On Friday, the Rays found out that the most successful manager in franchise history would not be returning. Joe Maddon opted out of his contract and will be one of the most highly coveted managers in recent memory. Now that the news has sunk in a bit, the Rays must move forward and start the process of replacing him. New president of Baseball Operations Matt Silverman will make sure he leaves no stone unturned and will look at both internal and external candidates for the job. So let’s take a look at who some of the candidates for the Tampa Bay Rays manager job might be.
Martinez, the Rays bench coach, is presumed to be the early favorite for the job. He has been in his current role since the 2008 season and has similar qualities to Maddon, as he is known as being player-friendly with a calm demeanor and is well liked in the Rays’ clubhouse. He also played 15 seasons in the major leagues, and a recent movement towards former players becoming managers can only help him out.
Martinez has had several managerial interviews in the past and is a solid managerial candidate, especially after learning under Maddon’s tutelage over the years. If Martinez took over the helm it would appear to be an easy transition for the players considering their familiarity with him and his similar style to Maddon. After the Rays did something similar in replacing Andrew Friedman in-house with Silverman, they could very well elected to do the same with the manager position.
Montoyo has been the manager for the Rays’ Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls, for the past eight seasons. He has been with the organization even longer than that, as he got his first job with them in 1997, the year before the Devil Rays played their first expansion game. Under his leadership, the Bulls have won the Governor’s Cup (International League championship) twice and have only had one losing season. Montoyo has also won the International League Manager of the Year Award twice in those eight years. The only thing missing from his resume is major league coaching experience, but he is still a good candidate for the job and is familiar with the organization.
Bogar was most recently the interim manager for the Texas Rangers, but the Rangers passed him up when hiring a full-time manager. He has an extensive background in the minor leagues and has been named manager of the year in three different minor leagues. Bogar also played nine seasons in the big leagues. He has a Rays connection as well, as he spent the 2008 season as a coaching assistant on Joe Maddon’s staff before moving to the Red Sox the following year.
Bogar was with the Red Sox until 2012, serving as first and third base coach and bench coach, and he was then the Rangers’ bench coach in 2014 until being named interim manager in September. Bogar was considered a strong candidate for the Rangers’ job until they hired Jeff Banister, but his name will be in the hat for other managerial jobs. He will likely be among the candidates to be interviewed for the Rays’ managerial position, and his resume suggests he’s ready to be a manager.
Currently an analyst for Baseball Tonight, Cora is best known for his playing career. A defensive-minded infielder, Cora played in the big leagues from 1997 to 2011 on numerous teams and won a World Series in 2007. His older brother, Joey, was also an MLB player and has coached. Cora doesn’t have much coaching experience, which could pose an issue, but he does have a wide knowledge of the game. Cora would appear to have an outside chance at landing the job with the Rays, but he is someone they certainly could consider.
Kapler is an interesting candidate and could turn into a dark-horse. He had a playing career that lasted for 12 years, including two with the Rays. Kapler also managed in the Red Sox minor league system in 2007 while being briefly retired from the game, and at one point, he was a consultant for the Rays. Currently he is doing broadcasting for Fox Sports.
The reason Kapler would likely be considered a candidate for a managerial position is that he is adept at analytics, which the Rays surely love, and has a bright baseball mind. Those are qualities similar to Maddon, and we all know how well he did with the Rays. He would be an extremely outside the box hire for the Rays if they did name him manager, but there’s always a chance and his playing background will help him out.
Hyde is currently the bench coach for the Chicago Cubs. He played minor league ball for several years before managing in the minor leagues for the Marlins organization, and he later became the bench coach for the Marlins before moving onto the Cubs organization.
Similar to Maddon, Hyde is an analytical thinker and is known for his ability to manage a game. Though he has not received serious consideration for any managerial openings yet, Hyde is well-regarded throughout the game, and it seems only a matter of time before he becomes a manager. Hyde is another candidate that is a bit of a stretch at this point, but he is well-liked and has the potential to be a great MLB manager.
Other names to watch:
Joe McEwing– Former MLB player, minor league manager and major-league coach.
Eduardo Perez– Former player (including for the D-Rays) and MLB hitting coach.
Manny Acta– Former MLB manager
The Rays will likely do their due diligence with all of these candidates and more before picking their manager for the future, but the most likely hire will be Martinez. His extensive work with the organization and familiarity with the players gives him a clear advantage. The transition from Maddon to Martinez would not be too difficult and should be able to help lead to future success. Still, we could end up seeing any of these candidates become manager, and the Rays just maybe could have the next Joe Maddon on their hands.