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Who will be the next manager of the San Francisco Giants?

Bruce Bochy will retire after the 2019 season. Who will Farhan Zaidi consider for his replacement?

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants - Game One Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Following the shocking but not actually shocking announcement by Bruce Bochy that he will retire at season’s end, the logical question to ask became, “Who’s next?” I didn’t want to post this on the day because it felt disrespectful and a little bit glib. Bruce Bochy’s career is borderline legendary and I figured we’d all take a few days to go down memory lane.

I’m such an idiot.

Everybody was ready to move on, but they had to build up their material over the course of a day. You no doubt saw these odds posted this morning:

... and the Giants’ flagship cable channel with their own list of names, as well as Kerry Crowley’s write-up on the matter. And then there was this tweet from Henry Schulman:

That’s the idea I had when this all began. That’s the most likely conclusion to the new front office’s upcoming search. It follows the trend of finding “young, cheap, and controllable” talent to led the organization into its future successes. Obviously, in the case of a manager, “controllable” means takes analytics-driven orders without questioning them.

Knowing that, it was pretty easy for me to come up with a potential shortlist; but for the sake of entertainment, I’m going to employ the Tracy Jordan-style of commentary and say three serious things and then a joke. Perhaps even several jokes.

Obvious candidates

Those betting odds appear to be pulling from the past twenty years of Giants history. They definitely had become predictable in their acquisition and hiring practices, and overall, the historical trend in baseball was for open manager positions to be filled by former managers. I don’t expect more than 1 or 2 of those names (if any) to actually be considered.

It used to be that managers worked their way up the ranks just like players did in making their way to the big leagues. Now teams seem to want people with very little or absolutely zero managerial experience. Maybe front offices are just using data to have more of an open mind on the HR front or maybe front offices just want handsome men to execute their ugly plans for platoons, openers, and pre-arb contributors who won’t be around long enough to fan favorites.

Still, I believe Farhan Zaidi when he says that Dave Roberts surprised everyone in the Dodgers’ front office to become their front runner and eventual choice to replace (hahahaha) Don Mattingly. I believe him when he says (from the Crowley article):

“In my experience, the best way to wind up with the best candidate is to be very open-minded and not go into the process with any preconceived notions or favorites.”

We also don’t know who the next GM will actually be, and they’re sure to have their own names, but for now, here’s who I think will be obvious considerations.

Terry Francona

Cleveland holds club options on the manager for next season, but if they decline it, he seems like a good candidate to straddle the line between “old school” and “new school”, which is the path of least resistance when it comes to season ticketholders and investors or team supports who aren’t afraid to express their concerns or preferences. He placed only 16th on Craig Calcaterra’s MLB Managerial Handsomeness Ranking, so he fails the handsome face category, but he’s adept at managing with analytics and very successful. Most importantly, he’s a “name brand”.

Bob Geren

Former A’s manager and current Dodgers bench coach, so Farhan Zaidi knows him very well. He was also on the Dodgers’ shortlist back in 2015. He seems like a logical candidate based on his connections, especially if the A’s current AGM Billy Owens becomes the Giants’ GM at season’s end.

I don’t remember him being a particularly strong manager during his time with the A’s (he seemed flummoxed by managing with National League rules), but having been reprogrammed by the Dodgers’ front office, he might be a more flexible candidate for Farhan Zaidi’s needs.

Less obvious

George Lombard

2019 will be his fourth season as the Dodgers’ first base coach. He’s best known to Giants fans as the dude who tackled Nick Hundley during the last Giants-Dodgers brawl.

This would seemingly be a bad move by Farhan Zaidi because of the blue-bad optics, but points in Lombard’s favor include:

  • Farhan Zaidi has hired him before,
  • He managed A-ball for the Red Sox, which will matter in the Giants’ coming youth movement
  • It’d be an interesting wrinkle to the rivalry. Hiring a former Dodger worked before.
Dusty Baker smiles Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Mark Kotsay

Currently the A’s Major League Quality Control coach, a positioned defined by the A’s as:

He will assist Bob Melvin and the ML coaching staff in all areas and will also consult with the front office in other facets of the organization.

It almost sounds like an administrative assistant, but if the Giants were to hire Billy Owens as their next GM, someone who understands the front office’s shorthand will be invaluable. This would seemingly be a bad move for Farhan Zaidi because of the green and gold-bad optics, but points in Kotsay’s favor include:

  • Farhan Zaidi has worked with someone who’s hired Kotsay before.
  • Bruce Bochy managed him and could maybe provide a letter of recommendation.
  • It’d be an interesting wrinkle to the rivalry. Hiring a former Padre worked before:


Randy Winn

Currently one of the Giants’ four special assistants to the general manager, a role that has yet to be filled after Bobby Evans’ departure, Farhan Zaidi has a chance to get to know the guy this year and Randy Winn has a chance to repeat what he did to land his extension with the Giants: impress the hell out of the front office with a really small sample size of staggeringly great performance.

