Thursday, February 26, 2009

American League Managers - Who Will Get Fired?

Yesterday at the FanDome we went through the list of National League Managers and rated the probability of whether they would survive the year. Each year sees its share of managers who bite the dust when teams play less than at expected results. Here is the list in alphabetical order in the American League (of teams) along with PECOTA projections and the Fan's less than scientific results:

Dave Trembley - Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles are like the Texas Rangers of the Eastern Division. They can rake pretty well, but Jeremy Guthrie is pretty good, but who else is there that can pitch? PECOTA agrees. The system predicts a five game improvement in the Win column, but that still means 88 Losses. PECOTA predicts the Orioles to score 5.14 runs a game, but opponents are predicted to score 5.72 runs a game. Not a good thing there. Despite all that, McPhail, the Orioles' GM is starting to turn the franchise around and he knows it will take time. That said, Trembley will be okay as long as he doesn't lose the players.
Likely to finish season - 95%

Terry Francona - Boston Red Sox
Francona has developed into an icon much like Joe Torre and Bobby Cox. He has the fans' trust and the players'. There probably isn't a manager in baseball (this side of Bobby Cox) that is safer than Francona. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have one of baseball's strongest teams either.
Likely to finish season - 100%

Ozzie Guillen - Chicago White Sox
Brash and sassy, Guillen says what's on his mind and says it often. His GM has his back, but you have to wonder how far. Despite an old team and despite what seemed to be smoke and mirrors, Guillen brought his team in first place last year after a couple of less stellar years. PECOTA sees that as a one hit wonder however and predicts the team will lose 89 games in 2009. Will Guillen lose a cork if his team plays that poorly? Will he say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Will it play as well for a losing club as it does for a winning one? We'll see.
Likely to finish season - 80%

Eric Wedge - Cleveland Indians
Wedge enters his seventh season as manager for the Indians. He seems to have the reputation as one of the sharper managers out there. Despite injuries last year, the team finished strong and ended up at the .500 mark after a very poor start. It might have been a better managing job than when he won Manager of the Year in 2007 when his team finished in first. PECOTA is picking the Indians to finish first in a volatile division and the Fan agrees.
Likely to finish season - 100%

Jim Leyland - Detroit Tigers
Much like Tony La Russa's situation in St. Louis, this managerial seat seems a little slippery. The Tigers were predicted to win their division last year and flopped miserably. But the team still has some talent. But there seems to be too many holes as well. PECOTA predicts a four Win improvement, but that still means 84 losses. Leyland has brought his teams to first place three times and to a World Series. But he also has eight seasons where his teams have finished fifth or worse. Will the Tigers' management support Leyland if that high price team tanks again? Hmmm...
Likely to finish season - 70%

Trey Hillman - Kansas City Royals
The Royals showed flashes of life last year and finished with less than 90 losses for the first time in a while. PECOTA shows only a one Win improvement this year though. The team just doesn't seem to have enough offense. But the Royals like their manager and his job seems safe enough. But anything is fair game if the team opens up with an egg its first month or so.
Likely to finish season - 90%

Mike Scioscia - California Angels
Considered one of the smartest managers in baseball, Scioscia has brought his team to four first place finishes in the last five years. But the fans are getting restless as they continue to lose in the division series. The team won 100 games last year. The Fan isn't sure how. Well, he is. They were 24th in baseball in hitter VORP, but fourth overall in pitcher VORP. Pitching is still the key to success. Though this manager seems safe enough, if the team starts badly and say is in second place in August, the fans might scream loud enough to be heard here.
Likely to finish season - 90%

Ron Gardenhire - Minnesota Twins
It seems sure that Gardenhire isn't going anywhere any time soon. The Twins prefer stability and Gardenhire enters his eighth year after following Tom Kelly's long reign. The Twins made a run last year and fell one playoff game short. This despite losing one of the best pitchers in baseball. The one strange thing here is that the Twins have always stressed defense and yet fell to 19th overall in defensive efficiency last year. PECOTA predicts an eight game regression this year, but even if that happens, Gardenhire will be there at the end of the year.
Likely to finish season - 100%

Joe Girardi - New York Yankees
Whoa! Can't imagine the pressure to win that must be on Girardi. The Yankees have done all they could to give him a great team (on paper at least). If his team tanks, he'll be in a heap of trouble. PECOTA predicts them to win the wildcard behind Boston. For Girardi's sake, that better be right.
Likely to finish season - 80%

Bob Geren - Oakland Athletics
The Fan thinks the Angels are there for the taking and Oakland, if they can get some solid pitching and all those high walk, big power guys produce and not break down, they have a shot. The team addressed its biggest need as they were dead last in hitter's VORP last year. They spent some money to get some boppers, but if they come out of the gate stillborn, Geren will pay.
Likely to finish season - 80%

Don Wakamatsu - Seattle Mariners
Wakamatsu is a total unknown and there is no telling how it will go for him in Seattle. He inherits a bad clubhouse situation that hopefully Griffey can help fix. But nothing is expected of Seattle this year after losing 101 games last year. PECOTA predicts them to improve by 11 games to only lose 90, but that doesn't seem likely. In either case, Wakamatsu won't have any pressure on him with a bad perception already on the team.
Likely to finish season - 95%

Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays
Maddon is golden this year after a surprising first place finish last year. He seemed unflappable and brought a young team through the fire, through the Yankees and then the Red Sox. Quite a feat for a manager who lost 101 games just three years ago. PECOTA predicts a little slippage and a third place finish, but the Rays will be competitive and fun to watch.
Likely to finish season - 100%

Ron Washington - Texas Rangers
This one seems to be the manager most likely to get fired. The Rangers improved by four games last year in the Win column, but the main problem still exists - pitching. Based on pitching (and the fact they lost Milton Bradley), PECOTA predicts the Rangers will slip to last place this year. While it doesn't seem that the Rangers could be worse than Seattle, if PECOTA pulls a Nostradamus here, Washington will not survive.
Likely to finish season - 50%

Cito Gaston - Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays aren't as talented as the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox. But if anyone can nurse his pitching staff to overcome limitations in offense, it's Gaston, one of the most underrated managers in MLB history. After replacing John ("Yeah, it was a lie") Gibbons, Gaston took the team to a 51-37 finish last year after an eleven (why??) year absence. The man won two back to back World Series in 1992 and 1993 and his team finished in first three years in a row. It's about time somebody brought him back and it seems right that it was Toronto. The Blue Jays could surprise, but even if the don't, he's good for the year.
Likely to finish season - 100%

There you have it. Ron Washington and Jim Leyland seem the most vulnerable with Joe Girardi playing with fire in New York. Now we will just have to wait and see what happens.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I think Leyland is for sure gone if the Tigers underachieve again. Ozzie has put his foot in his mouth so many times now I think the FO is numb to it. He will not be fired this year. But if the Sox are as bad as PECOTA predicts they'll be, Ozzie's head will be on the chopping block next season.