Blue Jays' skipper search temporarily delayed

Blue Jays' skipper search temporarily delayed

Blue Jays' skipper search temporarily delayed
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' search for a new manager temporarily will be put on hold this week while Alex Anthopoulos attends the annual General Managers Meetings in Palm Springs, Calif.

The meetings are set to run from Wednesday until Friday, which means for at least a few days the quest to find John Farrell's replacement will go on the back burner.

Anthopoulos will instead put most of his attention on the in-person conversations with fellow general managers and begin to lay the groundwork for what should prove to be a very busy offseason.

"It will slow down for two or three days, but hopefully sooner than later," Anthopoulos said when asked for a timeframe on his managerial search. "I don't have a specific timeline, but we're making progress, moving in the right direction, moving along.

"Sooner than later, but for two or three days while we're at the meetings, it slows up. But it will pick right back when the meetings are over."

When the Blue Jays began their search for a new manager more than two weeks ago, there was a general consensus that the club would revisit its list of candidates from 2010. Sandy Alomar Jr. and DeMarlo Hale were considered early favorites, while others such as Tim Wallach were expected to be looped in after being unavailable to interview last time.

All of that has happened, but the common theme among the preliminary group of candidates is that they don't have any experience managing at the big league level. That wasn't a problem two years ago when Anthopoulos opted to give Farrell an opportunity without having even managed a Minor League game, but it appears as though things have changed this time around.

There's more pressure on the Blue Jays to win now as opposed to building for the future, and perhaps that will mean Anthopoulos turns to a more seasoned boss in the dugout to help achieve that goal.

"You can find out tangible things from coaches they worked with, players they managed. You have a much better feel how guys are going to run a bullpen," Anthopoulos said when asked about the experience factor. "You take out a lot of the guess work involved, and they're much more of a known quantity -- the guys who have done it before -- and there's definitely a comfort in that.

"That's not to say that those are the best candidates, but there is definitely a comfort when you don't have to guess as much, because ultimately you're not sure how someone's going to react."

As expected, Anthopoulos didn't get into specific names, but if he's leaning towards an experienced manager, there are several candidates who could be in play. Manny Acta, Jim Riggleman, Don Wakamatsu and Jim Tracy have been mentioned as possibilities in various reports, while it's entirely possible there are at least a couple of mystery candidates.

Time isn't exactly on Anthopoulos' side with free agency already well under way. Anthopoulos conceded that the lack of a manager in place has been brought up in conversations with free agents, but he added that most of the big names will remain unsigned until the end of the month and into December's Winter Meetings.

That gives the Blue Jays some additional time to work with before the pressure really begins to mount. Anthopoulos does want to get something done rather quickly, but that doesn't mean he's going to rush into any decision.

The most important thing is that Anthopoulos makes the smart choice and finds the right candidate for his team.

"It's finding the right fit for the city, for the players, for management," Anthopoulos said. "You could take the top five managers in the game and they might not be the right fit here. It's not a player, you're not filling in first base or an outfield position. There's more than just checking off boxes in terms of what makes a good manager.

"I think it's much more specific for what fits with the organization, the players, the community. It's hard to quantify it that way, but I think it's more specific to the organization and what we currently need."

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