Managerial mayhem: Nearly half of clubs may sport new skippers

Aug 3rd, 2010 | By sportsnews | Category: Sports

Maybe we should just list the major-league teams that definitely won’t have a new manager next year.

Like the Angels. Mike Scioscia isn’t going anywhere.

And …

Come on. There must be more.

Yes, there are, but a lot fewer than you would think. In fact, there’s a real chance that as of opening day 2011, nearly half the 30 teams could be managed by someone who wasn’t in the same seat on opening day 2010.

Some changes have already been made. Some have just been rumored.

Some are leaving by choice. Some aren’t.

But the fact is that seven teams already are guaranteed to have a new manager next year, either because they’ve already fired the guy who began this season, or because the guy who began this season already has announced that he’s leaving.

At least five other jobs are possible changes, perhaps even likely changes. And, depending on how the pennant races go — and how Ozzie Guillen’s mouth goes — there could be more.

Then again, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said this week, there could be one less.

Gaston wasn’t talking about himself. He hasn’t wavered on his decision to retire at the end of the year. And he wasn’t talking about Lou Piniella, who announced last month that he’ll retire from the Cubs.

“Lou and I might be the only two to go,” Gaston said with a smile. “I’m not sure about Bobby.”

That would be Bobby Cox, the Braves manager who announced at the end of last season that he would retire at the end of this season. Cox has shown no signs of changing his mind, and Braves people say they’re sure he won’t.

Gaston has known Cox since they were minor-league teammates 44 years ago in Austin, Texas. He’ll believe Cox is leaving when he sees it.

“Lou and I love the game,” he said. “But I guarantee you Bobby has spent more time at the park than we have.”

For now, we’ll take Cox at his word that he’s leaving. And we’ll leave the Braves on this list of teams that could be run by someone new in 2011.

The definite

Braves: Out of respect for Cox, the Braves haven’t said anything publicly about who will replace him. But ever since the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez, the strong assumption has been that Cox’s ex-coach and close friend will succeed him.

Blue Jays: Gaston’s decision to stay one final year gave first-year general manager Alex Anthopoulos time to find a successor, but if Anthopoulos has a favorite candidate, it’s a mystery to most around the team. One Jays player said that while it’s a topic of frequent clubhouse discussion, nobody seems to know who will take over. One name that has been mentioned is Luis Rivera, the manager at Double-A New Hampshire.

Cubs: Plenty of names have been mentioned as potential Piniella successors, including fan favorite Ryne Sandberg, who gets good reviews from Cubs people for his work managing in the minor leagues. Ownership has told general manager Jim Hendry that this will be his hire, and some believe Hendry will favor a manager with experience. Joe Torre?

Diamondbacks: Kirk Gibson has been the interim manager since A.J. Hinch was fired on July 2, and sources say he has a very real chance to keep the job next year. It’s hard to say for sure, though, because the Arizona general manager is also an interim, Jerry DiPoto.

Marlins: A story in Florida last week suggested that interim manager Edwin Rodriguez — the first Puerto Rican to manage in the big leagues — could keep the job. Maybe he does, but owner Jeffrey Loria thinks this team should be in the playoffs, so who knows? Will Loria make another try for his old friend Bobby Valentine?

Royals: The Royals announced last week that Ned Yost, who took over after Trey Hillman was fired, will keep the job next year. Yost is a definite improvement over Hillman, and the Royals’ record since he took over (33-38) shows it.

Orioles: They’ve made their choice, and Buck Showalter took charge of the team Tuesday night against the Angels. The question here isn’t who will manage. Rather, it’s whether a new manager can make much of a difference.

The possible

Dodgers: You’d think this is almost definite, but officially Joe Torre hasn’t yet said whether he wants to come back. Don Mattingly has been his expected successor, and even with Mattingly’s gaffe (charged with two visits to the mound on one trip out) as acting manager a few weeks back, chances are he will take over.

Mets: Jerry Manuel has been on the hot seat since the day he took over for Willie Randolph, with only brief respites when the Mets happened to win a few games in a row. The team’s inactivity at the trade deadline seemed to seal Manuel’s fate, since it has long been assumed that he’s out if the team doesn’t win. As to who succeeds him, the recent hot name has been ex-Met Wally Backman, currently managing the club’s rookie league affiliate in Brooklyn. But there are still many who wonder whether Mets ownership would spend enough money to bring Joe Torre back to New York. How fascinating would that be?

Mariners: Last year, the word was that Don Wakamatsu was one of the bright young managers in the game. This year, the word is that Wakamatsu and general manager Jack Zduriencik haven’t been on the same page for months. No one in the front office stood up publicly for the manager after the dugout confrontation with Chone Figgins. Barring a major turnaround, you can see where this is heading, and it’s only a matter of when.

Pirates: Yes, management gave John Russell a secret contract extension last winter. But one scout who followed the Pirates in the days leading up to last week’s non-waiver trading deadline said flatly: “He has no chance of coming back.”

Brewers: Ken Macha survived when his seat got hot earlier in the season, but the Brewers still seem destined to be a disappointment. Does he survive again? It’s hard to see it.

The others

•  Joe Girardi’s contract is up at the end of the season, but could he really leave the Yankees? Some wonder if he would go home to the Cubs, but that seems like a real long shot.

•  Dusty Baker’s contract is also up, but the Cincinnati Enquirer reported recently that the Reds will talk to Baker this month about an extension.

•  Could Ozzie Guillen talk his way out of the job with the White Sox? Hard to believe, but you do have to wonder why management issued a statement this week distancing itself from Guillen’s most recent controversial comments.

•  Tony La Russa is on a one-year contract with the Cardinals, and it seems that his future is now an annual topic of conversation.

•  Did we leave anyone out? Oh yes, Scioscia. The Angels manager is signed through 2018. He’s not going anywhere.

Full Text RSS Feeds | Free Website Translator

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.