We have two new entrants in the Toronto Blue Jays managerial sweepstakes.
And both have Montreal Expos backgrounds like general manager Alex Anthopoulos, his assistant Dana Brown and assistant GM Tony LaCava:
Jim Tracy, former Colorado Rockies manager, who walked away from the $1.4 million final year of his deal and was Felipe Alou's former bench coach with the Expos. He also managed the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And Manny Acta, who managed both the Washington Nationals and the Cleveland Indians, and also coached in Montreal. Acta was also in Washington when Brown was the scouting director, putting together the powerhouse which came within one out of reaching the National League Championship Series.
Tracy managed Jose Bautista with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Acta managed Bautisa in winter ball.
The first question Anthopoulos should ask when he sits down to interview candidates for the vacant Blue Jays managing position:
"So what is your dream job?"
The vacancy was created after John Farrell asked out with a year remaining on his contract.
Do the Jays go with experience -- which they have done only twice before (Bobby Cox in 1982, and Jim Fregosi in the spring of 1999 which was an emergency hire after Tim Johnson was fired) or try another first-timer?
HANDICAPPING THE FIELD
The second winter-book installment in the 13th running of the Blue Jays managerial stakes:
3. Manny Acta, 43, former Indians, Nats manager 3-1
4. Don Wakamatsu, 49, Jays bench coach 5-1
5. Tim Wallach, 55, Dodgers third base coach 7-1
6. Demarlo Hale, 51, Orioles third base coach 10-1
7. Brad Ausmus, 43, Padres special assistant 12-1
8. Mike Maddux, 51, Rangers pitching coach 15-1
9. Cito Gaston, 68, former Jays manager 20-1
10. Ernie Whitt, 60, Baseball Canada manager 25-1
FIELD: Ron Wotus, 51, Giants bench coach, 25-1; Ryne Sandberg, 53, Phillies third base coach 25-1; Tony Pena, 55, Yankees bench coach, 25-1; Brian Butterfield, 54, Jays third base coach 25-1; Rob Thomson, 49, Yanks third base coach, 30-1; Matt Williams, Diamondbacks third base coach, 30-1; Dave Anderson, 52, Rangers third base coach, 35-1; Brad Mills, 55, Indians coach, 35-1; David Martinez, 48, Rays bench coach, 50-1; Omar Vizquel, 45, retired player, 100-1.
SCRATCHED: Torey Lovullo, 47, Jays first base coach, Tony Beasley, 45, manager triple-A Syracuse.