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As the baseball season heads down the home stretch, teams are either jockeying for position in the playoff rankings or assessing their team’s future. For some it means acquiring more talent to build upon, for others it means wholesale changes. Wholesale changes often start in the same place: the manager.
Sometimes the difference between a team’s successes and failures is that of the manager. From bad and costly decisions to not being able to coach a situation right to just flat out being unable to produce wins, managers have one of the hardest tasks, but someone has to do it.
So what managers may on the hot seat in these final weeks? Let’s take a look:
Luis Rojas – New York Mets
We’re in year two of the Luis Rojas’ regime of the New York Mets, and despite quick turnaround from last year’s disaster (last place last year to third place this year) it may not be enough. New owner Steve Cohen has seemingly been very vocal of the product on the field via Twitter. When the owner speaks, usually it’s an indication of something.
Cohen wants to erase the stigma of “same old Mets” and their historic lack of success. With rumblings of the team potentially attempting to lure a high profile general manager, that means they’ll more than likely be in the market for a new coach as well. Cohen could become the new George Steinbrenner and that kind of presence could start this offseason.
Jayce Tingler – San Diego Padres
Under Jayce Tingler San Diego has looked good, including a second place finish in the National League West last year. This year has seen the team take a step back, as they eye a third place finish behind the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. Success isn’t the problem, the clubhouse is.
There’s rumors floating around that Tingler has lost the clubhouse and recent events may prove that. Arguments between third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., lack of respect from veterans such as first baseman Eric Hosmer and other undocumented moments have given many the idea that change is coming.
Rocco Baldelli – Minnesota Twins
Rocco Baldelli’s history with Minnesota has been similar to that of his predecessor, Paul Molitor. Both were heavy contenders for Manager of the Year two times in three years, including winning it once, then having a bad season. While Molitor had a fourth year (in between being a Manager of the Year nominee and winning it), he was fired after an 84 loss season, similar to Baldelli’s team this year.
The one saving grace for Baldelli is that there’s some contract disputes between the team and some of their notable players, including star outfielder Byron Buxton. If there’s enough questions like that, Baldelli may be safe for at least another season. It will ultimately come down to will they let go of the leash now, or will they keep it short next season?
Aaron Boone – New York Yankees
There may be no manager more infuriating to his team’s fans than Aaron Boone. While the three playoff appearances in three years would be impressive for most teams, there’s one problem: this is the New York Yankees. Not just that it’s the Yankees, but that this was the time they’ve had stars like outfielder Aaron Judge and catcher Gary Sanchez on their rookie deals, and they’ve yet to make a World Series.
If general manager Brian Cashman didn’t spend money and prospects to acquire top talent like pitcher Gerrit Cole, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and infielder DJ LeMahieu, it would be a different story. He did spend those assets, and all the team has to show for it are two divisional series losses and a championship series loss. If the Yankees miss the playoff entirely, it would be unacceptable to the fans, the city and the organization: Boone would have to go.