Who would join Don Mattingly in the all-manager starting lineup?
There have been a lot of new skippers hired so far this offseason, with the final managerial vacancy in Baltimore reportedly being filled by Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde. Hyde will become the sixth manager hired since the end of the 2018 season, joining Brad Ausmus (Angels), Rocco Baldelli (Twins), Charlie Montoyo (Blue Jays), Chris Woodward (Rangers) and David Bell (Reds).
Hyde will also become only the fourth active manager to have never played in the big leagues, joining Joe Maddon (Cubs), Mike Shildt (Cardinals) and Brian Snitker (Braves).
But while these four skippers never suited up in a Major League game, the 26 other managers had wide-ranging levels of success as big league players, from Montoyo's extremely brief, four-game cup of coffee in 1993 to Don Mattingly's remarkable career as a Yankee.
This got us thinking: What would the all-manager starting lineup be based on the current skippers' playing careers?
SP Bud Black
C Scott Servais
C Bob Melvin
C Bruce Bochy
C AJ Hinch
C Kevin Cash
C Ned Yost
INF Alex Cora
INF Chris Woodward
INF Ron Gardenhire
INF Charlie Montoyo
INF Torey Lovullo
INF Andy Green
INF/OF Terry Francona
OF Clint Hurdle
RHP Mickey Callaway
With 1985 AL MVP Mattingly in the 3-hole, this lineup boasts an elite middle-of-the-order presence to go along with his exceptional defense at first base. Mattingly is as good of a core player as you can hope for, but beyond Donnie Baseball, the all-manager squad lacks star power. Boone and his 126 career dingers could provide some nice pop and solid defense at the hot corner, but he isn't the lineup protection that a player of Mattingly's caliber deserves. Roberts' speed (243 career steals) is nice to have in the leadoff spot. New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli -- a.k.a. the Woonsocket Rocket -- showed flashes of greatness with the Rays but was rarely healthy enough to show off his potential. But on this make-believe team, everyone is always healthy -- so Baldelli will surely shine.
You know what you're getting from Craig Counsell: excellent defense at short, a bizarre batting stance and not a ton of offensive production. Bell and Martinez will give you quality at-bats, and Kapler can give your offense a jolt every once in a while. Ausmus is as steady as they come behind the dish.
A look at the bench reveals the major imbalance of this hypothetical roster: the severe lack of pitching and overabundance of catchers. Catchers are often touted as most likely to become managers and that is certainly reflected in the current manager population -- 10 of the 30 active skippers were primarily catchers during their playing days, including three of the ones who never made the big leagues (Hyde, Snitker and Maddon). Most teams nowadays don't even bother carrying a third catcher -- this team would have several alternative backstops.
Only two managers -- Black and Callaway -- were pitchers, with Black earning the starting nod thanks to a stellar 15-year career in which he threw over 2,000 innings and won 121 games. Callaway, on the other hand, only appeared in 40 games at the Major League level -- the Mets manager will have to be the long man, setup guy and closer for this imaginary squad.
Even with a superstar in Mattingly, this team probably wouldn't win very many games if it played a 162-game season. But perhaps the real question for this fantasy team is: Who would be the manager?
Jordan Shusterman is one half of Cespedes Family BBQ. He enjoys overpaying for Mike Trout in fantasy baseball leagues and convincing the masses that Mike Zunino is good.