The process of finding the right manager often comes down to the best fit.
Age and experience in the job are factors, but they aren’t always the most important ones. The baseball and educational backgrounds matter, too, but those can also vary. Sometimes, a clubhouse needs a specific type of leader at the helm or maybe just a change of pace. History has proven that a big league manager can come in many forms.
But all of these men have at least a few things in common. First of all, they are smart baseball people. They are also strong communicators and can lead men. They can also handle the media and the scrutiny that comes with the gig.
Is the next crop of big league managers in our midst? These are the current players most likely to become managers from the AL West.
Angels: Jason Castro
During Spring Training, Halos manager Joe Maddon was asked which player on his club would make a good future manager, and he immediately brought up Castro. Maddon said that catchers see the game differently than other players, and it helps them transition better as managers. Castro, who attended Stanford, has nine years of Major League experience, is considered one of the most cerebral players in the game and is known for his ability to communicate with pitchers. Castro handles the media well, which is also a major part of the job. -- Rhett Bollinger
Astros: Dustin Garneau
Garneau, who signed with the Astros prior to the start of the 2020 season, has the kind of qualities seen in so many managers in this era -- including Rays manager Kevin Cash, A’s manager Bob Melvin and former Astros manager AJ Hinch -- in that he’s spent his career as mostly a backup catcher on four different teams: Rockies, A’s, Angels and White Sox prior to Houston. He has built a strong reputation in the clubhouse at each stop. At 32, Garneau is personable and smart, both of which are important elements for managers. This spring he spoke about how he was soaking up analytics with the Astros more so than in any other stint in his career. Melvin has previously spoken about how well Garneau interacts with his pitching staff and speaks up at pitchers meetings, communicating well with his hurlers between innings. -- Brian McTaggart
Athletics: Chad Pinder
When determining which A’s player could have a future in managing, it’s probably best to go with the guy who manager Bob Melvin already has endorsed: Chad Pinder.
Despite being one of the younger players on the club -- he just turned 28 last month -- Pinder has established himself as a leader who is well-respected by all inside the A’s clubhouse. If there is ever an internal issue among players, Pinder is usually the go-to player for Melvin to rely on for help in resolving the situation. Being a super-utility man who played every position except pitcher and catcher in 2019, Pinder’s managerial candidacy in the future would only be helped by his understanding of so many positions and what it takes to handle each. -- Martin Gallegos
Mariners: Braden Bishop
The 26-year-old outfielder has played only 27 games in the big leagues, but he’s already impressed the Mariners and his teammates with his maturity as well as organizational and natural leadership skills in forming the 4MOM foundation in honor of his mother, Suzy Bishop, who died last October after dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. The California native and University of Washington product has also opened eyes with how he re-made his offensive approach by studying launch angle data and analytics to turn himself from a defensive-minded speedster in college to a productive hitter with Major League potential.
Bishop keeps a book that he can look back on to help himself see how he has dealt with struggles in the past and is well-regarded by teammates as a source of both inspiration and guidance as they work through their own issues. Things haven’t come easy for Bishop, who missed the second half of 2018 with a broken bone in his forearm and then had to sit out four months last year with a lacerated spleen -- injuries that both came after being hit by pitches. But his mental toughness and ability to work through those injuries could serve him well in the future. -- Greg Johns
Rangers: Tim Federowicz
Federowicz has 12 years of professional baseball experience as a catcher, with the Rangers serving as his eighth organization. Federowicz has earned a reputation as a smart player who has a good head for the game. As a catcher, he takes a lot of pride in calling a game and being aware of what’s going on around him. He has a really calm state of mind as far as being in the moment. He talks with pitchers in the heat of the moment on the bench very calmly and controlled.
Those who have worked with him said Federowicz thinks through situations, doesn’t get rattled, and communicates well because he is trustworthy and genuine. He is not afraid to speak up in hitters meetings, even though he wasn’t one of the Rangers' main guys. Federowicz is one of those players who have been through so much in the game that nothing should faze him as a potential manager. -- T.R. Sullivan