The regular season comes to a close Sunday. For those of you whose favorite team made the postseason, enjoy the glory of playoff baseball. For those of you whose favorite team faltered, prepare for changes.
With no games scheduled for Monday, that provides the perfect opportunity for teams to start chopping heads. More often than not, the first domino to fall is the team’s manager.
Some clubs have already made that call. The Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies will move forward without Brad Ausmus and Pete Mackanin respectively. Bryan Price of the Cincinnati Reds and Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics got some more optimistic news. They’ll be back.
New York Mets manager Terry Collins became the latest manager to get the axe Sunday. He resigned following the final game of the regular season.
Everyone else should sweat a little. There are varying degrees of that, of course. Some managers should definitely be on high-alert, while others can probably rest easy.
We’ll try to give you our best sense of which guys will be packing their desks Monday, and which can enjoy a nice drink on the beach. We’ll update this post as we get clarity on some of these managers.
First, let’s start with the group that should be most panicked.
ON THIN ICE
BRIAN SNITKER, ATLANTA BRAVES
It’s been a roller coaster for Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker over the past few months. As MLB.com’s Mark Bowman notes, he’s gone from doubtful to probable to questionable in just a few weeks. The players love him, and that’s part of the reason he was retained for 2017. That can only go so far, though. Snitker’s contract is up at the end of the season, and the Braves have been non-committal about whether he’s coming back. That doesn’t bode well, especially after the players already made their pleas for him to stay.
VERDICT: The players saved him last year, but they won’t be able to do it again. He’s probably gone.
UP IN THE AIR
MIKE MATHENY, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
The St. Louis Cardinals finished above .500, and were in the playoff hunt for most of the season, but that might not save Mike Matheny. The manager has been often criticized throughout his tenure with the club, but things came to a head in 2017. Catcher Yadier Molina had some not-so-cryptic social media posts that seemed to hint at discord in the clubhouse. His win-loss record remains strong, though it’s declining. And merely being a decent team won’t cut it in St. Louis.
VERDICT: It truly feels 50/50. Ownership has stuck with Matheny in the past, but this would be the ideal time to let him go.
DON MATTINGLY, MIAMI MARLINS
Maybe this is silly, but with the new ownership coming in and making drastic changes, you can’t be too sure. While Mattingly hasn’t been all that effective in his two years in Miami, he’s pretty familiar with the new owner. Derek Jeter and Mattingly know each other pretty well, and that could be the thing that saves Mattingly. Given how much Jeter has already shaken things up with the Marlins, we’re not sure another manager with Mattingly’s track record in Miami would have survived Jeter’s purge.
VERDICT: The Jeter thing probably saves him. Probably.
SCOTT SERVAIS, SEATTLE MARINERS
We should probably assume Scott Servais will remain the manager of the Seattle Mariners. He’s only been there for two years, and while the M’s still haven’t broken their playoff drought, the team has been competitive. Two things give us pause: General manager Jerry Dipoto is no stranger to shaking things up, and there may be mounting pressure on the Mariners to make the postseason before the current core loses effectiveness … which could be soon.
VERDICT: He’ll probably stay, but tomorrow might be a little stressful.
NED YOST, KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Kansas City Royals disappointed for the second straight year. Aside from the club’s exceptional runs in 2014 and 2015, they haven’t been all that strong. That’s unlikely to get better soon. The team will likely have to rebuild after Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas are set to leave via free agency. Yost is no stranger to working with young players, but it’s possible the franchise could go another direction.
VERDICT: He will get a shot to manage the youngsters again next year, but may not last through the entire rebuild.
JEFF BANISTER, TEXAS RANGERS
Jeff Banister led the Texas Rangers to two straight division titles his first year on the job. The club missed the playoffs for the first time under his leadership in 2017, but it seems premature to expect him to lose his job.
VERDICT: He’s fine.
RICK RENTERIA, CHICAGO WHITE SOX
The Chicago White Sox knew they would be in for a lengthy rebuild when they hired Rick Renteria. The team was bad, as everyone expected, but that wasn’t Renteria’s fault. If anything, he was praised for helping the youngsters and keeping the team competitive down the stretch.
