons. Gibbons is the go-to example of a managerial hardass. He's Leopold, from The Simpsons. Practically Gibbons' entire reputation among fans is tied to his confrontations with various players, and for that reason he's seen as entertaining. Hire John Gibbons and your season won't be dull. No sir.
Bobby Valentine is every fan's automatic preference for a managerial vacancy. When you talk about fans forming very strong opinions regarding things they don't understand very well, Valentine's the perfect example. People love him. Why? Who knows. He's managed 2189 games in North America. He won 1117 of them. He went to the playoffs twice. Bobby Valentine might be a fine manager, or he might be a lousy manager, but we don't know, and he hasn't managed for eight years. I don't know how he grew to be so popular.
Milton Bradley once reportedly wore a t-shirt in the Cleveland clubhouse that said "fuck Eric Wedge". Wedge has or is scheduled to interview for pretty much every available managerial position in the league, and I'm pretty sure he just sees these things as getting a free trip.
It's a testament to the power of The Simpsons that I would mention the show twice in four paragraphs on a baseball blog. It's also a testament to the show's power that I hear the name "Cecil" and think that this guy must be an eloquent Englishman. Cooper, of course, is not. He's this:
Considered a gentle soul by the players when he was promoted to interim manager on Aug. 27, 2007, after Phil Garner was fired, Cooper had players – stars and role players - complaining publicly and privately about his lack of communication skills by June of his first full season.
What are these guys like? How would they fit? At this point I'm just repeating myself, but it's absolutely critical to understand that we don't know. There's a reason I'm not conducting thorough background checks on these names. It's next to impossible for those of us on the outside to predict how well a manager will fit in with a roster - especially a roster that hasn't been built yet. This is a call I'm happy to leave entirely in the hands of the front office. Not because I trust that they'll be able to make a great prediction - this is the front office that hired Don Wakamatsu, after all - but because I trust that they'll be able to make a better prediction.
Maybe Cecil Cooper is our guy. How should I know? How should any of us know?