When teams begin searching for new managers, there have been many names connected to many jobs, but one name hasn’t come up nearly often enough: Todd Greene.
Greene, 44, is currently in his fifth season with the Arizona Diamondbacks and his fourth as a special assistant to the General Manager and Major League Scout. He previously served as a scout for the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners.
Before becoming a scout, Greene played professional baseball for 11 years, including stints with the Anaheim Angels (1997-1999), Toronto Blue Jays (2000), New York Yankees (2001), Texas Rangers (2002-2003), Colorado Rockies (2004-2005), and finally the San Francisco Giants (2006).
In those 11 seasons, Greene hit .252 with 71 home runs and 217 RBI. He is well known for catching the ceremonial first pitch from President George W. Bush prior to Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.
With 22 years in baseball as a player, scout, and quality assurance coach, Greene has more than enough experience for a job, and according to people who know and have played with Greene, he would excel in that position.
“There are guys that you play with over your career who seem more intuitive than others,” Nitkowski says. “They are [paying] closer attention to the ins and outs of the game. They are asking more questions, they are injecting personal opinion and they do it in a way that tells you this play could manage one day.
“[Todd is] extremely competitive, which to some degree has become a lost trait. Todd wants to win, as much as anyone I have been around.”
Others around the game who know Greene share Nitkowski’s thoughts, including Bill Bryk, currently a Special Assistant to the General Manager and Major League Scout for the Diamondbacks.
“Todd is very sharp,” said Bryk in a phone interview. “He’s a former big leaguer who played the game the right way. I think the world of him.”
When Greene was playing, he wasn’t your typical player.
“He was a manager when he was playing,” Bryk said. “I love the guy like a son. I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
According to a scout close with Greene, he shares qualities with three of the better managers in baseball.
“Todd is a cross between Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, and Mike Matheny,” says the scout. “The details he possess of the game are just amazing to watch. I don’t see people that have the ability [to know the details of the game] and be able to teach it like he can. His memory is just unreal.
“He is similar in ways to Joe Maddon. He’s not quirky like Maddon, but his way he connects with his players is unbelievable.”
Greene, who is as impressive as a guy you’ll meet, according to people who know him, has gotten significant respect from Tom Glavine, a Hall-of-Fame pitcher.
“Glavine comes up to Todd and asks questions,” the scout says. “Tom would ask Todd certain questions about positioning, how to do this and how to do that. [Greene is] unbelievably smart.”
Greene not only is more than capable of becoming a manager, he has a really good eye as a talent evaluator.
The trade that sent Justin Upton and Chris Johnson to the Braves in exchange for Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado, and Brandon Drury was a move made under Greene’s guidance, according to someone close to him.
Ahmed and Delgado are well known by fans, but according to the source, Greene got Drury as a “throw in” in the deal when he was an unknown 20-year-old.
Drury, now 23, went through the minors and is now with the big league team. He is hitting .300 with two home runs and seven RBI in less than a month in the big leagues and figures to be a valuable piece going forward.
This is one of the reasons why people who know Greene, including Nitkowski, and the scout, believe he is more than capable of being not only a manager, but a general manager.
Bryk, however, sees Greene as “deserving as some of the [candidates] getting interviewed for general manager jobs,” but ultimately feels he is better suited to become a manager.
While he may eventually be a candidate to become a general manager, they all feel like he is ready to become a very good manager.
He just needs to get the chance.