First MLB Manager Fired in 2012 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/4/2012
There were four managerial changes during the 2011 Major League Baseball season, but only one manager was officially fired. Guys like the Nationals’ Jim Riggleman (team wouldn’t extend his contract) and the Marlins’ Edwin Rodriguez (he quit before he could get fired) resigned. And White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen actually was let out of his contract and “traded” to the Marlins with a few days left in the regular season.
But only Oakland A’s Manager Bob Geren got the proverbial axe. The A’s were on a nine-game skid when the team fired him June 9 and replaced him with Bob Melvin. The former Diamondbacks and Mariners skipper remains on the job.
With that said, let’s take a look at Bovada’s odds for the first manager to be fired in 2012 because there is always at least one who gets a pinkslip.
Bud Black, Padres (3/1): The Padres aren’t expected to be very good again this year as the club is in full rebuilding mode. And the team has a new general manager, with Josh Byrnes having replaced Jed Hoyer this offseason, with Hoyer following Theo Epstein to the North Side of Chicago. Most GMs like to bring in their own managers, but overall the Padres managerial job has been pretty stable.
Brad Mills, Astros (5/1): Be honest, unless you are a die-hard baseball or Astros fan, did you even know who Houston’s manager was? Mills begins his third season as the Houston manager, and the Astros are essentially a Triple-A club this year – if they don’t lose the most games in MLB I will wear Astros gear for a week straight. And Mills has three things working against him: a new owner (Jim Crane), new GM (Jeff Luhnow) and a move to the American League West coming in 2013. Crane/Luhnow might want a completely fresh start then, although Houston figures to struggle for at least a few years, so perhaps they keep Mills in place until the Astros are ready to contend.
Dusty Baker, Reds (11/2): This is interesting because the Reds very much expect to contend in the now watered-down NL Central and with Cincinnati adding ace Mat Latos. Plus, the club just spent some $225 million on keeping Joey Votto, so it will want to keep the fans interested and the turnstiles turning. Also, Baker’s contract is up after the season, so if Cincinnati struggles in the first few months, I could see Baker getting the heave-ho. The last time Baker managed as a lame duck was 2010, when the Reds won 91 games and the division title.
Buck Showalter, Orioles (6/1): Well, that original excitement that Showalter brought the O’s disappeared rather quickly, didn’t it? He’s really in a no-win situation because some of the Orioles’ top young pitching prospects haven’t panned out and the team can’t seem to lure the big-ticket free agents to Camden Yards because of the losing culture. Baltimore will finish last in the AL East again, but I think Showalter gets until the end of his contract (after 2013 season).
Ron Gardenhire (6/1), Twins: Minnesota was a disaster last year, but it’s not Gardenhire’s fault that Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau suddenly have become both injury-prone and rather ineffective. Gardenhire’s contract runs only through this season, but the Twins aren’t really the type of franchise to fire a manager – plus, new (but also old) GM Terry Ryan has plenty of belief in Gardenhire.
Jim Tracy (9/1), Rockies: I definitely don’t see this firing considering the Rockies named Tracy the team’s manager “indefinitely” this offseason. Tracy was entering the final year of his three-year, $4.4 million deal signed after guiding the Rockies to the playoffs in 2009. GM Dan O'Dowd said there's no term attached the extension, though it covers at the minimum the 2013 season. So O’Dowd would look foolish canning Tracy this season.
Bruce Bochy (10/1), Giants: Bochy is signed through 2013 as is GM Brian Sabean and I think these two are joined at the hip. In his five years with this club, Bochy’s record is 409-401. And I don’t see the Giants not contending this season barring another catastrophic injury, so Bochy is safe.
Charlie Manuel (10/1), Phillies: Manuel got a two-year deal through 2013 last spring. Hard to imagine a guy who has led the Phils to five straight division titles and the 2008 World Series crown being in any jeopardy, but I think this one is interesting. I am of the opinion the Phillies might struggle this season with Ryan Howard likely out until June and Chase Utley’s status rather unknown. Perhaps ownership would consider replacing Manuel for a spark if the Phils are languishing in June.
Joe Girardi (10/1), Yankees: There can be no manger firing list without Girardi, but he seems set in stone. The Yanks had the AL’s best record last year, although they again came up short in the playoffs. Girardi joins the Phillies’ Manuel as the only managers to get his team in three straight postseasons. If the Yanks flame out in this year’s playoffs, maybe something happens. But not before then.
Mike Scioscia (12/1), Angels: This will be Scioscia’s 13th season with the Angels, making him the longest-tenured manager in the game. Scioscia has a new GM to answer to in Jerry DiPoto, and owner Arte Moreno won’t take anything less than a World Series this year after spending more than $315 million on Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. I could see the Angels perhaps moving on from Scioscia after this season if they somehow miss the playoffs, but not before then.
My prediction would be Baker because I am not sold on the Reds. Maybe Latos doesn’t pitch as well outside of San Diego’s Petco Park. Maybe guys like Scott Rolen and Johnny Cueto can’t stay healthy. And, remember, the Reds have to use Sean Marshall as the closer now with Ryan Madson out for the season. There are also questions at shortstop and left field, to name a few. But if you wanted to look at a longer shot for a few bucks, go with Manuel.
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