VERDICT: The White Sox will ride with Renteria during the rebuild.
ANDY GREEN, SAN DIEGO PADRES
It’s been a terrible two years for Andy Green and the San Diego Padres, but that’s what we all expected. The fact that he guided the 2017 Padres to 71 wins is actually kind of impressive. Everyone figured they would be the worst team in baseball coming into the year. They weren’t good, but it could have been worse.
VERDICT: Green gets the green light to keep managing the Padres.
WE WOULD BE SHOCKED
BRUCE BOCHY, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Let’s face it, Bruce Bochy is going to manage the San Francisco Giants as long as he pleases. One awful year won’t change that. The man guided them to three World Series championships.
VERDICT: There would be shirtless brawls in the streets if the Giants let him go.
BUCK SHOWALTER, BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Buck Showalter is one of the biggest reasons the Baltimore Orioles have been competitive over the past few seasons. Each year, they’ve entered with minimal expectations and a flawed roster. He has somehow made them viable despite a dreadful pitching staff. His magic didn’t work this year, but it’s premature to expect change.
VERDICT: He’ll try to make the Orioles surprising contenders again in 2018.
JOHN GIBBONS, TORONTO BLUE JAYS
The Toronto Blue Jays let a lot of people down in 2017, but John Gibbons seems safe. He helped lead the team to two straight postseason appearances. The club underwent some changes in the offseason, but still went into 2017 as contenders. It’s possible the Blue Jays fully commit to a rebuild and part ways with Gibbons, but it feels like he would have to tell them he’s not interested in staying on in that scenario.
VERDICT: He only leaves if he wants to go.
CLINT HURDLE, PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Are you sensing a theme here? Most of these managers helped lead their clubs irrelevance to contention over the past couple years. Clint Hurdle is no different. The Pittsburgh Pirates were bad in 2017, but Hurdle has been a big part of turning around their organization. You would think he has a longer leash than this.
VERDICT: He would need a few more poor seasons before the Pirates let him go.
BRAD AUSMUS, DETROIT TIGERS
The Detroit Tigers already announced Brad Ausmus will not return in 2018. The team seemed to embrace a complete rebuild in 2017, and will go another direction as they tear it all down.
VERDICT: He’s already out.
TERRY COLLINS, NEW YORK METS
The writing was on the wall for New York Mets manager Terry Collins. Reports emerged exposing the discord in the team’s clubhouse, and Jon Heyman has already written an exhaustive piece on which managers will replace him. All that happened prior to Sunday. The other shoe finally dropped, as Ken Rosenthal reported Collins would resign following Sunday’s game and move into a front office role.
VERDICT: He had to go, and he’s going to be gone following Sunday’s game.
PETE MACKANIN, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Pete Mackanin’s time as Philadelphia Phillies’ manager has come to an end, but he’ll stay with the franchise. Like Collins, Mackanin will join the front office. He oversaw some tough times in Philadelphia, but won’t be around when the team presumably starts to contend again.
VERDICT: He’s gone.
BOB MELVIN, OAKLAND ATHLETICS
The Oakland Athletics believe Bob Melvin is the man to lead them through this rebuild. The team added another year to Melvin’s extension, keeping him under contract through 2019. That ensures he’ll remain with the club in 2018. While the extension covers 2019, that isn’t as certain. Teams rarely allow managers to enter a season without a contract for the following year. Melvin could find himself back on this list next season depending on how the team plays.
VERDICT: He’s fine for 2018, but 2019 may be a question.
BRYAN PRICE, CINCINNATI REDS
We may have been wrong on this one. Most of us expected Bryan Price to be the first manager first this season. Instead, he’ll lead the Cincinnati Reds another year. Whoops. It’s tough to envision the Reds as contenders next year, and that might be what they need in order to keep Price at the helm past 2018.
VERDICT: Safe for now, but he could be in trouble next May.
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