When the Hot Stove season heats up in the fall, the majority of the focus is on the players and their new addresses and fat contracts. There is nothing wrong with this at all. The players are the ones mostly responsible for the wins a team earns and money that fans spend.
The players can't take 100% of the credit though. The managers play an important role in the success of the team as well. Fans may not get to see what the managers do behind the scenes that keep the team together and, other than a small percentage of on-field decisions, fans may not really know what managers do during the games either.
Fox Sports' Tracy Ringolsby looks ahead at this off-season and mentions that a lot of managers could be on the move. Tony La Russa is one of the most notable names that may be working in a new zip code come 2012. Here are some more notes...
- Interim managers Jack McKeon (Marlins) and Bob Melvin (Athletics) could be heading in different directions. Melvin's personality works well with the A's front office, but McKeon could not recreate his magic that led the Marlins to a World Series title in 2003.
- La Russa has a mutual option for 2012, but his relationship with management is "uneasy".
- The Chicago White Sox could be a landing spot for La Russa if his time has run out in St. Louis. The relationship between Ozzie Guillen and GM Ken Williams is described as "strained" and Guillen remains the top choice to take over the Marlins. Guillen is signed through 2012, but where there is a will, there is a way.
Guys like Jose Reyes, Yu Darvish and maybe even C.J. Wilson will dominate the headlines and bottom lines come this fall and rightfully so. Managers can play a significant role in their teams' success or failures as well though and it might be worth our while to keep tabs on the managerial changes that occur this off-season.