Whether it is fair or not, many managers each season pay for the sins of their teams. Failed expectations, disasters or dashed dreams usually do the trick. Those dismissals usually happen during the season or directly after. The season has been quiet with only Charlie Manuel getting the ax. That was certainly a surprise, but understandable considering how listless the Phillies were playing. So that leaves the after-season. Who will face the chopping block once the season is over? What follows is a list of American League candidates followed by a prediction and one writer’s opinion.
Robin Ventura – The two-year Ventura experiment should probably be put to rest. Ventura never actually aspired to manage this team and his hiring was out of the blue. Ventura’s laid back ways were lauded last year but have fell with a thud this season. While it is true that his team was poorly constructed with only Adam Dunn batting above league average (as strange as that seems), Ventura should be put back out to enjoy the rest of his life. Should. Will.
Ron Gardenhire – The Gardenhire era in Minnesota has probably gone on long enough. The Twins have no immediate solutions and seem destined for another tough year or two. Why not start fresh? Plus, from this vague seat of observation, it seems that Gardenhire’s reach and philosophies extend throughout the organization and they are not working. The Twins cannot continue with pitchers incapable of striking people out no matter how good they are at limiting walks. Should. 50/50.
Mike Scioscia – Much has been written in the last few days about the situation here. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports seemed to indicate that GM, Jerry DiPoto, will get the ax and the blame here. But a meddlesome owner has not helped DiPoto and in his defense, he never has had the chance to have his own guy in the dugout. If DiPoto had a numbers manager like Joe Maddon, things might be interesting. Instead he has Scioscia who is about as old school as it gets. There has to be clashes there. But Scioscia will win out. Should. Won’t.
Ned Yost – This is Yost’s tenth year as a manager and this year will be the first year that he has a chance to finish with more than 83 wins. Fairly or not, Yost will get some of the blame for the lack of development at the Major League level of some of the Royals’ young offensive players. Expectations were high before the season with the addition of James Shields and others. The Royals are improved, but not by much and are below their Pythagorean win-loss record. Should. Will.
John Gibbons – No team had higher expectations entering the season. They were the darlings of the preseason picks. But reality has been cruel in Toronto and Gibbons’ one year return to the Toronto dugout might be the cost for the disappointment. While it is easy to point to injuries in the rotation, the team seemed listless for most of the season, lacked spark and even Jose Reyes seems muted in personality. Should. Will.
Eric Wedge – This is a confusing one. Wedge, of course, just suffered a mild stroke, so we will have to see how that plays out. The Mariners’ record is actually better than their run differential should be (the basis of the Pythagorean win-loss stat). He just seems so blah though. Should not. 50/50.
Bo Porter – What chance did Bo Porter have this season? One Yankees infielder was more expensive than his entire team. His team jumped to a new league, played an impossible schedule and had little talent. But despite it all, the Astros remain fun to watch and play with enthusiasm. If four or five of these young players can develop in the Majors instead of in the minors, they could turn into something. Plus, all those top round draft picks will help. Porter has done a good job in a bad situation. Should not. Will not.
The view from here is that the rest of the AL managers will be safe and rightly so. Tomorrow, we will look at the National League.