Dave Martinez and Gabe Kapler among potential candidates for Rays manager

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After Joe Maddon stepped down as manager of the Rays yesterday, there was plenty of speculation about what his next move could be, but we didn’t hear much about who could replace him in Tampa Bay. Look for that to change soon.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Tribune has an early list of potential candidates, including Rays bench coach Dave Martinez, former Rays player Gabe Kapler, White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing, former Rangers bench coach and interim manager Tim Bogar, and Triple-A Durham manager Charlie Montoyo.

Martinez probably deserves to be the odds-on favorite here. He has been the Rays bench coach for the past seven seasons, so it would be a natural progression. He has also interviewed for several managerial openings around the majors in recent years. Montoyo, who has managed at Triple-A for the past eight years, is another logical in-house choice. Kapler doesn’t have any coaching experience in the majors, but he has worked as a part-time consultant for the Rays in the past and even briefly managed the Class A team for the Red Sox in 2007 before resuming his playing career. It would be a bold hire, but Kapler is extremely sharp and analytical, as evidenced by his insight on Twitter and Fox’s baseball coverage. It will be interesting to see if the Rays play it safe or outside the box.