Joe Oliver will not be returning as manager of the Portland Sea Dogs.

Oliver, 55, managed the Sea Dogs for one season (2019) after managing lower-level Red Sox teams since 2014. Oliver mentored prospects such as Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers, Bobby Dalbec and C.J. Chatham.

“I’m going to miss Portland,” said Oliver, who added he hopes to manage or coach again. “I will miss the people, and the front office there. Ownership is top notch. Classy people.”

Oliver confirmed Thursday that he was part of a mass layoff by the Boston Red Sox, the Sea Dogs’ parent club, in September. The Red Sox let go of nine employees in scouting and player development – part of a 10 percent overall reduction (40 employees total) by the Red Sox in their baseball and business offices. The layoff was blamed on the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But there is also uncertainty in the minor leagues, caused by Major League Baseball’s push to eliminate minor league teams. MLB reportedly wants to cut short-season leagues, which includes 40 teams. Boston’s short-season affiliate is in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Oliver said he was given “no real reason (for the layoff), other than affiliate contractions.”

If that is the case, the Red Sox will be expected to replace Oliver with someone from within the organization. Among the candidates would be Red Sox minor league managers Corey Wimberly, (advanced Class A Salem, Virginia) and Iggy Suarez (low Class A Greenville). Suarez is a former Sea Dogs player.

An announcement on the new manager could be months away. In recent years, the Red Sox have announced coaching staffs for all of the minor league teams in January.

Oliver was a major league catcher for 13 years, making his debut with the Reds in 1989, and winning a World Series with Cincinnati in 1990. He played for five other teams, including five games with the Red Sox in 2001, his last season.

When he retired, Oliver left baseball to spend time with his family. When the Red Sox called about managing the Lowell Spinners in 2014, Oliver got back into the game. He managed Lowell for two seasons, and then Salem for three. His 2019 Sea Dogs team went 62-77, featuring prospects like Dalbec, Chatham and pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez.

Oliver was in Portland in January, as a guest at the annual Sea Dogs Hot Stove Dinner. He was to return in April, but the pandemic shut down spring training on March 12. While the major leagues eventually resumed in July, the minor league season was canceled.

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