With a revamped (just approved!) roster making waves in the league last week, the Toronto Blue Jays‘ search for a new manager has taken something of a backseat – not that you could excuse folks for being more excited about the additions of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and Melky Cabrera (among others).
That doesn’t mean the team hasn’t been diligent in their search, though. According to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler’s sources, the team has “definitely” contacted former manager Mike Hargrove regarding the job opening in Toronto:
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) November 19, 2012
The Toronto Sun’s Bob Elliot clarified, saying that the Blue Jays have simply contacted former co-workers of Hargrove with questions on the formerm manager:
Jays have phoned former Mariners executives and others asking ??? about former Seattle manager Mike Hargrove Next Blue Jays MGR?
— bob elliott (@elliottbaseball) November 19, 2012
Hargrove has been out of the managerial game since resigning from the Seattle Mariners just before the All-Star break during the 2007 season, and he is currently working a special advisor to the Cleveland Indians. Despite the extended gap since managing his last game, Hargrove fits the “experienced” criteria that the Blue Jays are looking for in a manager, having managed close to 2400 games across 16 seasons with a trio of different teams.
As far as his body of work? Well, that depends on how you look at it, I suppose.
Overall, Hargrove has a .503 win % over his managerial career, a record that included five straight division titles with the Indians (from ’95 to ’99), followed by years of futility with the Baltimore Orioles and Mariners after the turn of the millennium.
So, Hargrove doesn’t have much of an issue with managing a good club; but as far as turning a talent-deficient roster around? I don’t think there’s been much to suggest that he’s done so.
Not that it should be surprising, of course – a manager’s success/failure largely tends to be directly correlated with the talent level of the team, with only the occasion exceptions.
That said, the Toronto Blue Jays don’t need someone who can help turn an on-paper underdog around; rather, they’ll be looking for a manager who can help the new group of veteran talent that will be joining the team fit in with the existing core, while being careful in navigating how to handle a potential wild-card (as far as press reception is concerned, at least) in Melky Cabrera.
The Blue Jays have the on-paper talent to be a successful club next year. They only need someone who can bring it together.
Is Hargrove the guy? Could the team bring in someone who hasn’t managed in over five years? Were they talking about the job opening in Toronto, or about Manny Acta, Hargrove’s former colleague?
We’ll find out soon enough.