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Advocating for someone to be fired is a deplorable thing. No one person should be happy to see someone let go just because of struggles or lack of success. It’s a sickening thing to get excited for someone to lose their job.
If you read that and fully agreed, then you may not be a sports fan, and may want to turn back now.
For those still here, the baseball regular season is nearing its conclusion and to the victors go the spoils: good luck in the playoffs. To the rest come a decision: who on their coaching staff needs to be placed under the microscope or ultimately let go?
This usually starts up top with the manager, as they have the most control in games. Bad decision making, misuse of players, poor game management, etc. are often good ways to find yourself looking for a job next season. With four managers having been fired during the season, it’s time to look at some managers who may be on the hot seat.
Tony La Russa – Chicago White Sox
Let’s start with probably someone that’s probably overstayed his welcome. It’s time for Tony La Russa to hang it up, and if not, the White Sox need to intervene.
The hall of fame manager had a good first year, only to see a poor second season and a disappointing third. Gaffes such as intentionally walking batters with a 1 ball – 2 strikes count multiple times and calling out his own players for breaking baseball’s “unwritten rules” on a few occasions are just some of the causes of concern for La Russa.
Add to it that his recent health scare has caused him to miss some time this season. Under bench coach and acting manager Miguel Cairo, the team has been playing really well, even to the point that he may get a shot at a managerial job. Simply put, it’s time: if not for the team’s sake, than La Russa’s health’s sake.
Derek Shelton – Pittsburgh Pirates
Boston Red Sox color commentator Dennis Eckersley called the Pittsburgh Pirates a “hodgepodge of nothing.” Proof of that is the fact that they’re heading for another 100 loss season, and while not all his fault, manager Derek Shelton is sure to shoulder the blame.
Pittsburgh’s ownership and front office has done a questionable job with retention and acquisition of talent, opting for younger players and prospects to make up the roster. That’s great until it comes time to pay and they trade that young talent for more prospects.
This isn’t a managerial issue, but because the team operates the way it does, Shelton is sure to be let go. Him keeping his job would be the equivalent to Hue Jackson keeping his job when he coached the Cleveland Browns to a 1-31 record in two seasons. It’s nothing personal, just business.
Mike Matheny – Kansas City Royals
Kansas City seems to be trending in a new direction. Recently they fired their President of Baseball Operations and former general manager Dayton Moore, who was with the team since 2006. Usually when a new head is in charge, change follows suit.
In his tenure with Kansas City, Matheny has finished in fourth place twice and are on the verge of a third straight year, provided they don’t sink below the last place Detroit Tigers. His goodwill from his stint with the St. Louis Cardinals can no longer save him. K.C. needs a philosophical realignment: they’ve already got the front office started, now it’s time for it to continue in the dugout.
David Bell – Cincinnati Reds
In four years, David Bell has guided Cincinnati to the playoffs once…and it was during the covid shortened season. Other than that, he’s finished just above or below .500. How do you justify keeping a manager like that?
Yes Cincinnati once again auctioned off their top young talents like outfielder Jesse Winker, third baseman Eugenio Suarez and pitcher Luis Castillo for prospects but even when they had them, Bell couldn’t really put it together. It could be time for an overhaul but if not, Bell needs to be ousted as manager.
Torey Lovullo – Arizona Diamondbacks
There was once a time when Lovullo looked like he was going to be the next great manager. Starting in 2013 when he had to fill in for then Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell following multiple health concerns, he looked the part and walked the walk. It eventually lead to him getting the job with Arizona on 2017.
This is when reality set in.
Despite two second place finishes and one trip to the playoffs, the Diamondbacks have not looked that much better than they did under Kirk Gibson or Chip Hale. The sign that it’s time to consider a change is when what you start to see similar or worse results to the previous regime. With Lovullo also not having a World Series either, it may be time for him to get the boot.
Aaron Boone – New York Yankees*
You’re probably reading this and thinking, “how can a manager whose made the playoffs in his first five seasons be on the hot seat, especially if he just signed a new contract before this season?” That’s where the asterisk comes in to play: he may need to do something in order to keep his job.
Boone has done an alright job at the helm for New York, but the problem is this roster should have been to at least one World Series by now. Part of that may be on general manager Brian Cashman’s flip flopping in terms of talent acquisition philosophy but this is still a roster that should have been to the fall classic at least once. Instead, they’ve lost in the wild card round once, twice in the divisional series and once in the championship series.
If Boone is to keep his job, he needs to at least make it to the ALCS. New York has fired managers despite making the playoffs before (see Joe Girardi in 2017). To think they wouldn’t do it again would be naive. They’ve wasted outfielder Aaron Judge’s rookie deal, they’re on the tail end of outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s prime years and will be seeing a new crop of prospects come up soon. This has to be the year to show that he’s not just a regular season darling.