The search for Terry Francona's successor in Cleveland has come to an end, as the Guardians have announced they are hiring Stephen Vogt to be their next manager. Vogt will be the 45th manager in the organization's history.
Cleveland began their search with anywhere from 45 to 48 possible options. Vogt was one of the final three candidates that were still in the running for the position, the other two being Craig Counsell and Carlos Mendoza. A potential return to Milwaukee or a reunion with Mets President of Baseball Operations David Stearns could be on the table for Counsell, while Mendoza is reportedly a candidate for the San Diego Padres job.
Vogt retired from playing the game of baseball following the 2022 season, proceeding to sign with the Seattle Mariners as their bullpen and quality control coach.
There is a high level of risk when it comes to hiring someone like Vogt, whose only experience after retiring is that of a bullpen coach and without any major or minor league managing experience. However, this is not to say this is a bad hire, but there are some positive aspects to Vogt's background that could prove useful.
It must be mentioned that Vogt just turned 39 a few days ago. The fact that he is still not that far away from playing the game, with the age gap being significantly smaller than that of some other candidates who were considered, could be very beneficial to Cleveland.
The Guardians still have a very young team, and finding a way to bridge the youth of the roster with the next man in charge is very important, as building trust between team and manager is vital when going from a surefire Hall of Famer in Francona to an inexperienced option in Vogt. Considering that Vogt is just over a year away from actually being on the field, it may help speed up this process as the organization heads into unknown waters for the first time in over a decade.
There is one more aspect about Vogt's background that can be overlooked, that could play a factor as he begins his managerial career, the position he played. Vogt was a major league catcher for 10 years, spending time with six different organizations, most notably for the Oakland Athletics. As a major league catcher, there is quite a bit of in-game managing that goes on while crouching behind the plate. There are so many aspects of the game that a catcher must be aware of at all times in order to keep the game under control. Even though this is not a like-for-like comparison, the fact that so much must be done by someone playing this position makes a former catcher the perfect candidate to step into this role.