clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Managers on the hot seat

Four teams have already made managerial changes this season, and there are likely going to be more soon.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, there have been four instances in which a team has had to find a replacement manager. The Marlins, Brewers, and Padres all fired their respective leaders, while Ryne Sandberg, likely sensing the end was near, decided to leave the Phillies on his own terms.

Milwaukee is sticking with Craig Counsell for the forseeable future, however Miami, San Diego, and Philadelphia are probably going to be looking for a new manager; but they won't be alone. There are seemingly eight teams that could realistically fire their current field commander, and install a new voice to help lead the team forward.

The Los Angeles Dodgers

Don Mattingly has been the Dodgers manager since 2011, and owns a lifetime record of 405-332. They've won at least 92 games for the past two years, and if the season ended today, they would capture their third consecutive NL West title. Mattingly has never had a losing record as their manager, but it seems like his tenure could be coming to a close.

One of the biggest reasons that he's likely on the hot seat is because the Dodgers, a team with a payroll north of $300 million, aren't running away the division. Despite a horrid road trip in which the Giants went 2-5, they actually managed to gain a game in the standings. This past week was a tremendous opportunity to separate themselves from the rest of the NL West, but the Dodgers instead lost ground, and averaged just 2.57 runs per game over their past seven.

Another factor working against Mattingly is the fact that the current front office group is not the one that gave him his contract. Last offseason, the Dodgers notably hired the architect of the Tampa Bay Rays, Andrew Friedman, and began the process of building one of the most analytically inclined teams in baseball. While he kept Mattingly on the team for this season, it's widely known that new GM's, or presidents of baseball operations like to hire their own managers, and 2015 could prove to be his last with the Dodgers.

There's also the conspiracy theory that Ron Roenicke could be in line to take over, as he was hired to be their third base coach with just seven weeks left in the season. The official party line is that he was brought in to help with the Dodgers' putrid baserunning, but as Mark Saxson of ESPN wrote, "the change clearly came from above Mattingly's head". If Los Angeles wins a championship this season, or makes a deep October run, they could ultimately decide to not make any changes, but if they have another early exit from the playoffs, or don't reach them at all, Mattingly could pay for it.

The Detroit Tigers

The Tigers' subpar campaign has already cost their former GM Dave Dombrowski his job, and may ultimately lead to the dismissal of Brad Ausmus. He signed a three-year contract in November of 2013, which also contains a club option for 2017, but he'd be lucky for that to even be discussed at this point. Many have written about Ausmus' failures this season, but none detailed the oddity better than Catherine Slonksnis did for Bless You Boys.

"On Sunday (June 28th) David Price never took the mound for the seventh inning. He thought his day was over, took his uniform off, and went to the weight room. With two outs and extra innings a real possibility, Victor Martinez's bat was taken out of the game on Thursday, and it cost a win. Friday a missed signal from Ian Kinsler cost the Tigers a challenge. Yoenis Cespedes wasn't at his post on June 15th."

All of these examples occurred in the span of two weeks, and highlighted many of Ausmus' shortcomings. Even though his new boss, Al Avila, was promoted from within the club, that wont necessarily help him keep his job. Avila knows without a doubt that his predecessor was fired because of his inability to win now, so the pressure is on.

He doesn't have time to go through a rebuilding process, which means that he needs to have complete faith in his entire organization. Unfortunately for Ausmus, that pressure may ultimately lead to his demise.

The Seattle Mariners

2015 was supposed to be different for the Mariners. Robinson Cano was entering the second year of his contract; Felix Hernandez had turned in another brilliant campaign; and Jack Zduriencik went out and acquired Nelson Cruz. Unfortunately, not much has gone right for Seattle, as they have a record of 57-68, and are 11.5 games out of first place.

The rumor mill has already started up for Zduriencik, as it seems like he'll be replaced once the season is over; which could only spell bad news for Lloyd McClendon. Many picked the Mariners to represent the AL in the World Series this season, but instead, they're set to miss the playoffs for the 14th consecutive year.

In addition to these teams, the Nationals, Rockies, Reds, Blue Jays, and White Sox could all make a change before the 2016 season. Whether for underperformance, a rebuilding phase, or simply wanting to go in a different direction, there could be more than a few managerial openings over the coming months.