It’s the time of year when baseball managers don’t want to answer their general manager’s calls.
This is when firings take place.
The Toronto Blue Jays finally announced the worst-kept secret in the game Wednesday: John Gibbons is out as manager.
The Texas Rangers, just as widely anticipated, fired Jeff Bannister a week ago.
And more are coming.
–Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles is out. The Orioles will announce that they’re simply going in a different direction after their historically horrific season, or perhaps Showalter beats them to the punch, and simply resigns Sunday.
–Mike Scioscia, who had been telling friends and associates all year that he planned to retire, now apparently has had a change of heart and wants to keep managing. It just won’t be with the Los Angeles Angels.
–Jim Riggleman was never given the manager’s title when he replaced Bryan Price in Cincinnati, keeping the interim tag. He will be given a formal interview, but so will perhaps another dozen men. Riggleman will be out for now, but will have a chance to regain his job in October.
Who knows, there could be more job openings, some completely unforeseen, depending on these final days and postseason fireworks.
–The Los Angeles Dodgers still haven’t picked up Dave Roberts’ $1.1 million option for 2019, and although Roberts should be back considering they were playing in Game 7 of the World Series last year, extension talks have been dormant. And the Dodgers haven’t wrapped up the NL West, either.
–Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon should have built-in security after delivering a World Series title to Chicago, but if the Cubs exit quickly in October, and he doesn’t get a contract extension this winter, could he rejoin Dodgers president Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles?
–No one expects the San Diego Padres to part company with Andy Green, not after extending him in April through 2021. However, if he has a short leash in 2019, would the Padres dare make an early move if there’s a chance to bring Roberts home?
Here’s a closer look at the managerial merry-go-round:
Toronto Blue Jays: Eric Wedge, who managed the Cleveland Indians with Mark Shapiro as general manager, is the favorite to return to the dugout now with Shapiro as president in Toronto. Stubby Clapp, the popular Canadian player and two-time Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year, also could be the choice.
Texas Rangers: Don Wakamatsu replaced Bannister on an interim basis, and is the favorite to be the permanent manager. Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin also is expected to receive strong consideration, and former Astros manager Bo Porter should be a candidate.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels plan to go with a younger voice and follow the latest trend of hiring former players with little experience, but strong communication skills. Seven-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez, who’s a special assistant, is the overwhelming favorite. Former Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus also will be on the short interview list.
Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles also plan to go with a young manager as part of their massive rebuild. It’s going to be painful in Baltimore, so they need as much goodwill as possible, and would prefer to grab a former Oriole. Mike Bordick and Billy Ripken are names floating in baseball circles.
Cincinnati Reds: Riggleman is the people’s choice among baseball executives. If he’s not retained, the Reds plan to keep him as their bench coach. The favorite may be former Red Sox and Blue Jays manager John Farrell, who’s a special assistant in the Reds’ organization, but don’t count out David Bell, the son of Reds vice president Buddy Bell. David Bell, the Giants’ vice president of player personnel, drew rave reviews in St. Louis as Mike Matheny’s bench coach. Yankees vice president Tim Naehring’s name continues to float in inner circles, and hiring the popular Cincinnati native would be an absolute coupe, but he hasn’t given any indication that he’d be interested in managing.
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