There are only three days left in the regular season, which means the current state of 30 Major League managers may change very soon. The Yankees’ Joe Girardi is without a contract for next year, and no one knows if he wants to stay or if Hal Steinbrenner wants him back. Across the river, Terry Collins is rumored to be retiring after a very trying year with the Mets. It’s time for a look at the future of the 2017 managers, starting out with the American League plus Collins.
The Future of “Joey”
Joe Girardi: The man who likes to add a “y”/”ie” to the end of everyone’s name (David Cone really does not like “Judgey”) has no new contract in place. It’s hard to believe that Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman wouldn’t want him back, especially since the team exceeded expectations for the regular season. But does Girardi want to stay? One would assume so, but who really knows? If he does, a deal will get done pretty quickly. The former Yankees’ catcher is finishing up his 10th season as manager. After all the managerial chaos over two decades, it’s incredible that the Yankees have had only two managers in the last 22 seasons.
Well, I’m Already Gone
Brad Ausmus: The Tigers’ manager has already been told his services are no longer needed. It was a surprise that Ausmus got the chance to manage this season. It came as no surprise that when Detroit started dismantling their parts, chief among them Justin Verlander, Ausmus would not be back in 2018. Whoever the new manager is, he has to hope that Miguel Cabrera can stay healthy. It’s an iffy proposition.
Terry Collins: The Mets’ skipper had a rough year. With a starting rotation of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz, the Mets were supposed to battle it out with Washington for the NL East title. As it turned out, only deGrom could be relied upon to take the mound every fifth day. The Mets were smart to trade veterans Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker, and Addison Reed, but without a healthy rotation, the team won’t improve that much next year.
There has been a debate amongst fans, the media, etc., as to the quality of Collins’ managing. Rumor has it that Collins will resign when the season ends and it will be up to someone else to run a very rejiggered team.
Update 10/20 2:20pm: Veteran manager Ron Gardenhire is the new Tigers’ skipper. The longtime former Twins’ manager is a good hire for a team in transition.
See Ya in 2018 (aka the “no-brainers”)
Terry Francona: Win, lose, or draw, the Cleveland Indians’ manager will be back in the dugout next year. After losing to the Chicago Cubs in a seven-game World Series last year, the Indians are once again one of the favorites to win the Series this year.
A.J. Hinch: The Houston Astros have 97 wins to date and made a huge move in acquiring Justin Verlander at the trade deadline. Are the Astros this year’s Cubs? While that remains to be seen, Hinch will once again be leading the Astros in 2018.
Paul Molitor: On any given day you will find a member of the media questioning aloud, “how are they doing it”? The “they” in this case is the Minnesota Twins. As of Wednesday night, the Twins were close to wrapping up the second AL wild card spot. This was a team that was not supposed to contend, but breakout performances by Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario added onto the usual slugging of Brian Dozier, made a world of difference. Molitor went from the edge of the ledge (59 wins in 2016) to manager of the year talk in a 12 month period.
Update 10/10/17 11:30 am: The front-runner for AL Manager of the Year, Paul Molitor, has received a three-year extension after leading the Twins to the wild card game. The playoff spot came one year after the Twins won 59 games.
Ned Yost: The Royals’ head honcho received an extension through 2018 during Spring Training last year. Yost earned it after the Royals went to back-to-back World Series and won it all in 2015. 2018 could be a tough season to deal with due to the likely departure of free agents Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, and Lorenzo Cain.
Rick Renteria: The White Sox manager is only the second person to manage both the White Sox and Cubs (Johnny Evers being the other). Unfortunately, he took over a club that is in the midst of rebuilding. The Chisox have won 65 games to date, but the front office believes in Renteria’s ability to work with the young prospects like Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Reynaldo Lopez. He has two years remaining on his contract.
John Gibbons: The Toronto Blue Jays were supposed to contend for the AL East crown, but injuries (Devon Travis, Aaron Sanchez), poor performances (Marco Estrada, Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson) or a combination of both (Troy Tulowitzki) derailed their season. Though they didn’t reach the World Series, the Blue Jays made it to the ALCS the previous two seasons. Ownership rewarded Gibbons with a contract extension through 2019, with an option for 2020.
