With the search for the next San Francisco Giants manager drawing to a close, we should ask ourselves, does it even matters who gets the job?
The remaining candidates to replace Bruce Bochy as the next manager of the San Francisco Giants appear to be Gabe Kapler, Joe Espada, and Pedro Grifol.
Does it even matter who gets the job?
The role of the modern manager is changing. Over the latter half of the 2010s, it has become clear that most MLB managers have ceded control to the front office who have in turn decided that it is in the best interest of the team to have analytics govern the majority of decisions made on the field.
That’s not to say that before 2015 every decision made by managers was made based on their gut or by the cut of a player’s jib.
But you cannot argue that decisions made on the field, from defensive shifts to pitching match-ups, have been influenced by analytics to a far greater degree.
That begs the question: If the decisions will be coming from the higher-ups, can’t you just throw anybody in the manager’s seat as long as they follow orders?
The modern manager seems to be prized for maintaining a positive clubhouse atmosphere more than day-to-day decisions like setting lineups or deciding how long to let a starter go.
Those decisions are already predetermined, which means that most clubs don’t have an appetite for an individual-minded manager who could potentially go rogue on them.
Of course, there’s also the matter of integrity and having a truly decent individual leading the team. That’s a tradition that spans decades for the Giants, as Ann Killion recently wrote about for the San Francisco Chronicle.
Beyond that, on a day-to-day level, how much autonomy will the next manager have?
My guess would be not much, especially if the Giants were trying things like the opener last year, which is something I doubt would have been Bochy’s first impulse.
So does it really matter all that much who the next manager is, aside from finding someone with integrity and who will be a positive force in the community?
It certainly doesn’t matter for on-the-field purposes as much as it used to, and though we’ve seen the approach work for teams like the Washington Nationals, we shall see if that same recipe brings success for the San Francisco Giants.