Joe Girardi is still deciding if he will remain the Yankees manager or leave the Bronx. From the start, I've thought it's 70-30 he stays. But, let's say he decides to go. Who is next? With no clear-cut No. 1 candidate, this is admittedly premature, but let's take a look at who could take Girardi's spot.
1. Don Mattingly
The Dodgers have yet to pick up Mattingly's option for next year, which has surprised some. Still, Mattingly seems to be popular with his bosses and is an NL Manager of the Year candidate. He is probably staying in Los Angeles, but, if not, he would be very popular with the Yankees fan base, which could be helpful over the next few years. Plus, Mattingly came in second to Girardi the last go around, at a time when he didn't have any managerial experience.
2. Pete Mackanin
This is a wild-card candidate, but a guy whom Brian Cashman is said to love. Mackanin managed the Pirates for 30 games in 2005, he was Charlie Manuel's bench coach in Philadelphia and has interviewed for a number of jobs. Mackanin, 62, a current Yankee scout, is the type of outside-the-box candidate whom some in the organization may favor. Upper management may want a bigger name, though.
3. Tony Pena
Pena is Girardi's bench coach and got the bronze medal the last time the Yankees' job was open. Pena is very personable, but I'm not sure Cashman would turn to him. On the coaching staff, the Yankees have a few guys, from Kevin Long to Rob Thomson, who could one day manage. Cashman, though, will probably want more experience. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild has managed before in Tampa.
4. Dusty Baker
He is likely not a fit for the Yankees. There are no Yankee ties and a lot of people question how good he is as a manager.
5. Lou Piniella and Tony La Russa
Piniella is 70, while La Russa is 69. They are unlikely to come back, especially to a team that may be headed in the wrong direction.
6. Willie Randolph
Another ex-Yankee with managerial experience, but I don't see it happening. Randolph doesn't play the sabermetric game the Yankees' front office prefers.
7. Don Wakamatsu
Another guy who is in the Yankees' system (as a scout) and has managerial experience.
8. Dave Miley
He has done a good job at Triple-A.
9. Manny Acta
A lot of people in baseball love Acta, though he hasn't had much success in his first two managerial stops in Washington and Cleveland. He is currently an ESPN analyst.
10. Mystery Candidate
There are going to be a lot bench coaches, etc., who emerge from what will be a wide-open field. There is no obvious candidate to replace Girardi, which is why it could be a very interesting process.
QUESTION: IF GIRARDI LEAVES, WHO WOULD YOU HIRE AS THE NEXT MANAGER?