A Look at Managerial Changes in Major League Baseball in 2010
Major League Baseball has seen two managers announce their retirements, effective at the end of the season. Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox, who actually announced his retirement last season, will be walking away with a golden opportunity to win one more ring on his way out, with his Braves currently leading the National League East. On the other side, Lou Piniella, current skipper of the Chicago Cubs, is walking away bloodied and sullied, unable to achieve the goal of giving the North Siders their first championship since 1908. Other managers have already come and gone this season, and likely more at the end of the season. Here is a list of the dearly departed, and those who might possibly be seeking employment come October.
Trey Hillman of the Royals the First Casualty in 2010
On May 11, Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said that Trey Hillman "is a tremendous leader. ... He's exactly what our organization needs at this point in time." Just two short days later, Hillman was packing his bags and getting out of Dodge.
Hired in 2008 to lead a rebuilding organization, Hillman led the Royals to a somewhat respectable 75-87 season, lending hope that the kids were starting to mature. 2009 saw a slide to 65-97 in an injury-filled season.
Off to an 11-23 start in 2010, GM Moore saw the writing on the wall: the team desperately needed a change, and Hillman was the odd man out. Ever the gracious organization, the Royals allowed Hillman to manage one last game, which he won. Hillman was replaced by Ned Yost, moving from the front office to guide the team for the rest of the season.
Dave Tremblay of the Orioles Next on the Firing Line
After twelve consecutive losing seasons, the Baltimore Orioles were obviously tired of losing. There was certainly hope with the emergence of Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz and others. However, after a dismal 15-39 start to the 2010 season, it was apparent that the team lacked focus and, in some cases, effort.
Dave Tremblay, given the keys back in 2007, was the man pegged to guide the massive rebuilding effort undertaken by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. Tremblay was given teams that never had much talent, and at the start of 2010 he was faced with a growing injury list, a largely ineffective bullpen and a porous offense.
After an 0-6 road trip and eight game losing streak, Tremblay was dismissed on June 4, replaced by third base coach Juan Samuel on an interim basis.
Florida Marlins Jettison Fredi Gonzalez
Is anyone ever safe under the ownership of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria? Jeff Torborg wasn't. Joe Girardi wasn't. Add Fredi Gonzalez to that list. Gonzalez was fired on June 23 from his job as manager of the Florida Marlins and replaced by Edwin Rodriguez.
Gonzalez, who was immensely popular with the players, was given the axe after the Marlins got off to a 34-36 start and 7 1/2 games out of the National League East lead.
"This team seems to be stuck in neutral, and our competitors are on the accelerator," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "We were looking for a leadership change to hopefully get us on the accelerator. That's a big part of what we did today."
A.J. Hinch Given the Heave-Ho in Arizona
35 year-old A.J. Hinch, hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks just one year earlier, was let go on July 1, along with General Manager Josh Byrnes.
Hinch had been given the job to manage the D-Backs following the firing of Bob Melvin on May 7, 2009. Although he had no managerial experience at any level, Hinch was given a three year contract, moving from his position of vice president for player personnel.
Hinch was replaced on an interim basis by Diamondbacks' bench coach and former star player Kirk Gibson.
Mariners Fire Wakamatsu, Brown Takes Over on Interim Basis
When you lose the faith of your players, the ending is usually inevitable. And that's exactly what happened in Seattle. The Mariners fired manager Don Wakamatsu on August 9, replaced by interim manager Daren Brown.
Wakamatsu, who was the majors' first ever Japanese-American manager, was hired following the 2008, and guided the Mariners to an 85-77 finish last year.
This year, the wheels fell off the wagon. The retirement of Ken Griffey, Jr., the battles with first-year Mariner Chone Figgins, and ongoing issues with outfielder Milton Bradley were just part of the problem.
An offense that was one of the worst in the majors certainly didn't help, and after a 42-70 start, the second worst in the American League, Wakamatsu was given his walking papers.
"The truth of the matter is, I lost confidence in Don," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "New leadership is needed and it is needed now."
Who is Next on the Managerial Carousel?
There will no doubt be more changes come the end of the season, if not before. So who is next on the firing line?
Jerry Manuel, New York Mets
Serioiusly, how much longer can this guy survive? New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel has seemingly dodged bullets thus far in Queens, as has GM Omar Minaya.
With the team currently at 60-60 and 11 1/2 games out of the National League East lead, Manuel can't be sleeping well at night.
Joe Torre, Los Angeles Dodgers
There is now way in the world that Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre will be fired. But how long will he stick around? Especially considering the ongoing McCourt divorce saga?
The Dodgers were clearly one of the favorites to win the National League West division in 2010. However, when your starting pitcher on Opening Day is Vicente Padilla, can you really keep those high expectations?
Ken Macha, Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers have been a riddle wrapped in an enigma throughout the 2010 season. An inconsisent offense, disappointing starting pitching and a merry-go-round at the closer position has doomed this team to a mediocre season.
Will Ken Macha survive at the end as they play out the string?