As of this moment, three Major League teams are searching for new managers. Colorado and Houston in the National League and Boston in the American.
Two more teams could be joining the list as Ozzie Guillen appears to be on thin ice in Miami and there is a least a chance the Blue Jays could trade John Farrell to Boston.
Cleveland wasted no time unloaded Manny Acta after their second straight 90+ loss season and wasted even less time replacing him with former Red Sox skipper and two time World Series champion Terry Francona.
If the Blue Jays do have to replace Farrell, you have to wonder which way they would go. Would the new man be someone from within, such as Torey Lovullo, Brian Butterfield or Don Wakamatsu? Or would it be someone such as Sandy Alomar Jr., who's paid his dues with Cleveland as a coach.
Would the Jays emulate the White Sox and Cardinals and choose a Robin Ventura or a Mike Matheny, who had no managerial experience? Or would they go with a veteran skipper, a proven winner, say, in the mold of Francona.
I would go with a proven skipper who's had some measure of success. Jim Tracy resigned over the weekend in Colorado with a year to go on his contract at $1.4 million. The Rockies wanted him back but the team was coming off a club record 98-loss season and the pitching was pretty thin. Tracy reportedly wasn't sure about the direction the club was going in and decided to move on.
Don't get me wrong, Jim Tracy hasn't built a Hall of Fame resume or anything like that. He's had three managerial stops in his 11year career, all in the National League with the Dodgers, Pittsburgh and Colorado. He's actually lost more than he's won over his 11 years. However, he's also won over 90 games in a season twice, something the Blue Jays haven't done since 1993. He guided the Rockies to a Wild Card playoff berth in 2009, has been named Manager of the Year once and finished second another time.
All of this becomes a moot point if John Farrell stays in Toronto. But if he doesn't, Jim Tracy is someone to consider. Even though the Rockies lost 98 games this season, Tracy never lost the clubhouse and the players seemed genuinely upset or at least concerned that he wasn't coming back. That kind of loyalty is hard to engender when you're losing ball games.
Jim Tracy even has a Canadian connection. He was the bench coach in Montreal in 1999 under Felipe Alou.
When asked to choose at the beginning of the season, I picked Detroit to win the World Series. I was a little more vague on the National League, but settled on Philadelphia because of their starting pitching. On the reset before the playoffs, I went with Cincinnati. It's a little early to be gloating or taking anything for granted but the Tigers and Reds are both up 2-0 in their Division Series and look at this point to be the two strongest teams remaining, though the Yankees still may have something to say about that.
There was some talk out of Colorado that Troy Tulowitski, who's still rehabbing after groin muscle surgery cost him most of this season, was having some second thoughts about being with the Rockies after Tracy's departure. Not a trade demand or anything like that, just him wondering about the direction the organization is going in.
Tulowitski would have to be an intriguing possibility for a few clubs in the off-season, if he really became available. He averaged just shy of 30 homers and 100 RBI's over the past three seasons before getting hurt this year. His contract would figure to scare off a few suitors though. He is locked up through 2020 for $140 million guaranteed and there is a $15 million club option for 2021 with a $4.5 million buyout.
He's only 28 though, and when healthy, provides the best combination of power and defence at short in the Majors.
Speaking of power, the Yankees and Orioles both set franchise records for home runs this season. There are many factors at play, but no one can tell me these are the greatest power hitting teams either of these organizations have ever had.
A long-time member of the baseball beat, Scott Ferguson covers the Blue Jays for TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto. His baseball blog appears on TSN.ca during the season.