Tide turns on Showalter; other managers on hot seat
Posted: Thursday September 28, 2006 12:43PM; Updated: Thursday September 28, 2006 2:27PM
Manager Buck Showalter's days in Texas may be numbered.
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A very interesting managerial market could have yet another intriguing wrinkle. A person familiar with discussions within the Texas Rangers hierarchy said there is now serious thought being given to parting ways with manager Buck Showalter.
Showalter's fate is far from sealed, but his job status started to get shakier when articles began to appear in Dallas and Fort Worth newspapers suggesting that his players didn't exactly like or trust him. That led to a recounting of similar feelings in Showalter's previous stops and probably got his Texas bosses thinking.
Firing Showalter makes a lot more sense than overhauling the roster. Rangers owner Tom Hicks needs to read the remedial sports-ownership book, but even he must know it makes more sense to change managers than half the team. The mistake was in extending Showalter's contract through 2009, though it's hard to see why it would be worth perpetuating that error now. I don't have to remind Hicks that he's wasted a lot more money in the past.
This is the first year in a while that all 30 managers will survive the season. But a few may just make it by a day or two. Here are the guys whose seats are hot, warm, lukewarm or still cool:
Hot Seats (Goners)
1. Dusty Baker, Cubs It's hard to believe, but the ultralikable, three-time National League Manager of the Year isn't that well-liked in Chicago. And more to the point, the evaluation period of the second half didn't go any better than the first. General manager Jim Hendry probably would have earned his own exit had he not signed an extension before the season. Joe Girardi, an Illinois native, ex-Cub and Northwestern graduate who's about to be fired in Florida for no good reason, is the strong leader to replace Baker.
2. Girardi, Marlins He did a great job but couldn't get along with his bosses. They disagreed over how much input he should have in personnel moves (they thought none), his choices on the coaching staff (they despised his loyal lieutenant Gary Tuck) and various other things. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is a Steinbrenner wannabe, so maybe Girardi becomes his own Billy Martin. In any case, Girardi is days from being fired. Braves third base coach Fredi Gonzalez is Girardi's likely successor.
3. Frank Robinson, Nationals His bosses are said to be giving the all-time great the silent treatment in D.C., and Robinson has been around long enough to know what that means. But he's a tough guy, requested a three-year extension, is not the retiring type and is going to make firing him as uncomfortable as possible. Maybe Robinson isn't the greatest manager, but the Nationals' standards weren't so high when it came to their general manager. Thing is, Jim Bowden ingratiated himself with new owner Ted Lerner's son. Robinson sucks up to no one.
4. Felipe Alou, Giants Alou's recent remarks suggest he knows he's in his last year managing the team, and he probably is. The veteran team will get younger in the manager's office, at least. A little younger, anyway. Jim Fregosi has long been rumored to be a candidate, and maybe he finally gets a deserved chance at a comeback.