Will this man be the next Cubs manager?
With all the discussion, analysis, speculation and outright guessing as to who will inhabit the Cubs' manager's office in 2011, I thought it would be useful to take a look at all 29 other teams and the status of their managerial positions.
I believe that years from now, the 2010-11 offseason will be looked at as a watershed year in managerial changes, a generational shift, if you will. As many as 15 manager's spots may be open this offseason, and several longtime managers (Bobby Cox, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston, Joe Torre and perhaps even Tony LaRussa) are retiring. All those men are age 65-70 and the men replacing them (and taking other jobs as well) are likely to be 15-20 years younger.
Follow me past the jump to see every team in baseball and the status of its managerial chair. I have purposely left the Cubs job out of this list, because everyone here has discussed it at length, you all know who my personal choice is (and the choices of many other BCB'ers as well), and no matter what, you're likely to talk about it in the comments anyway.
Atlanta Braves -- current manager: Bobby Cox. Status: Cox is retiring at the end of the season. Possible replacements: former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez is the front-runner for this job and is widely expected to get it. He spent four years as third base coach under Cox from 2004-2007.
Florida Marlins -- current manager: Edwin Rodriguez. Status: Rodriguez was a surprise pick after Gonzalez was fired. There were several names mentioned as possible replacements during the year, including Bobby Valentine, but now Rodriguez is on the list of David Samson's candidates, as well as Tony Pena, Ted Simmons, Jim Fregosi and Ozzie Guillen.
New York Mets -- current manager: Jerry Manuel. Status: Manuel's contract expires at the end of this year and he is expected to be let go. Mets GM Omar Minaya may be fired, too, even though he has two years left on his deal. Possible replacements: who knows? It's been rumored that Joe Torre would take this job -- the same one he started his managerial career with -- but I can't see that.
Philadelphia Phillies -- current manager: Charlie Manuel. Manuel is under contract through 2011, and with the Phillies sporting the best record in the NL and poised for a deep playoff run, Manuel isn't going anywhere.
Cincinnati Reds -- current manager: Dusty Baker. Status: signed through this season. Oddly, in a year when the Reds are posting their first winning year since 2000 and first trip to the playoffs since 1995, Baker is still mulling a contract extension he was offered last month. Regardless of what the Reds do in the postseason, it's their best year in a long time; it would be an upset if Dusty wasn't back.
Milwaukee Brewers -- current manager: Ken Macha. Status: Macha is signed through 2011, but GM Doug Melvin has waffled on whether Macha will be back next year. Prediction: despite the Brewers' disappointing season, Macha will return.
Pittsburgh Pirates -- current manager: John Russell. Status: under contract through 2011. However, Pirates GM Frank Coonelly recently said "nobody's job is absolutely safe"; it's very possible Russell could be let go. Possible replacements: who knows? And does it really matter?
St. Louis Cardinals -- current manager: Tony LaRussa. Status: signed only through the end of this season. The Cardinals have had a disappointing year and LaRussa is under fire. It's possible he could leave on his own, not be renewed or even retire. Possible replacements: Cardinals 3B coach Jose Oquendo has long been seen as a manager-in-waiting, though other St. Louis coaches like Dave McKay or bench coach Joe Pettini could get consideration, or they could go outside the organization. One thing for sure: LaRussa won't be managing the Cubs next year.
Arizona Diamondbacks -- current manager: Kirk Gibson. Status: signed through the end of 2010. Gibson replaced A.J. Hinch at midseason and his record hasn't been any better than Hinch's. However, there are already rumblings that new GM Kevin Towers will retain Gibson. If not, the D'backs could consider Mike Quade or Ryne Sandberg, if either is not hired by the Cubs.
Colorado Rockies -- current manager: Jim Tracy. Status: Tracy got a three-year extension through 2012 after being named NL Manager of the Year in 2009. The Rockies are likely going to miss the playoffs after a strong September, but Tracy isn't going anywhere.
Los Angeles Dodgers -- current manager: Joe Torre. Status: retiring. Torre announced he was leaving the Dodgers a couple of weeks ago; Don Mattingly will take over in 2011.
San Diego Padres -- current manager: Bud Black. Status: the Padres gave Black a three-year extension in July with two option years for 2014 and 2015.
Baltimore Orioles -- current manager: Buck Showalter. Status: signed through 2013. Showalter was hired in August and the Orioles have played better since he was hired; Showalter has a 29-21 record. Is this real? Or is it what we might call "Mike Quade Syndrome?" Only time will tell.
Boston Red Sox -- current manager: Terry Francona. Status: signed through 2011. He's not going anywhere. The Red Sox hung in there until the season's final week despite multiple injuries to key players. They'll still likely win 90 games this year.
