Courtesy of Creative Commons

By Brian Danuff 3/9/2018

JUPITER, Fla — MLB managers used to be men in their 60s, long-retired former players with decades of coaching experience.

Now, if you blink when a player retires, by the time you open your eyes he’ll be in the dugout managing a team he just played for.

Aaron Boone with the New York Yankees is one example, and Alex Cora with the Boston Red Sox is another. Both of their playing careers ended less than a decade ago, and neither had managed a single inning in Major League Baseball before taking the reins of their respective teams over the winter.

Cora even hired his former manager in the minor leagues, Ron Roenicke, to be his bench coach. Roenicke, who managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2011-2015, thinks Cora is more than your typical rookie manager.

“I still think experience is really important,” Roenicke said. “But as far as Alex and what he’s doing so far, he just has such a good feel for things, and I knew he would, and that’s part of the reason I wanted to come over and was excited to come over.”

But if Cora and others do lack experience, how are they getting hired? Roenicke believes it’s important not to overlook front offices trending younger as well.

“I think the general managers are getting younger,” Roenicke said. “So I think with them, communication has become a big part of [managing].”

Some believe these GMs are hiring managers who will merely be mouthpieces for the front office and execute its vision. But Roenicke has seen how coaches can personally push their players to be more than the sum of their parts.

“I think anytime you’ve got a good team to start with, you know the coaching staff has the chance to push them one way or the other. They’re going to be good regardless, but hopefully the coaching staff can get them to become a great team.”