LOS ANGELES -- The first step of the process is complete, with Don Mattingly out as Dodgers manager. But the next step is much more crucial — determining Mattingly's replacement at the helm. I'm sure more candidates will emerge over time, but here are a few that have been mentioned in various circles.
Martinez, 51, is currently the bench coach under manager Joe Maddon with the Cubs, whose season ended on Wednesday night. Martinez was a coach with the Rays during Andrew Friedman's entire tenure in Tampa Bay, first as a spring training instructor in 2006 and 2007 then as a bench coach for seven years, all under Maddon.
The tie to Friedman is obvious, and Martinez should be well-versed in the interview process, having been a candidate for managerial jobs in Toronto, Cleveland, Houston, Washington and both Chicago teams. Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago profiled Martinez in September:
"Once the game starts, I manage," he said. "I manage next to Joe. He kind of looks at one thing, I look at the other thing. His biggest thing is managing the bullpen, the pitching staff, and I oversee game situations, try to pick spots where maybe we can bunt, we can run, do different things."
Kapler, 40, is the Dodgers' director of player development, but rumors of him eventually taking over as manager have persisted since his hire last November.
"He's incredibly bright, he's a tremendous leader of people, and he's an exceptional communicator," Friedman said in November 2014 when Kapler was hired. "I think it's rare who has extensive playing experience. It's so hard for players, who are so mired in it, to sometimes see the bigger picture or even look at it from a different perspective. Gabe is incredibly skilled at seeing things at different perspectives."
Kapler does have managerial experience, skippering Class-A Greenvile in the Red Sox system in 2007. Kapler, then 31, finished 58-81 but gained a new perspective.
"It was an exceptional learning experience for me. I got to see the game from an entirely unique vantage point for a guy who was playing," Kapler said last November. "I was able to digest, sponge, analyze the game in a way that was much different than when I was a player."
Black, 58, managed the Padres for nearly nine years before getting fired after a 32-33 start in 2015, paying the price for unreal expectations. Black, a former major league pitcher for 15 seasons, is widely respected throughout the game and has experience if that is a preferred requirement.
He has interviewed for the vacant Nationals job, and Jon Heyman of CBS described Black's strengths last week:
Black, a Manager of the Year winner in 2007 and '09, is the opposite of [Matt] Williams. He communicates as well as anyone. Hell, he loves to communicate, which was the biggest clubhouse complaint about Williams.
Black is a veritable bon vivant. He's actually an updated, more outgoing version of [former Nationals manager] Davey [Johnson]. He could easily work.
This is an opportunity for the front office to fully shape the coaching staff as they see fit, but if they decide to keep some semblance of status quo Wallach, 58, would be a fit.
Wallach managed Triple-A Albuquerque in 2009-2010, and was on the major league coaching staff under Mattingly the last five years, including 2014-2015 as bench coach. Wallach has interviewed in the past for managerial openings in Detroit and Seattle, and is also a current candidate in Washington.
Another in-house option is Roenicke, 59, who was a surprise midseason hire in August to coach third base. Roenicke managed the Brewers for parts of five years, getting fired after a 7-18 start in 2015.
Roenicke does have experience managing Zack Greinke, doing so in 2011-2012 in Milwaukee, should that factor in the Dodgers' plans. At the time of his hire in August, Roenicke said he wanted to manage again but insisted that wasn't part of his joining the Dodgers.
"I never thought that way. Donnie wouldn’t have asked if and wouldn’t have wanted me to be here if that was a concern. That’s great. Because that’s the way it should be," Roenicke said in August. "So me coming here is strictly because I wanted to help out when he asked me to do it."
Again, more candidates will likely emerge, but this is a start.