"I'm going to hire you as my latex salesman?"
The interview process for the Indians’ managerial position will formally begin next week.
General manager Mark Shapiro and assistant GM Chris Antonetti, through conversations with and recommendations from people around the industry, have compiled a list of around 30 potential candidates, and that list will be whittled down to eight to 10 candidates in a matter of days.
The Indians hope to conduct phone interviews next week with each of those eight to 10 candidates from Goodyear, Ariz. (where the front office will be holding their annual player evaluation meetings). From the phone interviews, the field will be narrowed down to three to five candidates, each of whom will come to Cleveland for a more formal interview. Those candidates will also be required to meet with the local media — a prerequisite that the Indians will use to gauge their communication skills.
Based on his talk with reporters this afternoon, this is what Shapiro is looking for:
- Communication counts. “
Somebody who can effectively demonstrate good awareness and the ability
to communicate across a broad spectrum of players, cultures and personalities,
and then being an effective communicator to our market, as well."
- Pitching is a priority. Given the current construction of the Major League roster and the problems of the recent past, the Indians are placing a high emphasis on the new manager's thoughts on what qualities a pitching coach should possess and how to manage an effective bullpen.
- Staff selection skills. One of the knocks on Eric Wedge revolved around the makeup of his Major League staff and how it was dominated by ex-catchers. Shapiro didn't mention that specifically, but he alluded to it when he said he'd be looking for "somebody who
has the ability to build a diverse staff -- and by that I mean a different set
of backgrounds, complementary backgrounds, different skill sets and talents. And
then the ability to utilize those talents."
- Experience isn't everything. The Tribe's next manager doesn't have to possess Major League or Minor League managerial experience.
"In every guy's case, there are competencies, attributes and
experiences that can make a guy fit what we think is a specific profile for a
Major League manager. You want to find all three, but you often are going to be
choosing between what is the best possible combination and fit. The perfect guy
is probably doing it already right now. We look for that best combination. If the
guy has no experience in doing one thing we're looking for, you hope the other
two are overwhelming."
- A wee bit of Wedge. The Indians aren’t looking to drastically change course. So the new guy will probably have some similarities to Wedge. “
It's a leadership position," Shapiro said. "Our philosophies as an organization are
the same. Because it's a leadership position, some of the attributes will be
identical, some will be complementary. But every single individual is going to
have his own set of strengths and his own set of limitations. I'm not going to
get in the business of comparing and contrasting with Eric. That's just not
productive. But I'm sure there will be some things that are similar and some
that are different, just because of different backgrounds."
- Market mindset. The new guy will have to understand the Indians' financial limits and the emphasis on young, developing talent. He should possess the ability to ease young players into the big leagues. As Shapiro said, "speeding up that timeframe where
possible, and, in light of our operating conditions, [understanding] not just the importance but the
essential nature of young players to our success."
- Popularity not important. For those clamoring for the returns of Mike Hargrove or Sandy Alomar Jr. or Omar Vizquel (whose still planning to play next year, by the way), prepare to be disappointed. “
I’m not looking for short-term popularity,” Shapiro said. “I’m looking for a
guy to come in here and lead this organization effectively and maximize our
chance of winning ballgames. I’ve said it before: A popular decision in
December or January is very often your downfall in July or August.”
The goal is to have the new guy selected by the end of the month, with an announcement following the World Series. The timetable could, of course, be affected by the postseason, and whether any of the final candidates are still active in the playoffs.
Regarding candidates, Shapiro, as expected, did not name names. Until the Indians get to the final three to five guys, he’s going to remain secretive.
Obviously, John Farrell remains a popular possibility. I’m still not convinced he won’t be a candidate, regardless of the ESPN.com report over the weekend. It could be that Farrell is just trying to avoid any distractions to the Red Sox postseason run.
Anyway, the search is on, and it will get heated in the next couple weeks. You can read more shortly on Indians.com.
For now, I’m going AWOL — or, more accurately, on vacation — for the next couple days, so this blog will be on hiatus until next week. But I’d like to sincerely thank you all for the kind words in the comments section under the last post. That was certainly not expected and definitely appreciated on this end. Thank you all.
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