The Miami Marlins have begun the vetting process as they search for a new manager to replace Don Mattingly.
They have not yet interviewed candidates, but that will soon change.
The Marlins on Sunday announced that they and Mattingly mutually agreed not to seek a contract extension.
General manager Kim Ng will hire the Marlins’ new manager, with chairman and principal owner Bruce Sherman expected to be part of the process.
Mattingly, who is in the final week of his seven-year tenure as the organization’s manager, on Sunday said Ng “deserves a chance” to name her own manager.
“She didn’t pick me,” Mattingly said. “We’ve gotten along great. I respect everything she’s doing and trying to do, but she does deserve the chance to pick her guy and push the direction that she wants to go.”
Ng on Sunday said the hope is to have a manager in place sooner rather than later — at the very least before MLB’s Winter Meetings take place in early December — but the plan is not to rush the decision. As for the profile of the next manager, Ng said managing experience at the major-league level is “important, but I wouldn’t say that’s a prerequisite, either.”
“We want somebody in as soon as possible to get to know the players, to help with our offseason,” Ng said, “but I will say that this is a really big decision for the organization. We have to make sure we take our time over the next however many weeks. We’re going to be vetting and interviewing quite a number of candidates. We’ll just make sure we take our time.”
The other issue facing the Marlins is they will have competition. There is expected to be several vacancies at manager this offseason around the league and the Marlins may have to potentially compete to land the skipper they covet for next season and beyond.
Below is a short list of potential candidates the Marlins could consider for the role, in alphabetical order.
▪ Mark DeRosa: The former big leaguer was close to landing the Marlins job back in 2015, making a strong impression on the previous regime. Miami had its sights set on Mattingly, but DeRosa wowed the Marlins so much that they considered making DeRosa the skipper, according to sources. Currently working for MLB Network, DeRosa, 47, will take a TV break next spring to manager Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He has no big-league coaching experience and would likely require a very experienced big-league staff should Miami make this leap.
▪ Joe Espada: Currently the bench coach for the Houston Astros, the 47-year-old Espada has interviewed for several jobs the past few seasons but has yet to land a managerial job. He has familiarity with the Marlins organization as he served as Miami’s third base coach from 2010 to 2013 after four years in the organization on the minor-league side. Espada also worked as a special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman before taking the job in Houston. Espada replaced Alex Cora in Houston in 2017 when Cora took the managerial job with the Red Sox. Given the fact that the Astros are expected to go deep into the postseason, the Marlins may have to wait a while before interviewing him. Espada is likely to be heavily pursued by several clubs this offseason.
▪ Pedro Grifol: Grifol, 52, has been on staff with the Kansas City Royals since 2013. He is currently the bench coach, serving under Mike Matheny. The Royals recently dismissed their long-time general manager and president of baseball operations Dayton Moore, with the club’s CEO staying non-committal on bringing back Matheny in 2023. Grifol would certainly be a candidate to replace Matheny should there be a change. He also has deep ties to South Florida, having attended Miami Columbus High. Grifol has also interviewed for several managerial jobs recently, including Detroit and San Francisco. He also reportedly turned down an opportunity to interview for the head baseball coach position at Florida State University.
▪ Raul Ibanez: Ibanez, 50, is currently working for MLB as vice president of on-field operations. In the past, Ibanez has declined interview opportunities around the league, but perhaps the Marlins, in his hometown, could peak his interest. He attended Westminster Christian High, and his son RJ is currently is a student-athlete at Florida International University. As a player, Ibanez was a highly respected clubhouse figure. He has no professional coaching experience, but played 19 years in the big leagues.
▪ George Lombard: Lombard, 47, is the bench coach in Detroit under skipper A.J. Hinch. He was previously interviewed by the Marlins for a base coach position, but Lombard opted to stay with the Los Angeles Dodgers. With Los Angeles, Lombard won a World Series in 2020 as the first base coach on Dave Roberts’ staff. He spent several seasons under Roberts in Los Angeles and has extensive big league coaching experience as well. Lombard previously interviewed for the Pittsburgh Pirates managerial opening and also interviewed for the vacancy in Detroit before Hinch was hired. After hiring Hinch, the Tigers then hired Lombard as their bench coach.
Lombard’s son, George Lombard Jr., is a senior at Miami Gulliver Prep and committed to play baseball at Vanderbilt.
▪ Matt Quatraro: Like Espada, Quatraro has been a strong candidate to obtain a managerial vacancy for years. He is currently the bench coach in Tampa Bay under Kevin Cash, and industry sources feel he will be a name heavily pursued by teams with a vacancy this offseason. The Rays have had enormous success with a low payroll, and Quatraro, 48 has been Cash’s right-hand man since 2018. He interviewed for the New York Mets and Oakland Athletics vacancies last season and was a finalist for the San Francisco Giants managerial job that went to Gabe Kapler in 2020. His experience in smaller payroll markets like Tampa Bay and Cleveland will have him high on many lists this winter.
As for the coaching staff
Ng said Sunday that the organization has yet to decide on the future of the rest of the coaching staff.
But Miami does hope to keep pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. in his role.
Beyond that, it would appear the new manager will have input on the rest of the new staff in 2023. Current Marlins coaches on staff have been made aware of this, sources told the Miami Herald.