A unique set of challenges faced anyone running a Major League franchise in 2020, between dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and then the difficulties involved in playing games during the delayed-then-shortened season. Nevertheless, it seemed like only a certain amount of slack was granted the sport’s managers and front office leaders (whether that top title was president of baseball operations, general manager, chief baseball officer, etc.) through the turbulent year, as we still saw a number of teams make changes either in the dugout or at the top of the baseball ops department.
As such, it’s fair to assume that a “normal” amount of pressure to put a winning — or championship-winning — team on the field will be the same in 2021 as in any usual season, even if 2021 is already looking it may have its own share of abnormality. That means that for managers and executives heading into the last guaranteed year of their contracts, job security will likely be on the line in the coming months.
Thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for information on the various contractual details of team personnel, though this list may not be complete. Some teams don’t publicly reveal contract lengths of managers or front office execs, so it’s possible some of these names might be locked up beyond 2021 whether due to the original terms of their current deals or due to extensions that haven’t been announced.
Astros: Originally signed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2021, Dusty Baker saw Houston exercise that option last summer, lining Baker up for his 24th season running a Major League dugout. Recent comments from Baker indicate that the 71-year-old is taking something of a year-by-year approach to his future, though if the Astros again reach the postseason, one would imagine the team would certainly have interest in retaining Baker for 2022. A longer-term extension seems unlikely, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if at least another club option (or even a mutual option) was tacked onto Baker’s deal to give both sides some flexibility going forward.
Athletics: While major postseason success continues to elude the team, Oakland has reached the playoffs in each of the last three years. This makes six postseason appearances for Melvin in 10 years managing the A’s, and it seems likely the team will discuss another extension for Melvin as he enters the final year of his current contract. While Billy Beane’s possible departure would naturally have a major impact on the Athletics, the likelihood of longtime executive and current GM David Forst taking over the baseball operations department would probably mean that Melvin would be welcomed back.
Blue Jays: Charlie Montoyo is entering the last guaranteed year of his original three-year contract, and the Jays hold a club option on Montoyo’s services for 2022. That option could be exercised to give Montoyo a bit more security as a reward for leading Toronto to the playoffs last year, though expectations are certainly higher for the 2021 team. It should also be noted that there hasn’t yet been any official confirmation that president/CEO Mark Shapiro has signed a new contract with the team after his five-year deal ran out after last season, but last October, Shapiro seemed to imply that a new deal was all but complete.
Braves: After going from interim manager to full-time manager following the 2016 season, Brian Snitker has twice been signed to extensions — most recently last February, when Atlanta turned its 2021 club option on Snitker into a guaranteed year. Snitker has led the Braves to three straight NL East titles and the team fell one game shy of the NL pennant last October, so Snitker seems like a prime candidate for another extension prior to Opening Day.
Diamondbacks: 2020 was an overall disappointing year for a D’Backs team that was aiming for the postseason, but team president/CEO Derrick Hall indicated that the organization wasn’t planning to make any wholesale changes due to the season’s unusual nature. This bodes well for manager Torey Lovullo as he enters the last year of his contract, and it seems possible Arizona could add another year to Lovullo’s deal just so he can avoid lame-duck status.
Mariners: Both GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais were in the final year of their contracts when both inked extensions with Seattle in July 2018. The terms of those extensions weren’t known, but 2021 would be the final guaranteed year for both if the extensions were three-year deals like their original contracts, though it’s possible Dipoto and Servais each got more security than just a three-year pact. The Mariners have mostly been in rebuild mode since those extensions were signed, and with the team only starting to deliver on some of the young talent amassed in the farm system, ownership could give Dipoto (and quite possibly Servais) more time to see if they can finally get the M’s back to the playoffs. Considering the previous extensions weren’t announced until midseason, we might not know Dipoto/Servais’ fate for some time — and if the Mariners get off to a particularly disappointing start, changes might be in the offing.
Marlins: One of few holdovers from Jeffrey Loria’s ownership, Don Mattingly was signed to a two-year extension following the 2019 season that contained a club option for 2022. The young Marlins reached the postseason last season, so Mattingly has a good case to at least get his option exercised at some point this year, and another extension could well be discussed if CEO Derek Jeter and GM Kim Ng are satisfied with the team’s progress. It can’t hurt that Ng knows Mattingly well from her past days an assistant general manager with the Yankees and Dodgers.
