Choose Your Own Nats Manager: GUTS!
With help from TJ Landwermeyer and Sean Hogan below are detailed bios for every possible answer to the Choose Your Own Nats Manager quiz. Consider it a briefing on all of the possible candidates you'll hear about in the coming weeks.
An MLB manager of 15 years, he’s led two franchises to the playoffs a combined six times with two of those campaigns resulting in World Series titles; all by the age of 56. A former Expo, among others, Francona had a 10-year playing career before getting into coaching and swiftly moving on to managing.
Black is likely the odds on favorite for the job as he is one of the few with significant MLB managerial experience, nine years, and isn't in his 60s, he's 58. He only had a .477 winning percentage with the Padres, but that can't all be pinned on him. He has significant playing experience, pitching for 15 seasons in the majors, giving him knowledge about pitchers that few others have. He also has two World Series titles as a player and an NL Manager of the Year award. It's difficult to find a better option who is unemployed.
After a relatively short playing career Gardenhire joined the Twins organization in 1988 and didn’t leave until 2014; holding posts as a MiLB manager for three years, third base coach for 11 years, and then as MLB manager for 13 years. In his stint as a third base coach Gardy was a part of a World Series winning club in 1991 and in his 13 years as manager he took the Twins to the playoffs six times. A bastion of experience, Gardenhire is only 57 and boasts a career winning percentage of .507.
Nats fans should already be familiar with Porter, as he was their third base in 2011 and 2012 before taking the manager's job with the Astros. He last two well below .500 seasons before being fired. However, that still has given him some experience in the position. At 43, he's one of the youngest candidates out there.
CAL RIPKEN JR.
Supposedly a top choice for the Nationals last time around,he's already being rumored to be a top candidate this time around. DC area fans don't need to be told about the Hall of Famer's accomplishments on the playing field. However, unless you count Little League camps, he has no experience as a coach, let alone as a manager. But he has a World Series title and has the cache to build a relationship with current players. He doesn't have Nats ties, but he does have DC ties.
He lacks any formal coaching or managing experience, but has a smorgasbord of accolades from his 21 year playing career: 1 World Series win (2003 Marlins), 14 All Star team selections, 13 Gold Glove awards, 7 Silver Slugger awards, and the 1999 AL MVP. Pudge is known as one of the best all-around catchers of all time, and played the final two seasons of his career in Washington. He is currently a pre- and post-game analyst for Rangers coverage on FOX Sports Southwest.
Hale was born to coach baseball and that's pretty much all he's done. He's coached 14 years in MLB and adds 10 years of coaching or managing in the minors. However, he's yet to take the reigns of an MLB team, finishing as a runner up for a number of jobs. He also didn't play Major League baseball, toiling in the minors for six years before calling it quits. That lack of experience at the Major League level hasn't kept his name out of conversations before and he's thought of as one of the most promising managerial candidates available.
He managed the Chicago Cubs in 2014 before being replaced by Joe Maddon. During that time he was credited with turning around Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro's careers. He doesn't have much experience beyond that having never participated in a playoff series. But at just 53 and with some managerial experience under his belt he could be a good candidate to control the Nats for a long time.
Thanks for taking the quiz, Ian Desmond. Knorr interviewed for the Nationals' managerial opening after the 2013 season, and has been with the organization in a variety of roles since 2001: backup catcher, minor league manager, bullpen coach, and bench coach. The 46 year old won a World Series in 1993 as a backstop for the Blue Jays and played 11 seasons in the big leagues (but just 253 games). Knorr is a popular man in the Nationals' clubhouse, and has a unique combination of playing, coaching, and managing experience that could make him the next Nationals manager.
If you can't have Joe Maddon, get the next best thing, his right hand man Dave Martinez. Martinez played 16 years in MLB before moving on to become Maddon's bench coach with the Rays in 2008, where he helped them to the World Series. He followed Maddon to the Cubs and has certainly learned a lot under his tutelage. That said he hasn't been a manager before and there's only so much you can learn while not doing. At 51 he's one of the top managerial candidates in the league though and many teams have been interested in his services.
SANDY ALOMAR, JR.
Baseball runs through Sandy Alomar, Jr.'s blood. He's the son of baseball lifer Sandy Alomar, Sr. and the brother of Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. As a player he was a six time All-Star, and has coached with the Indians for six seasons, including a six game stint as an interim manager going 3-3. He doesn't have any Nationals ties, but at 49 he's young and brings a wealth of experience both as a player and coach.