Jeff Banister: After two straight AL West titles, the Rangers are currently six games under .500 with four games to go. They’re a team that could bounce back quickly next season if they can improve the rotation and bullpen. The Rangers will also rely on continued growth from Joey Gallo, Rougned Odor, and Nomar Mazara. Banister has one year left on his deal plus an option for 2019 that will, in all likelihood, be picked up this offseason.
Bob Melvin: After averaging 92 wins in Melvin’s first three seasons, the A’s averaged 68.5 the last two. This season, Oakland will finish with between 73 and 77 victories and some hope for the future. Youngsters Matt Olson, Ryon Healy, Matt Chapman, Jharel Cotton, Blake Treinen form a good nucleus to build around. Billy Beane wants Melvin to continue running the show and gave him an extension for 2019 this afternoon.
Angels in the Outfield
Mike Scioscia: With starting pitchers Ricky Nolasco, Jesse Chavez, Tyler Skaggs, Parker Bridwell, J.C. Ramirez, Garrett Richards and others, there is no way anyone would have expected the Angels to compete for a postseason spot. The chances became even slimmer when All-World outfielder Mike Trout missed more than a month after he tore ligaments in his left thumb. They certainly didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of beating out Houston for the AL West title.
But, not every team has a guy like Scioscia as their manager. After play on September 5th, Scioscia had guided Angels to a 72-67 record. That put them in the second AL wild card position by one game over the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, the Angels have gone 6-12 since then to fall out of contention, but how long they hung in there is a testament to Scioscia’s managerial skills. If he wants to stay beyond the end of his contract (2018), the Angels need to give him an extension.
Cash Remains King
Kevin Cash: For years, Tampa Bay’s approach to building their team has been a bit of a mystery. It’s great that they continually churn out pitchers like David Price, James Shields, and Blake Snell, but where are the hitters? Evan Longoria has long been the face of the Rays and the lone consistent standout in the lineup. So, while the Rays are 9th in the Major Leagues in ERA, they’re 26th out of the 30 teams in runs scored.
Many heads were scratched when the Rays hired the unproven Cash in 2015, and gave him an unprecedented five-year deal. In Cash’s first season, the Rays improved by three wins, but then the team won just 68 games in 2016. This season, the Rays were 76-82 as of this writing. Currently, it wouldn’t appear the Rays will improve by much next year, but it does appear Cash will remain manager: “Kevin is incredibly consistent with his energy, authenticity and the way that he guides this team,” general manager Erik Neander said.
Welcome Back…for Now
John Farrell: The Boston manager’s job seemed to be very much in question during the 2016 season. The Red Sox won the AL East last year but were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs. Entering Thursday night’s play, the Red Sox hold a three-game lead over the Yankees with four games to go.
Barring a miraculous finish, the Red Sox will repeat as the division winner, but would another quick playoff exit mean a quick exit for Farrell? The top man in the Sox dugout has one more year on his contract thanks to management picking up his 2018 option after the 2016 season. Odds are good that Farrell stays unless the playoffs go very wrong for Boston.
Update 10/10/17 11:30 am: The Red Sox make a first round exit for the second straight year after capturing the AL East title. Despite having one more year on his contract, Farrell could definitely be in trouble.
Update 10/11/17 1:35p: The Red Sox have indeed parted ways with Farrell and are reportedly already conducting their managerial search.
Scott Servais: The Mariners hired Servais prior to the 2016 season despite him having no managerial experience. The M’s won 86 games last year but can win, at best, 80 this season. Servais’ squad is in the middle of the pack both offensively and defensively. That’s going to need to change for Servais to manage his way through 2018 and beyond.
Buck Showalter: The Baltimore Orioles were a major disappointment this season. Coming off an 89-73 record, the O’s were one of the favorites to win the AL East. But poor performances by a number of players, especially Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Kevin Gausman, and Chris Tillman sank their season. Showalter’s contract runs through 2018. It will be an interesting offseason as to whether or not Showalter, who is finishing his eighth season at the helm in Baltimore, is extended past that. And, will Manny Machado play the full season in Baltimore or somewhere else?
Beginning Monday, we’ll start to find out who the keepers are. Stay tuned for part II of this “epic”, when I’ll take a look at the NL managers.