Managerial breakdown: Who's staying, who's going? (cont.)
4. Eric Wedge, Indians. GM Mark Shapiro, a consistently ardent supporter of Wedge, said months ago that Wedge was safe through the season. But no one has said a thing about next year. Wedge has a year to go with a seven-figure salary for 2010 (no small thing for the cash-strapped Indians), and by all accounts he's seemed as calm and consistent as ever. Is that a good sign? Or is that just Wedge? Shapiro, a believer in Wedge dating back to their days running the Indians' minors, still is seen as very likely to support a return, and ownership loves the erudite Shapiro. However, one Indians observer said things seem "stale" around the team, and ownership is still seen as having a chance to overrule Shapiro after the Indians' unexpectedly dreadful season.
5. Ken Macha, Brewers. He happily took only a two-year deal to get back to managing but has to be slightly concerned after a disappointing first season. The Brewers had great expectations after reaching the playoffs last year for the first time in 26 years, but realistically, they never had starting pitching that was either deep enough or good enough. There has been no real evidence that Macha's in trouble, and GM Doug Melvin has made supportive comments publicly. However, the Brewers took the drastic step of firing a manager with 12 games to go in the 2008 season, leading to three managers within 13 regular-season games. That managerial switch worked out, but Milwaukee probably doesn't want to obtain a trigger-happy rep. One thing to consider: they do have an obvious replacement ready in bench coach Willie Randolph.
6. Jerry Manuel, Mets. While Manuel is guiding baseball's biggest flop, the Mets led the majors by a wide margin with a whopping $35 million lost to the disabled list at the August count. Manuel and embattled GM Omar Minaya weeks ago were given private assurances they'd return, and there is still no indication he is going to be blamed for the New York mess. Like Macha, Manuel only got a guaranteed two years on his contract. This means he is very likely to enter 2010 as a lame duck, a tough spot for a manager in New York.
7. Bob Geren, A's. Oakland has been a mostly moribund team after adding significant payroll last winter. However, Geren has the significant advantage of being iconic GM Billy Beane's best friend.
8. Cito Gaston, Blue Jays. Gaston was hailed as a hero last year and even the first half of this year, and it's more likely that if anyone goes it will be GM J.P. Ricciardi. Gaston's rep is that he is better for a veteran team, so that's a consideration as Toronto enters a rebuilding phase. However, he never should have been out of baseball for a decade, and it's highly doubtful the Jays have a better idea. Paul Beeston, in charge for the championship years, is still running the operation, probably another plus for Gaston.
9. Trey Hillman, Royals. This season is a disaster. But the Royals rewarded GM Dayton Moore with a four-year extension. So it seems highly unlikely Moore would consider changing managers now.
10. John Russell, Pirates. Tough to tell what the standards are for a team that hasn't won since a skinny Barry Bonds left town. Russell's option for 2010 was picked up months ago, so he probably stays.
11. Ozzie Guillen, White Sox. "It's my fault," Ozzie told the Chicago Tribune a couple weeks ago in a defense of his embattled coaching staff. "I am saying that right now. I am saying that tomorrow. I can say it two weeks later." That's a nice quote, but it probably won't happen. Club owner Jerry Reinsdorf is the most loyal man in baseball, and besides, Guillen was extended not too long ago. On the off chance Guillen does go, remember that Reinsdorf loves La Russa.
12. Dusty Baker, Reds. Dreadful season at $3 mil-plus per. But he has a contract at that price for next year, as well. Little chance they want to eat that kind of cake.
13. Jim Tracy, Rockies interim. It has to be presumed he will be kept on after guiding the team out of hell to a very likely playoff spot. But since nothing has been said and he's still officially an interim manager, he makes the list.
And if there will be openings, there have to be alternatives ...
1. Bobby Valentine. He'll be a free agent after a generally wonderful Chiba Lotte run ends this year. Perfect for rebuilding spot like the Nationals (if they're willing to pay), but would be fun with the Cubs, too.
2. John Farrell. Favorite of the Indians organization who happens to live in Cleveland.
3. Brad Mills. Well-respected Red Sox coach.
4. Buck Showalter. Brilliant and hardworking yet overbearing and controlling makes him a tough call for many.
5. Chip Hale. Diamondbacks third base coach will be a manager someday.
6. Willie Randolph. Likely the heir apparent in Milwaukee.
7. Bob Melvin. Didn't do a bad job in Arizona.
8. Clint Hurdle. Ditto in Colorado.
9. Jose Oquendo. Hot prospect had WBC trial run.
10. DeMarlo Hale. Frequent candidate.
11. Kirk Gibson. Fiery type passed over for D-backs job.
12. Rudy Jaramillo. You know he'd help the hitters.
13. Dave Duncan. You know he'd help the pitchers.
14. Terry Pendleton. But is his star down with Jeff Francoeur looking to Rudy for hitting help?
15. Mike Gallego. Personality a plus but probably a few years from consideration.
16. Tom Kelly. Have to assume he's enjoying retirement. But might old friend Andy MacPhail be tempted to lure him out of it?
17. Ryne Sandberg. He's done a nice job in the minors and he's a legend at Wrigley, so he could be a candidate for the Cubs in the near future.
MLB Truth & Rumors