New York Yankees -- current manager: Joe Girardi. Status: signed through 2010. With the Yankees' magic number for the playoffs at one, Girardi is employed at least through the first 10 days or so of October. If they win their ALDS, that puts him in Yankee pinstripes for another 10 days. Prediction: he'll be offered a three-year extension soon after the season ends to stay in NY.
Tampa Bay Rays -- current manager: Joe Maddon. Status: signed through 2012. Maddon has been outstanding in Tampa; the Rays are serious World Series contenders.
Toronto Blue Jays -- current manager: Cito Gaston. Status: retiring at the end of 2010. Possible replacements include Quade, Sandberg, Jays bench coach Nick Leyva, Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke, and, according to this article, "200 others". I think he was joking, but other names mentioned there include Bob Melvin, Don Baylor, Pat Listach, Sal Fasano, Don Wakamatsu, Luis Rivera, Juan Samuel, Rob Thompson and Blue Jays 3B coach Brian Butterfield. GM Alex Anthopoulos is going to be a busy guy in October.
Chicago White Sox -- current manager: Ozzie Guillen. Status: signed through 2011 with an option for 2012 that gets guaranteed if the Sox win the 2011 World Series. Most human beings have some sort of block that's placed between thought process and mouth to filter out what they don't want made public. It seems at times that Ozzie didn't get one of those. His statements lately have almost been dares to GM Kenny Williams to fire him. Or, Ozzie could quit and go manage the Marlins. If he does, the Sox could hire Tony LaRussa -- or bench coach Joey Cora, or 1B coach Harold Baines, or Wakamatsu, who was once a backup Sox catcher.
Cleveland Indians -- current manager: Manny Acta. Status: signed through 2012 with an option for 2013. He's not going anywhere... and likely, neither are the Indians. This isn't necessarily Acta's fault.
Detroit Tigers -- current manager: Jim Leyland. Status: signed through 2011. Leyland doesn't get enough credit for the job he did this year; the Tigers had significant injuries but are going to wind up over .500, though far off the Twins' division lead. He is almost exactly the same age as LaRussa. He'll likely finish up his deal and retire after next season.
Kansas City Royals -- current manager: Ned Yost. Status: signed through 2012. We all liked to poke fun at Ned for his inexplicable bullpen use in Milwaukee -- at one point he had a 14-man pitching staff during the 25-man roster limit -- and his complaints about CC Sabathia being "robbed" of a no-hitter, which promptly sent the Brewers into a tailspin, almost costing them a playoff spot in 2008. Ned's gone 51-69 as Royals manager since replacing Trey Hillman. That's a .425 winning percentage. In two-plus seasons with KC, Hillman had a .423 winning percentage. The Cubs will see Ned next year when they visit KC in June.
Minnesota Twins -- current manager: Ron Gardenhire. Status: signed through 2011. Gardenhire has done an outstanding job in Minnesota; they're likely going to offer him an extension after this season.
Los Angeles Angels -- current manager: Mike Scioscia. Status: Scioscia signed a ten (yes, 10) year deal with the Angels before the 2009 season that runs through 2018. The Angels had injuries galore this year. Scioscia does an excellent job and never ducks accountability or responsibility.
Oakland Athletics -- current manager: Bob Geren. Status: signed through 2011. About two weeks ago, the A's picked up Geren's contract option; before that there were rumors he'd be let go. Despite that, you'd have to think he'd be vulnerable to being replaced next year if the A's muddle around .500 again.
Seattle Mariners -- current manager: Daren Brown. Status: signed through 2010. Brown was named interim manager after Don Wakamatsu was fired; though GM Jack Zdurencik said all the right things about Brown's tenure, he is not expected to be a candidate for the permanent position. Ted Simmons' name has been prominently mentioned for this job; Ryne Sandberg may be considered, as might Bobby Valentine, ex-Mariner Joey Cora and even Dusty Baker if he is not extended in Cincinnati.
Texas Rangers -- current manager: Ron Washington. Status: signed through 2010. Just before this season started, Washington was on the hot seat for reported cocaine use. But Rangers management backed him up and he led the team to its first playoff spot since 1999. Though nothing has been decided yet, it was reported last month that the Rangers will likely extend Washington after the season is over.
In summary, nine teams are guaranteed to begin 2011 with a different manager than they had at the start of 2010 (Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Dodgers, Orioles, Blue Jays, Royals, and Mariners). Six other teams (White Sox, Pirates, Athletics, Cardinals, Reds and Yankees) have varying levels of uncertainty about next year's field leader, depending on various factors.
So up to half of major league teams may have new leaders from 2010 to 2011. It is a time of great change in baseball, and no matter who the new Cubs manager is, he will no doubt be a very different type of leader than we have been accustomed to over the last 10-15 years.