Six teams are currently on the hunt for new managers, leading to a flurry of rumors and reports about experienced skippers, and coaches/broadcasters/former players all linked to these jobs. If you’re being offered your first shot at managing a big league team, obviously, you perhaps can’t be afford to be too picky — the same could be said of veteran ex-managers who don’t know if they’ll ever get another chance at running a dugout.
So technically, the question of “which job would you prefer to take?” might not apply to many candidates, but it’s just fine for a hypothetical poll here on MLB Trade Rumors. All of these six openings have their pros and cons, and it really comes down to individual preference about what makes one job more attractive than another. Would you prefer to manage a team that has shown a willingness to spend? One with a proven organizational track record of success (and stability)? A rebuilding club with a bunch of promising minor leaguers on the way?
Here are the six teams currently conducting a manager search…
Orioles: Nowhere to go but up after 115 losses, right? Baltimore’s new manager will be entering an organization in a state of flux after a disastrous campaign, as the O’s are also looking for a new GM to replace Dan Duquette, as well as the Angelos brothers fully taking over the team’s operations from their father. With the rebuild just underway, however, a new skipper wouldn’t be expected to win for at least a few years, creating a low-pressure teaching environment to help bring along the Orioles’ younger talents (some of whom were acquired in the team’s deadline fire sale). There’s plenty of opportunity here for a manager to enter at day one and put their stamp on a new era of Orioles baseball.
Blue Jays: Another AL East team that is technically “starting” a rebuild, though the front office has unofficially been reloading the farm system over the last few years. Some of those young names made their debuts in 2018, though the biggest stars of Toronto’s highly-touted minor league ranks (including Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) are still to come in 2019 or 2020. Since GM Ross Atkins is targeting 2021 for the Jays’ return to contention, a new manager has two years of building and development ahead before expectations rise. With payrolls topping the $160MM mark in each of the last two seasons, a new manager can be confident that ownership and the front office will eventually spend to add talent.
Reds: Similar to the situation with the Jays, Cincinnati’s new skipper will step into a situation where some of the heavy lifting has already been done in terms of rebuilding. The Reds have built an interesting core of position players (Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett, Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker, and franchise cornerstone Joey Votto) that should only improve once top prospect Nick Senzel cracks the big league roster. The problem, of course, is a dearth of starting pitching, though the club is prepared to spend this winter to address that and other needs.
Rangers: Here’s another team in sore need of pitching help, which GM Jon Daniels has said “is a priority” for the coming offseason. The Rangers are in an interesting, and perhaps unwelcome, spot compared to the other teams on this list, in that they’re not really clearly rebuilding or planning to contend in 2019. This is what happens when a team almost entirely en masse, as neither the established players (Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor), the youngsters (Ronald Guzman, Willie Calhoun) or the former star prospects in between the two camps (Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara) particularly distinguished themselves last year. That said, a new voice in the dugout could help in unleashing the talent that this group clearly possesses, plus there’s organizational stability in the form of Daniels, who is the game’s second-longest tenured general manager.
Angels: What manager wouldn’t relish the opportunity to lead the game’s best player in Mike Trout, or the game’s most fascinating player in Shohei Ohtani? Combine those two with Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Andrew Heaney, Tyler Skaggs and a host of young relievers, and there’s a lot to like about the Angels’ roster. Beyond the star names, however, the Halos are still trying to fully get through a stunning onslaught of pitching injuries that have thinned the pitching depth (including sidelining Ohtani from the mound in 2019 due to Tommy John surgery). The new Angels skipper will be expected to turn things around quickly, especially with Trout only under contract for two more seasons. There are some big shoes to fill in the wake of Mike Scioscia’s departure, and it’s fair to wonder how much rope owner Arte Moreno will give to a manager who didn’t have a World Series title on his resume or the organizational influence that Scioscia held in the club.
Twins: If the team continues its yo-yo performance of the last four seasons under Paul Molitor, then it should be due for another winning season in 2019 — do we have a bizarro Giants/#OddYear scenario here? In all seriousness, Minnesota might actually be in the best position of any of these six teams to contend next season, given the weakness of the AL Central. The better odds might be on a bit of a step backwards as baseball operations heads Derek Falvey and Thad Levine figure out which of their young talents are actual building blocks and which might be trade chips. A manager who can get Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano back on track, however, could make a quick impact.
(poll link for app users)