5 MLB Managers Who Will Be on Hot Seat in 2012
The life of a manager in Major League Baseball is never one of complete security.
When teams are wallowing in mediocrity, general managers generally aren’t likely to fire everyone on the 25-man roster, so the manager serves as the sacrificial lamb. Oftentimes, it’s not the manager’s fault, but it’s job on the line anyway when his team isn’t performing to expectations.
In 2012, there are a number of managers who will be looking over their shoulders if their teams get off to a cold start.
1. Brad Mills: Houston Astros
The sale of the Houston Astros to businessman Jim Crane was finally approved by MLB late last year. Crane brought in new general manager Jeff Luhnow, and the two decided to retain current manager Brad Mills, in spite of the Astros’ horrid 2011 season during which they lost a franchise-record 106 games.
Mills will likely be on a short leash as the Astros make their way through the 2012 season with a roster of unproven youngsters looking to make their mark. Mills will be judged on how those youngsters develop and grow together as a unit, and if the development starts off to slowly, Mills could be gone in short notice.
2. Dusty Baker: Cincinnati Reds
Dusty Baker is entering his fifth season as skipper of the Cincinnati Reds, and he leads a team with the highest payroll in franchise history ($81 million). Much is expected from the Reds after GM Walt Jocketty upgraded with pitchers Mat Latos, Ryan Madson and Sean Marshall.
After last year’s disappointing outcome following an NL Central Division title in 2010, Baker will be gone if the Reds stumble out of the gate in 2012.
3. Jim Tracy: Colorado Rockies
Despite the fact that Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy was given an “indefinite” contract extension last month, no one should think that his job is safe.
Tracy took over from the fired Clint Hurdle in 2009, guiding the Rockies to a playoff berth after being ten games below .500. However, since that time, the Rockies have gotten progressively worse each year, finishing last season with just 73 wins.
The extension certainly looks nice, but GM Dan O’Dowd had no problem jettisoning Hurdle mid-season in 2009, he’ll have no issue doing the same with Tracy if the Rockies again disappoint.
4. Don Mattingly: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers will likely have a new owner in place by late April/early May. With new ownership comes a new way of doing things, and a completely new regime.
Current manager Don Mattingly could very well be on the outs when new ownership hits the ground running, especially if the Dodgers are under .500 at the time.
5. Eric Wedge: Seattle Mariners
With the exception of the 10-year run for Lou Piniella from 1993-2002, the shelf life for managers in Seattle isn’t long. In fact, seven managers have followed Piniella in nine seasons, including current manager Eric Wedge.
Wedge won just 67 games last season with a team loaded with young, unproven players. Wedge’s time in Seattle may not last long either if that young talent doesn’t develop and gel as a team.
This is a guest post submitted by Mike Wright. Mike played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now that he is too old to contribute at a high level. He currently works with The Phoenix Bats Company, a company that creates world-class wood bats, such as their famous maple bats, for amateur and professional ball players around the world and loves writing on different sports topics.