On Friday night, the New York Mets authored a stunning comeback victory against the Washington Nationals. While that event was notable within itself, there was another element at play worth examining: how each of the managers involved in the game had weathered early-season storms that threatened their continued employment.
Indeed, Davey Martinez and Mickey Callaway’s jobs seemed so imperiled that we ranked them as the two managers likeliest to lose their gigs the last time we surveyed the hot seats around the league. Now, more than three months later, the two skippers have their teams in postseason contention and appear safe — at least for the time being. The lesson is that things can change quickly in Major League Baseball. Sometimes, perhaps, too quickly.
As such, with just over a month and a half remaining in the season, we’re trying our hand again at figuring out which managers have the shortest of leashes. Below you’ll find all 30 managers ranked in order of perceived job security. In other words, the safest managers are at the top of the page, the most at-risk at the bottom. Do note, as always, that this is more art than science.
Now, to the hot-seat rankings.
30. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
The Giants are 3-7 in their last 10 games and are starting to fall out of the playoff race again .It doesn’t matter. The Giants could probably lose the rest of their games and Bochy wouldn’t be fired — not when he’s made it clear he’s retiring at season’s end.
29. Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Roberts doesn’t get enough credit for the Dodgers’ run of excellence under his watch. Los Angeles is on pace for 106 wins, which would give Roberts four 90-plus win seasons (and division titles) in four tries. Loaded roster or not, that’s an impressive start to his managerial career.
28. Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox
Yes, the Red Sox have disappointed this season, but c’mon — you don’t think they’d actually consider terminating Cora over it, do you? Not after he won 108 games and the World Series in his first year on the job.
27. Aaron Boone, New York Yankees
Boone is another second-year American League East skipper who is going nowhere. He’s likely to earn Manager of the Year Award consideration for keeping the Yankees afloat despite an absurd amount of injuries.
26. A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
Hinch has the Astros on pace for their third consecutive season with 100-plus wins. He’s probably going to stick around Houston for a long time as a result.
25. Terry Francona, Cleveland
Few figures mean more to their franchises than Francona does to Cleveland. He helped rejuvenate the organization back when he joined, and there’s no indication he’s going anywhere — whether or not Cleveland wins the AL Central for a fourth consecutive year.
24. Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays signed Cash to an extension through the 2024 season last October. That tells you about all you need to know about his job security.
23. Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
Melvin also received a contract extension last October. He has the Athletics positioned for another late-season charge, and has approximately no chance of being dismissed.
22. Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota Twins
The Twins have faded over the last couple months, but we don’t think management will hold that against Baldelli, a rookie skipper who is well-regarded across the league. He has a bright future ahead, no matter how the rest of the year plays out.
21. Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
Counsell’s contract runs through the 2020 season, meaning you should expect an extension to be announced before next Opening Day. This is shaping up to be his third winning season in four full tries as Milwaukee’s point guard.
20. Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
When Snitker was named the interim skipper of the Braves in 2016, it seemed like he would be a stopgap. Assuming he manages through at least next season (his contract includes an option for 2021), he’ll end up with one of the eight longest tenures in franchise history. Pretty good.
19. Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Lovullo is signed through the 2021 season and has done a good job with the Diamondbacks in his three years at the helm. There’s no reason to expect a change of guard in Arizona.
18. Mike Shildt, St. Louis Cardinals
Signing Shildt to an extension last August seemed like a hasty decision. But he’s fine and there’s no reason to suspect he’s at risk — even if the Cardinals miss out on October again.
17. Chris Woodward, Texas Rangers
The Rangers aren’t a serious playoff threat, but Woodward has earned good grades and is a rookie skipper, which buys him a wide berth regardless.
16. Charlie Montoyo, Toronto Blue Jays
Another rookie skip. The Blue Jays are awful, but it isn’t Montoyo’s fault in the slightest.
15. Brandon Hyde, Baltimore Orioles
Ditto for Hyde and the Orioles.
14. David Bell, Cincinnati Reds
Bell is too a rookie manager. Whatever angst management might come to feel about this season — and the team’s underperformance in close games — will probably not be held against him.
13. Brad Ausmus, Los Angeles Angels
Ausmus is not a first-year manager in the rookie sense, yet this is his first season with the Angels. Obviously the Angels would prefer to be more competitive, but you’d be hard-pressed to put their faults on Ausmus.
12. Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
On the one hand, the Rockies are in last place and are having a miserable season. On the other, Black signed an extension in February to keep him in town through the 2022 season. We think he’s safe, and him being ranked here is just a reflection of Colorado’s disappointing year.
11. Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
Were it not for the extension Servais signed last July, you wonder if he’d already be gone. He’s probably safe now that the Mariners have entered a rebuild without expectations of results. It doesn’t hurt that he’s good friends with the boss, Jerry Dipoto.
10. Davey Martinez, Washington Nationals
We think Martinez has done enough to save his job no matter what happens.
9. Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox
Ricky’s boys don’t quit, but they do lose a lot. The White Sox are on pace for 72 wins, and that would be the most of Renteria’s three-year reign. Still, Chicago signed him to an extension of unspecified length during the winter, and he’s probably safe as a result.
8. Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies
We also think Kapler gets another year — or at least the start of another year — to get things right in Philadelphia. The troubling incidents tied to Kapler from his time with the Dodgers should make the Phillies reconsider how much they like him.
7. Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Would the Royals actually fire Yost? Our guess is no. But they might suggest he slides into a consulting role, or some other figurehead position. Yost has suggested in the past he won’t see out the Royals’ rebuild. That gives him, oh, about three more years before he makes his call.
6. Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
We’re not saying the Cubs would fire Maddon. But he is in the final year of his contract and no extension has been announced. Even if the Cubs make the postseason, it feels like there’s a chance the two sides could split ahead of next year.
5. Mickey Callaway, New York Mets
Hey, Callaway and the Mets are on a heck of a run. We’re putting him this high because if the Mets don’t reach the postseason it’s conceivable they make a change. Remember, Callaway wasn’t general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s hire. That tends to count for something.
4. Andy Green, San Diego Padres
Green has two more years left on his deal. The Padres are facing increased scrutiny, however, and at some point the results on the field matter. We don’t know if he’s a goner, but his seat is probably warm — or will be getting there sooner than later.
3. Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers
The Tigers are putrid and Gardenhire’s contract runs only one more season. General manager Al Avila, meanwhile, just signed a new multi-year pact. If Avila has any desire to make a change, this winter is the time to do it. The Tigers’ failures aren’t entirely (or even mostly) on Gardenhire, but he was always going to be a clubhouse-sitter rather than a long-term fixture.
2. Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
We addressed Hurdle’s situation earlier this week. Times are bleak in Pittsburgh, and you figure someone is going to lose their job. Maybe it’s just pitching coach Ray Searage, but Hurdle has to be feeling some kind of pressure at this point.
1. Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins
There are a few reasons to believe Mattingly is on his way out. Foremost, his contract expires at year’s end and there’s been no reported talk of an extension. Beyond that, this ownership group would probably like to install their own skipper. You have to feel a little bad for Mattingly, who was caught in a mess of a situation. But, on the bright side, he’s already the longest tenured manager in franchise history — and, on Saturday, he’ll become the first person to ever manage 600 games with the Marlins. Congratulations, Donnie Baseball — and good luck this winter, if it comes to that.