Major League Baseball’s regular season concluded two weeks ago, though no front offices have experienced significant shakeups since then. The Red Sox shockingly fired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in early September, less than a year after the roster he helped assemble won 108 regular-season games and a World Series title, but no other team has made a change since then. With the offseason just a few weeks from commencing, it’s doubtful any club will join Boston in seeking a new head of baseball ops prior to the winter.
While almost all front offices look stable right now, the story could be totally different a year from now. We’ve seen mass departures in the dugout in recent weeks, and several clubs may end up in position to ax their top front office minds in roughly 12 months. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post observed over the weekend, at least 10 teams could wind up seeking new front office heads by 2021 if things go haywire next season.
Going by Sherman’s list, the Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, Mets, Rockies, White Sox, Pirates, Padres, Angels and Phillies each have executives who could be in do-or-die positions next year. It would be especially earth-shaking to see the Cubs make a switch, as president of baseball ops Theo Epstein has largely delivered wonderful results since he exited Boston for Chicago prior to the 2012 campaign. Of course, manager Joe Maddon also did mostly brilliant work for the Cubs from 2015-19, but that didn’t prevent them from going in another direction after this year’s so-so 84-win showing. With that in mind, perhaps Epstein will meet a similar fate if the Cubs don’t rebound in 2020.
Aside from the Cubs, every team Sherman mentioned has been embroiled in a multiyear playoff drought. With the possible exception of the Mariners, whose owner, John Stanton, seems to be exercising patience with GM Jerry Dipoto, all of them could conceivably hire new front office leaders within a year. The Rangers’ Jon Daniels, the Mets’ Brodie Van Wagenen, the Rockies’ Jeff Bridich, the White Sox’s Rick Hahn, the Pirates’ Neal Huntington, the Padres’ A.J. Preller, the Angels’ Billy Eppler and the Phillies’ Matt Klentak do indeed seem especially vulnerable going into 2020. The same could apply to Reds president Dick Williams and-or GM Nick Krall if the team doesn’t make a leap up the standings after what it hopes will be an active offseason. The Marlins are so devoid of talent that they have almost no chance to compete in 2020, which could finally cost president Michael Hill his job (bear in mind co-owner Derek Jeter inherited Hill; he didn’t hire him).
There could also be other execs in trouble by next offseason, though the Dodgers (to some of their fans’ chagrin) look as if they’re on the cusp of locking up pending free-agent president Andrew Friedman after another year loaded with regular-season wins but lacking a World Series title. The Blue Jays could extend oft-maligned president Mark Shapiro, meanwhile, and the Twins might award chief baseball officer Derek Falvey a new pact in the wake of an eminently successful campaign.
The above bunch aside, it’s fair to guess the Astros, Yankees, Athletics, Rays, Indians, Royals, Orioles, Braves, Nationals, Cardinals, Brewers and Diamondbacks are perfectly happy with their front office alignments. Near-term changes likely aren’t in the offing for any of those clubs, then, but what of the rest?
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