MLB Managers: 10 Teams With Probable Openings, and the Candidates For Each
Major League Baseball is about to get a serious face-lift on the managerial front this offseason considering that already this regular season there have been five managerial firings. These include Seattle's Don Wakamatsu, Kansas City's Trey Hillman, Baltimore's Dave Trembley, Arizona's AJ Hinch, and Florida's Fredi Gonzlez.
Once this season ends, we won't see Bobby Cox, still managing the contending Braves, or Lou Pinella, who got a head start on retirement, any longer as a manager. The duo have combined for over 4,300 major league victories, six National League pennants with a pair of World Series titles.
We can't forget about Cito Gaston who is managing in his final season with the Toronto Blue Jays and his managing career. Gaston has as many World Series titles (two) as Pinella and Cox.
Yet as we look upon this season as the Year of the Pitcher how about we have a standing ovation for the Year of the Manager? This offseason will dictate the future of Major League Baseball for years to come because as many as 10 teams will have probable openings with a few other teams on the bubble depending on the rest of the hirings or firings. That's nearly three quarters of the entire league, perhaps getting a new manager from Opening Day 2010.
Even though the regular season ends in early October, expect for their to be as much as a handful of managerial moves during the postseason.
In an earlier article, I wrote about the possible MLB managerial changes this offseason and headlined those teams but a lot has changed and with a month left in the regular season, this can be seen as the update to what's to come, whose on each teams radar, and the probable choice for the team's new manager.
After the Atlanta Braves' season comes to end whenever that may be, Bobby Cox will officially call it quits whether as a World Series champion or a loser in the playoffs but not after a amazing run he had with the Braves. Their next task is finding their next manager and the likely candidate can best be noted as the man in the picture, Fredi Gonzalez. There was speculation that Fredi Gonzlez would be Bobby Cox's apprentice last offseason when he almost got fired. Well he got fired mid-season with the Marlins and becomes the odds on favorite to land the job.
But don't be surprised if the Braves wait to hire their next man, if Joe Torre decides to leave Los Angeles, Torre could be the favorite to return to the Braves where he managed from 1982-1984. Let's not forget that Joe Torre replaced Bobby Cox after Cox was fired in 1981.
Candidates: Fredi Gonzalez, Terry Pendleton, Joe Torre, Bobby Valentine
The Next Manager: Fredi Gonzalez
The Arizona Diamondbacks might stick with Kirk Gibson as their man beyond this season if he finishes the season well. Thus far he has done an admirable job considering this team doesn't haven't Dan Haren or Brandon Webb with a strikeout happy lineup.
Bo Porter is a strong candidate to be a manager someday if not in Arizona, elsewhere. If the Diamondbacks wanted to try Bo Porter for their job they would have had him in the interim role but that was not the case. My gut feeling is that Gibson returns for next season considering the job he has done with a rebuilding roster.
Candidates: Kirk Gibson, Bo Porter, Eric Wedge, Tony Peña Sr.
The Next Manager: Kirk Gibson
While Cubs fans would want Ryan Sandberg as their next manager there is always Joe Girardi which many people see as the reason why the Cubs haven't acted on Sandberg right away and opted for Mike Quade. The Chicago Cubs have left the door open for Girardi to be their next man and perhaps have Sandberg up as a bench coach as a bonus. It seems to be their game-plan because they don't have faith that Sandberg can be their guy right away.
Yet, the Cubs have to look at their situation and see that they aren't a year from the postseason unless they make some moves to get rid of hefty contracts (Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Zambrano) to gain other contracts which could help their team. Quite simply the Cubs are rebuilding and they are doing it with two young stars, Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro. I doubt Girardi will leave postseason pinstripes for a reclamation project in Wrigley.
Candidates: Ryan Sandberg, Joe Girardi, Fredi Gonzalez, Bob Brenly
The Next Manager: Ryan Sandberg
The Florida Marlins have already gone through two up-and-coming managers (Joe Girardi and Fredi Gonzalez) and that hasn't worked out. Expect to see the Marlins go the experienced and fiery route with their next choice as manager.
Ozzie Guillen may be an option but only if the Chicago White Sox decide to fire him, in which case the Marlins might come calling. He might just be what the Marlins need both for their fans going into the new stadium in 2012, in the South Florida atmosphere bombarded by the arrivals of Brandon Marshall, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James, and in the national media whether controversial or not you gotta love Ozzie.
According to Fox Sports, Jim Fregosi and Larry Bowa fit the mold of the Marlins next fiery and experienced manager and are also candidates.
The Marlins still consider Bobby Valentine as a candidate for their job and I believe he will get a good look this offseason where the Marlins have time to make a choice. Yet the Marlins have had a history under Loria to make their move quickly so expect for the Marlins to have a new manager set in stone before the end of the World Series. If Loria has been linked to Valentine twice, third times the charm for Bobby V and Jeffrey Loria to make a "baseball love connection."
