Three hot names
This looks to be an epic offseason for manager movement, with as many as 13 jobs (Arizona, Atlanta, Cubs, Cincinnati, Florida, Dodgers, Milwaukee, Mets, Yankees, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Seattle, Toronto) potentially in play.
General manager movement will be relatively light. But three names are emerging for the multiple potential openings, and interestingly, the three men share scouting backgrounds.
That used to be standard, but in recent years, we've seen more GMs who emerged with strengths of statistical analysis, negotiating or general administrating.
The three hot names are Damon Oppenheimer, Kevin Towers and Logan White. The potential job openings come in Arizona and with the Mets, with Seattle serving as an outside possibility.
Oppenheimer, the Yankees' vice president of amateur scouting, has run the team's draft since 2005 and has selected such contributors as Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson, as well as the trade pieces that landed Curtis Granderson, Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns. He is well-regarded for his eye for talent and people skills.
Towers, a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman, ran the Padres from 1996 through last year and can rightfully take a good deal of credit for San Diego's success this season. He began his career as a scout and displayed a knack for executing good trades in his time as GM.
White, the Dodgers' assistant GM, drafted the core of the Dodgers' roster, which includes Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw. This season, he shocked the amateur world when he selected righthander Zach Lee and signed him, wooing Lee away from LSU football.
The Mets will very likely reassign GM Omar Minaya, and they could promote assistant GM John Ricco. But even if that happens, an outside name likely will come in with some sort of title and power.
The Mariners flopped this season under second-year GM Jack Zduriencik, a former scout himself, who had to fire manager Don Wakamatsu. Zduriencik very well might get a chance to continue, but this Seattle campaign has been such a fiasco that Zduriencik hasn't been immune to industry chatter about his future.
Marlins interim manager Edwin Rodriguez told Newsday in a telephone interview, "I'm just enjoying the moment. There are some things that are out of my control. What's going to happen next year, nobody knows. I can't worry about what happens a month from now. I can't worry about what's going to happen tonight or tomorrow."
Want an example of how Rodriguez has enjoyed himself? When the Marlins came to New York a couple of weeks ago, Rodriguez visited the famous Friars' Club in Manhattan, thanks to his representative, Burton Rocks (a club member).
"I had read a lot about the club, so it was a great chance for me to go there," Rodriguez said. " . . . They have a Billy Crystal Room, where we have all of these photos. I've always been a big fan of Billy Crystal. I didn't have a chance to meet him, but being there was great."
Crystal is a huge Yankees fan, Newsday pointed out, to which Rodriguez replied, "Nobody's perfect." Yes, he was joking; Rodriguez made his major-league debut as a Yankee in 1982.
When Rodriguez and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman jawed at each other this past week in the bench-clearing brawl sparked by the actions of Washington's Nyjer Morgan, it gave Rocks some "Forrest Gump" points for being everywhere, as Rocks represents both managers.
Magical move for Tampa?
The Yankees are looking to sell about half of their interest in the Class A Tampa Yankees and move them to the Orlando area.
According to a person in the loop, Lopez would like to establish a "Yankees Hall of Fame" in the Orlando area to make the new club more appealing, and has interest in borrowing some of the Yankees items from the Hall.