With the end of the major league season comes the beginning of the offseason movement, especially among minor league coaching staffs.
The Reno Aces, Arizona’s Pacific Coast League affiliate, hired former first overall pick Phil Nevin as their manager, replacing Brett Butler, who left for a job with the Marlins.
Nevin was the first overall pick in 1992 by the Astros – the same year Derek Jeter was drafted sixth overall. Nevin didn’t have Jeter’s success, but did play 12 years in the majors and posted an .862 OPS in seven years with the Padres.
Nevin managed the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, a Tigers affiliate, from 2011-13.
“Once (the Aces’ manager position) came up, it was just a great fit,” Nevin told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
In other coaching news, the Marlins lost Joe Espada, who they expected to have as the manager of their High Class-A franchise, to the Yankees as special assistant to GM Brian Cashman.
Espada had been third base coach for the Marlins the past four years before the team reassigned him to Jupiter, Fla., for the 2014 season. He said he was initially reluctant to leave a field position.
“It took me a couple of days to make the decision and that was the main reason because I enjoy being on the field, but there’s stuff I need to learn,” Espada told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “There’s more than just coaching players. It’s how to put guys in the right spot, knowing how to put a team together, pieces you need to make a team a better club. Taking a year or two off the field and learning the evaluation part of things … that’s something I felt like I should do now at a young age.
Also Tuesday, the Royals announced two managerial changes.
Kansas City said former major league catcher Vance Wilson will pilot the Texas League’s Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Wilson, 40, lives in Springdale, where the team is based. He played eight seasons in the bigs with the Mets (1999-2004) and Tigers (2005-06).
Wilson led the Class-A Kane County Cougars to the second round of the Midwest League playoffs in 2011 and he was then promoted to High Class-A Wilmington for the past two seasons.
Wilson replaces Brian Poldberg, who was promoted to manage the Royals’ PCL affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers.
“It is bittersweet not to have Poldberg back for a seventh season,” Naturals GM Justin Cole said in a news release, “but we are thrilled he’ll be managing in his hometown team in Omaha. Brian gave us six seasons of tremendous leadership and brought a Texas League championship to Northwest Arkansas.”