Candidates: Bobby Valentine, Jim Fregosi, Ozzie Guillen, Larry Bowa
The Next Manager: Bobby Valentine
Los Angeles Dodgers
While Joe Torre hasn't announced his intentions to take his talents and remain on the West Coast or head elsewhere, It's a 50-50 chance he leaves. Torre might bolt considering the situation with the McCourts and better situation with another team. I mentioned Torre could head to Atlanta or any other team with an opening.
The Dodgers might be in a tough spot picking between Wallach or Mattingly. Mattingly has been seen as as the future manager of the Dodgers while waiting for Joe Torre's tenure to end. Still rumors have swirled that Wallach might be their man and I believe that may be true. If Torre heads elsewhere, Mattingly might follow him yet again like father like son almost to his new team. Mattingly has no experience in managing which hurts his chances.
Candidates: Tim Wallach, Don Mattingly, Larry Bowa, Bobby Valentine
The Next Manager: Tim Wallach
The Milwaukee Brewers are headed for their second consecutive season of missing the playoffs under Ken Macha which would signal his departure. I don't think that the Brewers are going to stick with Macha unless they begin spending on pitching which has hurt their chances the past two seasons in the wake of CC Sabathia's signing with the Yankees.
The likely replacement is another candidate who had ties for the job, Willie Randolph. Randolph would be the favorite to land the job having been with the club the past couple of seasons as a bench coach. Any other candidate would be considered but Randolph nine times out of 10 will be the manager of Macha is out.
Candidates: Willie Randolph, Bob Brenly, Joey Cora, Ted Simmons
The Next Manager: Willie Randolph
New York Mets
The Return of Joe Torre to the Big Apple? Perhaps. As I mentioned with the Braves where Torre could end up returning, the Mets are another destination where Torre could return. Joe Torre got his start with the Mets as his first managerial gig and I'm sure he would enjoy returning to bring a balance of power which is heavily weighed on the Yankees in New York.
I believe Joe Torre is the key to three teams futures including the Mets, Dodgers, and Braves. The Mets will be stupid if they don't jump on the chance to land Torre even though they may be strapped financially. Torre gets his teams into the playoffs year in and year out (although this season is an exception).
In the end Torre has a choice but why get mixed in a divorce situation with the Dodgers where that's causing the team to deal Manny Ramirez to save money as they have lost it. Joe Torre would likely head off to New York but Wally Backman comes in a close second.
Torre can look at David Wright like his Derek Jeter and the new Citi Field that can be his "new Yankee Stadium" that he never got to treasure, getting canned in 2007.
Candidates: Joe Torre, Wally Backman, Bob Melvin, Bobby Valentine
The Next Manager: Joe Torre
Bob Geren has driven the Oakland Athletics to a plateau they can't get off of. Since joining the Athletics in 2007, the team's final record has been 76-86, 75-86, and 75-87. This season they've hovered around .500 and are likely on their way to the best record under Geren yet likely under .500 to finish the season.
I seriously doubt the Athletics will bring back Geren with four consecutive seasons under 80 wins and not making any serious postseason push while the team is aiming to get a new stadium built. Willie Randolph would be on the top of their list but he would more likely land with Milwaukee if they let go of Ken Macha.
Reds pitching coach Bryan Price who is really good with pitching staffs as evidenced with Cincinnati, Seattle, and Arizona is one candidate to keep on eye on. Oakland's starting staff consists of Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill, Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, and Vin Mazzaro. All of which have yet to hit their prime and have ERAs less than 4.50.
Candidates: Bryan Price, Eric Wedge, Tony Pena Sr, Willie Randolph
The Next Manager: Bryan Price
The Seattle Mariners have struggled to get any real magic going ever since Mike Hargrove decided to leave in the middle of the 2007 season when the team was really starting to make waves. This season many expected the Mariners to make the playoffs when they traded for Cliff Lee and Milton Bradley, and signed Chone Figgins.Yep, It's been quite a while since Seattle made the playoffs.
The pressure is on to find a manager who is experienced and current San Diego Padres bench coach Ted Simmons fits that description.
Candidates: Ted Simmons, Bobby Valentine, Willie Randolph, Joey Cora
The Next Manager: Ted Simmons
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays might be trying to find a diamond in the rough with their next manager, hoping to land a no name that can lead the team to contend in a crowded AL East.
The Blue Jays have been a great team out of the gates each season so the talent is there, but one thing's for sure: There won't be a sexy name like a Joe Torre or Bobby Valentine heading here.
A name that has been brought up is former major leaguer Sal Fasano who is currently managing in the minor league system for Toronto. Yet it's too big of a reach and risk to go with a guy who last played in 2008. Common sense says wait to give a guy the job a few years after playing to develop manager skills before handing him the reins so quickly. But don't be surprised if Fasano is the choice he could be up with the team as a coach while another manager has the job for the time being.
Candidates: Brian Butterfield, Don Baylor, Sal Fasano, Ron Roenicke
The Next Manager: Don Baylor