Raúl Ibañez

MLB rumors: Giants managerial candidate Raul Ibañez not ready for role

MLB rumors: Giants managerial candidate Raul Ibañez not ready for role

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has done a good job of keeping his managerial preferences from being known outside Oracle Park, but there was one name that came up often over the past seven months. That man apparently does not want to manage. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that Raul Ibañez will not pursue managerial vacancies this offseason. The Dodgers special assistant was said to be high on Zaidi's initial list when Bruce Bochy announced his retirement, sources have told NBC Sports Bay Area. 

Ibañez told the Times he would like to manage at some point but "it's not the right time for me." 

Ibañez spent 19 years in the big leagues and has been viewed within the industry as a future manager. Zaidi worked with him in Los Angeles, where Ibañez reports to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. 

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The Giants have just two known candidates thus far and both are internal choices. They already have interviewed coaches Hensley Meulens and Ron Wotus and Zaidi said last week that he expects to talk to six to eight external candidates. 

How Giants' managerial search could be impacted by other openings


How Giants' managerial search could be impacted by other openings

SAN FRANCISCO -- Larry Baer always had his eye on Farhan Zaidi, but it took more than a month after the end of the 2018 regular season to make the hiring official because the then-Dodgers GM was unable to fully interview while his team made a run to the World Series. 

Zaidi may find similar roadblocks this October as he looks for Bruce Bochy's replacement, along with one other issue. There are managerial openings every offseason, but this is about as loaded a class of vacancies as we've seen in recent years. 

So far, there are seven openings, including the one at Third and King. The Cubs job is as appealing as any in the sport, and the Mets also play in a large market with a strong veteran roster. Take either one of those jobs and you can reasonably expect to contend next season. The same would hold true in Philadelphia if Gabe Kapler is let go. 

The Padres have the best farm system around and could have a quick turnaround under the right leadership. Plus, you get to live in San Diego. The Angels have their issues, but they also have Mike Trout. The Pirates and Royals also are looking for new managers. 

There's a lot of variance in that group, but inevitably, some of the hot names will get calls from multiple executives. Zaidi acknowledged this week that the other openings could impact his own search. 

"Obviously I don't know who is on other teams' managerial candidate lists but it's reasonable to expect there to be some overlap, and it throws an additional wrench into scheduling of things, which could wind up extending the process," he said. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it but I imagine some of the candidates we wind up interviewing will be candidates elsewhere as well." 

That could be the case with Raul Ibañez, who is believed to be at or near the top of Zaidi's list. The current Dodgers front office employee also reportedly could be on the radar in Chicago, where bench coach Mark Loretta is a candidate and also could be a fit for what the Giants are looking for. 

Joe Maddon is believed to be the favorite in Anaheim and Mike Matheny in Kansas City, and neither has been connected to the Giants yet. But it's likely that someone like Mark Kotsay, connected Friday, will have other options as well. The same holds true for Hensley Meulens, who interviewed with the Giants this week and has been a hot name in coaching circles for a couple of years. 

[RELATED: Zaidi reflects on difficult trade-deadline decision]

The Giants kicked off the interview process this week and plan to talk to six-to-eight external candidates. The expectation has been that a new hire won't be made until November, but keep an eye on other openings. There's a musical chairs element here, and openings and hirings elsewhere will impact the Giants. 

MLB rumors: Raúl Ibañez a name to know in future Giants manager search


MLB rumors: Raúl Ibañez a name to know in future Giants manager search

The Giants will have a vacancy in the dugout at the end of the season, and they reportedly already have a name in mind as part of an extensive interview process.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy will retire when the 2019 campaign ends, and the Giants then will begin in earnest searching for just their fourth manager this century. The Athletic's Andrew Baggarly told KNBR's Larry Krueger on Wednesday that the Giants "are going to bring in a lot of different candidates," and one of them could be 19-year MLB veteran Raúl Ibañez.

“[Ibañez] is somebody who is really positive, connects with players very well, he’s special assistant in the Dodgers system right now." Baggarly told Krueger on Wednesday (H/T KNBR.com). “He is another name that I’ve heard that will probably be part of an interview process when it gets to that stage.” 

Ibañez has been in the Dodgers' front office since Feb. 2016 and worked as a special assistant to current Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Jon Heyman reported last October that Ibañez turned down interviews for managerial opportunities in the previous offseason, and the New York Yankees reportedly wanted to interview Ibañez before hiring Aaron Boone in 2017. 

No matter who the Giants hire to replace Bochy, Baggarly said that chemistry with Zaidi will be important. But connecting with players will be an even bigger qualification, he said.

“Because we know that’s important when you do things a little bit differently and maybe you have guys going up and down from the minor leagues or being used in different roles than they're accustomed to," Baggarly said. "That is so important, and Bruce Bochy has done a good job in that this year and I think that whoever replaces him that is probably going to be the most important thing that he brings to the table.”

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Whether it's Ibañez or another candidate, Bochy's eventual successor will follow what is the most successful managerial stint since the franchise moved to San Francisco. Bochy has won more games than any other manager in the team's Bay Area era and more World Series titles than all but five managers in MLB history.