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MLB Manager Hot Seat: Which Skippers Are Under the Most Pressure?

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Aug. 16, 2023

Morgan Killian-Moseley

With roughly six and a half weeks to go in the MLB regular season, it's a slight surprise that all 30 teams still have the managers they had on Opening Day. But of course that is very likely to change. So, which managers are in the hottest of seats right now? Let's take a look:

Safe and Comfortable

These managers have their teams firmly in the playoff race and have very little, if anything, to worry about.

Brian Snitker, Braves

Best record in the Majors, potential record-breaking power lineup with two National League MVP candidates (Ronald Acuña Jr. and Matt Olson), a pitching staff that includes the potential NL Cy Young winner (Spencer Strider), and current World Series favorites. 'Nuff said.

Brandon Hyde, Orioles

Best record in the American League and seemingly firing on all cylinders. How the O's do down the stretch will go a long way towards determining the length of Hyde's contract extension (which may or may not have already been determined), but he's guaranteed to have his name announced on Opening Day 2024.

David Bell, Reds

Bell has plenty of young talent to work with, including potential NL Rookie of the Year Elly De La Cruz and under-the-radar rookie Matt McLain, and has been recently given a contract extension. That combination should have the Redlegs in a competitive position for years to come.

Dusty Baker, Astros

The 'Stros have had more than their fair share of injury problems this year, but the future first-ballot Hall-Of-Famer has the defending champions in Wild Card position and hot on the heels of their cross-state rivals. And even as a road team Houston isn't someone you want to face in a best-of-3 with your season on the line.

Dave Roberts, Dodgers

Another year, another NL West title seems virtually guaranteed in L.A. Roberts has the Boys in Blue in a first-round bye position and has two MVP candidates (Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman) at the top of his lineup as well.

Skip Schumaker, Marlins

Taking over for the winningest manager in franchise history (Don Mattingly) can be a bit daunting for a first-time manager. But Skip Schumaker has the Fish in the Wild Card hunt and should have them there through the finish line. Sadly for Miami, the ex-Cardinal utility man can't do much about the lack of Marlins fans (or lack of fans in general) at LoanDepot Park.

Rob Thomson, Phillies

Another team with a slew of injury woes, Topper has the Fightins in the top NL Wild Card spot right now. It's highly unlikely the Phillies would fire the man who brought them off the deck after taking over for Joe Girardi last season and helped lead them to the pennant.

Gabe Kapler, Giants

You may not know some of the names in the lineup (who saw Patrick Bailey being the Giants savior?) but San Fran is solid all-around; and consistency is key in the dog days of summer.

Scott Servais, Mariners

Some people say Seattle overachieved last year with their playoff run, but don't tell them that. The M's have the foundation to be competitive for years to come, and the former Mariner catcher has done well at getting them to bounce back when they struggle. (Side note: Why are so many good managers former catchers?)

Kevin Cash, Rays

Tampa has fallen off a bit since their series against Atlanta just before the All-Star break, but they're still in playoff position and can be a tough matchup in a best-of-3, especially since every game feels like a road game for them. (Tropicana Field tends to bring in more opposing fans than Rays fans, after all.)

Bruce Bochy, Rangers

Hiring the Hall of Famer has led to a massive turnaround from last year in Arlington. The Rangers are well on their way to a playoff berth, it's only a matter of what seed they'll be.

John Schneider, Blue Jays

Schneider has the Jays in the thick of things, currently holding the final AL Wild Card berth. (Side Note: Imagine the media circus if every AL East team besides the Red Sox and Yankees makes the playoffs.) Considering the rapport he has with the team, especially with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the 2023 Home Run Derby Champion who Schneider threw BP to, Schneider will likely remain the man in charge in The Six for the foreseeable future.

Should Be Fine, Barring Disaster

Bench bosses with moderately high job security, unless their teams suffer an epic collapse.

David Ross, Cubs

The Cubbies' push after the All-Star break (spurred by the surprise resurgence of Cody Bellinger) brought them back in the thick of the race, and turned them from sellers to buyers. "Grandpa Rossy" is well-liked by the team and is one of two remaining links with the 2016 World Series team, the other being starter Kyle Hendricks; so while it's not outside the realm of possibility that he would be fired if the Cubs fall out of the playoff race, it certainly doesn't seem like he'll be leaving Wrigleyville any time soon.

Terry Francona, Guardians

Admittedly, the AL Central is bad. Cleveland did more selling than buying at the deadline, and it may take a sustained hot streak for the Guards to take another division title. But Francona is the longest-tenured manager in the Majors, having been the man in charge in Cleveland since 2013. Considering what he means to the franchise, as well as all the medical troubles he's gone through over the past few years, it's not hard to believe that Tito will be the one deciding when someone else will take the reins in The Land; and that he might have a hand in deciding who he'd hand them to.

Rocco Baldelli, Twins

Somebody has to win the AL Central. Right now the Twins, being the only team in the division above .500, are the ones in position to do so. With Cleveland as the only legitimate threat, it would take a pretty big collapse for Minnesota to fall out of a division title. If that were to happen, however, the former AL Manager of the Year might be bounced from the Twin Cities.

Davey Martinez, Nationals

Being the only manager in franchise history to win a World Series has bought Martinez some leeway, and he's well-liked around the league. Washington is rebuilding but they've shown signs of improvement recently, so Martinez's job should be safe for now.

Not Enough Time to Simmer

These first-year managers don't have enough seasoning to determine if they're worthy of being tossed out. Next year could be a different story.

Pedro Grifol, White Sox

There's no denying the problems on the South Side last season with Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa, or that it was best for him to part ways with the team. But as big as the problems were with LaRussa last season, the loss of former AL MVP and locker room leader Jose Abreu in the middle of their lineup definitely stunted the offense for the Pale Hose; even with Jake Burger in the top five in the AL in home runs before being traded to Miami. It's definitely a time of transition for the White Sox, so it wouldn't be fair to place all the blame on Grifol.

