CHICAGO – There are some subtle clues to suggest that Tampa Bay Rays bench coach Dave Martinez could be Ken Williams' hand-pick favorite to move into Ozzie Guillen's vacated office in 2012.
Martinez, who played for the White Sox from 1995-97, batted .300 in two of his three seasons on the South Side.
Williams said he will not be able to name a manager before the playoffs start this weekend, and he said that delay could last until after the World Series depending on how things play out.
Martinez is the only one of Williams' prime managerial targets who will be involved with postseason play.
Sandy Alomar Jr. is a guy who knows what the White Sox are about and is very familar with pitching coach Don Cooper. He rates with Martinez as the top two candidates.
So with that in mind, we handicap the candidates to become the new White Sox manager, noting that Williams said that Buddy Bell was comfortable in his role as director of player development and wound not be interested in a field job.
Dave Martinez, Tampa Bay Rays bench coach: Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf had success hiring former Celtics coach Tom Thibodeau for the Bulls. Martinez is in a similar situation with the Rays under manager Joe Maddon as a coach on the rise poised for breakout success as the head man. Williams said he has one top candidate in mind. This could be the guy.
ONE STEP DOWN
Sandy Alomar Jr., Cleveland Indians bench coach: The always positive former catcher has been through it all as a player and is destined to be a manager one day. Was promoted to bench coach Wednesday. After his White Sox days were done, he kept his Chicago residence after moving on to a new team showing his love of the city.
Joe McEwing, Triple-A Charlotte Knights manager: His high energy and infectious style earned him the nickname "Super Joe" and there isn't a person who knows him who doesn't think it's a perfect fit. The organization is impressed with his work with the organization's young talent.
Tony La Russa, St. Louis Cardinals, manager: The former White Sox manager still has close ties to Reinsdorf and that relationship could lead to a second pairing. Indications are, though, that the veteran manager isn't ready to sever his ties with the Cardinals.
Ryne Sandberg,Triple-A Lehigh Valley manager: There seems to be little question he has the goods to manage. Would his hire, though, be a statement to the crosstown Cubs, who turned down one of their own to go with Mike Quade? The Angels nabbed Mike Scioscia, a favorite of the crosstown Dodgers, and the rest has been history.
Don Cooper, White Sox, pitching coach: The club's pitching coach for nine full seasons got his chance to be the main man for the last two games and loved every minute of it. He is a high-energy guy who has the respect of the players, but the White Sox would probably prefer that he keep his focus on the pitchers.
Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox manager: The Red Sox failed to make the playoffs, and the club could take a pass on his option for next season. Pushed all the right buttons for the Red Sox in two World Series title runs. Knows how to blend high-profile talent with emerging youngsters.