Top 10 Managers on the Hot Seat in 2013
Top 10 Managers on the Hot Seat in 2013
Being a Major League Baseball manager is a fickle business. You're only as good as your last season, and you are completely at the mercy at the expectations of the fans and media.
We've seen countless managers throughout baseball history who have failed in one spot and had success in another, so getting fired as a major league manager doesn't mean he wasn't capable to do the job. Being a major league baseball manager is as much about balancing personalities as it is making baseball decisions. Many times, even though a manager's baseball acumen is still as strong as the day he was hired, it turns out he wasn't a good fit for the group of players in the clubhouse or the situation at the time.
And sometimes, there's just been too much losing. Terry Francona, for example, managed the Philadelphia Phillies during an unsuccessful stretch in the 1990's before winning to World Series with the Boston Red Sox. He didn't become a better manager in Boston, he just had a better team. He was fired in Philly before they got enough talent to be competitive. His firing wasn't a comment on his ability as a manager. A change was just needed because he had been a part of too much losing.
That's going to be the case for most of the managers on this list. These men are not all bad managers. Some may have their issues with baseball strategy, but the reason's for their firing will go far beyond that. For most of these men, their current or potential hot seat status has more to do with expectations than it does with strategy, and it's the failure to reach those expectations that could end up costing them their jobs.
10 - Ron Washington
Ron Washington is certainly not baseball's best strategic manager, and in fact, most people believe that he was badly out-managed in his World Series apperances in 2010 and 2011. His players love him and love playing for him, which will likely keep him around longer than his managerial abilites deserve, but after losing two World Series' then taking a step back in 2012, losing in the Wild Card Game, Washington badly needs to return at least to the World Series, and could really use a ring.
When your job relies on having to win the World Series, bad things typically ensue.
9 - Ron Roenicke
It's not completely fair to put Ron Roenicke on this list, but being an MLB manager isn't fair either. After a successful season in 2011, Roenicke kept the Brewers above .500 in 2012 despite losing Prince Fielder in the off-season, thanks to a late-season run that almost had them in contention for a playoff spot.
But Milwaukee Brewers fans have raised their expectations over the past few years, now demanding playoff apperanaces every year in the weak NL Central. If the Brewers spend this off-season and again fail to make the playoffs, Roenicke could be the scapegoat.
8 - John Farrell
The Red Sox finally got the manager they wanted, so everything should be great, right? That's the idea, but as Bobby Valentine demonstrated this past season, it only takes one bad season to lose the locker room and have the relentless Boston media turn on a manager.
Additionally, there is always additional pressure on a manager when your new team traded an actual player to get you. Mike Aviles wasn't exactly a star, but it still puts a little more on Farrell's shoulders in his first season at the helm.
7 - Don Mattingly
Don Mattingly is generally regarded as a good manager, having learned from Joe Torre in L.A. and having done a nice job so far during his time in charge. But thus far in his tenure with the Dodgers, expectations have been limited thanks to an ownership situaiton in flux and limited spending abilities.
That has all changed.
With the new Dodgers ownership in place, high spending has followed, and with high spending comes high expectations. Mattingly is by no means on the hot seat right now, but the potential is there for his seat to heat up very quickly.
6 - Terry Collins
It's always hotter in New York.
Terry Collins has done no better or worse with a limited New York Mets roster than any other manager could have done during his time with the team, but at some point, multiple losing seasons in a row takes its toll on the patience of ownership and fans, and the Mets aren't going to be any better any time soon.
5 - Fredi Gonzalez
There are those who love Fredi Gonzalez and those who hate him (as a manager - he appears to be a very nice person). Whenever there's a split opinion on a manager, it's ultimately wins and losses that act as the tie breaker.
The Atlanta Braves have given Gonzalez plenty of talent to work with over the past few seasons, with only one Wild Card playoff game to show for it. The Braves don't want to become a team that makes frequent manager changes after two decades of Bobby Cox in the dugout, but they've also gotten used to making the playoffs.
4 - Walt Weiss
How can a first-year manager already be on the hot seat? When his team only gives him a one-year contract when they hire him.
In what seems like a terrible decisions that is setting Walt Weiss up to fail, the Colorado Rockies signed new manager Walt Weiss to a one-year deal, instantly bringing up the question of what happens next year. Additionally, Weiss has no professional coaching experience, making it very easy to challenge his abilities as a manager if the Rockies struggle this season.
3 - Ned Yost
The Kansas City Royals are attempting to creep up towards respectability and by the end of 2013, they will have all of their highly-regarded offensive prospects in the majors. They're probably not going to compete in 2013 (barring any pitching additions on the free agent market this winter), but they do need to make improvements.
The Royals have been too bad for too long, but they now have some expectations for the future. If ownership and fans don't see some improvements, Ned Yost will be gone.
2 - Eric Wedge
The Seattle Mariners are doing everything they can to improve their offense. They traded a young pitcher for a young hitter (Jesus Montero). They're moving the fences in at Safeco Field. If they have to try changing their manager too, you can be sure they'll try that as well.
1 - Ron Gardenhire
There have already been talks about Gardenhire's dismissal as manager of the Minnesota Twins, but the front office gave him another year to right the ship. Of course, the Twins will be terrible once again in 2013, so it's hard to believe that that will help. Gardenhire is the odds-on favorite to be the first manager fired in 2013.