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Roenicke Enters Manager Mix

October 23, 2009
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The LA Times reported today that the Cleveland Indians have contacted Los Angeles Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke to interview him for their vacant managerial job.  Roenicke has spent the last ten years working on Angels' manager Mike Scioscia's staff with the first six years as a third base coach and the last four as a bench coach.

The Indians have not confirmed that they have contacted Roenicke, so it is not certain if he has been contacted to be a part of their final round of interviewing or if they had contacted him and talked to him last week during the first wave of interviews they conducted via phone out at their Player Development Complex in Goodyear, Arizona.

In any case, this is an interesting development if he has been contacted to be interviewed for the final round of interviews as just this past Tuesday Indians GM Mark Shapiro mentioned that they were only talking to four candidates in the final round round of interviews.  Those candidates were known to be Manny Acta, Bobby Valentine, Torey Lovullo and Don Mattingly.  As we all know, Acta and Valentine have already interviewed and and Lovullo will interview today.

But there is still no word on when (if) Mattingly will be interviewed.  While the media has mentioned he is the fourth candidate, the Indians have yet to officially acknowledge he would be brought in for the final interviews or that they had even talked to him.  In his press conference on Tuesday, Shapiro did not name the fourth candidate and went so far as to say that the person had other obligations which prevented them from talking to him right now.  When probed further and asked if those "obligations" could be postseason obligations Shapiro did not dismiss it.

Is it possible that Mattingly is not the fourth candidate and that instead Ron Roenicke is the fourth candidate?  Roenicke seems to make a little more sense than Mattingly as he is a bench coach while Mattingly is a hitting coach, and the Indians seem deadset to bring in a manager who has a a good idea on how to handle a pitching staff and develop young talent.  Both were position players in their professional careers, but as a bench coach Roenicke would seemingly have much more experience with the in-game management especially with that of a pitching staff than a hitting coach like Mattingly would.

Or, it may just be that the Indians have decided to add a fifth candidate to the final round.

In any case, the plot has thickened in the search for the Indians next manager.


- For those wondering, former Indians manager Mike Hargrove was in fact interviewed over the phone last week by the Indians for the managerial opening.  While the Indians liked a lot of what they heard from Grover, they did not invite him to the final round of interviews because they just wanted to go in a different direction.  He is out as a candidate as manager, though could surface as a bench coach option depending on who is hired for the head job.

- The Indians also talked to Travis Fryman last week in Goodyear during their first round of talks, and it was pretty much mutual between Fryman and the Indians that this was not the right time to pursue a big league manager's job.  Fryman is still very green having only managed for two years, and Fryman himself is still not ready to commit to the everyday gig of a big league manager.  He very much likes his short-season gig with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers as it affords him the time to be with his family more, though it should be noted that he certainly has the drive to be a big league coach or manager someday.

-  Last but not least, the Indians are also considering two other unnamed candidates.  In his press conference on Tuesday, Shapiro made it clear that they would not contact those two additional candidates unless they felt that they were not sold on one of the final four candidates.  It is also possible they could get turned down by any or all of the candidates as Acta could go to Houston, Roenicke could stay with the Angels, Valentine could opt out, and if Mattingly is really being considered he may choose to stay with the Dodgers.  That would leave Lovullo, and the organization has already made it clear that they are not likely to hire from within for the manager's opening.  So, this is why those two other "candidates" would be considered if this happens.  There is no confirmed report on who those two unnamed guys are, but beat reporter Anthony Castrovince speculated that former Colorado Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle could be one of them.

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