Mets: The winds of change have swept through the Mets organization this winter, yet Luis Rojas wasn’t affected, as team president Sandy Alderson announced that Rojas will remain in the dugout for 2021. Making the move from quality control coach to manager after Carlos Beltran’s quick resignation last winter, Rojas signed a two-year deal with club options for both 2022 and 2023. Expectations are definitely higher for Rojas under the Steve Cohen regime, but given all of the tumult of the 2020 season, Cohen and Alderson (plus newly-hired GM Jared Porter) seem interested in seeing what they actually have in Rojas before deciding on whether a new manager is required.
Orioles: According to The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, “one industry source said it’s believed” that 2021 is the last guaranteed year of manager Brandon Hyde’s contract, with the club possibly holding a club option for 2022. For that matter, executive VP/general manager Mike Elias didn’t have his contract terms revealed when he was hired in November 2018, so he could also be in his final guaranteed year if he hired Hyde on a similar timeline to his own deal. It doesn’t seem like a change is coming in either the front office or the dugout, as the Orioles are still at least a couple of years away from coming out of a complete rebuild. (Connolly makes the case that Hyde should be retained, as Hyde has had little to work with as manager and deserves a chance to steward an actual competitive roster.)
Rangers: Chris Woodward is entering the last guaranteed year of his deal, with the Rangers holding a club option for 2022. Woodward has a 100-122 record over his first two years in the Texas dugout, and since the team is looking to get younger in 2021, it doesn’t seem like an immediate return to contention is in the cards. If it’ll be a year or two until the Rangers are done with what seems like a mini-rebuild, it’s possible the team might decide to hire a new manager to herald them into something of a new era. Woodward may have to prove himself anew by shepherding this younger talent and keeping the Rangers as competitive as possible while they shuffle the roster.
Rays: Erik Neander’s contract terms aren’t known, and it has been over four years since his promotion to the GM/senior VP of baseball operations position in November 2016. So, if Neander’s new gig came with a five-year contract, it would be up at the end of 2021. He makes the list due to uncertainty over his contractual situation, but it doesn’t seem like Neander and the Rays will be parting company any time soon, especially after the club reached the 2020 World Series. Neander reportedly has no interest in leaving the organization and the Rays turned down the Angels’ request to speak with Neander about their GM opening earlier this offseason.
Reds: 2021 is the last guaranteed year for manager David Bell, with the Reds holding a team option for 2022. On the plus side for Bell, he led the team to the playoffs in 2020, though Cincinnati was swept out of the two-game wild card series without scoring even a single run against Atlanta pitching. The Reds spent a lot of money to build that winning team, yet now seem focused on moving salaries, with Raisel Iglesias dealt to the Angels and such names as Eugenio Suarez and Sonny Gray also coming up in trade talks. It remains to be seen if the Reds are trying to just trim payroll or make more wholesale cuts, and this direction could certainly impact Bell’s future if the club is already thinking rebuild.
Rockies: Now through six full seasons as Colorado’s GM, Jeff Bridich’s contractual status is unknown. Between the Rockies’ struggles over the last two years and the frosty relationship between Bridich and star third baseman Nolan Arenado, it would certainly seem like Bridich will need to get things turned around quickly. However, payroll cuts appear to be on the horizon, and the front office is also dealing with the loss of two-thirds of the analytics department. As has been noted many times in the past, Rockies owner Dick Monfort tends to give his employees lots of opportunities, but if Bridich’s contract is up any time soon, one wonders if Monfort might feel a change is necessary.
Yankees: While no official statement has been made, owner Hal Steinbrenner clearly stated after the season that manager Aaron Boone will be returning in 2021, so it’s safe to assume the Yankees have exercised their club option on Boone. There hasn’t been any buzz about an extension, and until then, there will be plenty of media focus on Boone’s lame-duck status. Boone has a 236-148 record and three postseason appearances in his three seasons as manager, but as always in the Bronx, the focus is on playoff success — the Yankees have only made it as far the ALCS once during Boone’s tenure. Anything short of a World Series appearance could spell the end of Boone’s stint as manager.
I’m all for a Snitker extension! So long as he learns how to run a bullpen. In other news I picked up a ball today for the first time in a long time. My fastball topped out at 81mph. I’ve never felt so old. In high school I could hit 90/91 :(.
