"I have thought about how cool it would be to manage," Ripken said. "And even Donny Mattingly got me thinking about this a little bit more. He said there's nothing like being a player, and coaching is pretty good because you help other people do what it is that they do.A kind of trigger for this is Jayson Werth saying that Cal would be his favorite choice to manage the Washington Nationals. As ESPN notes, the Nats, along with Cubs, Mariners and Reds, have managerial openings.
"But managing is the closest thing to being a player, and I've always thought that anyway, internally. Now I'm starting to think about that a little bit more."
Of course, there other tumblers that could tumble one way or another in managerial locks.
If the Yankees don't re-sign Joe Girardi, then that slot comes open. Rumor has Don Mattingly going there, speculation primarily fueled by the team's failure to extend his option yet. That said, I see that as merely being a formality because of the Dodgers still being in the postseason.
(And, we can scratch those rumors: Joe just inked a new four-year contract.)
If Cal wants to go straight to the majors, without paying "dues" or whatever at the minor league level, or being a coach, not a manager, at the big show, he's also not going to want to start low. That definitely rules out the Mariners, and probably the Cubs.
So, Nats, Reds, or something that pops open late.
Those two teams have some challenges, but lots of upsides.
The Nationals were arguably just a Stephen Strasburg grounding away from the World Series last year and a team that got dinged up and underperformed the first two-thirds of this. Davey Johnson has the team in decent shape overall, and, other than Orioles fans thinking him a traitor for going just up the road, this could be an easy bounce-back.
The Reds? Dusty Baker couldn't quite get them over the hump in what's the National League's toughest division.
Now, what type of manager would he make?
I would see a focus on fundamentals, yet someone who's definitely a "player's manager." How much he would buy into sabermetrics, I don't know. I do know that he's sharp enough he'd always be thinking ahead on in-game strategy.
And, while he has no managerial experience, he surely learned something from his dad.