Checking In On Baseball’s New Managers

Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Valentine get more than their share of the coverage, but the Marlins and Red Sox weren’t the only teams that hired new managers this past offseason. Five teams made managerial changes for the 2012 season and two other managers are in their first full seasons with their current teams. Here’s a look at how the managerial changes are going…

Managers (PW)

American League

Valentine has been in the spotlight often, publicly questioning Kevin Youkilis’ effort level and producing a documentary about baseball in the Dominican Republic. The Red Sox are in fourth place in the AL East with a disappointing 53-53 record. 

While Valentine has considerable experience managing MLB teams, Robin Ventura hadn’t managed a single game when he accepted the managerial job with the White Sox. The results have been excellent so far; the first-place White Sox have a 57-47 record.

Bob Melvin managed the Athletics for much of the 2011 season, but this is his first full season in charge. The surprising A’s have a 57-48 record under Melvin, the 2007 NL Manager of the Year.

National League

Guillen’s year started off poorly when he expressed admiration for Fidel Castro and drew a five-game suspension from his new team. The Marlins opened the season in a new stadium with lofty expectations, but they’re just 48-57 entering today’s action. Meanwhile, Davey Johnson’s Nationals lead the NL East with a 62-42 record in Johnson’s first full season as Washington’s manager.

Rookie manager Mike Matheny replaced future Hall of Famer Tony La Russa on a Cardinals team that won the 2011 World Series, but the former catcher (pictured with Ventura) has done well in St. Louis, leading the Cardinals to a 56-49 record. Dale Sveum’s roster doesn’t have the same kind of talent that the Cardinals have, so it’d be unfair to judge him by the Cubs’ 43-60 mark.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

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21 Responses to Checking In On Baseball’s New Managers Leave a Reply

  1. I’d say the Cubs’ W-L record is better than expected at this point.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 3 years ago

      It would be unfair to judge Sveum on W/L record but I agree with you. He has done a bit better than expected.

      I never get the sense the Cubs aren’t giving it their best effort, even when they get their brains beat out. That reflects well on their manager too.

      • Andy Repinski 3 years ago

        It would be fair to Judge him on his stint as interim manager with the Brewers. Mike Cameron as leadoff hitter?? For real…

    • hawkeyesforever 3 years ago

      Agree completely. I think if Rizzo would have been called up sooner that win loss record might be better. I think Sveum is a good manager and will get better as the talent level on the team improves.

  2. rundmc1981 3 years ago

    A lot of good names, but in my mind – and I’m not a Cards fan (go Braves) – STL manager Mike Matheny has done an incredible job replacing not 1, but 2 titans of industry in LaRussa and Pujols, even doing so without Lance Berkman. Yes, credit goes towards Beltran, Holliday, Allen Craig, and the rest, but you’ve got to be put in a position to excel and then have your talents utilized for a team to manage a win. Maybe he didn’t have the hardest job to field a winning team (Melvin, hat’s off to you) – but I’m surprised how they look better offensively this year.

    • If you watch Matheny daily, you would see how his inexperience, silly substitutions, and questionable calls have cost the Cardinals 6 games this year already.

      • Esteban Daviso 3 years ago

        I can’t necessarily verify the 6 games, but I definitely agree with you. The pace of the game seems to very regularly catch Matheny off-guard.

        I was in attendance at a White Sox @ Cardinals game where Shane Robinson lost a contact lens with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th with the Cards up 1-0; while Robinson ducked into the dugout to fix the problem, Matheny made a defensive substitution of Adron Chambers for Holliday in LF. Turns out Matheny had intended to pull Holliday, but forgot about it as the game progressed into the bottom of the 9th.

  3. RepOak 3 years ago

    Bob Melvin will be manager of the year in 2012

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago


      If I had to guess MOY for AL, its between Melvin and Buck Showalter, and it depends on which team gets closer to and/or in the playoffs.

    • Colin Artinger 3 years ago

      NL – Davey Johnson or Clint Hurdle
      AL – Melvin or Showalter

  4. redsx968 3 years ago

    As long as Dale Sveum isn’t at third base waving everyone around only to be thrown out by a mile by Rocco Baldelli, then I’d say he’s doing well relative to his usual performance

  5. Melvin is amazing.

  6. meinhardt1992 3 years ago

    I know im a Cubs fan and i do agree Sveum has done a great job even though the Cubs have sucked it up.

  7. Colin Artinger 3 years ago

    Yea I would say Matheny’s done a sub-par job to be honest. A team with a +100 run differential is set up to miss the play-offs and his record in close games is less than stellar. Watching him daily. the inexperience is evident. Their expected Win-Loss record is 63-42 right now.

    • A Joseph Balsman 3 years ago

      You can question moves by every manager…but the truth is, managers get away with it more often than not which has not been the case with Matheny this year. The bullpen all got bad at the same time, so in Matheny’s defense, not matter what move he made it went bad. Matheny can prepare his team for every game but if his team doesn’t perform their isnt a thing he can do about that. StL has made more moves in the bullpen this year than I can ever remember in the past because they have been so bad and gave up so many leads which is the reason the W-L record is where it is. So in my opinion, the problem isn’t Matheny, the problem is the players performance on the field.

  8. The Cubs do have the potential talent to be much better than they have shown this year. However, with the injuries holding some guys back, it’s been difficult for them all to develop fully.

  9. adieuordie 3 years ago

    Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by La Russa the last sixteen seasons, but I think Matheny’s bullpen management has been terrible. HIs late game subsitutions/double switches in general regularly leave me scratching my head. He also calls for the bunt WAY too often. Its his first year managing above the little league level, so I’m willing to give him a pass on this season, but if there isn’t improvement in year two I’ll be disappointed if he’s back in 2014.

    • A Joseph Balsman 3 years ago

      Matheny has left you scratching your head and LaRussa didnt. LaRussa was the guy who played washed up vets over young better talent just because he liked veterans. Keep in mind, Pujols left, Berkman has been out basically all year, Jay has been on the DL, Craig has had his injuries, Furcal is been out, and the bullpen has not been pitching at all like they did last year (Salas, Rzep, and Sanchez) Lynn a major contributor in the pen last year is now a starter, Carp has been out all year, Waino is coming off Tommy John and not his normal self, not to mention Garcia has been on the DL a long time. If anything, I am impressed that Matheny has kept this team above .500 and at least in the race. I just found it funny how you mentioned bullpen management and how LaRussa was great at it…and just last postseason, LaRussa was the one who thought Lynn was Motte in the bullpen and brought him in.

      • adieuordie 3 years ago

        La Russa’s bullpen management was always widely regarded as one his greatest strengths. The Lynn/Motte thing aside, his bullpen usage in the postseason last fall was stellar. The same can be said for their championship run in 2006.
        La Russa frustrated me plenty for sure, but he always had a compelling argument to back up his decisions. Matheny seems to just roll the dice for the sake of rolling the dice.
        As for the Cards’ record this year under Matheny, they’ve actually underperformed their pythagorean record by six wins, due largely in part, in my opinion, to the misuse of relievers and the bench. Sure, Berkman and Craig have missed a lot of games, and Furcal has missed… 9 games… but they still have the largest run differential in baseball by a wide margin and their record simply doesn’t reflect that.

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