The winds of managerial change have been blowing for some time now, and it’s only a matter of time before we find out which clubs will have new skippers in 2024.
Some teams might make that change before the final games are played — the interim manager tag is always fun — but most will wait until after the regular season is done to announce their intentions. Today, we’ll take a look at several managers on the hot seat — in reality or just public perception — and try to suss out which ones will be updating the resume.
Three names you won’t see here are the managers of the three teams with the worst records in the American League: Mark Kotsay (A’s), Matt Quatraro (Royals) and Pedro Grifol (White Sox). There’s no reason to fire Kotsay, who seems to be doing the best job possible with the roster he’s been given by an owner who has zero interest in winning. So not only does the manager’s W/L record not matter, but who would want to step into that role anyway? And in Kansas City, this season has been a HUGE disappointment to everyone other than the Mike Matheny backers. But this is Quatraro’s first season with a largely young and inexperienced roster, and he’ll be given at least a second year at the helm. Same thing with Grifol in Chicago, plus the White Sox already made their significant moves, firing front-office executives Ken Williams and Rick Hahn. If Grifol was going to be jettisoned, it would have happened then.
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Aaron Boone, Yankees
The will-he-be-fired spotlight shines most brightly on Boone, considering the Yankees’ failure to reach expectations this year. And the visuals of Boone getting thrown out on what feels like a regular basis — 15 times since the start of the 2022 season — might help fuel the fans’ angst. But any objective look at the Yankees’ issues this year starts with roster construction and segues into injuries, neither of which are Boone’s fault, of course. The cruel UCL injury suffered by rookie Jasson Dominguez was an unnecessary exclamation point to that facet of the season. With a healthy Carlos Rodon and a healthy Aaron Judge all year, who knows how much things could be different.
And Boone’s track record sure helps; this is his fifth full season (the 2020 pandemic-shortened season hardly counts) and he’s had three seasons of at least 99 wins and two trips to the ALCS. He doesn’t have a World Series appearance, sure, but until this year he’s done a good job of helping put his team in position to get there.
Verdict: He stays
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Buck Showalter, Mets
It’s not been a good year for expectations in New York, has it? Injuries haven’t helped the Mets, either, and much-hyped rookies haven’t come in and been the saviors the fans hoped for. Here’s the question to ask: What benefit do the Mets get by firing Showalter, a veteran manager who is the same person now as he was last year, when his club won 101 games? After the sell-off leading up to the trade deadline, the Mets admitted that contending in 2024 might not happen either, that 2025 might be a bit more realistic. So why part with Showalter? He handles the job well, understands the requirements with the New York media and generally is a bright spot in the organization.
Verdict: He stays
A.J. Hinch, Tigers
Truth is, this is the second consecutive bitterly disappointing season for the Tigers, a club that showed a lot of promise in Hinch’s first season, 2021, and was expected to compete in the less-than-great AL Central in 2022. Instead, the Tigers won just 66 games. They’ll finish with more wins this year, but still nowhere near a playoff spot. That’s especially disappointing considering even a .500-ish record would put the club on the heels of the first-place Twins. Hinch was supposed to be the leader to pull the team out of its rebuilding phase, much like he did in Houston with the Astros, but that hasn’t happened. Will the Tigers move on?
Verdict: A change is coming
Phil Nevin, Angels
Shohei Ohtani’s not officially gone, but he’s gone. Now whispers that the Angels might be willing to trade Mike Trout? The wheels have come off in Anaheim. Is it Nevin’s fault the team collapsed immediately after the decision to keep Ohtani for the rest of 2023 and the subsequent trades? Probably not, but he sure didn’t do anything to curb the free fall.
Verdict: Angels will have a new manager next year.
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Oli Marmol, Cardinals
This season has been a disaster. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. Stars have underachieved. Youngsters have struggled. Marmol has made so many decisions that haven’t worked out that there aren’t enough fingers and toes in the clubhouse to count them. And you can bet the Cardinals’ intense fan base has noticed. Thing is, just because a decision doesn’t work doesn’t necessarily mean it was the wrong decision. Most times, the options Marmol has had to choose from have, how to put this kindly … not been great. Most of the Cardinals’ issues this year stem from a faulty offseason strategy, one that saw the Cardinals go into the season without a strong rotation, one lacking in depth and relying on too many things to go right. That didn’t happen, and it’s been a bit of a cascading effect.
The other thing in play: Marmol came up with the Cardinals as a player, and was basically raised within the organization to be a coach and manager with the club. Remember, it was his presence in the organization that allowed president of operations John Mozeliak to feel confident enough to shockingly fire manager Mike Shildt after the 2021 season (well, it was part of the equation). For Mozeliak to fire Marmol now — for failing to make his faulty roster work — would be as big of a black mark on Mozeliak’s resume as it would be for Marmol. Just don’t see that happening.
Verdict: He stays
Bob Melvin, Padres
Somebody has to take the fall, right? Melvin sure looked like the perfect fit for the talented Padres team as he guided them to the NLCS last year, but this year? Yikes. And unlike some of the struggling teams (hi Mets and Cardinals!) where the reasons for the issues have been obvious — underperforming players — the Padres actually have a bunch of players having outstanding individual seasons, including maybe the NL’s best starter (Blake Snell), the NL’s best closer (Josh Hader) and not one but two position players with a bWAR of 5.0 or higher (Ha-Seong Kim and Fernando Tatis, Jr.) and Manny Machado, Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts combining for 71 homers. It’ll be an interesting offseason in San Diego.
Verdict: He stays, barely
Bud Black, Rockies
This season, the worst winning percentage in Black’s seven seasons as the Rockies’ skipper, isn’t Black’s fault. But who knows what matters in Colorado these days.
Verdict: A new manager, because why not.