You might not know it but the Hall of Famer does have a connection to the Nationals as he was a special assistant to the general manager until 2011. He also has a tiny amount of managerial experience, leading the Brazilian national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. However, what you're really paying for is the playing experience: 12 time All-Star, World Series Champion, MVP and Hall of Famer. Larkin at 51 isn't too old to relate to the players of today.
If you've ever seen one of the Kansas City Royals' beautiful, calligraphy lineup cards than you know of Wakamatsu. He only played in MLB for a year, but he makes up for it with 12 years as a coach or manager with multiple organizations. He's been a manager before, taking over the Seattle Mariners for parts of two awful seasons before being let go. But any experience is a learning experience. He finally experienced the playoffs for the first time with the Royals last season and at 52 he can have some longevity.
He has 12 years of experience managing in MLB, including in the five trips to the playoffs with Philadelphia; one of which culminating in a World Series title. He also has 12 years of additional coaching experience at the MLB level. Manuel is the elder statesman of this quiz as he'll be 72 years old by the time the 2016 season rolls around but boasts an average of 91 wins per completed season that he's managed.
He has the experience and the blood lines, having managed for a year Cleveland Indians in place of Charlie Manuel and is the son of two-time World Series champion Bob Skiner. He's also managed in AAA for ten years, giving him a bevy of experience in the role, despite never being in the postseason. Skinner played a bit in MLB and is still only 54.
He's a career manager, having managed three seasons for the Cincinnati Reds and 24 seasons in the minors. During his time with the Reds he only had a .433 record, but few can sport his years of managing experience. He's one the rare candidates who didn't play in MLB and has no ties to the Nationals, but few can sport so many years managing at just 53.
He has as much total coaching experience as hairs on his shiny bald head. He did play 14 seasons in the major leagues, though, including 91 games in 2011 for the Nationals. Cora won a World Series in 2007 with the Red Sox, and has worked as a color commentator for ESPN since 2013. He was known as an excellent mentor during his playing days, with Mike Rizzo mentioning in 2011 that he had a bright future in coaching. He interviewed for the Texas Rangers’ manager job after the 2014 season, but was not a finalist.
While he has never managed in the big leagues, his Class A Augusta GreenJackets put up an impressive 285-187 record in his three seasons as their skipper, and he also managed the 2013 Panama World Baseball Classic team. Kelly has spent the last eight seasons as a coach for the San Francsico Giants, working directly with one of the most highly regarded managers of the current era, Bruce Bochy, He was a two time All Star in his 14 year career, and has won three World Series trophies as a Giants coach.
Whether it was telling Scott Hatteberg how "incredibly hard" first base is or leading the Texas Rangers to back-to-back World Series, Washington should be well known to baseball fans. Despite some personal issues that has held him back, his eight years managing were quite successful, with a .521 career winning percentage and the aforementioned World Series appearances. He's been an MLB coach or manager for 20 years and at 63 likely has a few good years left and like the Nats, he's still looking for his first World Series title.
He has 20 years of experience, including seven trips to the playoffs; one of which resulted in a trip to the World Series. The three-time Manager of the Year also had a stellar playing career of 19 years that netted him a World Series title in 1981 with the Dodgers. At 66 Baker is well known for his old-school tendencies and for being a player’s manager.
He has a wealth of experience, managing for over 20 years, including in the playoffs. He won a World Series as a manager in 1997 and went there again with the Tigers in 2006 and 2012. Leyland is 70 years old and never played Major League Baseball, however his success speaks for itself. He can also smoke in the dugout during games, because really, who's going to tell him no?
The 44 year old Seattle native was fired by the Marlins in 2015 after the team struggled to a 16-22 start. In his 2+ years as the Marlins' skipper, Redmond's squad struggled to a 155-207 record, but 7 of his 10 challenges resulted in overturned calls. Redmond spent two years as a minor league manager and 13 seasons as an MLB backstop, winning the 2003 World Series with the Marlins.
The fiery former All-Star and Rookie of the Year has managed for 9 years at the Major League level; most recently for the Miami Marlins. He managed the White Sox to a World Series in 2005 and returned to the postseason with them again in 2008. Guillen is only 51 and while he stayed in Chicago for eight seasons, he quickly wore out his welcome in Miami; only lasting one year in Southern Florida.