Some ex-MLB managers find new life in the minors

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 11, 2012
Edwin Rodriguez climbed the managing ladder all the way to the major leagues. Now the former Florida Marlins skipper has settled into a new home - back in the minors. Rodriguez is one of a handful of ex-big league managers who have resurfaced this season in the minors. He's now in charge of the Single-A Carolina Mudcats and relishing the challenge of developing the next crop of Cleveland Indians. ''Most of the guys that got to manage in the big leagues - I would say a high percentage of them - they have been through the minor leagues and the development side, working with the minor-league players, the young players, and that's one thing that you just don't stop doing,'' Rodriguez said in an interview with The Associated Press. ''You really like when you see a player grow up as a player, as an athlete, and it's a very great moment for you as a coach when you see that,'' he added. ''I'm just talking about myself, but I'm pretty sure everybody would say the same thing. ... So whenever we have a chance to stay in baseball and come back to the minor leagues, I think that's one thing we'd take into consideration.'' He certainly isn't alone in the minors. Former Cleveland interim manager Joel Skinner is now with Triple-A Charlotte. Former Nationals manager Jim Riggleman is with the Reds' Double-A affiliate in Pensacola. Ex-Toronto skipper John Gibbons has resurfaced with the Padres' Double-A team in San Antonio - with San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes calling Gibbons ''a great addition to our organization.'' ''His knowledge, calmness and competitiveness have all proven to be standout qualities,'' Byrnes said. ''We are lucky to have him.'' Indians GM Chris Antonetti said Rodriguez is ''invaluable because he provides a unique set of experiences. ''Having managed some of the best players in the world at the major league level and dealing with that dynamic and now going back to the minor leagues and being able to have that impact on younger players and apply some of the lessons that he learned at the major league level and share some of those with the younger guys, is really valuable for us,'' he added. It's not often that former MLB managers slide back to the minors. More frequently, they find work on someone else's big league staff - perhaps as a base coach or bench coach - while hoping for that next big-league managing gig. Skinner, the Indians' interim manager in 2003, first dipped into the minors in 2009 at Double-A Akron and spent two years on Oakland's big-league staff before coming to Charlotte. Gibbons, fired by the Blue Jays in 2008, was Kansas City's bench coach before going in San Antonio. Rodriguez's ascent started in 1997 as the hitting coach of Tampa Bay's rookie-league team. He rocketed up the Marlins' organization and peaked in 2010 when the big-league club made him the first Puerto Rican-born manager in major-league history. He went 78-85 during parts of two seasons before resigning last June following a long losing streak. Roughly 10 minutes after that announcement, he said, another unnamed big-league team offered a job on its staff - and a different club made a similar offer a week later. He held off and took the Indians' job because of that club's reputation for developing players, especially those from Latin America. ''Going back to A-ball, I really have to remind myself on a daily basis that I have to start (teaching the players) from zero,'' Rodriguez said. ''I can't assume anything with these guys, with the young players, so it's a daily reminder for me.'' The move back down to the minors usually requires a refocusing of priorities. While managers are judged primarily on wins and losses in the big leagues, the emphasis is a little different in the minors - the record matters, but generally not as much as keeping the players developing and moving up the farm system. Players' ''makeup sometimes is different - they're a little more fragile mentally, and they have to understand that it's a grind,'' Rodriguez said. ''It's a long season, and that's the part that as a manager or coach, you have to take that in consideration, making sure the confidence is going to be there regardless. ... The difference is, in the big leagues, you have to make sure they're doing their work and all that. In the minor leagues, you really have to work on the mental side of the player.'' Their experience certainly gives them added credibility with their impressionable players. ''He treats us like men,'' said Tony Wolters, a 20-year-old shortstop with the Mudcats. ''If I was in the big leagues, I think that's how it would be.'' Rodriguez insists he isn't in a rush to get back to that level. Sure, if a big-league team wanted to talk, he'd take the call - but that's not what drives him these days. ''If I retired today or they fired me today, I would be pleased,'' Rodriguez said. ''I just want to be in baseball for as long as I can and they want me here. There's no goal, there's no agenda of going back to the big leagues. If there's some team out there that would want my service? Yeah, of course, why not? But it's not a goal. ... I can retire tomorrow or today, and I will be pleased with what I've done.'' --- AP Sports Writers Tom Withers in Cleveland and Bernie Wilson in San Diego contributed to this report.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension


NFL owners reportedly concerned with Raiders-gang connections in LA

T'Wolves getting calls about Rubio ahead of trade deadline

Jarryd Hayne wants to return to NFL

Jones: I ‘scream in my pillow’ being at Super Bowl, not in it

Phil Jackson reportedly does not have opt-out until 2017

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

NHLers who should be dealt to contenders before deadline

Robert Kraft compares Tom Brady to Peyton, Eli Manning

WATCH: Markieff Morris appears to flip the bird to heckler

Prediction for each NBA award heading into the All-Star Break

Did Clippers reenact Paul Pierce stabbing during pregame intros?

Kobe Bryant gives LeBron James his game-worn Kobe 11s

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker