MLB Predictions and Odds: First Manager Fired
by Alan Matthews - 3/29/2011
It’s never really a question of if a Major League Baseball manager will be fired during the season but when. The challenge is, of course, trying to determine which manager that will be.
Last year saw a ton of managerial turnover. Five managers were fired during the season (one, the Cubs' Lou Piniella, retired in late August). The preseason betting “favorite” to be let go was Baltimore’s Dave Trembley and Florida’s Fredi Gonzalez, both at +300. Well, both did eventually get the heave-ho, but neither was the first. That honor fell to Kansas City’s Trey Hillman, who was canned on May 13 with the Royals at 12-23. Hillman, who was replaced by Ned Yost, wasn’t a betting option on this prop last year.
Trembley was sacked next, on June 4, with the Orioles at 15-39. He was replaced by Buck Showalter, but Showalter didn’t actually take over until late July and the Birds had the second-best record in the American League under his leadership. Gonzalez followed Trembley, getting fired on June 23, but he has landed nicely on his feet, taking over for the retired Bobby Cox in Atlanta.
With all that said, Bodog has released a prop and odds on the first 2011 MLB manager to get fired. Here is a look at the five options with some MLB predictions:
Ozzie Guillen, White Sox (+200): Guillen is the obvious favorite in this category for two main reasons. The first is that the White Sox have very high expectations after acquiring Adam Dunn and re-signing Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski. If Jake Peavy can get right off his season-ending 2010 injury, the White Sox certainly have the best rotation in the AL Central if not the American League. Secondly, Guillen’s relationship with GM Kenny Williams can get very frosty at times. There were rumors that Guillen was going to be let go this offseason because he and Williams weren’t getting along. In fact, the Florida Marlins wanted to talk to Guillen but the White Sox demanded a top prospect as compensation if they agreed to let Guillen out of his contract. Still, there is talk Guillen, a Miami native, is the Marlins’ top choice to be manager when the club heads into its new ballpark next season. But White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf loves Guillen and the club picked up Guillen’s option through 2012 earlier this winter.
Edwin Rodriguez, Marlins (+200): Rodriguez was the guy who replaced Gonzalez during last season. Florida dropped the interim tag on Rodriguez once it became evident the Fish couldn’t get Guillen. It seems like Rodriguez was just a fallback option, however, as the Marlins also were talking to Bobby Valentine. Rodriguez, a rookie manager in 2010, led the Marlins to a 46-46 record. He is the first Puerto Rican-born manager in big league history. But his contract is only through 2011.
Bud Black, Padres (+300): Black’s Padres surprisingly led the NL West for much of last season before fading late and losing to the Giants on the last day of the season to give San Francisco the division title. Black was named the NL Manager of the Year. In the middle of last season, the Padres announced a three-year contract extension for Black. That deal theoretically will keep him in San Diego through 2013, with team options for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The cost-conscious Padres are probably going to take a step backward this season after trading Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. Closer Heath Bell could be the next to go. Because expectations have diminished somewhat, Black should be safe.
Jim Riggleman, Nationals (+500): Riggleman is on this list because, obviously, the Nationals are going to lose, especially with no Stephen Strasburg this season. Plus, this is the last year on Riggleman’s contract, although the team holds an option for 2012. The Nationals improved from 59 wins in 2009 to 69 in 2010, Riggleman’s first full season. GM Mike Rizzo got a contract extension last October through 2015, so it’s a bit curious he is letting Riggleman twist in the wind on a one-year deal. I could definitely see the team not bringing Riggleman back after this season if the Nats go backward because Rizzo believes Washington can start winning in 2012. But there’s really no good reason to fire Riggleman during the season barring a horrid start.
Joe Girardi (+500): You can never rule anything out with the Yanks, but Girardi has been about as successful as you can ask for with New York. His record in three seasons as Yankees manager is 287-199 (.591), with the 2009 world championship and a trip to the 2010 American League Championship Series. Girardi probably could have had the Cubs job this offseason if he wanted it, but instead got a three-year contract extension worth around $9 million. That’s a lot of money for even the Yankees to swallow if they were going to fire Girardi. But if the Red Sox, for example, run away and hide early from the Yankees at the top of the AL East, Girardi could be gone.
I happen to think all five of these guys survive the year, but the best bet on here is Guillen because he could certainly stick his foot in his mouth at any time this year and force Williams to get rid of him.
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