With the Washington Nationals beating the Houston Astros in 7 games, the entire nation was shocked.
It was a series that was tilted in the Astros’ favor in terms of younger age, more offensive talent, more offensive depth, better starting pitching, and better relief pitching. The Astros were up 3-2 going to Houston, their home ballpark, only needing to win 1 game with 2 attempts. With the team’s veteran ace, Justin Verlander, on the mound in game 6, and if a game seven was needed (which it was), Zach Greinke, another veteran, would get the start; it seemed impossible to lose. The team was also riding a three-game win streak. However, Washington did not just win due to luck; they won because of something they possessed, and something many teams this offseason are still struggling to acquire. Managers.
Here are the managers who were without a job this offseason.
As a Mets fan, I know this team’s managerial struggles. They are currently on their third manager in the last 3 years. However, there is a bright side, the Mets new manager, Carlos Beltran, might just be the manager the Mets needed. The Mets took a very big risk taking him, however. They missed out on some great veteran managing talents. They took a risk on a man who has never managed a team in his life before, and it might just pay off.
First and foremost, Carlos Beltran is a former Metropolitan himself, having some familiarity with the team can certainly help him in his managerial time with the Mets. Secondly, Beltran is bilingual, he speaks English and Spanish, which can help him communicate with the team’s Latin American players, which is really a struggle in today’s game. Many of today’s foreign MLB players struggle to speak English, and a bilingual manager can communicate with Spanish and English speaking communities while translating for them which can help the team tremendously. Players sometimes need translators to speak in post-game interviews.
He may be a first-time manager; however, he was a well respected veteran later in his career, and was more of a player-coach, and mentored some of the younger players on the teams he was on. Carlos Beltran was one of the greatest power hitters of his generation, and I hope he can now preach to younger players his wisdom and knowledge of the game, and get a kickstart to his new, but hopeful managerial career.
Joe Maddon, a manager with the Angels, Rays, and Cubs, who was recently fired by the Cubs. He has a career record of 1252-1068 (54%), and has won 2008 manager of the year with the Rays, in 2011 with the Rays, and in 2015 with the Cubs, also winning 2 league pennants, 1 NL and 1 AL, and a single World Series with the Cubs. He was a highly ranked candidate for every team. Maddon has experience as a manager, over 25 years of experience, actually. He also played in the Angels farm system as a Catcher. Maddon is an all time great, and possibly a hall-of-fame manager.
The Angels have been going through a tough last few seasons. They have missed the playoffs every season since 2014, and there is no sign of making a run any time soon. The team recently signed Mike Trout to the largest deal in the history of professional sports. This was a terrible deal, and the Angels have the best player in the MLB on one of the worst teams; the Angels could have traded him for prospects. However, this is about Joe Maddon. Maddon can definitely fit in with the Angels, as I have previously mentioned, he is a catcher, and also, he has three great talents on his hand, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Shohei Ohtani. Maddon just needs to set an example on Ohtani, and all the young talents, encourage the older generation, such as Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols to be role models for the younger players, and he will fit right into the city he once called home.
There is just one problem, Trout ended last season out with a foot injury, which is surprising because Trout is one of the healthiest ballplayers in the MLB, Pujols is aging by the day, and there is a debate on whether he should stay in the league based on him getting to first base fast enough. He places in the bottom 10 every year for sprint speed to first base, and there is no sign of stopping. Joe Maddon, however, is familiar with the city, and he is the type of guy to guide them out of this,
Joe Girardi was recently hired by the Phillies, which was strange because many people in the baseball community expected the Mets to hire him as their manager for many reasons. Girardi is familiar to the setting, as he spent most of his managing career and playing career on the Yankees, a fellow New York team. Girardi also played a long career as a Catcher, and a good one, which would help the Mets as they have struggled in that category. Girardi also won a Manager of the Year on the Marlins in 2006, his first year managing, a World Series ring on the Yankees as a coach in 2008, and he managed the 2010 All-Star team.
