Let’s be honest, every major league baseball manager could get fired…that’s what they do. They aren’t like popes who usually get to die in office; being a major league manager means having your ass welded to a revolving door. But there are some who simply have a much better chance of getting revolved out of town because they lead teams that have expectations which if not lived up to…well, somebody’s got to take the fall.
Having said that, there are a few managers who have almost no chance of being fired, because nobody expects anything from their teams. This includes guys like:
- Bo Porter, Houston Astros
- Mike Redmond, Miami Marlins
- Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins
- Dale Sveum, Chicago Cubs
There’s also a group who are simply untouchable, because they’ve delivered lately.
- Bruce Bochy, San Francisco giants
- Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
- Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
- Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves
That leaves us with a group of ten managers I see as most likely to be looking for work by Opening Day 2014. Somebody’s door is going to revolve, and here are the ten I see being the most likely to turn.
10) Walt Weiss, Colorado Rockies
Normally, I would have a guy who just got hired to skipper a shitty team like Colorado on the “can’t get fired because nobody expects anything” list, but the fact they only signed him to a one-year contract makes me think he may have “Fredo Corleone”-type job security. It may be a beautiful mountain lake, but for the love of God, Walt, stay out of the boat.
9) Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers
There’s just no way Leyland gets fired. The only reason I have him on this list is because this is the last year of his contract in Detroit. Even if the Tigers completely shit their pants and collapse like Lindsay Lohan free-basing Ambien in a kiddie-pool full of scotch, Leyland has earned enough “cred” to not be fired; he’d be given the chance to retire.
8 ) Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers
While anything is possible, I just don’t see the Dodgers canning Mattingly if there were a need for a scapegoat for the unlikely failure of their new eleventy-bazillion dollar payroll…at least not this year. Failing two years in a row changes that thought faster than Kardashian spreading herpes.
As far as this year is concerned, it took general manager Ned Colletti two or three shots to hire a manager he didn’t hate and team president Stan Kasten has a reputation for moving about as quickly as Wilford Brimley’s colon after eating three pounds of cheese, but I do wonder why the Dodgers allowed Mattingly to enter the final season of his contract without an extension.
7) Terry Collins, New York Mets
In no way is Terry Collins to blame for the sorry-ass condition the Mets are in. Collins is about as responsible for the train-wreck that is the New York Mets as he is for the fact McBurgerQueen fucked up your last drive-thru order. But all good train-wrecks need a scapegoat, and Collins surely looks to be it, especially since the Mets have fan favorite Wally Backman (currently the manager of their Triple-A affiliate) waiting in the wings.
6) Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels
Scioscia is signed through 2018, but job security is to major league managers as Ron Jeremy is to celibacy. Scioscia is baseball’s longest tenured manager being in his 14th season in the Angel dugout, but the Angels have spent big money in the last few seasons and don’t have a play-off appearance since 2009 to show for it. Couple that with the fact that his relationship with general manager Jerry Dipoto is only slightly warmer than that of Barack Obama and the National Rifle Association, and another failure to get the Angels into October could mean a change of address for Scioscia.
5) Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Yost is the only manager I can remember who got fired from a contending team in the middle of a pennant race, and he may very well be a guy who gets fired from a team that wasn’t in contention and wasn’t expected to be in contention; they just sucked a bit more than they were expected to suck.
4) Joe Girardi, New York Yankees
If it happens, it would be the biggest injustice since the Dreyfus affair. Joe Girardi is one of the best skippers in all of baseball, and is sure as shit isn’t his fault that the Bronx Bombers got old and hurt at the same time. However, Yankees Nation is nothing if not delusional, and any failure to make the play-offs may require some sort of human sacrifice.
3) Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
It was pretty clear that Pirates’ owner Bob Nutting was sending a message when in the wake of his awarding Clijnt Hurdle an extension through 2014 when he said “The idea that somehow the extension is a free pass is exactly the message I would not want to send and not the message Clint heard.”
That’s code for “This team better not collapse in August again or it’s your ass.” Just the fact that somebody HAS expectations of the Pirates should be taken as a positive. Pittsburgh has spent twenty years being the Charlie Brown of baseball, and if that fate-bitch known as Lucy pulls the football on the fans one more time, there will be no choice but to roll some heads.
There have been serious signs of improvement; the Bucs went from 57 wins in John Russell’s final year to 72, and then 79 wins in Hurdle’s first two seasons. However, the Pirates have ended both of Hurdle’s first two campaigns by finishing 21-46 in 2011 and 15-35 in 2012. Another choke-job like that and both Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington are likely gone. would seem unlikely to survive another disappointing year.
2) Eric Wedge, Seattle Mariners
Wedge has a similar problem as Clint Hurdle. He has succeeded his way into people expecting something from his team. Under Wedge, the Mariners have gone from a paltry 61 wins in his first season to 75 wins in 2012. The Mariner ownership spent money on this for 2013, including locking up Felix Hernandez in a long-term deal. team. Wedge is in the final year of his contract, and a step backward could easily be a step out of Seattle.
1) Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Phillies
FACT: Charlie Manuel is yet another manager entering the final year of his contract
FACT: Manuel has made it clear he wants to manage beyond this season.
FACT: The Phillies are grooming Manuel’s successor in third-base coach Ryne Sandberg.
FACT: At some point, the Phillies are going to have to make a change away from being the “Matlock Watchers” of the National League.
Given all that, it is quite conceivable that if the Phils are mired in the NL East at the end of July, Manuel will be Sonny Corleone at the toll booth.
Yes, that’s two “Godfather” references in one blog…and I won’t apologize for it either.