Sandy Alomar Jr. was installed as the Indians interim manager with a few games to go in the season, and it's hard not to believe he's the heavy favorite to remain their permanent manager.
The late appointment to replace the fired Manny Acta looks a bit like a test to name an interim manager with a week left in the season. But if so, it's a short test. And reasonably so.
The Indians are said to be "kicking the tires'' on longshot candidate Terry Francona as well as Jays coach Torey Lovullo, who has Indians ties. And Rays coach Dave Martinez interviewed when Acta got the job.
But everyone around baseball knows what a terrific managerial candidate Alomar Jr. is, and the Indians have to know it better than anyone. Alomar was a star catcher for them from 1990-2000, and he's been a coach for them the past three seasons, initially the first base coach and more recently bench coach.
Alomar is beloved wherever he's been, and most of all Cleveland, where he played a major leadership role on a variety of teams. That includes the best teams in Cleveland the past few decades, with talents like Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Baerga and his Hall of Fame brother, Roberto Alomar.
Alomar Jr. was a candidate for managerial jobs with the Red Sox, Cubs and Blue Jays. But it's hard to take a player who is inexperienced yet entrenched with another organization and name him you're own manager. It was no disrespect that he failed to get those jobs.
The Indians are the spot for him. He'll be able to grow along with their young team.
They understandably reached out to to Francona, who once played for the Indians. But Francona told me a week ago that he loved his job on TV and would only consider the "right'' job. With the Indians still rebuilding, and owner Larry Dolan unlikely to pay the going rate for a manager with two World Series rings, Francona seems like something of a long shot for the Indians. Dolan doesn't exactly like to throw his money around, and he's still on the hook for another year with Acta, who made a seven-figure salary.
No, the one and only candidate who makes sense is the one they have right in front of them. It's Sandy Alomar.