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Giants manager search down to three finalists

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John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants’ managerial search is down to three finalists: Gabe Kapler, Joe Espada, and Matt Quatraro. Shea says that, at present, it’s not at all clear if any of them is favored.

Kapler, of course, served as the Phillies’ manager in 2018 and 2019. Espada is the Astros’ bench coach. Quatraro is the Rays’ bench coach. Team president Farhan Zaidi worked with Kapler in Los Angeles so familiarity is obviously the primary consideration there. The other two, in all likelihood, because of their status as bench coaches in two successful organizations. See, also: the last two World Series-winning managers — Alex Cora and Dave Martinez — getting their jobs after serving as bench coaches on recent World Series-winning teams.

There should be a new Giants manager named soon.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).