Joe Girardi has a lot of experience as both a manager and a player, and his skill set seemed to fit right in with New York and the Mets. The Phillies, however, seemed like a terrible fit for Girardi. Bryce Harper had recently signed with the Phillies in the offseason of 2018. Harper and Girardi have some bad blood between them, and no one knows how it started. Still, they do not get along. Also, the Phillies had lost to Girardi’s Yankees in the 2009 World Series just 10 years ago. This does not seem like an ideal beginning to the second stretch of Girardi’s managing career. The Phillies missed the Postseason last year in a mediocre National League East, featuring the Division winning Braves, who would lose in the first round to a Cardinals team, who were nearly no-hit twice that postseason, and a Wild Card-winning Nationals team, featuring the worst bullpen in the National League, and the second worst in the entire MLB, only behind the Baltimore Orioles.
Girardi will certainly be a step up from Gabe Kapler; however, with an inflammatory starting rotation ERA, the continuous bullpen injuries, and a struggling Bryce Harper, who is performing at seemingly an all time low, it will certainly be a challenge for Joe Girardi to pick up the slack his first year in Philadelphia.
Jayce Tingler is not a household name in the United States or even in Texas, the city he used to call home; however, he was recently hired as the general manager of the San Diego Padres. It was a bit of a risky hire, as Tingler previously spent 4 years with the Rangers, including 1 year as a Major League Player Development Field Coordinator. At first glance, that just sounds like an assistant to the assistant to the assistant, but this hire could pay off.
Jayce Tingler was a Major League “Player Development” Field Coordinator, which means he works with scouting, and developing those players into young talents. The Padres, who Tingler is now managing, are home to the MLB’s most fruitful scouting systems, with some of the best young minor league talents. This system has been the starting point for some young talents such as Chris Paddack, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Luis Urias in todays game, and many others still in development such as MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, Xavier Edwards, and many more top 100 prospects. With a Player development manager and the best scouting system in the league, the Padres could have some of the best young talent in the MLB in the next few years and possibly become a Wild Card contender in the NL, if not, even a serious NL West Division contender.
The Giants are one of the best franchises in recent MLB history. They have plenty of talent on their roster, and they have certainly had in years past, especially during their big championship run during the 2010s, in which they won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. While this may seem recent, the talent has slowly started to disappear over the years. With the decline of Tim Lincecum and Pablo Sandoval, the loss of Sergio Romo, Mark Melancon and Joe Panik leaving just this season, and now the slow and certain fall of Buster Posey, this team clearly cannot contend, and needs to start a rebuild.
The franchise recently lost Bruce Bochy, a possible hall of fame manager, who retired at the end of the season. The team recently hired Scott Harris, a former Chicago Cubs manager. This is a good start for a team with promise, a new coach with a new mindset. Unfortunately, in order for the Giants to be great, they would need to go through a long rebuilding process.This would be tough for the Giants, since they could have done the same thing in 2016. They instead decided to sign key free agents such as Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Denard Span, Neil Ramirez, Mark Melancon, and so many other unnecessarily expensive free agents in a year in which all they did was win a Wild Card game against the previous years World Series runner-up Mets.
The Giants currently have four prospects in ESPN’s top 100 prospects for the MLB. This is a good start; however, for a team with no chance of making the playoffs next season, and their ace most likely leaving this offseason, the Giants need to start a full-on rebuild with their new manager, and wait for their new prospects to flourish, while trading their older players for newer prospects, and wait until they are ready to flourish in the majors.
Ned Yost was the winningest manager in Kansas City Royals history. He left the city at the end of the 2019 season, and left the Royals with no manager, coming off of back-to-back hundred-loss seasons, three consecutive under .500 finishes, and not making the playoffs in 4 years after back to back World Series Runs.
