Manager Rumor Mill: Garbage Can Edition

Take out the trash: A recommendation for the replacement 2017 MVP.

garbage can

Cheaters never prosper. Or get to keep their jobs, apparently. In the ongoing fallout from the Astros 2017 garbage can heist, we saw A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, and Carlos Beltrán join the ranks of unemployed baseball managers (Beltrán, impressively, without making it to Opening Day). In the spirit of our AL and NL scorecards last October, I present a special edition. Let’s meet some candidates, and speculate wildly.

Houston Astros

2019 Record: 107-55
First Place, AL West
Former manager: A.J. Hinch (570-452*; .588)
*101-61 record earned while cheating in 2017

What a week. 

Astros Rumors: Considering pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, the Astros could take the quick route and promote Joe Espada (the current bench coach). He’s the current interim manager, and his name was getting kicked around when there were more vacancies (interviewing with the Cubs and Giants). The bonus here for the Astros is that Espada knows the team but didn’t join the Astros until after the 2017 season, so he wasn’t part of the sign-stealing scandal.

Buck Showalter has popped up a few times. An experienced vet would be a good choice for Houston, and tragically Joe Girardi already has a job (can he manage two teams at once?). Showalter’s been around the league, from the Yankees to the Rangers and Diamondbacks before ending up in Baltimore from 2010-18. He managed to bring the Orioles to the postseason twice — first the 2012 ALDS and then the 2014 ALCS — so he’s got the ability to manage if he has the talent (sorry, Baltimore). He’s well respected, with an overall record of 1,551-1,517, and could provide the Astros a much-needed boost as well as a “new sheriff in town” mentality.

Clint Hurdle officially retired from baseball in November, which is sad to me because I like a grizzled old character. Dusty Baker is still available, though. Coming out of this, though, I think the Astros are going to have a hard time getting someone to interview. The organization has taken big hits in the PR department, with culture, and morale.

Boston Red Sox

2019 Record: 84-78
Third Place, AL East
Former manager: Alex Cora (192-132, .593)

Given that Alex Cora was named as a primary participant in the MLB findings it’s not a surprise that the Red Sox fired him, especially while they’re still waiting for the investigation of their own sign stealing to conclude and lead to more fallout.

Red Sox Rumors: The Red Sox are in a tough spot compared to the Astros because they’re still being investigated for other cheating, meaning they don’t exactly have an Espada to fall back on at the moment. Ron Roenicke has worked with Cora as bench coach for the last two seasons, but we don’t know where he falls in the 2018 investigation.

Jason Varitek is a name getting kicked around a lot, but I don’t see the Red Sox making a player without experience their manager — they’re not the Mets or the Cubs. Oh, and speaking of the Mets …

New York Mets

2019 record 86-76
Third Place, NL East
Former Managers: Mickey Callaway (163-161, .503); Carlos Beltrán (0-0)

Not ones to be left out of any excitement, the Mets fired Carlos Beltrán – who was the only player named in the Astros investigation. My favorite part is the fact that MLB didn’t pressure the Mets to fire Beltrán, but the team elected to do it all on their own. I love the Mets, they’re my “other” team, but after these last few seasons (and offseasons) of drama they really need to just change their names to the New York Messy Bitches.

Mets Rumors: I dunno … is Mr. Met available?

mr met

Manager rumor mill: National League edition

You may have heard: Joe Girardi is available for managerial openings. (YouTube)

It would be an understatement to say a lot of guys got fired this offseason (and one retiree, although I don’t believe Ned Yost retired voluntarily). I didn’t think much of it until I saw a couple of people complain on Twitter that there wasn’t anyone tracking managerial searches anywhere.

A manager scorecard seemed like the perfect offseason entry for me to start my writing career with South Side Hit Pen. It’s not like I’m not already following these, and this really is for the best, so you’re welcome. Let’s get started, with the National League …

San Francisco Giants

2019 Record 77-85
3rd in NL West
Former manager Bruce Bochy (1,052-1,054, .500)

Career highlights NL pennants in 2010, 2012, 2014; never finished worse than seventh in NL Manager of the Year voting; managed four All-Star teams (1999, 2011, 2013, 2015).

There are others who can wax more poetically about Bochy far better than I, so I won’t even try.

Giants rumors I saw Gabe Kapler, which … gave me pause. That’d be a bold choice of the Giants in their first managerial search in 10 years.

I’m not sure what else to say other than we’ll miss you, Bruce *salutes*.

Philadelphia Phillies

2019 record 81-81
4th in NL East
Former manager Gabe Kapler (2018-19, 161-163, .497)

Career highlights uh … Bryce Harper I guess?

Given the immense spotlight pointed at the Phillies after they got Harper signed for all eternity, Kapler was in kind of a lose-lose situation in the sense that if Philadelphia didn’t win the division he was getting fired this year, and if he didn’t win a World Series in 2020 he was getting fired next year. Even if we argue that Kapler would have survived if the Phillies had made it to the Wild Card Game, Philadelphia is a tough mistress to please (and the fans throw batteries). Now, Kapler can either interview with a team like the Cubs (who love a weirdo since it kinda worked once), or take up fly fishing. Or he can go to the Giants, which is apparently the rumor.

Phillies rumors: Curt Schilling’s friends say he’s interested in the job, but we all know that’s a lie because Curt Schilling has no friends.

