SF Giants’ search for a new manager to replace Kapler appears to be heating up

Third-base coach Mark Hallberg reportedly met with Giants officials to replace Gabe Kapler as team’s manager

The Giants’ search for a new general manager appears to be heating up, according to reports that team officials have met with an internal candidate.

According to Susan Slusser of the Chronicle, Mark Hallberg, the team’s third-base coach since 2022, was interviewed this week.

Hallberg appears to be the first candidate interviewed by Farhan Zaidi and his staff as the Giants seek to replace Gabe Kapler, who was fired with three games remaining in a disappointing 2023 season and one season left on his contract. This season, the Giants faded badly down the stretch, missing the playoffs for the third time in Kapler’s four years as manager.

Hallberg, 37, is in his second year as the team’s third base coach. Buster Posey’s Florida State teammate Hallberg has been a coach in the organization since 2018, managing the Class A Salem-Kaiser Volcanoes in 2019. In 2020, he joined Kapler’s coaching staff.

Other internal candidates are long-time Giants third base coach Ron Wotus, 62, who has served as a special assistant the past two seasons; Kai Correa, 35, who has been the Giants’ bench coach since 2000 and was the interim manager the final weekend of the season; and catching and bullpen coach Craig Albernaz. Albernaz, 40, has been with the Giants since 2000 and has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Terry Francona, who announced his retirement this week.

Many Giants fans want Posey to take over as manager, but it’s unclear if the 36-year-old former star, who retired after the 2001 season and has since become part of the ownership group, would even consider it at this point.

Even with former A’s manager Bob Melvin remaining with the San Diego Padres and Will Venable, the son of former Giants outfielder and a candidate when Kapler was hired in 2019, announcing this week he’ll remain on Bruce Bochy’s Rangers staff, where he just completed his first season as an associate manager, there are plenty of intriguing potential external candidates linked to the Giants’ opening.

Some of the potential targets include:

  • Former A’s star Stephen Vogt, 38, who joined the Mariners as a bullpen and quality control coach after retiring and has ties to Zaidi (he played for him with the A’s and the Giants)
  • Rangers bench coach Donnie Ecker, 37, a Los Altos product who spent two seasons as the Giants hitting coach (including their record-breaking 107-win season in 2001) before becoming Texas’ bench coach and offensive coordinator two seasons ago. The Giants would not be able to meet with Ecker until the end of the Rangers’ season, which could take them to the World Series.
  • Joe Espada, 48, is the Astros’ third base coach, and the Astros are competing with Ecker and the Rangers for the AL pennant. The Giants would also have to wait to discuss the position. When Kapler was hired, the other finalists were Espada and current Royals manager Matt Quatraro.
  • Craig Counsell is the Brewers’ manager for the time being, but his contract expires at the end of the month, and if things don’t work out in Milwaukee, the Giants – or others – could swoop in. Counsell, 53, just finished his ninth season with the Brewers, leading them to the playoffs for the fifth time in the last six years.

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