The search for a new manager is underway for the SF Giants. The Giants are considering a pair of internal candidates but a familiar name has emerged as well - Donnie Ecker.
Report: Former SF Giants coach expected to be "front-runner" for managerial gig
According to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, third base coach Mark Hallberg has emerged as a top internal candidate. The 37-year-old has been with the Giants organization for the past five years in a few different roles, including assistant coach and third base coach. He took over for Ron Wotus when Wotus retired following the 2021 season.
In that same piece, Slusser also notes that former Giants coach Ecker is expected to be in the running for the managerial gig as well. Giants fans know Ecker well as he was hired to be one of the team's hitting coaches prior to the 2021 season.
He was light on coaching experience, but well-versed in biomechanics and the analytics of the modern coaching staff. During his time with San Francisco, the offense put together some impressive seasons like the 2021 campaign in which the lineup set a franchise record by blasting 241 home runs.
The offense was helped by some resurgent seasons from Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt as well as Darin Ruf seemingly coming out of nowhere to be one of the better hitters on a very good roster. There were other contributors as well, but both Crawford and Belt went out of their way to compliment Ecker.
Being a coach on a major league staff is a bit of a thankless job. When things go well, the coaching staff rarely gets any credit despite all of the time and hard work committed. When things go south, fans begin calling for people to be fired.
It is hard to know where exactly a coach's influence begins and ends, but you take notice when two veteran players offer praise.
Following the 2021 season, Ecker was in demand as a coach and due for a promotion. The Texas Rangers added him to Chris Woodward's staff as the bench coach and offensive coordinator. Bruce Bochy took over for Woodward after the 2022 season and decided to keep Ecker on the staff, which looks like a smart move given the team's performance. And, it bears mentioning that Ecker's value was tangible enough to be recognized by an old-school manager like Bochy.
The Rangers are currently preparing for the ALCS after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in the division series. However, when their season ends, Ecker expects to be in demand with multiple managerial vacancies on the table. This includes the Giants where Ecker has recent and familiar ties.
The front office has stated that their preference is to have a new skipper before the start of free agency. They hope to leverage whoever takes over as sort of a recruiter in landing free agents. Based on Slusser's report, Ecker will likely receive an interview, but that might have to wait until Texas' season ends.