Baseball

Gaston confirms Baylor interview with Jays

Outgoing Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston says he is pleased that Don Baylor will get a chance to interview for his job.

Outgoing Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was asked what kind of qualities the organization should look for in his replacement.

He admitted to being somewhat stumped by the question, but said Don Baylor is a good place to start.

Gaston said Thursday that he was pleased to hear that Baylor will interview for the job and said he has passed the names of several other possible candidates to Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos.

"He does bring a present when he walks in a room. Not a birthday present, but a presence," Gaston quipped before the Blue Jays began the final series of the season against the Minnesota Twins. "I think it'd be good for him. Whether he gets it or not, I'm happy to hear they're going to consider him and take a look at him."

Gaston said he recommended Juan Samuel, who served as interim manager in Baltimore this season after Dave Trembley was fired, for an interview. He also has passed along the names of a handful of other people who reached out to him to express interest.

Just what kind of manager it will take to get the Blue Jays over the hump in the powerful AL East, Gaston doesn't quite know.

"Really, I don't know what sort of manager you need here," he said. "I don't know what kind of team is going to be here next year because there's a lot of unanswered questions here. I don't know. Are you looking to win next year or are you looking to win two years, three years from now?"

Sports Illustrated's website reported early Thursday that Toronto had received permission from the Rockies to speak with Baylor, who is currently Colorado's hitting instructor.

Baylor was the inaugural manager of the Colorado Rockies (1993-1998) and went on to guide the Chicago Cubs from 2000 to 2002.

Baylor, 61, compiled a 627-689 record overall.

"I think Don deserves an interview and another chance," Gaston said. "Don was a good player. He's a good coach also. He's been a manager before."

It is unclear when he would speak with the Blue Jays.

Gaston said he figured it would be good to get someone with managerial experience. But then again, "I didn't have any experience," he said of when he began his first stint as Blue Jays skipper in 1989. "I think it's a real tough job to know who is the right guy."

Gaston was the first African-American manager to win World Series titles, in 1992 and 1993, during a first managerial run that ended in 1997. He returned to the club as a hitting coach from 2000-01 and took over as manager again in June 2008.

The Blue Jays honoured Gaston, who is retiring, with an emotional pre-game ceremony on Wednesday night in the home finale. After the Jays beat the Yankees, they showered Gaston with beer and water to celebrate an esteemed career.

Anthopoulos said this week that he will not rush the hiring process and would like to have a replacement in place by the time the early December winter meetings take place.

The GM also said the next manager would likely get a say in whether to retain or let go any of Toronto's current coaches: hitting coach Dwayne Murphy, pitching coach Bruce Walton, bench coach Nick Leyva, third base coach Brian Butterfield, first base coach Omar Malave and bullpen coach Rick Langford.

With files from CBCSports.ca