Mike Scioscia with the Toronto Blue Jays?
The 2019 Major League Baseball season is going to see a lot of new managers. The Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Cincinnati Reds, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers all have vacant manager spots. In this age of analytics, there will be a lot of analytical-minded first-time managers in their new positions. We have seen that again and again. That is the way of the sport in 2018. However, there is a pair of team/manager that fits better than an analytical mind. These are the Toronto Blue Jays and free agent manager Mike Scioscia.
The 59-year-old Scioscia is an interesting character. A former catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he is famous for being an aggressive player at home plate a lot. Mike Scioscia is an old-school manager in his managing of a game. Despite that, he managed the Angels through 19 seasons in different eras of baseball. Commonly he is thought of as the #2 in the organization to Arte Moreno, even over the General Manager. He had a lot of power in Anaheim. That is why the resignation after the 2018 season was surprising. There were hints about replacing Scioscia with Eric Chavez, but it did not seem like a guarantee.
The idea of Mike Scioscia as a manager in 2019 is a stretch. The old-school approach has little air time. Willie Randolph cannot get a job because he is not analytically-minded, despite the fact that he is a great on-field manager. That is not the way baseball works anymore. Mike Scioscia’s style may be considered too much 2009 and not enough 2019. However, people should look at what Scioscia had in Anaheim. The team was perpetually injured for several seasons and underperformed due to injuries.
This is where the Toronto Blue Jays come in. The Blue Jays let long-time manager John Gibbons go after the 2018 season. It has been a semi-successful run in Toronto, with players like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion leading the way. The 2018 season is where it all fell apart. Regardless, the future is bright in Toronto. They have Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. waiting for their callus from AA and AAA. We probably will see Guerrero in April 2019. The future is still very bright.
The 2019 Blue Jays could use a manager for a couple years to help grow these kids. Scioscia will also benefit from having a good catcher in Russell Martin to help be his player-coach. Martin and Scioscia would make an interesting couple for the years in getting the Jays back to a competitive team. The future is there offensively, and someone to fix Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez can make the rotation competitive. Toronto’s ownership has shown the willingness to spend lots of money. There is a good future here.
There is one other thing to consider. Scioscia turns 60 in November. While he has expressed interest in managing, would he want to again? He lives in Southern California with his wife, Anne. Scioscia made just $10 million as a player, but his last contract with the Angels gave him $50 million more. He could retire right now and be happy for the rest of his life. However, he may want to stay in the only game he has ever known.
The match is there, but we will have to see.
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