Matt Quatraro, Royals

As said, the AL Central is bad. And the Royals are at the bottom of that barrel. But in all honesty, this was to be expected. And considering this is Quatraro's first year after Mike Matheny got the ax, it's too early for K.C. to make another change at the helm.

Kind of Warm, but Still Fine

Skippers who are feeling a bit of pressure, but are relatively safe from a pink slip.

Alex Cora, Red Sox

The BoSox have exceeded expectations thus far this season. But with the entire AL East fighting for playoff positions at least one team, and likely two, are going to be left out. And Boston sports as a whole tend to hold themselves to a higher standard than a lot of other cities. Cora may have a bit more of a leash since he was the manager when the Sox won it all in 2018, and was even brought back as manager after he resigned in 2020 because of the Astros' cheating allegations in 2017, but the pressure will definitely be on him; if not this year, then next.

Mark Kotsay, Athletics

The Tankin' A's could feasibly be the first team mathematically eliminated by the end of this week. Everybody knew from the start of Spring Training that the A's were going through the motions, and likely will continue to do so until "Las Vegas" is stitched across their road grays. The question is whether they'll continue the farce of pretending to be competitive by firing Kotsay or by keeping him. Considering the connection Kotsay has with the franchise, the latter is more likely… for now.

Derek Shelton, Pirates

The only reason why the Buccos' crash after their 20-8 start didn't cause Shelton to lose his job is because that start netted Shelton a contract extension, and Pittsburgh would still have to pay him even if they did fire him. That being said, Shelton will have a lot to answer for if his squad doesn't continue to develop next year.

Starting to Sweat

Managers who are definitely running out of leeway and could go either way as to their futures.

Torrey Lovullo, Diamondbacks

The Snakes went into the break tied for the NL West lead. They have since fallen almost completely out of the playoff race. It may be Lovullo who bears the blame unless Arizona can turn things around.

Bud Black, Rockies

Black has been a stalwart force in the Rox dugout since 2016. Unfortunately there hasn't been much for Rockies fans to cheer about in those seven years, their only playoff success being a win in the 2018 NL Wild Card Game. A change may be in order.

A.J. Hinch, Tigers

Detroit, like the entire AL Central, is in a state of flux. There's plenty of good young talent in the organization, but even in the weakest division in baseball the Tigers haven't exactly been competitive. And of course, Hinch will always have the shadow of 2017 attached to him. A restart might be what the Motor City needs to get back to competitive quality.

Craig Counsell, Brewers

The Brewers may lead the NL Central (barely), but the franchise's all-time winningest manager has to be feeling the heat from a lack of playoff success. After being the last team eliminated in the regular season last year, the Wisconsin native has had to rely on excellent pitching to overcome lackluster offensive production. With all signs pointing towards the NL Central winner hosting a Wild Card Series, the pressure is on Counsell to at least get the Brew Crew to the Division Series and be reasonably competitive against Atlanta or L.A. If he can't, or if Milwaukee falls out of the playoffs yet again, the man who scored the winning run in the 1997 and 2001 World Series may be looking for a new home.

Pressure Cooker

These managers' teams have underperformed mightily, and may be on the chopping block.

Bob Melvin, Padres

How the mighty have fallen. San Diego looked to build on their playoff success by putting together the second-highest payroll in the Majors, and the highest in franchise history. But the Friars find themselves flailing in the NL West, and unless they got hot fast BoMel may be out of a job.

Oliver Marmol, Cardinals

Everyone knew the retirements of Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina would have a profound effect on the St. Louis locker room, but virtually nobody expected this. What was supposed to be a competitive season for the NL Central champions has turned into little more than a retirement tour for Adam Wainwright. Oli has had plenty of injuries to deal with, so he can't be blamed for all of the Redbirds' struggles, but he certainly hasn't made the most of what he has had either.

Red Alert

Managers whose jobs may be living on borrowed time

Phil Nevin, Angels

The Angels decided to go all-in at the trade deadline, gambling that getting Shohei Ohtani into the playoffs would be the key to bringing him back in free agency. That gamble has backfired spectacularly, as the team is fading fast and Ohtani may very well be playing his last games in an Angels uniform. Not all of the blame should be laid at the feet of Nevin; but firing him may be GM Perry Minasian's last-ditch effort to get the Halos to turn things around, or an effort to shield himself from the blame for a mistake that could haunt the Angels for decades.

Buck Showalter, Mets

Showalter is a battle-tested manager who many people think should be a Hall-Of-Famer. But not even he could handle the 353 million dollar disaster situation in Queens this season. The fact that even owner Steve Cohen is taking blame for it may be his only saving grace. Meet the Mess, indeed.

Hot as the Sun's Core

The hottest seat of them all. As if it could be anyone, or anywhere, else.

Aaron Boone, Yankees

In any other situation a manager hovering around .500 dealing with a bunch of injuries, including your record-breaking megastar, would be given a free pass. But in the Bronx anything less than the Commissioner's Trophy is a failure, and mediocrity will have people bringing out the torches and pitchforks. The Bronx Bombers have only finished lower than second in the AL East twice since the advent of the three-division format in 1994, and haven't finished last since 1990. But that's exactly where they'll be if things continue as they are.

Yankee fans have already been calling for Boone and GM Brian Cashman to be fired, and it isn't outside the realm of possibility for Cashman to fire Boone in an (in all likelihood futile) effort to save his own skin. Regardless, all hope is not lost for Boone and the Yanks; but as Yankee legend Yogi Berra would say, "It's getting late early."


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