The 2017 MLB season is 17 days old, and teams have played anywhere from 12-14 games. Obviously, that isn’t a large enough sample for fans to change their minds about a team or it’s manager to bad from good, and the same goes for executives who make the decisions on when the time is right to let go of a manager. However, some teams have had a worse start to the season than others, and the manager is usually the one who takes the blame. Here, I will identify 4 managers that I believe could be on the Hot Seat by mid-season.
4. Mike Matheny, Cardinals
The Cardinals are off to a rough start this year, as they won just 3 of their first 12 games. They’ve won their last 2, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re off to a disappointing start to begin the season. One person who has been blamed for the lack of success early on is Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. As with every manager on this list, the team’s struggles aren’t just on him, but he has made some questionable decisions. The most obvious example is starting Matt Adams, a natural 1B who had never played the OF in pro ball coming into this season, in LF. If you talk to around 80% of Cardinals fans about their opinion on Matheny, they will tell you he’s a poor manager who was blessed with a top-tier team to begin his managerial career. Keith Law, a respected baseball analysis, has repeatedly bashed Matheny and recently said “The Cardinals need to make a decision on whether Matheny is the right manager for this group of players”.
Although it’s unlikely the Cardinals will fire the manager who led them to a win percentage of .570% from 2012-2016, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially if the Cardinals are still struggling around June/July.
3. Andy Green, Padres
To start this off, let me make this clear: Andy Green is not the reasoning for the Padres struggles. The Padres clearly have a terrible roster, and would be a terrible team no matter who is at the helm. However, I included him on this list because I don’t think the Padres see him as a long-term fit for their position, instead as just a placeholder until they’re ready to compete. In his first season as Padres manager, the Padres managed to go 69-94, the 3rd worst record in the MLB. San Diego has started off 5-10 so far this season, which isn’t really much of a surprise. Regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Green’s name pop up when mentioning managers on the Hot Seat come midseason, as that is often the case with rebuilding teams who have to place the blame somewhere.
2. Mike Scioscia, Angels
Mike Scioscia has done a lot of good for the Angels organization, but every good thing must come to an end at some time, and that time might be soon for Mike Scioscia. Scioscia, the longest-tenured active manager of a single team, was hired by the Angels in 2000 and was the manager of the 2002 Angels World Series Champs. From 2000-2016 under Scioscia’s lead, the Angels have gone 1490-1264, good enough for a win percentage of .541%. However, the last two years have been underwhelming for the Angels, missing the postseason in both years despite having the best position player in baseball in Mike Trout. In 2015 Scioscia had disagreements with Angels GM Jerry Dipoto which were statistically related and the proper way to manage the Angels, eventually leading to Dipoto’s resignation. Perhaps the Angels could use a new face as manager, and the clock is ticking for them to win a championship during Mike Trout’s prime/while he’s still on the team, as I do not believe they want to waste the prime of a generational talent like him.
1. Pete Mackanin, Phillies
The Phillies weren’t expected to do much this year and haven’t thus far, going 5-8 in their first 13 games. However, the Phillies need to decide if Mackinin is merely a placeholder, or the man they want in the dugout for the foreseeable future. Mackanin, whose contract aexpires at the end of the 2017 season, succeeded Ryne Sandberg as manager of the Phillies in June of 2015 after Sandberg resigned. Mackanin had previously served as bench coach for the Phillies, and I’m sure at the time Mackanin first became manager of the Phillies, their front office and ownership did not intend for him to be the long-term answer at the spot. That’s a decision they’re gonna have to make soon, and it might come before the 2018 offseason if the Phillies are really struggling by midseason.