Monday, September 17, 2012

Managers on the Hot Seat

                         Valentine and Guillen: More Mouthy than Successful

It's getting towards the end of the season, and like every year there will be some managers fired. The Astros already gave the axe to Brad Mills a few weeks ago. Although, no manager would be able to win with the Astros roster. There were two high profile managers hired last offseason, and both their inaguaral seasons have been disasters. The Red Sox Bobby Valentine and the Marlins Ozzie Guillen have made more headlines with their controversial comments than their teams play. Is it possible both could be fired? Maybe. I'll take a look at the most likely places that will have a new manager next year.

Gone..For Sure

Bobby Valentine, Red Sox

It's been a disaster for Bobby V in Boston this year. He's alienated his players, coaches, fans, and the front office. Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and other players were traded because they couldn't get along with him. Last year it was chicken and beer that was the controversy, but Valentine has made himself the controversy this year. He's popped off to a sports talk radio about the teams lackluster play, and he said the Red Sox had the weakest roster in their history. Bobby V should of done some research on some 1920s era post-Babe Ruth teams before making that statement. Apparently, Gonzalez texted ownership that the team couldn't get along with Valentine, and he was traded to the Dodgers soon after. I would be shocked if Valentine was brought back for a second season.

Jim Tracy, Rockies

Right now, the Rockies have a 58-87 record, and are in the basement of the NL West. The Rockies had a poor season last year as well. Troy Tulowitzki has missed most of the year, which isn't helping Tracy's cause. This team also has one of the worst rotations in the league, if not the worst. Tracy has gone with a four man rotation for much of the year, which caused pitching coach Bob Apodaca to resign. The starters typically only go 4 or 5 innings, leaving the bullpen to pick up the rest.

Manny Acta, Indians

Before the All Star break, the Indians were 44-41. Since the All Star break the Tribe has been in a free fall, going 17-45. This is Acta's third season as manager for Cleveland. Attendance has also been down this season, and the second half free fall hasn't helped.

Might Want to Update their Resume

Ozzie Guillen, Marlins

Like Bobby V, Guillen is also in his first season as manager of his new club. He started off the season by making some controversial comments about Fidel Castro. The Marlins spent big in the offseason, adding Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Carlos Zambrano, and Heath Bell. They expected to be contenders this year, but find themselves in last place. During the season, Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez, Gaby Sanchez, and Edward Mujica were traded. Bell has been terrible this year and was demoted from the closer role, Zambrano was moved to the bullpen, and Reyes wasn't as good as he was with the Mets. Its possible that Guillen comes back, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was fired.

Ron Gardenhire, Twins

The Twins have only had two managers in the last 25 years with Gardenhire and Tom Kelly. Gardenhire has had a good run in Minnesota, making the postseason 6 times. Unfortunately, Gardenhire has a 6-21 record in the postseason. Gardenhire has been a pretty good manager for the Twins, but the last two seasons they have been terrible. In 2011, they went 63-99, and this year they stand at 60-87, and could finish in last again this year. After a decade and a couple of lackluster seasons, the Twins could go in a different direction next year.

Probably Safe, but a Chance for a Change

Mike Scoiscia, Angels

Scoiscia has been a very good manager in his 13 years with the Angels. However, this season there were big expectations for the club and they have underachieved. They spent big to get Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson in the offseason, rookie phenom Mike Trout came up early in the year, and they traded for Zack Greinke at the deadline. Not only is the Rangers ahead of them in the West, the low budget Athletics are too. The Halos could still get the last wild card spot, but if the season ended today they would be out of the playoffs. Scoiscia could get a mulligan for this, or it could be like Terry Francona with Boston last year.

Joe Girardi, Yankees

On July 18th, the Yankees had a ten game lead on the Orioles. Now, they are clinging on to a one game lead. The Yankees have gone 26-29 since July 18th. The Yankees have an aging club, and have had their fair share of injuries this year. If the Yankees end up not making the playoffs this year, I wonder what would happen. Are George Steinbrenner's sons like his dad? George once fired Buck Showalter(now the Orioles manager) after losing the deciding Game 5 of the 1995 ALCS. He also hired and fired Billy Martin five different times.

Fredi Gonzalez, Braves

Gonzalez was on the hot seat after last season's September collapse. He was unpopular with Braves fans, and if they don't make the playoffs this year, he likely would be gone. Gonzalez made a comment recently after benching Dan Uggla, that he doesn't know if he will be back next year. I don't see a similar collapse happening this year. The Braves have a 6.5 game lead on the Cardinals for the first wild card spot, and it seems pretty likely that they make the playoffs. Its Chipper Jones final year, and I'm sure that motivates this team. They also have their pitching staff in better shape this year than last. Their bullpen isn't wore down, and they have Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen, Ben Sheets, Paul Maholm, Mike Minor, and Tommy Hanson to pick from in the rotation. Last season, two of their top starters were out in September.

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