There are eight managerial openings in Major League Baseball: the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies. Which openings offer the most promise? Here’s a ranking of the eight teams looking for new managers.
8) Kansas City Royals (Moving on From Ned Yost)
The Royals have a nice positional core which includes Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Hunter Dozier, and Jorge Soler. But, as a whole, the Royals are a handful of years away from posing any sort of threat in the American League.
Their pitching staff is subpar, at best, and the organization is banking on internal growth to provide a jolt moving forward. Plus, the AL Central includes the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, and young Chicago White Sox; the Royals are tasked with outgrowing those ballclubs.
They offer the chance to be a big-league manager, but the Royals job is one with a high likelihood of missing the playoffs on a consistent basis in the foreseeable future.
7) San Francisco Giants (Moving on From Bruce Bochy)
The Giants have a murky road ahead. With Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith hitting the open market this offseason, San Francisco could lose some prominent members of an already aging ballclub. General manager Farhan Zaidi is tasked with replacing Bochy, franchise royalty, but also rebuilding the Giants into a contender.
In doing so, he has to compete with the likes of the preeminent Los Angeles Dodgers and blossoming Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres in the National League West. The one bright spot a manager has with this ballclub is that they’re a veteran, fundamentally sound bunch. Whether it be Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, or Kevin Pillar, the Giants have several two-way players.
All in all, this is a job with sentimental value but one with little chance of success in the near future; having one of the league’s worst farm systems is another blow.
6) Pittsburgh Pirates (Moving on From Clint Hurdle)
The Pirates finished with the worst record in franchise history since 2010 (69-93) and are the fifth-best team in the NL Central. Ouch! Once considered the best part of their roster, the Pirates starting rotation had a turbulent season with Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, Chris Archer, and Trevor Williams having shaky campaigns.
On the other hand, they have some building blocks around the diamond such as Josh Bell, Kevin Newman, Bryan Reynolds, and Colin Moran. When you mesh the two, though, the Pirates have been an inconsistent team over the last four years, and it’s difficult to roadmap a path to contention in the next two years.
Perhaps a new face in the dugout generates a spark, but, from a roster standpoint, the Pirates offer a manager the chance to beef up their resume and little more.
5) San Diego Padres (Moving on From Andy Green)
The Padres were hovering around .500 in the first half of the regular season but severely faded after the All-Star break and finished 70-92. Barring a franchise altering offseason, the 2020 season projects to be another playoff-deprived year for the Padres.
Outside of Chris Paddack and Kirby Yates, they sport an unstable pitching staff. What the organization prides itself on is its killer infield of Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Luis Urias, as well as power hitting outfielder Hunter Renfroe. San Diego has shown a willingness to spend big in free agency, but they have to acquire a couple top-of-the-rotation starters to take advantage of their electric offense.
This is a job with upside but one that’s built on hope rather than certainty.
4) Philadelphia Phillies (Moving on From Gabe Kapler)
After adding Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and David Robertson in the offseason, the Phillies were widely expected to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Instead, they went .500 (81-81). At the same time, this is an appealing job opening.
For starters, the Phillies have an exceptional lineup. With Harper, Realmuto, Segura, a healthy McCutchen, Rhys Hoskins, and Scott Kingery, among others in place, there are a multitude of bats that can do damage. Meanwhile, their pitching staff sports one of the best starting pitchers in the game in Aaron Nola.
At the end of the day, the Phillies need to bolster their pitching staff with a top-of-the-rotation starter and bullpen depth. Afterwards, the pressure is on the manager. They need someone who’s thick skinned and can handle Philadelphia through both good and bad times.
3) New York Mets (Moving on From Mickey Callaway)
The Mets finished a rollercoaster season at 86-76, which was good for third place in the NL East. But how they fared in their division isn’t an accurate depiction of the franchise’s future; there’s some compelling aspects to this ballclub.
Their starting rotation features one of the best pitching trios in the game in Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman. Meanwhile, their lineup has budding stars such as Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Amed Rosario, as well as proven hitters such as Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano, and Wilson Ramos. The Mets haven’t tapped into their potential, as a whole. Once they do, they’ll be a playoff threat in the NL.
Success in the short term comes down to general manager Brodie Van Wagenen severely upgrading the team’s bullpen and getting the right manager at the wheel.
2) Los Angeles Angels (Moving on From Brad Ausmus)
Let’s be real. If you’re taking this job, it’s for two reasons: Mike Trout and the potential for the organization to bring in a top-tier starting pitcher or two. But there’s merit behind those two reasons. Plus, the Angels offense is more than just Trout.
With the likes of Trout, Andrelton Simmons, Albert Pujols, Kole Calhoun, and a healthy Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton, the Angels have a prolific offense. This team desperately needs starting pitching, and if they can bolster that aspect of their roster, they could be a Wild Card threat in 2020.
At full force, the Angels are a competitive ballclub, and they were in the Wild Card mix at the MLB trade deadline. Filling voids and getting everyday players healthy changes the game for the Halos.
1) Chicago Cubs (Moving on From Joe Maddon)
The Cubs offer the best chance for a manager to have success from the outset. Whether it be their lineup or starting rotation, the Cubs have a deep roster. With Javier Baez, Kris Bryant (for now, at least), Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, and Albert Almora, among others, they have a lineup of proven commodities. With Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, and Yu Darvish in the fold, they have a reliable starting rotation.
Now, whoever becomes the Cubs next manager has to overcome the NL Central, most notably the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers — who are each playoff teams this season. But the Cubs were in the thick of the division and Wild Card race in the second half; they simply collapsed in September.
This team is primed to be back in contention next season — barring an offseason overhaul — and their five consecutive seasons of high-level and/or competitive baseball is appealing to a manager.