The Kansas City Royals aren’t putting a timetable on replacing Tony Pena, who resigned as the team’s manager after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
“To me (finding a manager quickly is) secondary, in my mind. I think finding the right guy is the most important thing,” Royals General Manager Allard Baird said on Thursday. He hopes to have a master list of candidates for the job ready by the end of the work day on Friday.
Will the new manager be someone already within the organization or someone from the outside? While that hasn’t been determined, Baird did say Royals employees will be given the first nod.
“The in-house candidates we are going to talk about as a group first,” Baird said. The leading candidate in that group would have to be former second baseman Frank White, who is currently the manager for the Royals’ Class-AA team in Wichita. White was never interviewed for the job in 2002, when Pena was hired. He took the job in Wichita, in hopes of managing the Royals someday.
Before Pena, the Royals hired three consecutive managers who all played for the team: Bob Boone, Hal McRae and John Wathan. All three were fired with losing records.
The bigger names outside of the Royals family include Buck Martinez, Bob Brenly, Larry Bowa and Art Howe.
The “right guy” will have to find a way to win, despite the Royals’ financial limitations. Their payroll was cut to $36.9 million in 2005, which is the second-lowest in baseball. “This is not an easy task for a manager. We all know this,” Baird admitted.
But that hasn’t scared off suitors. Despite their payroll, despite their lack of identifiable talent and despite their 9-26 record Baird’s phone has apparently been ringing quite frequently. “Believe me, I can tell you with the number of phone calls I’ve gotten from guys in the last 24 hours I’m not sure there’s a whole lot of convincing.”
The new manager may not be suited up for a while, but Baird hopes fans will be patient as the process of finding a new manager took him by surprise, considering he publicly stated two weeks ago that Pena would not be fired.
“I wish I could sit here and say that I planned for this. I did not plan for this.”