We’ve got something a bit different for you today as we run down the current managers for all 30 MLB teams, in order of their longevity, with a quick assessment of their past and potential for soon becoming, well, part of the past.
The date they were hired is in parentheses.
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels (November 18, 1999): The Angels’ pudgy skipper has surprised us all by somehow retaining his job despite some very lean years in Disneyland. Clearly, he has some blackmail evidence on his bosses to remain in the job for this long. Still, Scioscia is the only manager to guide the Angels to a World Series title (in 2002), so there’s that. He sure has been riding that goodwill for some time, though. Ironically, the man Scioscia replaced as the skipper of the Halos just led the Cubs to a World Series this year — Joe Maddon. We’ll give Scisocia this — he sure knew how to block the plate (see video below). Imagine him doing so now with all that extra girth.
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants (October 27, 2006): The former Padre player and manager has turned the Giants into perennial contenders, and nothing should change next year as they have been given 14-1 odds of winning the World Series in 2017 — chances topped by only five teams. The charitably-minded Bochy should have another great team on his hands — especially if the late-inning bullpen work improves as expected.
Joe Girardi, New York Yankees (October 30, 2007): Girardi had to deal with plenty of injury issues on his Yankees last year, forcing him to improvise, yet he managed to maintain the team’s streak of winning seasons — a run which now dates back to 1993. He’s going to have a team in 2017 that has lots of pitching depth (getting Aroldis Chapman back sure helps), but will that be enough to guide the Bronx Bombers back to the playoffs after they missed out this season? This is still a team in transition, and all the defensive shifting in the world (one of Girardi’s favourite techniques) won’t help make up for an underwhelming offense.
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals (May 13, 2010): Yost took over for the disappointing Trey Hillman early in the 2010 season, and has really never looked back, recently becoming the franchise leader in games managed and pennants won. Oh, and Yost also did that whole win the World Series thing. But in 2017, he’ll have to get a bit more creative given his bullpen won’t be anywhere near as deep as it’s been in recent seasons. Some suggest next year will be Yost’s final campaign as he’ll choose to retire after 2017. Time will tell, but he sure has cemented his place in team history.
Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles (July 29, 2010): Showalter has got to be one of the most respected managers in the game that has yet to win a World Series, but he sure took plenty of flak for never getting Zack Britton into the Wild Card game this year. In 2017, Showalter will be armed with a team that has plenty of rotation depth, a solid pen, and a very fine attack, so maybe he’ll finally bag that title that’s alluded him.
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates (November 14, 2010): Hurdle had a decent bullpen on his hands last year, but he better hope for health in his rotation in 2017. A proponent of the Coaching Boys into Men program, he’s a real players’ manager, spending time to reach out to each of his guys to discuss their performance, how they can maximize their offseason and what they should strive for in the coming campaign. Hurdle is definitely one of the more optimistic managers in the game, and that trait may stead him well given the Pirates’ 20-game backslide in 2016.
Terry Collins, New York Mets (November 23, 2010): Collins has to be a happy dude this winter after the Mets achieved their top priority of re-signing outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The skipper will also get a full season of an ostensibly much better Jay Bruce. Collins, who tends to like to juggle his lineups, guides a young but precarious rotation headed by Matt Harvey, who has to be better than 2016, right? And hey, Collins has Tim Tebow on the way, too!
Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics (June 9, 2011): If Melvin doesn’t get some better pitching performances in 2017, he could find himself on the hot seat — especially after back-to-back seasons of under 70 wins. He could also use a leadoff hitter than can play centre field (Jarrod Dyson anyone?). Melvin is living the dream, managing a team in the same Bay Area he himself grew up in, but he’ll need to start winning again soon, or the leash will get a lot shorter.
Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals (November 14, 2011): Matheny has made some questionable decisions recently, like last year when he continued to use Matt Adams as his cleanup hitter far too often. Matheny also gave up on Kolten Wong pretty early into the season, and some of the moves have long-time fans hoping the manager is shown the door.
Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians (October 6, 2012): Francona’s ability to navigate a decimated rotation through last season’s postseason, guiding the Tribe to within a whisker of a title, was truly impressive. In fact, his skillful deployment of relief ace Andrew Miller is likely to be mimicked by many other managers — and not just in the playoffs. Look at the turnaround in Cleveland: when Francona took over after the 2012 seasons, the Indians had just suffered through a fifth straight losing season. Since then, Cleveland’s win totals: 92, 85, 81 and 94. Yes, a manager can make a difference.
John Farrell, Boston Red Sox (October 21, 2012): Farrell is in the enviable position of managing a team with a solid big league roster, resources to add to it, and a great farm system. And the dude has even survived cancer. Pink Floyd is really smiling down at this guy.
John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays (November 20, 2012): Gibbons sure had to deal with a bad bullpen last year, ultimately bowing out to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. Can he finally lead the team to the next step after knocking on the door in recent seasons? Another left-handed stick or two would definitely help matters.
