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Anthopoulos won't rush managerial search

Anthopoulos won't rush managerial search

TORONTO -- Alex Anthopoulos understands that finding the right manager to lead the Blue Jays is his most crucial decision this coming offseason. That is why the young general manager does not want to rush to make his choice.

"Out of respect to everybody in the organization and everybody on the staff," said Anthopoulos on Tuesday, "I'd love to get it done sooner rather than later. I just don't want to rush. That's what I'm trying to balance right now."

On Sunday, Cito Gaston will manage his final game for the Blue Jays before heading into retirement. Anthopoulos is already knee-deep in his search for Gaston's replacement, though the general manager is not sure when that hunt will come to a close.

Anthopoulos said he hopes to be able to reveal Toronto's next skipper prior to the Winter Meetings in December. He is currently in the process of exploring internal candidates -- bench coach Nick Leyva and third-base coach Brian Butterfield are two possibilities -- and interviews with external options could take the process into November.

"I don't think it's something that can be rushed," Anthopoulos said. "It's too important. It's too critical a decision and a choice. The process will dictate itself. [So far] a lot of things have been exploratory. We're doing a lot of our background work right now -- a lot of due diligence.

"I think that's really going to be the bulk of the work. I think the second component is sitting down and interviewing people."

When the Blue Jays have narrowed their list to only a few names, Anthopoulos had originally considered making the candidates available to the media. Now, though, the general manager is leaning against that route, considering there will be so many managerial openings this winter.

Beyond Gaston, Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Braves manager Bobby Cox have announced that they will retire at season's end. Lou Piniella has already stepped down as the manager of the Cubs as well. Those represent only four of the many managerial openings expected this offseason.

"I think we're in a much better position to do things behind the scenes quietly," Anthopoulos said.

One thing Anthopoulos said he will do is recommend Toronto's new manager consider taking on members of the Blue Jays' current coaching staff. That said, Anthopoulos noted that the next manager will be able to have input in which coaches are hired.

Aside from Leyva and Butterfield, Toronto's current group of coaches includes pitching coach Bruce Walton, bullpen coach Rick Langford, hitting coach Dwayne Murphy and first-base coach Omar Malave. Given their loyalty to the organization and the performance of the team this year, Anthopoulos said all the coaches deserve to be back in 2011.

"I feel strongly about everyone that's here," Anthopoulos said of the coaches. "I think everybody realizes the job that all these men have done. I've talked to all of them one on one and I've told all of them that, one way or the other, they'll have jobs in the organization. I just don't know how the offseason is going to play out.

"Every single coach on this staff deserves to be here. Whether it plays out that way, I can't say right now. I do believe a manager may have strong feelings about a certain coach and it may make sense to have certain people on the staff."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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