Less than 24 hours after his name was mentioned as potential candidate to replace Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia as he will reportedly step down next year, former Oakland Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez has landed his first job as a professional manager.
Chavez, 40, will step in as manager of the triple-A Salt Lake Bees for the rest of the season. Current manager Keith Jonson has been promoted to the Big League staff.
Call up! Bees Manager Keith Johnson will be joining the @Angels Major League coaching staff. Effective today, Angels Special Assistant Eric Chavez will assume managerial responsibilities for the Bees through the conclusion of the 2018 season. pic.twitter.com/9ECtBnJGCE
— Salt Lake Bees (@SaltLakeBees) August 5, 2018
Chavez currently serves as a special assistant to Angels general manager Billy Eppler, along with former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, also said to be a candidate to replace Scioscia.
Chavez’s résumé needs building
Chavez was the No. 10 overall pick in the 1996 MLB Draft and played 13 seasons with the A’s, winning six straight gold gloves at third base, and then split his final four years between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Chavez has no coaching experience to suggest he would be successful as an MLB-level manager – though he was a highly-regarded teammate during his playing years.
Based on the announced move, it seems like the Angels might look to Johnson as their next manager with Chavez waiting on-deck. However, the last few months of the 2018 MiLB season could be a trial run to assess and train Chavez’s managerial instincts for the immediate future.
Angels’ managerial vacancy contingent on Mike Scioscia’s decision
Regardless, we aren’t yet sure that Scioscia will actually vacate his position. While The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that Scioscia, MLB’s longest-tenured manager, was planning to step down entirely by his own volition after the end of the 2018, Scoscia himself denied that report Sunday morning.
“Nothing has changed since we talked last October,” Scioscia told the media. “That’s the best way I can put it. There’s always chatter out there. The only word I have is poppycock. That’s all it is.”
However, he’s in the final season of a 10-year, $50 million contract and turns 60 in November, so it would not be surprising if he did call it quits with the Angels, opening the position for Chavez, Ausmus, Johnson, or one of the many other currently-unemployed former MLB managers.