Red Sox bench coach Will Venable is a candidate for the Royals managerial opening, according to New York Post reporter Jon Heyman. He also list other previously reported candidates such as Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, Dodgers first base coach Clayton McCullough, and internal Royals candidates like bench coach Pedro Grifol, third base coach Vance Wilson, and Omaha manager Scott Thorman. The Royals have also interviewed Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan, but he reportedly signed a contract extension to stay in Philadelphia.
Venable was an outfielder for nine seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Padres. His father Max was also an MLB outfielder for twelve seasons. Venable spent some of his childhood moving around to the Dominican Republic and Japan and ended up studying at Princeton. After his playing career was over, he joined the Cubs as a special assistant to Theo Epstein before joining their coaching staff in 2018. In 2020 he joined the Red Sox and was even considered for their managerial position when Alex Cora was suspended. He did fill in for Cora for six games this year when the manager tested positive for COVID-19. He has interviewed for managerial openings with the Cubs, Tigers, Athletics, and Astros in the past, and was said to be considered for Texas’s opening this year.
The 39-year-old has worked for two of the more analytical organizations in baseball, working under Theo Epstein, and was considered for manager by other teams the Royals would like to emulate. He is said to be a “hybrid blend of having some old-school qualities mixed in with the new-school qualities.” He is not known as a “rah-rah” guy, but one of his strengths is getting buy-in from players.
Venable is known to be tough when needed but has a knack for “finessing the situation” to help a player comprehend information without an argument.
“That’s one of the toughest things to do in today’s game,” Gwynn said. “When we played, it seemed like guys were more willing to just accept what was being said. In today’s game, guys push back a little.”
Heyman’s report also indicated the Marlins talked to former Royals outfielder Raúl Ibañez about their managerial opening, but that he withdrew from consideration due to family considerations.