Which MLB Managers Are in the Hot Seat?

Wednesday February 22nd, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Reports Intern):  A new year of baseball brings with it so many questions, rumors and, most importantly, expectations about every team in the league. Will the Marlins improve? Can the Red Sox make the playoffs this year? And behind every question and prediction is the team that hometown fans and front-office executives expect to win. More specifically, the manager of each team is expected to take the players that he has and mold a winning ball club; if he can’t, he’ll be the first one to go.

The job of MLB Manager is the most pressured position in baseball. The job title might as well be “Scapegoat”, as a manager can be blamed for any problem and promptly fired. There are, however, some managers that are under more pressure than others. Take new Cardinals’ skipper Mike Matheny for example: he has to fill Tony La Russa’s shoes and try to lead the now Pujols-less Cardinals back to the World Series.

Matheny, who also holds the distinction of the youngest skipper currently in the MLB, has his work cut out for him. He has been in the Cardinals’ system since his retirement in 2008, with 2012 being his managerial debut. Considering all the pieces the Cards have, the expectations for Matheny will be sky-high. If the team starts to struggle, the team may dump him in favor of someone with a bit more experience.

Another skipper in a new environment is Bobby Valentine, who will take over the reins and try to steer the Red Sox back into October baseball. Unlike Matheny, 2012 will not be Valentine’s first rodeo: he has prior experience managing the Rangers (1985-92), the Mets (1996-2002) and the Chiba Lotte Marines of the NPB (1995; 2004-2009).  In his most accomplished season, he led the 2000 New York Mets to the World Series, where they lost in a Subway Series to the Yanks in five games.  Looking ahead to this season, Valentine will captain a squad that features Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Josh Beckett (among other stars).  With more than a few big names on the team, if they start to struggle there will be only one to blame: Valentine. All eyes will be watching him and the Sox this year.

On the other side of the coin, there are also managers in the hot seat because of their team’s past failure. Brad Mills is returning to the Houston Astros for his third season, and after posting a record of 56-106 last year, he’s not in the safest of positions. His situation can only be made worse by the fact that he’ll be answering to a new General Manager in Jeff Luhnow, who took over for Ed Wade this winter. Wade may have cut Mills some slack, but I doubt the newcomer Luhnow will.

So who will be the first head coach to get the boot in 2012? Will it be a newcomer like Mike Matheny or Bobby Valentine? What about Robin Ventura with the White Sox who has never coached professionally before? Or perhaps it could be someone with a history of underachieving, like Brad Mills or Kansas City’s Ned Yost? Only time will tell for sure! You can feel free to leave your prediction in the comments section, as we would love to hear from you.

Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Bryan Sheehan.  You can follow Bryan on Twitter (@BaseballHipster), read his interviews with Phillies’ minor league prospects at PhightingOn.com, and catch him writing the occasional article for BleacherReport.com (search his name). Tweet him about this article and he will follow you back!

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Posted on February 22, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Which MLB Managers Are in the Hot Seat?.

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