Identifying 7 MLB Managers on the Hot Seatby Andersen Pickard September 24, 2021 0 comments
The end of the 2021 MLB season is rapidly approaching. While many teams are turning their focus to the postseason, several other clubs must pay attention to the future of their coaching staffs. Here are seven managers whose jobs could be in jeopardy over the next two weeks.
Aaron Boone, Yankees
Rumors have swirled about Boone’s job security since before the All-Star break. The team did go 23-4 between the trade deadline and Aug. 27, which helped the skipper’s job security. Still, there is no guarantee that he stays around. As of late, New York has faded in the playoff race and there have been no public reports about a potential extension of his expiring contract.
Of course, Boone isn’t a terrible manager. New York made the postseason in all three seasons prior to 2021 despite being hampered by cluster after cluster of injuries. However, his decision-making has been questioned quite often. A decisive nine-game stretch against the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rays will put his coaching to the test and could decide his future in New York.
Jayce Tingler, Padres
The Padres looked like one of the best teams in baseball for quite some time. Then, they didn’t. While injuries to the rotation have been the major factor towards San Diego’s demise, Tingler’s lack of managerial prowess and poise plays a role, too. Specifically, it’s impossible to ignore the recent dugout scrum between Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. that turned heads.
As Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune wrote after the incident, “Tingler does not possess the sway to have quashed a situation that had been brewing for weeks.” Meanwhile, a co-authored piece from The Athletic alleged that the skipper “is facing increased scrutiny and second-guessing in his own clubhouse, sources said. In the absence of a firmer hand, others in uniform are stepping forward, trying to keep the team on the right path.”
The Padres are now 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, nearly confirming that they will miss the postseason. It would not be shocking to see the franchise undergo a leadership change in the coming weeks.
Luis Rojas, Mets
Speaking of another team that has continued to drop since the middle of summer, let’s check in on the Mets. New York was 48-40 at the All-Star break, giving them a four-game lead in the NL East. The franchise has gone 25-39 since then, putting them at 73-79. Not only are the Mets under .500, but they are also third in their division (7.5 games back). Injuries to players like Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard have killed this team, but it’s fair to suggest that the Mets should have at least been able to stay afloat and hover a couple of games above .500.
At the end of the day, choking the lead in one of baseball’s weakest divisions is not ideal. Rojas has made his fair share of poor choices at the helm and his substitution decisions have been puzzling, to say the least. It will be interesting to watch this situation unfold, but one thing is clear: nobody should be stunned if the Mets clean house and search for a new skipper this fall.
Rocco Baldelli, Twins
The Twins hired Baldelli in 2019 when he went on to win AL Manager of the Year. He finished as a finalist for the same award in 2020. During both of those seasons, Minnesota made the postseason. That is why the Twins’ struggles this season have been such a surprise and it’s challenging to place the blame outside of Baldelli. Sure, Byron Buxton missed more than three months due to injury and the team traded Nelson Cruz and Jose Berrios at the deadline. Still, sitting dead-last in this division (including 1.5 games behind the Royals and 6.5 behind the Tigers) is unacceptable.
The Twins have struggled to get over the hump quite often in their recent history. Now, though, the team can’t even reach said hump. We will wait and see whether the Minnesota brass makes a change or gives Baldelli one more year to right the ship. Regardless, the clock is ticking.
Chris Woodward, Rangers
There has been little talk about Woodward on the hot seat, which is somewhat surprising considering the Rangers are 55-98 (second-worst in American League). Furthermore, the skipper seems to have his team in a rut rather than a position that suggests future prosperity. Take Adolis Garcia, for example. He hit 11 homers in the month of May, stealing five bases along the way and eventually making the All-Star team. Now, he owns a poor .263 OBP with just one homer and 25 strikeouts in September.
A change in leadership might be best for the Rangers as they look to stay competitive in the AL West. The team has plenty of young talent and appears to have found some solid players in Garcia, A.J. Alexy, Taylor Hearn, Nathaniel Lowe, and Scott Barlow. After selling at the deadline, parting ways with Woodward is the final step Texas must take before it looks to be aggressive in free agency and gain relevance throughout MLB once again.
Bud Black, Rockies
Bud Black is not a terrible manager, but this team is stuck in a position (not dissimilar to the Rangers’ rut) that suggests they might be desperate for a culture change. Specifically, it’s hard to ignore star shortstop Trevor Story‘s disinterest in signing an extension with Colorado, especially after Nolan Arenado‘s trade. We are seeing something similar unfold with Jon Gray, who was held onto at the trade deadline with a potential qualifying offer looming.
Despite all of this, the Rockies have exceeded expectations this season. Currently sitting at 71-81, any hopes of a .500 finish are out the window. However, this team has gone 46-29 at home, which ranks better than seven of the nine clubs (including the Brewers) ahead of them in the National League standings. With that said, change can sometimes be both impactful and necessary. Colorado’s future looks brighter sans Black, who owns a .496 winning percentage through five years with the Rockies.
Davey Martinez, Nationals
The status of the Nationals has taken a significant tumble ever since they won the World Series in 2019. Washington is now 89-123 (.420) since that game, missing the postseason in each of the next two ensuing postseasons. The team is neck-and-neck for the last place spot in the NL East and needs some sort of change to light a spark. With players like Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto in tow, the entire roster deserves a manager that could help bring this talented core back into October.
Martinez’s 2019 World Series win is the biggest factor towards his job security and something that the Nationals brass cannot afford to cling onto for eternity. Instead, the club should acknowledge the impact he had on the organization and both sides should reach a mutual agreement to part ways.
Follow Andersen Pickard on Twitter @AndersenPickard
Main Image Credit: