I have no inside information. I cannot see the future. So for all that I know, we all could print this out to laugh at once spring training rolls around. But I do know that Sandy is a hot commodity of the managerial circuit that will almost certainly get some nibbles on the lure that has been thrown into the MLB pond. So as baseball’s hot stove burner starts to simmer, these are my guesses as to what happens with the Indians’ legend. With job openings with the Cubs, Mariners, Reds, Nationals already available and potentially others such as the White Sox (Robin Ventura did not sign an extension) and Angels (rumors persist that Mike Scioscia might be ready to move on after his long tenure) after the conclusion of the World Series, it might finally be Sandy’s time to lead a team of his own.
Or, the Tribe’s new first-base coach may just stay on with the franchise who he feels most comfortable with, but with Sandy’s wealth of knowledge, it would feel to me like he’s selling himself short on his career. The thought he was getting the Indians’ job before –and it hurts to admit this– he got the rug pulled out from underneath him with the Tony Francona hire. Even though it was clearly the right move for the franchise, it had to sting him. The Indians would be doing him a great service by allowing him to see what is out there.
This is how I think it will shake out for Sandy, from least-likely to most.
Washington Nationals: In my opinion, this is the best available manager gig. You’re in a “win-now” mindset. You have a deadly starting rotation. You have a lineup that has the potential to be lethal daily. You have a strong bullpen. You have an aggressive GM in Mike Rizzo who will take chances. And all of this is why I don’t see Sandy being a fit here. The Nationals would probably want a skipper with considerable experience to take the reins from Davey Johnson. After taking a “World Series or Bust” mindset in 2013 and missing the playoffs altogether, this is not the spot for a rookie manager. I wouldn’t think, anyway. Projected odds: 5 percent.
Cincinnati Reds: This is an interesting team being that if it weren’t for Dusty Baker’s inherent bravado, this job probably wouldn’t be open. With super-duper stars already on the roster in Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, whom Alomar obviously knows from Phillips’ time as a member of the Tribe, a sneaky-good and unheralded ace in Homer Bailey, and not having the glare of an overbearing media spotlight, this could be another plum job. But like the Nationals, they have championship aspirations. Projected odds: 15 percent.
The Chicago Teams: Sandy was actually on Theo Epstein’s short list of potential candidates before the Cubbies settled in on Dale Sveum. With Chicago, you inherit yet another rebuilding project, but you also have the Cubs’ mystique of their 105-year Championship drought, which is small potatoes in comparison to the Indians’ struggles to get over the hump. The Alomar family is based in Chicago, so the location is perfect for Sandy. But for all the problems that the Cubs have endured, they still view themselves as a big draw for big-named players and coaches. However, with the Cubs striking out on Joe Girardi, and Sandy’s chances to land in his adopted home town one way or the other feel pretty strong. Especially if the White Sox and Robin Ventura mutually decide to part ways. Projected odds: 25 percent.
He stays: It makes sense. He’s working with one of the best managers in the game. He’s comfortable with a franchise in which he’s beloved by the organization and fanbase alike, and he’s been a good soldier even when things swerved on him. So he knows that if he gets passed over by other teams, he will most likely always have a job with the Indians. Not a bad fall-back option. Projected odds: 35 percent.
Seattle Mariners: Just call it a hunch, but this is probably where Sandy will get his first foray as the top guy with no tags. Sandy can work this team back into a contender in the top-heavy AL West in relative anonymity while having Felix Hernandez still as his horse. With Oakland, Texas and (supposedly) Anaheim ruling a top-heavy division, Alomar won’t have much pressure to contend immediately, nor will he be inheriting a completely barren roster. This just feels like a nice place to start his next step of his baseball life. Projected odds: 60 percent.