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Managers And GMs Entering Their Contract Years

The 2014 season will be a big one for some of these managers and general managers entering the final years of their current contracts.  For a few, it's just a matter of time until they get extensions; for others, 2014 is their last chance to prove they belong in their current jobs.  This post may not include every eligible skipper or GM, as some clubs don't make management contract terms available to the public.  Thanks to the invaluable Cot's Baseball Contracts for providing many of the contract details.

* Angels.  There were rumors throughout the summer that GM Jerry Dipoto or manager Mike Scioscia could be fired given the Halos' underachieving performance in both 2012 and 2013, but both men will be back in 2014.  Scioscia, of course, is under contract through 2018 but Dipoto is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal.  The Angels have options for both 2015 and 2016 on Dipoto's services, though if the team doesn't contend this season, it seems very likely that Dipoto won't be retained.

* Mariners.  GM Jack Zduriencik had his contract extended through the 2014 season, a move that angered some Seattle fans given the club's run of four consecutive losing seasons.  The team's pursuit of free agent sluggers has been described as "desperate" by some industry sources, which is a long-term danger for a team being led by a general manager who is only focused on his short-term job security.  Zduriencik will be judged harshly if he doesn't obtain a top hitter, but the Mariners simply need to top (or at least approach) the .500 mark for Zduriencik to have any chance to continuing in his current role.  The recent retirement of Mariners president and COO Chuck Armstrong also hints at larger changes coming to the franchise's management structure.

* Astros.  GM Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter both signed multiyear deals when they were respectively hired after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and those deals could almost be up since the lengths of the contracts aren't known.  It's almost impossible to believe that the club would abandon its vaunted long-term rebuilding plan by letting Luhnow go, of course, and ditching Porter after two years would also seem like an odd move.  Wins and losses won't dictate Porter's fate, as he'll be judged by how the Astros' young talent continues to develop at the Major League level.

* Rangers.  Ron Washington is entering his last year under contract but GM Jon Daniels wants to keep his manager in the fold beyond 2014.  Washington has previously signed a pair of two-year extensions with Texas, though those deals weren't signed until Washingon had already completed his final season.  It's possible the Rangers could again wait to extend their skipper, and despite Daniels' comments, the club might consider a change if it again fails to make a significant postseason run.  Then again, the "wait-and-see" strategy with Washington in the past could have been inspired by former club president Nolan Ryan, and with Ryan gone and Daniels now with more power in the organization, the Rangers may not wait to extend Washington.

* White Sox.  Speaking of "wait-and-see," Robin Ventura took that same tack himself when he turned down a contract extension during Spring Training.  The Pale Hose manager wants to complete his original three-year deal before discussing his future with the team, though Ventura says he's eager to return.  Another 99-loss season, of course, will likely inspire GM Rick Hahn to make a change in the dugout.

* Indians.  This is another situation where details are murky, as GM Chris Antonetti is known to have had his contract extended beyond his original five-year deal with the Tribe that ran out in 2012.  His extension could possibly be up this season, though the odds are Antonetti was locked up for more than just two extra years.  In any case, it's a moot point since Cleveland's playoff appearance last season has certainly given Antonetti more job security.

* Royals.  GM Dayton Moore is entering the final year of his contract and he could be an extension candidate this winter given that the club is coming off its first winning season of Moore's tenure.  The Royals have long been aiming to become legitimate contenders in 2014, so it's possible upper management will see what Moore does this offseason and perhaps what the team does over its first couple of months before locking the general manager up to a new deal.  There's quite a bit of pressure on Moore this season since another dip below the .500 mark could cost him his job.

* Twins.  Terry Ryan's contract specifics aren't known, the Minnesota GM has been rumored to have virtually unlimited job security.  You'd wonder if another 66-96 season would test that security, as the Twins have posted identical losing records in the two full seasons since Ryan returned as the club's general manager.  Given the strong state of the Twins' minor league system, I'd guess that Ryan will be given more time (if he even is a contractual lame duck) to rebuild the franchise even if the Major League team isn't doing well, though the signing of Ricky Nolasco is a sure indicator that Ryan wants better results.

* Blue Jays.  There was speculation that John Gibbons would be fired even before the midway point of the Jays' disappointing 2013 campaign, and while he's still in charge in Toronto, another poor season will surely lead the team to decline their 2015 option for the manager.  GM Alex Anthopoulos' contract status isn't confirmed but he's rumored to be locked up beyond 2014 --- if not, however, he could also be facing some heat if the Jays don't contend.

* Red Sox.  Ben Cherington is another GM whose contract tenure isn't known, though in the wake of a World Series title, Boston isn't going to let him go anywhere.

* Yankees.  Brian Cashman is entering one of the most important offseasons of his tenure as New York's general manager, and the fact that Cashman is entering the last year of his deal only adds to the pressure.  Brian McCann is the first major signing of what should be a busy winter for the Yankees, though if Cashman's additions don't get the Yankees back into the playoffs, his job will be in serious jeopardy.

* Braves.  Both manager Fredi Gonzalez and GM Frank Wren are entering the final year of their contracts.  Consecutive playoff appearances bode well for one or the both of them to receive contract extensions before Opening Day.

* Mets.  Sandy Alderson is facing pressure to upgrade the Mets lineup this offseason, though any hopes of contending in 2014 probably went down the drain thanks to Matt Harvey's Tommy John surgery.  The Mets hold an option on Alderson for 2015 that I'd expect them to exercise (perhaps as soon as this winter) given his reputation in baseball, though adding a big bat or two would certainly cement Alderson's case.

* Pirates.  The club holds options on both manager Clint Hurdle and GM Neal Huntington for 2015, which will surely be exercised in the wake of Pittsburgh's breakthrough playoff season.  You can probably expect discussions about longer-term deals for both men as well this winter.

* Reds.  Dusty Baker's firing hints at some impatience in Cincinnati, as the Reds failed to advance past the NLDS in 2010 and 2012, and then lost the NL wild card game last season after spending just under $107MM in payroll (a club record).  With one change already made at manager, you wonder if GM Walt Jocketty could also be on the hot seat as he enters the final year of his deal.

* Brewers.  Ron Roenicke is contracted through 2014 and the Brew Crew hold an option on their manager for 2015.  You could argue that the Brewers' poor record last season was due to factors beyond Roenicke's control (i.e. injuries and the Ryan Braun PED suspension) but the club will definitely need to show some improvement if Roenicke is to continue in Milwaukee.

* Diamondbacks.  Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers share the same contract situation; both the manager and general manager are signed through 2014 with club options for 2015 and 2016, and the D'Backs have reportedly declined to pick up those options.  While the options could be exercised at a later date, between that news and the shakeup of Arizona's coaching staff, it appears as if Towers and especially Gibson have little wiggle room.  Both men need the Snakes to take a step forward after finishing with consecutive 81-81 records.     

* Dodgers.  It's been a roller-coaster season for Don Mattingly, who was seemingly on the verge of being fired in June before the Dodgers went on an incredible hot streak to win the NL West and advance to the NLCS.  That NLCS appearance triggered a vesting option that gave Mattingly another year under contract for 2014, though the manager has been quite open about his desire for a long-term commitment.  While Mattingly and the club are negotiating that extension, expectations are high enough in Los Angeles that Mattingly will need at least another NLCS appearance to keep his job past this season.


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