The team is in a rebuilding stage and has some young talent such as the young speedster Adelberto Mondesi, a switch hitting shortstop who came second in stolen bases this season in the AL with 43, and the most talented player in major league baseball, Whit Merrifield, the man can play any position except pitcher and catcher at Gold Glove level. He makes a highlight play every game, leads the league in hits every year, and if not, comes in second, hits for power, drives in runs, scores, steals bases, gets on base, you name it, he can do it. The team also has Jorge Soler, who broke out this year and hit an AL leading 48 homers, showing off his power on a team that was completely out of reach of contention. Despite their talents, and their excellent performance, these three players have gone above and beyond and two of them (Merrifield and Mondesi) are seemingly unknown in the world of baseball. The Royals will have a tough time getting a new manager since no one wants to manage a team that loses 100 games in a single season, but when they do, they need to build around those two young talents that they have and build on the horrifically bad pitching staff they have and make some sort of attempt at trading for a few pitching prospects or some young talents in the league in terms of pitching.
With all of this being said, the Royals certainly have a long way to go to contend, and they cannot afford to have 100 loss seasons any longer, constantly wasting these talented players’ careers.
With Clint Hurdle, one of the most well known GM’s in baseball, retiring from the game, the Pirates need a new skipper. The team has some great young talent such as closer Felipe Vásquez, Josh Bell, Chris Archer, Colin Moran, and Adam Frazier. The team has promise, but a great team always needs a great manager.
There are many managers in the MLB, with and without jobs, that are getting job offers this offseason, and I believe there are two coaches for the job, Don Mattingly, and Ned Yost. Mattingly is currently managing the Miami Marlins, and although this may seem like a stretch, the Marlins are one of the youngest current clubs in the game, and Mattingly, a former player himself, helped improve them this year tremendously, as we saw Jordan Yamamoto break a franchise record 14 consecutive shutout innings to start his career. Isan Díaz was another young talent called up this year for the Marlins and has been nothing short of spectacular. The young 2B has been batting in the top of the order and not disappointing. Mattingly handles young talent well, both pitchers and batters, which is why I believe he would be able to manage this Pirates team well and lead them to a possible playoff run. The other possible coach, Ned Yost, would be a great fit as he has been managing a young Kansas City team and is the winningest manager in the franchise’s history. He won it all with some of the young talent in 2015 against the Mets, and I believe he could be a possible candidate for the job. The Royals have some young talent, and these guys have managed some young talent in their careers. Either of them would be a great fit.
The Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, ending their 108-year World Series drought, the longest in the history of sports. This was a big accomplishment for the team, as the city had gone through misery for years. They finally had something to celebrate. After the 2016 season, they started a downward trend, losing the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would later lose the World Series, then in 2018, losing the Wild Card game to a Rockies team that would score only 4 runs in as many games that postseason. After all of that, it seemed like nothing could possibly get any worse for the Cubbies.
This season, they won a disappointing 84 games, their worst record since 2014, which happened to be Joe Maddon’s last season in Tampa. The cubs should not be firing Maddon, he is a veteran coach and a key piece to this organization, and with him gone, the team now has much less of a chance of contending next season. The team firing Maddon was the wrong decision. He is not the fault of their slow decline. The team has just lost talent slowly since the 2016 season, with the retirement of Ross, the loss of Chapman, the loss of Mike Montgomory and Jorge Joler, as well as many other key free agents in that time. The Cubs have just lost talent.
Now, David Ross has recently become the new manager of the franchise, and with his experience, and familiarity with the players, I believe the Chicago Cubs, with some of the talent they have such as Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Kris Bryant, can contend for their NL Central Division this year. The Cubs are a solid team and the Division is a pretty mediocre one, featuring a 1 seeded Cardinals team this year with a 91-71 record, a solid record, however, not for a top team in a Division. The Chicago cubs have plenty of young talent and even with the loss of some talented players on their 2016-2018 rosters, with their new manager, anything is possible for this franchise.
With the Nationals winning the World Series, holding their parade, and now the NBA season starting, baseball fans have ignored an important fact, and more important headline than the Nationals winning the World Series, teams hiring managers.
Baseball managers are important in winning games. Let’s choose wisely.