Wednesday, October 03, 2012

So, who gets fired today?

The last day of the baseball season always leads to the grim reality that a few baseball people will be unemployed by the time the day is over. Whether deserved or not, managers and coaches usually pay for a disappointing season. The teams have to show their fans that a team disappointment will not be tolerated. Such axes rarely fall on the heads of team presidents and general managers and it should. After all, those people are responsible for the team put on the field. The manager and coaches do the best they can with what they have.

Some decisions have already been made. Manny Acta already got fired in Cleveland, though Mark Shapiro and company put a dreadful product on the field this season. How long do they get a pass? The Astros made their change weeks ago. 

So who is next on the chopping block (cliche alert!)? The following is a list based on probability. The highest probability will go first and the less probable will come later in the list. Here are the candidates to lose their jobs today:

1. Bobby Valentine. No change has seemed more imminent than this one. Is the vitriol Valentine received this season deserved? Not entirely. But there will be a clean sweep here as the manager and the entire coaching staff get wiped clean. Tuck, the catching coach, might be the only survivor.

2. Ozzie Guillen. The Marlins went all in this season and the table went craps on them. Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill will soon follow in a rare front office cleansing.

3. Derek Shelton. The batting coach of the Tampa Bay Rays has come under intensive fan scrutiny as the Rays continued to struggle offensively. In a place where the manager and pitching coach are gods, some head has to roll for not making the playoffs despite how well they pitched.

4. Jim Tracy. Tracy, who led the improbable run to the wild card just a few years ago presided over a team that finished the season in last place in the NL West and enter the last day with 98 losses. Dan O'Dowd should take a hit too, but probably won't. Tracy's "good guys in the clubhouse" dogma doesn't always mean the best players are on the field.

Managers who should be fired but probably won't be:

1. Ron Washington. Two straight World Series collapses followed by this season's collapse in the standings as fans and experts are confounded daily by the moves Washington makes during games. Great guy, but with that team, he should have plundered and had nothing but glory.

2. Ron Gardenhire. Sure, his team was wrecked by front office mistakes for years, but the guy sure looks toasted on most evenings.

3. Mike Scioscia. He had a great run, but it's time for a change. He and his GM have their difficulties and he is way too hard on his catchers.

4. John Farrell. Farrell has not changed the culture in Toronto and his on-field body language simply sucks. If AA was smart, he would get a more dynamic leader up there, and someone who can get the players to buy in to OBP and Farrell's old boss.

Those are the predictions. There might be a surprise or two that were overlooked here. And those first four might not happen. But that's the gut feeling here. We'll see how right the predictions are in about fifteen hours.

1 comment:

Jonathan C. Mitchell said...

The fact that Elvis Andrus leads the Majors in sacrifice bunts would lead me to fire Ron Washington!