Bryan Price, Cincinnati Reds (October 21, 2013): Price hasn’t had much to celebrate in the bigs lately, but with some great pitching prospects ready to help, he may finally get rewarded. He’s been vocal about his desire to follow the Indians’ model of bullpen usage, but it’s unclear if he has the chops — or personnel — to pull it off.
Brad Ausmus, Detroit Tigers (November 3, 2013): Ausmus is another manager that draws the ire of his fan base and the media because of his decisions. He could certainly use some help in the outfield (especially centre field), but we’ll be more interested in watching to see if GM Al Avila is as patient with Ausmus in 2017, especially if attendance keeps dipping.
A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros (September 29, 2014): Hinch is armed with one of the game’s deeper rosters, so he sure won’t be hurting for using different combos to find a winning formula. That’s clearly right up his alley, as since his hiring, Houston leads the majors in lineup variations.
Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers (October 17, 2014): A big believer in the stoic approach, Banister will now have to face life without Ian Desmond, a player he considered a real leader in the Ranger clubhouse. Of course, that could very well be mitigated by the anticipated improvement of Nomar Mazara.
Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs (November 2, 2014): Despite decisions Maddon made in Games Six and Seven, the Cubs prevailed and wound up winning the World Series. He certainly drew the ire of Chapman, who has since bolted town after feeling like he was abused. Still, Maddon must have done something right in ending a 108-year drought for the Cubs.
Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins (November 3, 2014): Molitor was saddled with the majors’ worst pitching staff in 2016. Another year of that could spell his doom, but then again, there’s pretty much only one direction to go from here as long as his rotation can be even marginally productive.
Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays (December 5, 2014): Cash should have a better bullpen next year. Well, at any rate, it would be hard for it to get much worse. (Let’s try to look at the positives, here.) Of course, having Chris Archer build on his big second half and pitch like that all year would sure help take a load off the bullpen.
Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers (May 4, 2015): Considering his limited managerial background and the lack of talent he had to work with, the fact that Counsell got the Brewers to flirt with a 75-win season this year was impressive. With more talent aboard, plus some youngsters stepping up and providing organic growth, he’s likely going to fare even better in 2017.
Pete Mackanin, Philadelphia Phillies (June 26, 2015): Mackanin could sure use some offensive help if he hopes to keep his job through the Phillies’ rebuilding program. A believer in advanced stats, he has some building blocks in place, but patience will be required. Will the Phillies’ brass have the same patience with Mackanin?
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners (October 23, 2015): Servais likes to break up the lefties in the rotation to keep opponents off balance. Tossed from a game just once in his debut season as a manager, he learned a lot about managing while playing for Dusty Baker in San Francisco, so that’s who he somewhat patterns himself after, at least from a disposition perspective.
Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins (October 29, 2015): Mattingly faces the daunting task of rallying his Marlins after the late-season loss of Jose Fernandez, not only from an emotional standpoint, but also in trying to figure out how to compensate for loss of talent. A very strong bullpen is a good starting point. Former Yankee star Mattingly will also need to find more offense to overcome this tremendous blow.
Andy Green, San Diego Padres (October 29, 2015): Green’s plethora of young outfield talent will be what he’s hanging his hat on for 2017. The former Arizona third base coach won the job last fall despite his relative inexperience as a manager. Green better hope the Padres show progress this season or his tenure will be short.
Dusty Baker, Washington Nationals (November 3, 2015): Baker had to deal with several key players getting hurt in his first season as the Nats’ manager. Perceived as one of the good guys of the game, he was a pretty good hitter in his day and has done damn well for himself as a manager, too.
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers (November 23, 2015): Roberts still has some question marks in his lineup for 2017, but the rotation looks solid. The man who stole the biggest base in Red Sox history loves using pinch-hitters, leading all of baseball in that regard this year.
Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves (May 17, 2016): Snitker took over as interim manager after the Braves canned Fredi Gonzalez, but no one really expected he’d wind up with the job full-time. However, the Braves finished very strong, earning Snitker the right to drop the “interim” part of his title. Now we’ll see if Atlanta continues to build on its big second half (perhaps earning him an extension) or if it flops and decides to axe him.
Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox (October 3, 2016): Renteria takes over a team that just traded away its ace. Fantastic! Now, go guide us to victory, my man. He’ll need to figure out how to win while still ensuring that his young hurlers in both the rotation and bullpen are not overworked. Good luck with that.
Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks (November 4, 2016): Another newcomer for 2017, Lovullo will be asked to compete in a very tough division that spent freely this offseason. Of course, his team barely opened its coffers. No problem, right? Ya. Good luck with that. Lovulla better pray for good health from his stars.
Bud Black, Colorado Rockies (November 7, 2016): Pitching guru Black will now try to get his hurlers to overcome the Coors Field psychology that has destroyed many a promising young arm over the years. The good news is he inherits a very deep bullpen. He’s going to need it.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below which managers you think will be on the hot seat in 2017.