Over the past two weeks, I have identified which managerial positions will be or could be available this offseason and discussed the importance of having a good skipper at the helm. I've also broken down the managers and their skill-sets.
I believe there could be 10 new managers come next spring. Maybe more.
You should now have a better understanding as to what organizations look for in replacing one manager with another. Fiery guys often replace calm guys and vice versa. Some clubs prefer developmental managers and some teams need big names to lead them.
Let's now look at who the managers could be next year, by division:
New York Yankees: Joe Girardi is in the final year of his contract and there is plenty of speculation that he may be as interested in the Cubs as they are in him. He isn't going anywhere, though. The Yankees will always have $1 more to pay him, and why would he leave his dream job? The Cubs job is a great job but it is a step down from the Bronx even if it is home for Girardi. Sometimes going home isn't always a great thing.
Tampa Bay Rays: Joe Maddon is smart, articulate and successful. He is going to be in Tampa Bay for a long time. He is perfect for the small-market Rays. He is a developmental guy, and clearly he gets the kids to play hard for him. When they don't, he has a nice style, which is firm yet gentle.
Boston Red Sox: Terry Francona is the best manager in baseball. He can handle young players and veterans. He can relate to the quiet guys as well as the big personalities. He protects his players and they show up and fight for him. He is fair and never rips his guys in the media. He handles the media's needs in Boston with aplomb.
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Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter is a great fit for the rebuilding Orioles. He has a strong developmental background and has already helped some of the young players. The O's showed foresight getting Showalter hired during the season to avoid the inevitable interest from what are more appealing franchises and jobs.
Minnesota Twins: Ron Gardenhire is one of the best in the business. He is a great fit for the Twins. He is a patient yet demanding manager and he has a style which really works well with young players. He is understanding but he also lays out his expectations clearly with his players and they appreciate him. He has continued to reinforce the Twins way of doings things. He gets more from less.
Chicago White Sox: Ozzie Guillen seems like he is in hot water on a regular basis. He is fiery and unpredictable. The passion that makes Ozzie so appealing is the thing which gets him into trouble on a regular basis. His players play hard for him, but he is a handful. The White Sox turned their season around and saved his job. He feuded with his GM, Kenny Williams, this season. Managers usually lose those feuds. Thankfully for Ozzie, the team started winning and ended the speculation of a change. He will live to fight another day (or year).
Detroit Tigers: Jim Leyland is a motivator. His players speak in Leylandisms. He takes losing hard which makes me wonder how long he will want to keep doing this. He got burned out once before. Leyland only knows one way to do the job. He puts all of himself into it every day. He is a bad loser. Show me a good loser and I will show you a big loser. Leyland is a winner. If the roster gets tweaked a bit he will find a way to get them back to the playoffs.
Cleveland Indians: Manny Acta has tasted a lot of losing in his career. He managed the Nationals and is now with the rebuilding Indians. He is patient and professional. He is well respected by the players and his peers. He is a serious guy and instills that seriousness in his young players.
Kansas City Royals: Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman earlier this season. He is a fiery guy. A couple years back the Brewers let him go for, among other things, being too intense. He is a very high-strung guy, which sometimes comes across as anger to the players. That is not a great trait for a manager of a small-market team with many young players. That being said he is a hard worker and a good baseball man.
Texas Rangers: Ron Washington has been on the hot seat a couple times, but he is a survivor. He always has been. He was signed as a player by the Kansas City Royals out of the projects in New Orleans and joined the famed Royals Academy in 1970. Nothing has ever come easy for Wash. He is a winner and should be the American League Manager of the Year at the end of the season. He is a motivator because he has never forgotten where he came from and he doesn't try to be something he is not. He is an outstanding baseball man and his players play hard for him. I would take him on my team any day.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Scioscia has a contract through the 2018 season, so he isn't going anywhere. He loves Los Angeles and the Angels love him, with good reason too; he is one of the best in the game. His players do the little things to win year after year. He maximizes the performance of his roster, which is the highest compliment you can give a manager. He is professional and very well respected by baseball people.
Oakland Athletics: Bob Geren is a former catcher, which can come in handy for a major league manager because a big part of the job is handling the pitching staff. He has helped nurture the young A's pitchers at the major league level. Sure they don't score many runs, but that isn't Geren's fault. He will be back despite the speculation otherwise. He was the best man at general manager Billy Beane's wedding a number of years ago. They are still close.
Seattle Mariners: Bobby Valentine will get the job here. I am not sure he will be the preferred choice of Jack Zduriencik or his staff as they know Bobby from the New York Mets, but he may be the preferred choice of others. Ichiro has given Valentine the stamp of approval which goes a long way. The fact that the Mariners are owned by a Japanese businessman, Hiroshi Yamauchi, doesn't hurt Valentine's chances either. Zduriencik said he wants someone with previous managerial experience this time around. Plus, Jack Z is no dummy. It's simple: Keep your star player and owner happy even if the decision will make your life miserable.
Atlanta Braves: Fredi Gonzalez has been considered a future Braves manager for some time now, even when he was still managing the Marlins. He was the third base coach in Atlanta for four years prior to managing in Florida. Bobby Cox endorses him as well as Chipper Jones. Even though they may both be retiring, their seal of approval means a bunch in the offices at Turner Field. He and general manager Frank Wren go back to 1992, when the expansion Florida Marlins hired Gonzalez to manage a minor-league team in the organization.
Philadelphia Phillies: Charlie Manuel is a good ol' boy from the South. He seems a bit slow-thinking and slow-moving but that is only an appearance. He is as sly as a fox. He is a good baseball man and a brilliant hitting mind. He is a gentleman. He can be firm, yet he has a kind, gentle way about him. He has shown a willingness to call out his stars and hold them accountable for their effort and actions. He is unyielding in his loyalty to his players, though.
