5 Cleveland Guardians manager candidates if Terry Francona actually retires

Terry Francona strongly hinted this could be his last season with the Cleveland Guardians. Here's who could replace him if he actually retires.

Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays
Cleveland Guardians v Tampa Bay Rays / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
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Tony Mansolino - Orioles Third Base Coach

It is weird to be looking at any coach from the Baltimore Orioles given how bad they were for a long time, but here we are. While Mansolino’s major league coaching experience is limited, his dad was a big league coach with several teams and he has extensive experience as a manager in the minor leagues. That sort of experience in player development is really, really helpful especially for a team like the Guardians that is going to have to try and get some of the young guys on their roster going.

The issue with a guy like Mansolino is that if the Guardians are going to move on from a guy like Terry Francona, they are probably going to want to be more risk-averse with his replacement. An experienced big league coach is likely to have the upper hand especially if they come from an organization with a track record of winning. Don’t get us wrong: the Baltimore Orioles are a really, really fun story this year and could end up being awesome for a long time. Cleveland just may prefer a guy from a team with a longer track record of success.

Rodney Linares - Rays Bench Coach

It isn’t a managerial candidates list without mentioning someone in the Rays organization (it is really a shame that they play in a terrible market with a cheap owner) and Rodney Linares gets the nod here although there are several current and former options to choose from. Linares has had extensive (and successful) experience as a minor league manager with the Astros before joining the Rays as their third base coach after the 2018 season and getting promoted to bench coach for this season after Matt Quatraro got hired to manage the Royals.

Coming from two of the best analytics teams in baseball has a lot of benefits and one of the biggest ones is that those teams know how to use data effectively. Baseball is still played on the field and that means players need to have information communicated to them in ways they both understand, believe in, and execute the game plan. Not having a ton of experience dealing with larger media markets is a downside, but shouldn’t be a dealbreaker in a market like Cleveland.

Linares is only 45 years old, but he still has a ton of experience helping players young and old get with the program, develop, and improve. Having long-lasting connections with players in Latin America including managing in the Dominican Winter League and managing the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic in 2023 certainly doesn’t hurt his case, either, as being able to relate to players who may not speak English as their primary language is a big plus.

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