D-backs gearing up hunt for new manager

Indians first-base coach Alomar, longtime skipper Tracy among eight confirmed candidates

D-backs gearing up hunt for new manager

PHOENIX -- The D-backs on Wednesday confirmed eight candidates who have been, or will be, interviewed for the club's vacant managerial position.

They include: Sandy Alomar Jr., Jay Bell, Andy Green, Joe McEwing, Phil Nevin, Jim Tracy, Don Wakamatsu and Turner Ward.

Other names are likely to be added when the D-backs receive permission to interview them from the clubs that they are with currently.

"I think the first priority is leadership, a personality," D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said Monday when asked what he's looking for in his next manager. "You just think about when he stands in front of the club and it's Spring Training in front of 50 or 60 guys, there's got to be something about them that gets their attention. And then something about what he says that makes sense."

Though there has been a trend in recent years of teams hiring managers who have never managed before -- like Mike Matheny in St. Louis, Walt Weiss in Colorado or Robin Ventura in Chicago -- as a Hall of Fame manager who worked his way up through the Minor Leagues, it's likely La Russa will give those with prior experience a stronger look.

"I think I understand why," La Russa said about teams that have hired unproven managers. "Each of those guys has earned a lot of respect based on their playing careers. I also know that when you start managing the game, the more that you've pulled the trigger as a manager somewhere, there is an art to that. It's helpful if you've managed someplace before. It doesn't mean we won't hire someone like the Venturas, the Mathenys, the Weisses, but it's also possible we'll look for somebody that's pulled the trigger before."

Alomar Jr., a longtime big league catcher, is the first-base coach for the Indians and has also served as the team's bench coach. When Manny Acta was dismissed in September 2012, Alomar filled in as interim manager. He has previously interviewed for several managerial openings.

Bell, who played in the big leagues for 18 seasons, is currently the bench coach for the Reds after serving as the Pirates' hitting coach last season. He played for the D-backs from 1998-2002 and also served as bench coach in Arizona under Bob Melvin from 2005-06 before taking a few years off to spend more time with his family.

Green, who also played for the D-backs during his Major League career, has managed in Arizona's Minor League system since 2011 and has been named Southern League Manager of the Year the past two seasons while leading Double-A Mobile.

McEwing, who is the White Sox third-base coach, played nine years in the big leagues, including with the Cardinals under La Russa in 1998-99. He was one of La Russa's all-time favorite players to manage and has been regarded as a future manager since his retirement. McEwing managed three years in the White Sox Minor League system and in the Arizona Fall League before joining the big league coaching staff.

Nevin, a longtime big league player, managed four seasons in the Tigers' organization from 2010-13 before joining the D-backs' organization last season as manager of Triple-A Reno. Nevin led the Aces into the playoffs where they lost in the Pacific Coast League Championship Series.

Tracy has managed three teams over an 11-year big league managing career. Most recently he was with the Rockies, where he resigned following the 2012 season. Tracy has an overall record of 856-880, with his greatest success coming with the Dodgers from 2001-05, when he was 427-383.

Wakamatsu managed the Mariners from 2009 until being relieved of his duties Aug. 10, 2010, and he also managed four seasons in the Minor Leagues. Wakamatsu has extensive coaching experience and is currently bench coach for the Royals. 

Ward has been on the D-backs' coaching staff the previous two seasons. He was the assistant hitting coach in 2013 and hitting coach this past season. Prior to that, he was successful as a Minor League manager for Arizona, winning back-to-back Southern League titles with Mobile in 2011-12.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.