It’s really hard to believe, but it has already been almost a month that John Gibbons was announced to not be returning to the Toronto Blue Jays as Manager.
It’s the first time the Manager job has been open for the Jays since the off-season of 2012-2013 when Gibbons was brought back by Alex Anthopoulos.
This is going to be a really different feel for the 2019 Blue Jays with a brand new Manager and a brand new core of players. This is going to be a fascinating off-season for the Ross Atkins regime and this hire is one that they need to get correct to best set Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and company up for success. Currently in the driver’s seat for Manager appears to be Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada.
The Jays seem to be targeting potential Managers from analytically inclined organizations which is evident by the number of rumblings coming out surrounding Espada and other candidates Rocco Baldelli from the Tampa Bay Rays. Being analytical is one checkmark for Espada that the Ross Atkins regime seems to want in their next Manager. Espada is also a former player, though he never did reach the MLB.
Even though we aren’t privy to the checklist that the Jays would ideally like to have in their next Manager, one thing that would seem to make Joe Espada a prime candidate for the job is his ability to speak Spanish, which is the first language of Vladdy Jr. This could be one of the biggest assets Espada brings to the table to make Guerrero Jr. as comfortable as he can be.
It was reported earlier today that Espada was in town to have an in-person interview with the Blue Jays brass. Rocco Baldelli, also a top candidate, was in Minnesota for an in-person interview with the Minnesota Twins.
There have been other candidates rumoured to be of strong interest to the Jays but one of them, David Bell, was scooped up by the Cincinnati Reds. Based on all the developments around other teams vacancies, Joe Espada seems to be in the driver’s seat to become the next Manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.