With the 2021 season in its final wek, one of the things worth monitoring is the security of the league's 30 managerial jobs. Most of them are safe. At the very bottom of the standings, the Orioles have already said Brandon Hyde is coming back and the Diamondbacks have extended Torey Lovullo. It's hard to see the Nationals parting ways with Dave Martinez or the Cubs with David Ross under the circumstances each team faced this season.
The Royals, Rockies and Tigers all played better than many expected. It's hard to see the Angels blaming Joe Maddon. The Reds are probably disappointed right now, but they just gave David Bell an extension. Don Mattingly just won Manager of the Year last season and the Marlins weren't really built to contend. The Rangers and Pirates were expected to be bad.
So what's left? Let's rank the four MLB managers with the hottest seats entering the final week of the 2021 season.
1. Luis Rojas, Mets
Given all that has gone down with this organization since new owner Steve Cohen took over, it really feels like a house cleaning is in order this offseason. They need a new president of baseball operations and probably general manager. Once those positions are filled, surely the new blood will want to hand pick a manager. As far as Rojas goes, I'm not sure we could absolutely pin the disappointing season on him, but at some point, the buck stops with the manager. That's just part of the business. I'd be shocked if he's the Mets' manager on Opening Day 2022.
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2. Jayce Tingler, Padres
Again, I'm not sure you can pin the Padres' disappointing final two months solely on Tingler, but he's the on-field boss. His team has completely fallen apart. If we went back to early August, it would have seemed outrageous to suggest the Padres might miss the playoffs. Not only is that going to happen, but they might even finish with a sub-.500 record. They were 67-49 on Aug. 10 with a five-game lead for the second NL wild card. It's possible ownership decides to move on from president of baseball operations A.J. Preller. If that happens, the new person will want a new manager. If it doesn't, Preller probably shows Tingler the door himself.
If I had to bet, I'd say Rojas and Tingler are the only two managers fired. There are some other places where we might see turnover, though.
3. Rocco Baldelli, Twins
I think he's probably OK. Baldelli's first season was 2019, and the Twins won 101 games. In the shortened 2020 season, they won their second consecutive AL Central title. The line of thinking here is that Baldelli was obviously a good manager in his first two years, so how do we blame him for all the problems the team had in 2021? Sometimes the manager does get the blame and take the fall in cases like this, I just get the feeling that it won't be the case here.
4. Aaron Boone, Yankees
If the Yankees make the playoffs -- which it looks like they will at this point -- Boone is likely safe. If they miss the playoffs, he still might be safe. You just never know. This is a very demanding fan base and the Yankees haven't won the World Series since 2009. They haven't been in the World Series since that same year.
I've done this bit before, but imagine back in November of 2009, you got to break the news to the entire Yankees fan base that before the next Yankees title, the Royals, Cubs, Nationals, Astros, Red Sox (twice) and Giants (three times) were going to win the World Series, can you imagine the complete and utter disgust? Seriously, think back to 2009 and look at those teams and their histories and imagine the reaction of, say, New York sports talk radio hosts? They would have lost their minds. And that's where we are right now.
Boone took over for Joe Girardi after the Yankees got to Game 7 of the ALCS. Would "lost in ALDS, lost in ALCS, lost in ALDS and missed playoffs" be an acceptable trajectory?
Of course, the front office all year has been saying they don't blame Boone for the struggles of his players, and I tend to agree.
I just wonder how many more people agree.
Bonus: Dusty Baker
I don't think Baker will be fired. The Astros could well win the World Series. If they do, giving Baker his first title as a manager at age 72, perhaps he's riding off into the proverbial sunset and retiring from the daily grind. He might retire anyway. His contract is up at the end of this season and the front office is now headed up by James Click, who came from the Rays. Surely Click is happy with the job Baker did of playing diplomat the way few in the world could -- seriously, we can't possibly praise Baker enough for the job he's done here -- in the aftermath of Houston's sign-stealing scandal. Click might also want to get a new-school mind in the dugout a la Kevin Cash of the Rays (not Cash specifically, obviously), which means he can thank Baker for the job he's done while saying it's time to move on. So while Baker won't be "fired," in the negative sense, it's entirely possible he walks away on his own or just doesn't have his contract renewed.