Would Randy Winn even be interested? I don’t know the man, but I also didn’t think Aaron Boone wanted to manage just based on his Sunday Night Baseball work. Just because people don’t express their pursuits doesn’t mean they lack them. Besides, I found this image uploaded to the site’s asset storage and it would be a perfect one to pair with a post reporting on an announcement that he’s a candidate:

Dugout Randy Winn is watching you rosterbate.
Dugout Randy Winn is watching you rosterbate.

Pablo Sandoval

I’m envisioning a scenario where Farhan Zaidi cuts Pablo Sandoval in Spring Training but Pablo flusters Farhan by accepting a minor league assignment and sticking around the organization... only to impress the hell out of the new front office over the course of the season. The Kung Fu Panda has proven himself to be a merchandising powerhouse, a utility player of the Zaidist level, and even better, a talent recruiter. Farhan just needs to get to know him.

Brandon McCarthy

Right now, he’s a special assistant to Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels following his retirement after the 2018 season; but more importantly, he’s great at Twitter, which means he has a sense of humor, and you need that when you’re the handsome face of the team. One of the largest contracts Farhan Zaidi’s ever given out as a general manager was McCarthy’s 4-year, $48 million dollar contract. He also salary dumped him to the Braves last offseason, so I’d argue that both men owe each other a favor.

Juan Uribe

The greatest Wild Card of them all.

Bobby Evans’ list

I don’t think any of these guys will actually be considered, but it’s important to note that they very easily might’ve been had Bobby Evans kept his job.

Hensley Meulens

After the Great Reshuffling of 2017, when the Giants moved Hensley Meulens from hitting coach to bench coach, Garnt Busbee of The McCovey Cove Chronicles remarked:

I agree with Nightengale’s assertion that the Giants are grooming Meulens for Bruce Bochy’s job. This was something that I had heard from different people, and when I asked, “What about Wotus?”, I got some variation of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ both times. The answer is that while he doesn’t have to be okay with being passed over, he apparently isn’t spitting mad. Not enough to leave the organization, anyway.


The Meulens move will resonate the loudest in a couple years

That reassignment came after Meulens became a candidate for multiple job openings, a trend that continued somewhat this past offseason as both the Reds and Twins interviewed him. Now, he might have a chance to impress Farhan & co. this year, too, but I would say that the new front office will probably be looking to limit holdovers from the previous era.

Ron Wotus

Poor guy. He seems like he’s come up short too many times.

Nick Hundley

He might be one of Buster Posey’s favorite teammates and a media darling, and would probably be Bruce Bochy’s chosen successor, but let’s consider that the Giants did not re-sign him this offseason and since he hasn’t it retired, it’s hard to see a player jumping straight from a full regular season as a player and into the manager’s office.

Someone recommended by Pablo Sandoval

Bobby Evans was very open to whomever Pablo recommended and it seems like this notion has carried over a bit into the Farhan era.

Who it will actually be

I’ve spent a lot of words talking about who might be considered, but let’s face it: we already know what the next manager will be. Not a he or a she but a thing. Specifically, an artificial intelligence that can run regression analysis in real time and acknowledges the inefficiency of emotions and going against programming parameters. That leaves only one choice.

That’s right. I’m talking about a supercomputer housing the brain patterns of former Hydra mastermind Arnim Zola as seen in the movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier...

... or something very much like it.

Think about it: a computer with the ability to crack a joke and approximate extemporaneous speech is all a modern baseball executive wants.

Now, obviously, this supercomputer won’t look exactly like the one in Winter Soldier. It will be handsome. Or, at least, the technological equivalent of handsome. Or maybe rugged. Like a CRT TV on top of a flannel stand. You don’t want a creepy HAL 9000 light or a silly-looking Knight Rider interface, so they’ll probably split the difference and use that somewhat creepy / somewhat silly This Person Does Not Exist site that uses AI to generate human faces — here’s a face that came up when I visited just now:

Let’s call him Al Fakeman. He’s easily a 6 or a 7 on the handsomeness scale, and if they just upload it to some sort of cartoon software, they can create inflection and articulation points around the mouth, connect the image to some speech software and voila, they’ve got an on-screen manager. Cheap, young (ageless!), and controllable.

Even though I’ve just told you the ultimate winner, who do you still want to see as a candidate?