Florida Marlins: Tony Pena has major league experience as a player and a manager and has worked with both young players and veterans in his time with the Royals and Yankees. It is the Yankee experience that is the key. Owner Jeffery Loria loves everything New York. That is why he had interest in Bobby Valentine. Pena also has on his resume those things that Fredi Gonzalez did not (experience), which should make fellow countryman Hanley Ramirez happy.
New York Mets: Wally Backman is finally going to get his chance to be a major league manager. Jerry Manuel isn't great at running his pitching staff, yet his club played very hard for him even when it looked like the Mets might completely collapse. Even so, New York needs to sell a different plan and story to its fans so it needs to make a change. They need a fresh fiery attitude. They don't need polish they need grit. The Mets can sell the '86 Mets. They can sell Backman who is already managing in New York for the Brooklyn Mets and he has a 10-game lead in his division and through Sunday his club has a 25-6 record at home.
Washington Nationals: Jim Riggleman is a serious baseball man. He is an organizational manager. He will execute the plan from above as directed, and ultimately he is a place-holder until the Nats are ready to truly compete, when they will find a personality to run the team. There will be a place in their organization for him as long as he wants it, as he is a good person and a good representative for them.
Cincinnati Reds: Dusty Baker will get the contract extension he desires. The Reds aren't going to get away with the one-year extension they offered. Baker deserves to be taken care of properly. He took a chance on the Reds, and now they need to reward that loyalty. They will. Baker has motivated and rejuvenated the team and fan base in a great baseball town.
St Louis Cardinals: Tony La Russa will return to the Cardinals after his annual evaluation. La Russa takes time at the end of each year to gauge his own energy and passion as well as his ability to still impact the team. He will have options elsewhere if he so desires, but Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday will all be together for at least one more year.
Chicago Cubs: Ryne Sandberg will get his long awaited opportunity to manage his former club. The Cubs can and will interview a bunch of names, but this job is Sandberg's to lose. Give the Hall of Famer credit. He paid his dues going to the minors and working his way up the ladder. He knows the kids in the organization, and he will have credibility with the veterans. Plus, the honeymoon will last longer with him than anyone else, because if the team doesn't win, fans will at least give Sandberg more time to get things turned around. If they don't hire him, then the Cubs can kiss a relationship with one of their most beloved players goodbye.
Houston Astros: Brad Mills got sold a bill of goods. He took a team with Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman and now he is managing J.A. Happ and Brett Wallace. Give Mills credit, though. He has the Astros playing hard and acting as spoilers in the National League playoff races. They will be rebuilding in Houston for the next couple years, and it seems that Mills will handle it well.
Milwaukee Brewers: Willie Randolph interviewed for this job a number of years ago, but it is his on-the-job interview as a bench coach that will land it for him. The Brew Crew didn't have the pitching necessary to win this year, so the fact that they lost isn't Ken Macha's fault. But Milwaukee needs to make a change. Mark Attanasio, the owner, is from New York. He got a taste of success when they made the playoffs in 2008 for the first time since 1982. He doesn't want to have a long drought again before they return to October baseball.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Jose Oquendo fits the if you can't beat them, join them thought process. Oquendo will bring his knowledge and experience from the Cardinals to the Pirates. He has learned how to impact a game from the master, Tony La Russa, and has managerial experience from the World Baseball Classic. Bringing some of the Cardinals mystique to Pittsburgh can be sold to a fan base looking for some reason to believe.
San Diego Padres: Bud Black will very likely be named NL Manager of the Year and recently received a nice contract extension. He has shown a great ability to handle his pitching staff and is the perfect fit for a young team that is growing and progressing.
San Francisco Giants: Bruce Bochy is a steady, consistent leader. He is unflappable. He can handle young players and veterans alike. He is respected and appreciated by most baseball people. As a former catcher, he shows a great feel for handling a pitching staff. He is respected by the media as well because he is direct and honest, yet he always does right by the organization.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Don Mattingly thought he would manage a team with great history and tradition but he thought it would be on the East Coast. Instead his first opportunity will come out west. The Dodgers need star power running their team. Mattingly delivers that. He is more of an old school baseball guy, who is less about numbers and computers and more about experience and guts. That should be a good fit with a young team in L.A.
Colorado Rockies: Jim Tracy is the most talkative quiet guy I have ever met. That may be hard to understand, but it's true. He is reserved and calm, but he uses a lot of words to make his point. His message has gotten through in Colorado in a major way with a young team. His calming influence settles the youngsters and allows them to bounce back from inevitable mistakes.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Eric Wedge is the right fit as he helped take a young Indians team with Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Jhonny Peralta, Victor Martinez and CC Sabathia to the playoffs. He has more personality and fire than A.J. Hinch, but less than Kirk Gibson. The D'backs want to move from youth and rebuilding to winning, and having a guy like Wedge, who has traveled that path previously, makes sense.
So as you can see I predict there will be 10 managerial changes this offseason.
In fact, there is a possibility that there could be more.
Billy Beane could make a change in Oakland if he believes the A's are ready to make a move next year and can legitimately compete in the division.
If Tony La Russa decides he has had enough or if Dusty Baker's negotiations for an extension go south that could change things in St. Louis and Cincinnati, respectively.
I don't believe Joe Girardi will jump ship and leave New York for Chicago, but if that happens then all he may break loose.
We are going to see an amazing end to the major league season, but it may not hold a candle to the drama that this winter could bring in the managerial merry-go-round.