Job security is a wonderful thing to have. For Major League managers, however, tomorrow isn’t always guaranteed. If you’re winning, all praises are to the players. If you’re losing, all blame falls on your shoulders. So, with Spring Training in full swing and the 2015 season only a few weeks away, let’s take a look at who is already feeling the heat and may not make it through the season, and my odds of how likely they return for 2016.
- Terry Collins – New York Mets
Clear choice to top the list. Three things already against him going into the season: 1) His sub-par record with the Mets. Collins is 304-344 in 4 seasons as manager. 2) He enters this season in the final year of his 5-year contract. 3) According to D.J. Short with Hardball Talk, Mets owner Fred Wilpon sat down with Collins last week to voice concerns about the state of the team. “He expects it to be a much better team. There’s no doubt about that,” Collins said.
The key is going to be whether they can stay healthy. The Mets have their ace back in Matt Harvey, and he looks outstanding so far in Spring Training. With Harvey anchoring the rotation, along with 2014 NL Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom, the pitching staff could give Mets fan something to cheer about. But will it be enough to save Collins’ job?
Chances of returning for 2016 season: 30%
- Robin Ventura – Chicago White Sox
Ventura enters his fourth season as the White Sox skipper, with his first season being the best as the Sox finished in second place in the Central Division with an 85-77 record. After three years, Ventura has a 221-265 record. Before the 2014 season, the Sox extended Ventura’s contract, but with two consecutive losing seasons, and the Central division becoming ever more competitive with the talent-loaded Tigers, Indians, and defending AL Champs Royals, Ventura and the White Sox are going to have to quickly improve from their fourth-place finish.
The Sox added Jeff Samardzija to the starting rotation during this offseason, as well as closer David Robertson, who both should bolster the pitching staff. Offensively, the White Sox are looking good with their offseason additions of Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche. But, the key remains, will it be enough to compete with their stacked Central Division opponents? Or, regardless of the outcome, does the organization stay loyal to Ventura, who spent 10 years as a player for the White Sox?
Chances of returning for 2016 season: 40 %
- Walt Weiss – Colorado Rockies
Unfortunately, there haven’t been a lot of positives for Weiss in his two seasons in Colorado. A former player, and a solid one at that, but he had no previous managerial experience under his belt. And, at many times in the last two seasons, he seems over his head. Coming into his third season, he carries a 140-184 record, and as an organization, the Rockies have had four consecutive losing seasons entering 2015. And to make things a little harder, the Rockies will play 19 games against the Dodgers and Giants in the first two months of the season, and could find themselves several games back in the Western Division before June.
Chances of returning for 2016 season: 10 %
- Don Mattingly – Los Angeles Dodgers
Maybe this name comes as a surprise, maybe it doesn’t. The 2015 season will be Mattingly’s fifth as skipper of the Dodgers, and he enters with a 354-293 record. And with the names of Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Zack Greinke, Carl Crawford, and Adrian Gonzalez, we are all aware of how stacked with talent Mattingly’s Dodgers are. So, why does he find himself on the hot seat? Well, it’s simple. The Dodgers have a 2015 payroll of $272 million, and haven’t won (or even appeared in) a World Series since 1988.
With the offseason hiring of Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays as the Dodgers President of Baseball Operations, unless the Dodgers bring the World Series back to Los Angeles, the only trimming that will be done unfortunately will be Mattingly’s position as manager.
Chances of returning for 2016 season: 25%
Some teams prefer to stick it out and make changes at the end of the season, while others start cleaning house mid-season. The rumors will start flying by mid-May at the latest on whose seat is warming up, and there could always be a few sleepers among the crowd who sneak on to the list. We will all find out soon enough.