Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) - When the Indians take the field opening day 2013, the team will have have a new face calling the shots.
The two top names being bantered about for the new Indians manager job is current interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr., and former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
The current players in the locker room seem to all have an opinion on who should take over, and most have said they support Alomar, who many have all gotten to know on a personal level.
As for Francona, his resume speaks for itself, and he would be a fresh voice to many Indians players who have never dealt with him.
Either way, it’s going to be different, and to a player the guys on the roster are already getting ready to welcome in the new skipper.
“It’s a clean slate and anytime you get a clean slate as a player you welcome it whether good or bad,” relief pitcher Frank Herrmann said. “Kind of keeps you on your toes and allows you to re-invent yourself on and off the field so we welcome it. I love Sandy I hope it’s him, but I know Terry Francona has a great track record also.”
Alomar seems to be leading in the polls among players right now, but an argument can be made that it’s only because most know him and have known him.
“I’m very happy that Sandy is in the position that he is in now,” pitcher Vinnie Pestano said. “I’m rooting for him this offseason to become the everyday guy.”
The roster is going to change come next season, that’s a given. The club is expected to have some turnover, and many players will be fighting for a shot to impress their new boss.
One player that is trying to do that now is Russ Canzler, who had an impressive September call-up for the Indians from AAA.
“It feels good, I think you can kind of get caught up in those things a little bit,” Canzler said. “There’s so many things that can happen in the offseason, a new manager, new players coming in, you never know what’s going to happen. I think overall it’s going to be my responsibility to make a good impact on whoever it is, whether it’s Sandy or whoever the other candidates are.”
Most of the players asked about the new manager said that they are simply going to do what they do, and not try to do a whole lot different to try and impress the skipper.
One player who has had an outstanding 2012 that shouldn’t need to do a whole lot different is Pestano, who ended the season with a 3-3 record and an ERA of 2.57.
“It’s a tough question for a bullpen guy, we’re not doing day to day stuff, we’re not in the dugout with the manager all the time,” Pestano said. “Sandy’s obviously got everybody’s respect, but anybody they bring in here we’re going to play hard for, so it’s tough for me to say how much a manager effects my day to day relations.”
Another everyday player who says he won’t change his style too much is second basemen Jason Kipnis, who nearly made the AL All-Star team in his first full season in the Majors.
Kipnis is on the verge of becoming a star, and whoever winds up managing the team in 2013 is going to welcome his hard play and pop at the plate going forward.
“I won’t be changing too many things, there’s not too many things that I’ll do,” Kipnis said. “When I got here Manny (Acta) was still a new manager to me, so whether it’s Sandy or Terry I’ll be excited to have either one of those guys, and I think they will get us going in the right direction.”
There will be plenty of competition for roster spots next season, a lot of which will come from the pitching staff, which fell on hard times in 2012 when they collapsed in August.
One bright spot was the bullpen throwing of rookie Cody Allen, who made a tremendous leap starting the season at single A ball and winding up pitching for the big league club from July 20th on.
He will be in the mix for a spot in the pen in 2013, and says that he will do whatever he can to make the team, but that he thinks the players will for the most part be who they are.
“I’m still going to do the same thing, I am still going to be the same guy,” Allen said. “I’m not going to come in and try and please whoever is managing, everybody is going to be themselves. Whoever leads this team next year whether it be Sandy, it be Terry, whoever, their goal is going to be the same as ours, and that’s to win ballgames, so as far as our goals and our standards are the same I think it’s going to be fine.”
One player that knows all too well about changing managers is backup catcher Lou Marson.
The Indians backup plate stopper has already been through a new manager three different times, and says while he is rooting for Alomar, he’s hopeful the decision the Indians makes goes a long way in starting a winning tradition with the club.
“This is going to be the third different manager I have had since I’ve been here,” Marson said. “You just need to come and be a professional and be ready to play. I’m rooting for Sandy, for sure, I’ve been with him a couple years now, but they are going to make the decision and hopefully it’s the right one.”