Sandy Alomar is in an interesting position this year as one of the top eligible rookie managerial candidates. He has been an Indians coach since retiring after 2007, working all the way up to bench coach for the past two seasons. He was even named interim manager for the final six games of 2012 after Manny Acta was fired. When he interviewed, but didn't win the the Indians managerial role, it was hard to see where he would fit with the team, under the manager who won the job over him. The Indians then brought in former manager and associate of Terry Francona, Brad Mills during the offseason of 2012, who seemed like an obvious choice for bench coach. When the coaching shuffle was done, however, the Indians wouldn't demote Alomar and made Mills the third base coach.
After one full year, the Indians have decided to move things around. Sandy will go back to his old position of first base coach, while Mills will become Francona's second in command (Mike Sarbaugh will move from first to third to fill that hole as well). While this is probably the right move and will almost certainly make Francona more comfortable in 2014 it has to be a real disappointment for Alomar, who was on a quick career path to become a Major League manager, but has now been bumped back to level one.
There are no shortage of opportunities around the league and Alomar will have to decide where his loyalties lie. The Cubs, Reds, Nationals and Mariners are all looking for new management while the Angels, Rangers and Phillies are looking for a new bench coach. Cubs manager David Sveum has already signed on with the Royals, while Eric Wedge and Dusty Baker will likely have a hard time finding new work after leaving their prospective teams on very bad notes, meaning these positions are unlikely to be filled with Major League veteran managers. There are also possibly other jobs that could be opening including the Diamondbacks managers role after a disappointing season under the rugged Kirk Gibson. While his firing is unlikely (though would be smart before he runs any more All-Stars out of town), it would allow Alomar to rejoin former teammate Charles Nagy who is the current pitching coach.
Alomar interviewed for the Cubs job prior to last year, but was passed by. Another year as bench coach, especially as part of the success the Indians were in 2013 could change things however and teams may look at Sandy a little more seriously. Of the three openings, the best fit would be either the Cubs or the Mariners as the Reds and Nationals will likely be looking for someone with a bit more experience to take over their play-off ready teams. Seattle would actually be a good fit as they have a really good young pitching staff and Alomar is renowned for his work with young pitchers. Even while he was still a player, he spent his last few years in a similar role to Jason Giambi this year, mentoring young pitchers and catchers with the Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox and Mets.
If he is unable to snare one of the MLB manager jobs, his choice will be much harder. Would it be worth an increase in chance of advancement to leave the city that he has spent the majority of his career with. It would probably take two years of sub .500 baseball to oust Francona at this point while pitching coach Mickey Calloway has spurred the one of the greatest turnarounds in an Indians pitching staff ever. He will have to decide whether he would prefer to join a team like the Rangers where he could be the bench coach and eventually possibly be manager after getting a foot hold for a few years or whether he would like to stay in Cleveland with no room for advancement, but where his loyalties should lie. While it wouldn't prove anything to other teams about how ready he is to manage, he could help (even if it is in a minor way) the team that he played for through an entire decade and immediately brought him in as a coach on the Major League level.
There may even be a benefit to staying out of the lime light. As a first base coach, he would be able to continue working with the Indians catchers, providing a great asset to the Indians and doing something he wouldn't really be able to do as a manager. If he doesn't need the glory, he can avoid the headaches and stress that comes with the job, while still keeping a job in the Major Leagues. Indians fans would love to see Sandy Alomar stay around, if for no other reason than 90's nostalgia, but ultimately, the choice is between Alomar and whatever team he would like to join. The Indians already stated their position by demoting him to first base.no comments