Question of the day: Of the people available, whom would you pick to manage your MLB team?
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Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune
For one shining season, Sammy Sosa was everything any manager would want a hitter to be. He had tremendous power but was willing to use the whole field, and he didn’t force the action when teams tried to get him to chase pitches. He was also an interested right fielder and a genuine teammate in the clubhouse.
This was 2001, and Don Baylor was the manager who got through to him. Sosa would revert to his selfish ways the following season, trying to hit more home runs than Barry Bonds after a spring-training war of words, but Baylor’s impact shouldn’t be forgotten. Similarly, Baylor’s influence (as a hitting coach) on Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez shouldn’t be overlooked.
Baylor, who guided the expansion Rockies from birth to the playoffs in three years, is 61 and burning to manage again before calling it a career. He has more to offer than ever after winning a battle with multiple myeloma (a cancer of the blood plasma cells) in 2003-04. He’s the real deal, and he’d be my manager if I was hiring one from the current pool of candidates.
[Updated at 1:53 p.m.:]
Steve Gould, Baltimore Sun
The Dodgers’ loss would be my gain. If I were running a major league team, first on my to-do list would be coaxing Joe Torre out of retirement.
Bringing in Torre, who won six American League pennants and four World Series during a span of eight seasons with the Yankees, would lend instant credibility to a team. He has the credentials to lure big-time free agents, and a track record that shows he can get the most out of his players as well as manage their egos.
And, most important, he’s a proven winner. You don’t capture four world championships in five years by accident.
Getting Torre on board would not only give a team a universally respected and well-liked manager, it would also immediately make that team a force to be reckoned with, both competitively and in free agency.
Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
I would go with Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, who is interviewing with the Toronto Blue Jays and is expected to interview with the Milwaukee Brewers. Roenicke has spent 11 years with Angels Manager Mike Scioscia, who is considered one of baseball’s best managers, and he has a similar temperament, the even-keeled, never-get-too-high-or-too-low nature that seems to work well in big-league clubhouses.
Though he seems on the quiet side until you get to know him, he is very well-spoken and up front with the media, and he has a firm grasp of the fundamentals, the strategies and the nuances of the game. Roenicke, who has interviewed for managerial jobs in Seattle and Cleveland, has done a superb job every time he has filled in for Scioscia on an interim basis.
Two current big-league managers, Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon and San Diego’s Bud Black, were groomed in part by Scioscia; Roenicke is ready to be the third.
Upper photo: Don Baylor, left, with Sammy Sosa in 2000. Credit: Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP
Lower photo: Joe Torre. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times