If you read part one of this series, you know which managers had the most security entering this season and the predictions for their managerial futures. Now comes the trickier part. The managers listed below are either in their first or second year at their jobs or were on tenuous ground when the season started. Remarkably, only one manager has been fired to date this season. How will the following guys do?
Tier III: The second year managers. This group usually gets the benefit of the doubt from management.
Kevin Cash (TB): The Rays normally have starting pitching that keeps them in the thick of the divisional and Wild Card races. This year has been a different story, however, as the rotation has struggled to find consistency. Chris Archer, a star in the making, has averaged 10.7 K/9 IP, but otherwise has been erratic. Matt Moore, on the verge of a payday, was dealt at the non-waiver trade deadline, and Drew Smyly has had an off year. A bigger problem is the Rays’ inability to develop or trade for solid hitting. With the exception of breakout start Brad Miller, Evan Longoria remains surrounded by inferior batters in the lineup. Verdict: Cash will be back, if for no other reason than the Rays inexplicably gave him a five-year deal through 2019.
Verdict: There’s a 75% chance Molitor will return next year. While owner Jim Pohlad reportedly wants Molitor to remain, there’s been no talk of an extension beyond the 2017 end of Molitor’s contract. Things are iffy for Molly.
Craig Counsell (MIL): The Brewers’ manager took over the position just 25 games into the 2015 season, and was given a three-year deal. The Brew Crew finished 15 games under .500 after Counsell took over. This season, the Brewers hung on as long as they could – they were seven games under .500 at the end of June – but they are a flat-out bad team. Things got worse when two regulars, Jonathan Lucroy and Aaron Hill, were traded at the end of July. Their current status is as dismal as last season, 16 games under .500. Verdict: Counsell will be back, but he’s another manager with no deal past next season.
Chip Hale (AZ): The Arizona Diamondbacks won 79 games last season and expected to, at the very least, contend for a Wild Card spot this year. The team was at .500 after 20 games in 2016, and have been under .500 since. Paul Goldschmidt is having a bit of a down year and the pitching staff has been mostly awful. Ace Zack Greinke hasn’t pitched as well as expected and missed time with injuries. Jake Lamb and Yasmany Tomas show promise for the future, but the DBacks need a lot more than that. Verdict: Hale received an extension for 2017 earlier in the year. It’s what will bring him back to start next season, but he could be one of the earliest managerial casualties in 2017.
Tier IV: These guys entered the season on shaky ground.
Fredi Gonzalez/Brian Snitker (ATL): Fans of the Atlanta Braves are used to their team winning NL East titles and playing well into October. It’s going to be a while before the Braves are that good again. Gonzalez was fired after the team got off to a 9-28 start. Snitker was named interim manager and has suffered through a 36-51 record after Sunday’s walk-off win. The Braves need a big turnover on the roster. With Atlanta moving into a new home next year, SunTrust Park, the writing is on the wall. Verdict: Fired
Brad Ausmus (DET): The Tigers won nine of 10 to start last season before they faded into a 74-win season. This season, they were hovering a bit above .500 until an eight-game winning streak in late July/early August got them back into the thick of things. The Tigers got within two games of first-place Cleveland in the AL Central and held the second Wild Card position. But, as of this writing, the Tigers had dropped eight of their last 11, and now are six back in the division and three games back of the second Wild Card. Verdict: Ausmus needs the Tigers to make the playoffs, and not just a one-and-done Wild Card game. Otherwise, he’s done in Detroit.
Dusty Baker (WAS): Baker was unfairly placed in this category due to the team’s collapse last year under then-manager Matt Williams. The Washington Nationals have their best shot to win it all this year. Barring a repeat of last year’s tumble, the Nats will win the NL East. But, then what? This is the 12th season the Nats have been in DC. They’ve reached the playoffs just twice in the prior 11 seasons and lost in the Division Series both times. They’ll have to get through the Cubs to reach the World Series, but arguably they are the team best suited to do so. Verdict: One of baseball’s favorite managers will return next year.
Walt Weiss (COL): The Colorado Rockies manager is in the fourth and final season of his contract. Unfortunately, it’s also probably his final year as the Rockies manager. Under Weiss, the Rockies have won 74, 66, and 68 games. This year, the team is on a pace to win 77-78 games. It’s a nice improvement, but not enough to warrant a new deal. The Rockies are likely to have a shakeup in the lineup as well, with Carlos Gonzalez eligible for free agency after the 2017 season. Verdict: Fired
Robin Ventura (CHW): The White Sox got off to a fantastic 23-10 start this season. They’ve gone 32-55 since then. The team won 85 games their first year (2012) under Ventura, but since then the club hasn’t reached 80 wins. Of course, it’s not all Ventura’s fault. Other than Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the starting rotation has been largely ineffective. There hasn’t been much offensive punch either. Todd Frazier has been the only power threat, with Jose Abreu having an off year. Verdict: Fired
Bryan Price (CIN): The third-year manager hasn’t had the best squad to work with, but they probably should have performed better in Pryce’s first two seasons. The Reds won 74 games in 2014 and 64 last year. At their current pace, they would win 69-70 this season. That’s nothing to rave about. With Jay Bruce dealt away, the Reds are going to have to develop more players like Adam Duvall and get more support for Joey Votto. Verdict: Fired
Tier V: The Rookies; you’d have to be really bad to screw this up.
Dave Roberts (LAD): Prior to this season, Roberts was best known for his stolen base during the 2004 ALCS between his Boston Red Sox and the Yankees. Manager Roberts’ Dodgers entered this past weekend clinging to a half-game lead over the San Francisco Giants. And, he’s done it despite not having three-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw (bad back) available since late June, outfielder Yasiel Puig‘s continued immaturity, and an offense that has been anemic at times. Verdict: Two thumbs up, way up for 2017.
Pete Mackanin (PHI)*: The asterisk is because Mackanin isn’t really a rookie manager. But, this is the first time he’s taken a team to Spring Training and had a chance to manage a full season. Mackanin held interim jobs with the Pirates (2005), Reds (2007), and Phillies (2015). However, this time around the Phillies took him on full-time, and gave him a deal through 2017, with an option for 2018. Mackanin was handed a lemon of a team and has them playing pretty good ball. (Nine games under .500 after this past weekend.) Verdict: The 64-year old will be back next year. Good for him.
Scott Servais (SEA): The Seattle Mariners were mediocre for much of the season. After a loss on August 1st, the team’s record was 52-52. The Mariners were nine games behind Texas in the AL West and fives game out of the Wild Card race. Heading into Monday’s action, however, the Mariners were tied with KC for the second-best record in baseball since August 1st at 14-5. They’re still well behind Texas, but they’re now in the thick of the Wild Card race. Verdict: Servais did a great job keeping his team going and will be back in 2017.
Andy Green (SD): It’s hard to blame Green for the poor season the San Diego Padres are having. The team is 18 games under .500 due to a lack of talent and production. They dealt their two best starters in Andrew Cashner and Drew Pomeranz at the deadline. Offensive production was lacking, except for Wil Myers and the recently dealt Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton Jr. The only thing, for now, to look forward to in 2017 is the continued development of Alex Dickerson and Ryan Schimpf. Verdict: Green will be back, but things look bleak.
So, there you have it. Our best guess at who remains, who gets canned, and whose status is up in the air. If you missed part one of a look at the current state of the MLB managers, just click here.