The San Francisco Giants fired Gabe Kapler as their manager on Friday. Here are a few possible candidates to take Kapler’s place as the Giants’ full-time manager, starting next season.
Ron Wotus >> Wotus is just finishing his second season as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations. The longest-tenured coach in franchise history, Wotus is in his 36th year within the Giants organization. He joined the Giants’ staff in 1998 and worked under Dusty Baker, Felipe Alou, Bruce Bochy, and Kapler, working as a bench coach and third base coach.
Mark Hallberg >> Hallberg is finishing his second season as the Giants’ third base coach, as he took over the job after Wotus stepped aside. Spent five seasons in the minors from 2007 to 2011, including two seasons at Triple-A. His only managerial experience came in 2019 when he skippered the short-season A Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Oregon. He’s also coached in the Cape Cod League.
Kai Correa >> Now the Giants’ interim manager, Correa became the youngest bench coach in the majors when he joined Kapler’s staff in 2020. He had been a low-level infield instructor with Cleveland just prior to his arrival in San Francisco. Correa started his coaching career in 2012 when he joined Puget Sound University’s staff, starting a rapid rise us the ranks.
External candidates with ties to the organization or Bay Area
Bob Melvin >> Melvin, the Padres’ current manager, played for the Giants for three seasons from 1986 to 1988 and appeared in 692 games over a 10-year MLB career that ended in 1994. The Palo Alto native and Cal alum is in his 20th season as a big-league manager, including 11 seasons with the A’s, and owned a 1514-1425 record before Friday. He was the NL Manager of the Year in 2007 and the AL Manager of the Year in 2012 and 2018. He was the A’s skipper for three seasons when Farhan Zaidi was in Oakland’s front office.
Donnie Ecker >> Ecker, a graduate of Los Altos High, spent two seasons as the Giants hitting coach before he became the bench coach and offensive coordinator for the Texas Rangers in Nov. 2021. Ecker was also an assistant hitting coach for the Cincinnati Reds and also spent time in the St. Louis Cardinals player development department.
Will Venable >> Venable, a Marin County native, is in his first season as an associate manager on Bruce Bochy’s staff in Texas. Prior to that job, he was the Red Sox bench coach on Alex Cora’s staff in Boston for two seasons. Prior to that, Venable spent three years on the Chicago Cubs’ staff as a first-base coach in 2018 and 2019 and a third-base coach in 2020. He interviewed for the job when Kapler was hired in 2019.
External candidates with prestige
Craig Counsell >> Counsell, a two-time World Series champion during a 16-year MLB career, is in his ninth season as the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, and prior to Friday he had a 705-624 record. He’s had a winning record in six of the past seven seasons, and is in the final season of a three-year contract extension he signed in 2020. Brewers management has said they want Counsell back, though, adding that they are leaving it in the hands of the 2001 NLCS MVP.
External candidates with ties to Zaidi
Stephen Vogt >> Vogt is presently the bullpen and quality control coach for the Seattle Mariners. He was with the A’s in 2013 when Zaidi was with the club. He also signed with the Giants in 2019 in Zaidi’s first season in San Francisco.
The white whale
Buster Posey >> A Giants legend, Posey is now part of the team’s ownership group and has recently moved back to the area. He’s certainly cerebral enough to manage. Whether he wants the stress of being a manager at the big league level is another matter.