Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 10/29/12
The Marlins and Red Sox each made managerial splashes last offseason, bringing in controversial skippers in an attempt to change team culture. The Red Sox, fresh off of their historic 2011 collapse, replaced Terry Francona with Bobby Valentine, a supposed strategic genius who isn’t exactly known for warm and fuzzy relationships. The Marlins, meanwhile, traded two somewhat substantial prospects to pry Ozzie Guillen away from the White Sox. Both Valentine and Guillen were fired after one season, as the Red Sox and Marlins underperformed and each manager seemed to cause more drama than contribute to team victories. Yet, despite seeing through Guillen how risky it is to actually give up non-monetary value to acquire a manager, and seeing through Valentine how even those with strong resumes can struggle in the position, the Red Sox just filled their managerial void by ostensibly trading Mike Aviles for John Farrell. Farrell, the former Red Sox coach who landed the Blue Jays managerial spot a few years back, was made available because the Jays weren’t convinced that he was worth a contract extension. Some in Toronto questioned his ability to handle a clubhouse, and while injuries have ravaged his teams, they haven’t shown much improvement. Trades for managers are rare, and something of a novelty, but the current managerial landscape is changing. In what feels like a new climate, trading prospects for Ozzie Guillen — a proven manager in the sense that he won a World Series — was questionable on the Marlins part, though it was evident what they were trying to accomplish. It’s much tougher to understand the logic behind trading a solid defensive shortstop for Farrell. Though it wasn’t as cut-and-dried as some trades are, the Red Sox sent Aviles to the Blue Jays as compensation for their allowing Farrell to manage elsewhere next season. Farrell spent four years as Boston’s pitching coach in the Francona era, and was long considered his heir apparent. However, when it seemed like Francona would remain the Red Sox manager for some time, Farrell pursued opportunities elsewhere. The Red Sox tried to hire him last year, but scoffed at the Blue Jays asking price. Farrell is considered a safe choice. He knows the organization and worked with a few of the players left over from his previous stay. However, the Red Sox have experienced considerable turnover from when he took the Toronto job, so it isn’t as if he is taking over a team full of players he previously coached. Farrell is a safe candidate in terms of not having a repeat of the turmoil experienced this season, but he wasn’t the only candidate worth pursuing. He certainly wasn’t the slam-dunk, has-to-be-him choice to justify trading an actual major league player. The Red Sox interviewed former catcher Brad Ausmus, and were seriously considering him for the position. Ausmus retired not too long ago and would have been another recent retiree to take over the managerial helm without much, or any, experience elsewhere. Last offseason, the White Sox replaced Guillen with their former star third baseman Robin Ventura, and the Cardinals brought in Mike Matheny to replace Tony La Russa. Neither had any experience. Both Ventura and Matheny were chosen over several other candidates who had either coached or managed at the major league level for quite some time. While these decisions were questioned, if team success is a major analog for managerial success, it’s hard to argue with either selection. Both were cerebral players destined for managerial duty, it was just the timing of their initial hiring that came as a surprise. Perhaps Ventura’s and Matheny’s success opened the door for other recent retirees to garner legitimate consideration. In Colorado, the Rockies not only gave Jason Giambi — who isn’t even retired yet — an interview, but were blown away by his responses. Giambi was aggressive in campaigning for the Rockies position and has a serious shot of actually getting hired before he even retires from his playing career. The Red Sox were impressed by Ausmus, perhaps more than they were with Tim Wallach, Tony Pena and Demarlo Hale. And the apparent frontrunner for the Marlins gig is former backup backstop Mike Redmond, who has worked in the minors since hanging up his cleats. The hiring and consideration of recent retirees has, for the first time in a long time, made the managerial offseason very interesting. While baseball lifers like Wallach, Pena, Hale, and even Ryne Sandberg have had trouble landing big league jobs, teams are becoming more open to hiring the Matheny’s, Ventura’s and Giambi’s of the world, regardless of their experience level. Perhaps this stems from the lack of success of some long-time managers. Maybe it’s progressive-thinking organizations simply trying something new. Or even a simple realization that, if two managers plan on utilizing the exact same strategies, it makes more sense to hire the guy to whom the current roster can relate more easily. Teams are beginning to think of the manager position differently. And it’s about time.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sean Payton agrees with Brees setting contract deadline

Report: Lakers not high on DeMar DeRozan

Knowshon Moreno planning NFL comeback attempt

Report: Jets offered Fitzpatrick $24 million over three years

Ray Rice still hoping to play in NFL in 2016?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Malcolm Butler seeking new contract before season

Rex Ryan still angry with Mario Williams over criticism

Report: Thunder players critical of Durant, Westbrook after loss

Klay Thompson felt he should have made more three-pointers

WATCH: Steven Adams makes a monster dunk on Draymond Green

WATCH: Noah Syndergaard tossed after throwing behind Chase Utley

Stephen Jackson rips Kevin Durant for fourth quarter play

WATCH: Meet the mustache men of Wake Forest baseball

WATCH: Golfer goes crazy after winning BMW with hole-in-one

WATCH: Manziel confronted by owner of rental car company

Giants positioning themselves for another World Series run

Athletes who served in the United States military

WATCH: Warriors owner bowed down to Klay Thompson

Baylor QB recruit hints that he could decommit

WATCH: Edelman screams 'free Brady!' at Boston concert

Six NFL players who will cash out big in final year of contract

Baylor QB Russell's Instagram post about program on return from mission trip

Titans' Walker not friends with rookies until they make team

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How expanded instant replay has hurt the NBA

Best regular-season NBA teams not to win a championship

Every time an NBA team came back from a 3-1 deficit (and what it means for the Warriors)

How disallowed goals can change the course of NHL games

The five most disappointing MLB teams this season

QUIZ: Identify these NHL Hall of Famers by their nicknames

QUIZ: Name every winner of the Belmont Stakes since 1867

Sniping quotes highlight NHL conference finals animosity

QUIZ: Name every NBA franchise's original incarnation

The 15 biggest playoff upsets in NBA history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker