Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Managerial Crystal Ball

There are going to be a lot of manager vacancies in baseball after this season is over. The Orioles have already got their guy. But a lot of turnover is going to happen and it's sort of fun to try to figure out how it will all go down. What follows is a brain trip around what might happen and what should happen.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Fan's feeling is that Joe Torre is done in LA. And the Fan would be highly surprised if Mattingly got the job if that happens. Mattingly is an outsider to the Dodger Blue and the home town team might turn to a local hero.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Kirk Gibson sure had a rough start out there in the desert. But his team is 14-13 in August and their tough play against the Padres might just keep him in the job into next year. He's got star power and name power and is an in-your-face kind of guy. There could be worse choices.

Colorado Rockies: Tracy should be safe. His run last year pretty much cements him in that seat for at least another year, especially if the Rockies finish strong this year and make it interesting.

Chicago Cubs: It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Ryne Sandberg will be the next manager. You have to give a Hall of Famer credit for putting the time in the minor leagues to earn a shot. That takes class and Sandberg will be the next Cubs manager.

Milwaukee Brewers: Ken Macha will probably be fired after the season. It really isn't his fault that he has no pitching. And the team is actually over .500 since the first of June and actually have more wins than their run differential indicates. But his constant line up changes are maddening and his misuse of the bullpen comes into question. Also, you have to consider that their record since June includes so many games against the Pirates that the record is inflated. The team does not have a winning record against any of the other division rivals. Whether it is his fault or not, Macha will not be allowed to continue after the Brewers worked so hard to build up their fan base only to have such a sub-standard season.

Houston Astros: At the end of May, the Astros were 17-34 and first-year manager, Brad Mills has to feel the heat. But since then, the Astros are 43-37 despite being last or next to last in just about every offensive category and in the bottom third of most pitching categories. He stuck with Wandy Rodriguez and that paid off. He stuck with Brett Myers and that paid off. The Astros are 16-14 in one-run games and 7-4 in extra innings, so they battle and have never given up. Mills deserves to keep going.

Pittsburgh Pirates: This will probably be John Russell's last season. That may not be fair as he doesn't have much to work with and the team has outplayed its run differential. But the fact is that the Pirates are baseball's worst team and Russell will be the one that pays for the losses. The Pirates usually go on the fringe for its managers and get fringe guys like Russell. They need a big name manager with a proven track record to add some stability and some respect to the proceedings.

New York Mets: It's time for the Mets to clean house...and from top to bottom. Manuel's team has underperformed it's run differential and Manuel really misused his closer. Jerry Manuel has done some good things. Takahashi and Dickey have been nice surprises and he's let Ike Davis play. But his handling of other things like Francoeur have been questionable. The biggest thing for the Fan is Manuel's body language in the dugout. His body language varies from helpless to bored, neither of which is very uplifting to watch. Maybe it's time to bring back Bobby Valentine.

Florida Marlins: Edwin Rodriguez is over .500 since he took over the Marlins. But not by much. Some of his moves like moving Hanley Ramirez to the lead off spot and playing Bonifacio are unforgivable. But he seems like a solid guy and the players seem to like him. But the bottom line is the bottom line. Loria is cheap and Edwin Rodriguez is cheap. He'll probably manage next season.

Atlanta Braves: Still can't figure out why Bobby Cox is quitting. He's still at the top of his game. But it looks like he's going to be gone. He'll be replaced internally and not from an outside hire. You know what we haven't seen in a long time? A player-manager. Who was the last one? Frank Robinson maybe? Let Chipper Jones manage next year. What the heck, eh?

Toronto Blue Jays: Cito Gaston will be an advisor next year. For better or worse, Toronto fans won't have him to kick around any more. The odds seem to favor the Blue Jays hiring internally rather than going outside the organization. But they have a bright new general manager who may want to add his own stamp in the dugout. This one will be very interesting and crucial because the Blue Jays are bursting with young talent and very well could contend in the next couple of years.

New York Yankees: The Fan never would have thought Joe Girardi would be on this list. But if the Yankees don't win and Girardi doesn't get the money he wants, he could walk or be pushed. His last week with Chicago was odd and unsettling. Who would replace Girardi if he doesn't come back? Mattingly?

Chicago White Sox: The relationship between Ozzie and his GM have been an odd story all season. If the White Sox fade quickly out of the race, this could be a story in the off season. Ozzie should shut up more often than he does, but there is no question that he is a very good manager. The White Sox have won with mirrors this season.

Cleveland Indians: Manny Acta has always been uninspiring to this observer. His team this year was terrible and they are now retooling. But still. the Fan just doesn't feel like Acta is the right guy.

Oakland Athletics: Bob Geren has not won 80 games in a season. They have a chance to get there this season but even if they do, they won't get there by much. Geren's four seasons of mediocrity follow Ken Macha's 90 win seasons which followed Art Howe's playoff runs. Geren will be fired.

Kansas City Royals: Ned Yost is their guy. He'll be around for a while.

That's a long list! Everyone else is safe and will be back next year. What do you think? The Fan would love to hear your thoughts.


bobook said...

Forgotten about Freddi Gonzalez in Atlanta? Can't see Girardi going anywhere else. Why? But I was shocked when the front office didn't pursue Pettite the offseason he went to Houston. If the Yanks take the attitude that they're doing Joe a favor then perhaps his pride, as did Pettite's, says goodbye. But why would you go from the top of the mountain to an organization in their second rebuilding century?

Josh Borenstein said...

Good call on the body language thing with Manuel. I recall him looking the same when he was with the Sox.

Josh Borenstein said...
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