Four Major League Baseball franchises — the Red Sox, Angels, Mariners and Brewers — are actively searching for a new general manager.
Other clubs — such as the Phillies, Marlins and Reds — could join them, pending decisions on incumbent GMs.
And MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear he expects all clubs will adhere to the landmark rule on minority hiring established by his predecessor, Bud Selig, more than 16 years ago.
At the MLB owners meetings last month, sources say Manfred reminded team representatives that they are obligated to communicate their general manager or field manager search plans to him and that at least one minority candidate must be interviewed if the club conducts a search of candidates from outside the organization.
"Personally, I am pleased with the focus that has been put on the issue," Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who chairs MLB’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, told FOX Sports.
The issue of minority hiring in baseball gained attention earlier this year, when the Marlins, Brewers and Padres promoted internal candidates, who are white, to fill major-league managerial vacancies. Richard Lapchick, primary author of the Racial and Gender Report Card, white players accounted for 58.8 percent of MLB roster spots at the beginning of this season.
By comparison, 93.3 percent of managers (28 of 30) are white; Seattle’s Lloyd Mc Clendon and Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez are the only minority managers.
The census of top front-office positions is less straightforward; a growing number of teams have a "president of baseball operations" and "general manager," making it difficult to discern which person has the most proximate authority over baseball decisions.
Six minorities hold baseball operations positions at the GM level or above: Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill, Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart, Tigers general manager Al Avila, Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
And White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.
Still, the diversity among high-ranking team officials does not reflect the sport’s diversity on the field.
But the current turnover at the GM level — one of the most dramatic such periods in recent baseball history — represents an opportunity to address the imbalance.