Apparently Buck Showalter is interviewing with the team soon. Dusty Baker is also on the list to interview, as he continues a slow limp to retirement from baseball altogether. It kind of seems like Dusty is trying to manage every major league team before he dies, which is a noble bucket list. Naturally, because manager interviews are in the news, so is Joe Girardi. The Phillies would do well with someone who has managerial experience but can also handle the young players. I’m always curious about what offer a team could make to a guy like Girardi, who has transitioned to broadcasting, which seems like a much more stable job than managing a team that hasn’t finished higher than third since 2012.

Chicago Cubs

2019 record 84-78
3rd in NL Central
Former manager Joe Maddon (2015-19, 471-339, .581)

Career highlights Did you hear that when the Cubs won their first World Series in more than 100 years, Maddon was at the helm? I feel the need to remind you, because literally no one ever talks about it, ever.

Maddon started off this season with his days numbered. It really felt like the locals had been calling for his head since April or May. He made some half-assed attempts to remind people what a baseball genius he is by trying to maybe fight Clint Hurdle, because reasons, and playing a game under protest because Sean Doolittle stood weird. These cavalier moves came off like someone trying to pad his resume for a new job search. Lucky for Maddon, the Angels loved it and quickly snagged him.

Cubs rumors Girardi. I’m sure managing the Yankees of the Midwest would be fun for Joe, but wasn’t one of the reasons the Yankees let him go was he didn’t play well with the young guys? He dealt with the likes of A-Rod on a regular basis, so I think he’d been a good one to bring in to managed the egos on the team (Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant’s hair…). David Ross also has been bounced around as the favorite for the job. He doesn’t have managerial experience, so that means he’ll probably get it.

Pittsburgh Pirates

2019 record 69-93
5th in NL Central
Former manager Clint Hurdle (2011-19, 735-720, .505)

Career highlights NL Manager of the Year (2013), two postseason appearances (2013, 2014), most epic stare down of Maddon (on 7/4/19, reaching a level of zen and chill I can only aspire to), and no less than two fights with Yasiel Puig.

Hurdle is one of those especially old, grizzled baseball guys whose going to die on the third-base line. Whenever someone complains about someone not following the unwritten rules, I imagine it is Hurdle doing the complaining. Considering his managerial stints have been with the Rockies, Pirates, and some minor league teams, I don’t think he’ll be out of work for long. As a major league manager, Hurdle seems to leave a lot to be desired, but he shouldn’t have a problem finding a hitting coach job somewhere. Had he returned in 2020, Hurdle would have been the longest-tenured MLB manager.

Pirates rumors I can honestly say I haven’t heard Girardi’s name kicked around with “Pirates,” so at least he gets a break between his TV schedule and interviews. I’ve seen Mark Kotsay mentioned (currently with the A’s organization, and recently may have interviewed with the Giants). My money would be on Jeff Bannister, who has worked under Hurdle before and managed the Rangers (2015-18) during some OK seasons.

New York Mets

2019 record 86-76
3rd in NL East
Former manager Mickey Callaway (163-161, .503)

Career highlights Franchise record for best start in club history (11-1) in 2018, gloriously stupid fight in the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field with a reporter who said they would “see [him] tomorrow,” put up with BVM and all-around dumb gossip for all of 2019.

Oh Mickey, what a pity, you tried so hard to get fired midseason. My money was on him leaving after the slash-and-burn of pitching coaches in June (on the bright side, Phil Regan knows Sandy Koufax). This season was such an all-around catastrophe, Mickey is going to be waiting a really long time for a second shot at managing a club. Maybe send him to Triple-A to hang out with Tebow.

Mets rumors Girardi (I’m not kidding), Derek Shelton, and Mike Bell. Also Carlos Beltran is the frontrunner I’ve been seeing a lot lately. A lot of the overall managerial rumors seem to consist of, “Did this guy play for this team? Was he an All-Star? Well then, why not!”

Don’t teams like the Mets and the Cubs have enough issues already without throwing former players in to the mix? Really, the Mets just need someone who can put up with the front office bullshit of BVM and Jeff Wilpon.

San Diego Padres

2019 record 70-92
5th in NL West
Former manager Andy Green (274-366, .428)

Career highlights Manny Machado

Poor Green. He tried, but the Padres seemed committed to spending this season only slightly better than last season. The additions of Machado, and his feud with Atlanta Braves mascot Blooper, was a welcome boost to the Padres (seriously, Google “Manny Machado feud Braves mascot,” it’s much better than his supposed feud with the Red Sox). The Padres do have talent, if they could get a manager who can keep it together long enough to use the talent.

Padres rumors Ron Washington and Jayce Tingler have popped up. Washington would be a great choice for them, honestly. He took the Rangers to the World Series twice and coached the A’s through the Moneyball timeline, so we know he’s at least interesting. Also, probably Girardi.

Today in White Sox History: October 11

1899 — The new American League was formed in Chicago. The city didn’t have a team in the league at that point but soon got the St. Paul, Minn. team, led by player/manager Charles Comiskey. They set up shop on the South Side.

1991 — White Sox manager Jeff Torborg, who was named Manager of the Year for 1990, resigned to take a job as manager of the New York Mets. It was a strange move, and the real reason for it wasn’t made known until years later, as Torborg told individuals and provided examples of how then-White Sox GM Ron Schueler forced him out.