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Blue Jays making headway in manager search

Toronto will begin in-person interviews with candidates for opening
October 16, 2018

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' search for a new manager appears to have reached the next stage, with in-person interviews set to begin in the near future.Toronto has been tight-lipped about candidates to replace John Gibbons, but on Tuesday afternoon, the names started to flood out in a series of

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' search for a new manager appears to have reached the next stage, with in-person interviews set to begin in the near future.
Toronto has been tight-lipped about candidates to replace John Gibbons, but on Tuesday afternoon, the names started to flood out in a series of reports. Joe Espada, David Bell, Brandon Hyde, Rocco Baldelli and Sam Fuld were all mentioned as possible candidates.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reported Tuesday morning that Espada interviewed for the Blue Jays' vacancy and the Astros' bench coach has since publicly confirmed the news as well. According to Feinsand's sources, Espada also interviewed for managerial openings with the Rangers, Twins and Angels, as he remains a hot commodity around the league.
MLB Network's Ken Rosenthal reported that Fuld made a strong impression during a recent phone interview with the Blue Jays, but another report later suggested the Phillies' Major League player information coordinator had withdrawn himself from consideration.
In addition to the names above, Sportsnet's Shi Davidi mentioned Bell, Baldelli and Hyde as candidates to receive an interview. Bell is the Giants' vice president of player development, Baldelli is Tampa Bay's Major League field coordinator and Hyde is the Cubs' bench coach.
Toronto faces the somewhat unenviable task of conducting its managerial search at the same time as five other teams. The Reds, Angels, Orioles, Rangers and Twins are looking for new managers; many of the names linked to the Blue Jays on Tuesday have been mentioned as candidates for other teams as well.
Atkins initially suggested in early October that the Blue Jays would spend approximately one week doing phone interviews and another seven to 10 days handling in-person interviews for a group of five-plus candidates. He estimated a 20- to 25-day process, with the possibility of a new hire being in place by late October.
Tuesday's development appears to indicate that the Blue Jays are following that initial timeline. One potential holdup in this process is that Espada remains committed to the Astros during their current run in the postseason. He will have limited availability for an in-person interview and it's not clear how that might alter the Blue Jays' plans.
"It comes down to being tough, smart and passionate," Atkins said earlier this month in reference to what he was looking for in a new manager. "Those are the overarching themes as I think about what it takes to lead an environment in here, to sustain a championship level expectation, understanding what it takes in terms of communication, to keep not just the 25-man roster, but the 40-man roster, the 200 Minor League players, the 100-plus scouts, the 100-plus coaches and medical staff people pulling in one direction and feeling connected."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.