Dont feel bad…I coach high school kids, and a few of our pitchers were out due to covid, so O ended up pitching..I used to throw 93-94 as a LHP in college, before getting hurt..I warmed up, threw about 20 pitches, and then my 3rd pitch heard a loud ass pop in my shoulder, and it went numb and useless…/:
Talk about feeling old bro..I’m only 32..lol
Lord, I’m in the same boat… college high school, hitting 90…pretty sure I can’t even throw a ball from 60’6” without having to go to the hospital. You know all that running us pitchers had to do? Although I still run, swear I cant come out of a long run without an injury. If it’s not the foot, it’s the calf, knee, groin… falling apart in only my 30’s haha
That’s crazy man, I’m 32 as well but I wasn’t throwing gas like you were. I relied heavily on a sinker and screwball mix. I didn’t really have strikeout stuff so I relied on soft contact. Let me tell you when I was having a bad day and my sinker didn’t sink it was like batting practice lol. I was originally going to play college ball at a local community college but I missed a lot of my senior year of high school with persistent forearm injuries. I got to the point that I couldn’t throw without intense pain so I decided to end my career then. It wasn’t like I was going pro or anything but I miss it bro.
RIP Mr. Brodie Lee age 41
Yeah sad stuff right there. 41 and gone,
Boone is going nowhere as long as Cashman is running the show
I expect that he’ll receive a contract extension before ST. The team defended Boone’s decision to use Garcia as an opener in the ALCS Game 2 which was pretty telling about their confidence in him.
Boone is a puppet to the FO and analytics team he isn’t going anywhere
Every manager is a puppet to the FO and analytics department these days.
If they miss the postseason Boone could easily take the fall. Its New York.
Boone is tied with Joe McCarthy for the highest W-L% of any manager in history. He doesn’t deserve to be fired; especially if he takes the blame for bad decisions that come down from Cashman’s analytics department.
Who thinks Chris Woodward does/does not manage the Rangers after 2021 and why? Genuinely curious
Boone & Cashman could both begone depending on free agency and how they do during the season
Its absurd that Cashman gets pass after pass for his inability to find and develop pitching. And trading for Stanton is now holding the Yankees back from signing the needed pieces like Dj ,which itself is cashmans fault bec the Yankees are one big strikeout machine.
He found and developed Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jordan Montgomery, Chad Green, Dellin Betances… and that’s just the past 5 years. For a team that hasn’t drafted in the top 15 since 1993, i’d say they’ve done a decent job drafting young pitchers.
Drafting and developing a perennial ace isn’t a skill a GM has, it’s more often luck.
You can be fixated on hitter strikeouts or focus on their overall runs production which is what wins games. Severino, Garcia, Schmidt, German, and Montgomery all came from within their system. It’s tough to draft top talent when the team is perenially finishing with one of the best records.
German came from the Marlins in a trade
First time in 100 years the Yankees failed to make a World Series in a decade. Another early postseason exit (or no postseason at all) could cost Cashman and Boone their jobs.
Melvin will be a hot commodity if he reaches “free agency” (the Yankees tried to buy him from the A’s before hiring Boone) so it would make sense for the A’s to sign him sooner rather than later.
Snitker continues to get the Braves to the playoffs, he just needs to find a way to beat the Dodgers.
Montoyo could be a lame duck in Toronto. If they take a step back he’s gone, if they take a step forward he may still be gone. Not sure Charlie is the guy to take the Jays to the next level.
As long as the Astros contend Baker will be back. If the team goes bad there is no reason to stay.
Mattingly will likely sign a new deal in Miami.
Bell doesn’t even know what his team will look like going into spring training so its hard to gauge this.
Rojas is the Manager for the Mets today. Unlikely he is the long term man at the helm.
Woodward probably doesn’t come back if the Rangers are awful this year.
Servais’ fate is tied to DiPoto’s. If Jerry gets fired Servais almost certainly does as well, if Jerry gets a new deal and the team makes strides and shows progress maybe Servais does too.
Elias and Hyde probably get their options picked up in Baltimore.
Neander isn’t leaving Tampa unless he wants to.
Bridich could certainly be out in Denver after this season.
Hall will likely stay with the Diamondbacks.
We all know Beane will eventually leave for Boston, we just don’t know when.
Well said and very thorough.
I’m not sure about beane taking on a gm/pobs role on BOS, but, ever since Henry’s plans to take the team public came out, the tanking and slashing payroll to improve profitability at the expense of ignoring winning made more sense.
Scary part is, back then I was musing that the new business ownership group may not keep fenway park running due to the higher maintenance costs of an old structure.
Since then, henry’s mouthpiece, the Boston globe, actually hunted at getting rid of fenway park – actually, more than hinted suggesting it was a good time to and that it would me a method of countering poor attendance due to poor team performance that results from bloom’s mismanagement of a near contending roster so far.
Idea is, nostalgia visits knowing fenway was doomed would get money flowing, and thus boost profitability while they tank and dismantle the team.
Scary to a true fan, but sounds plausible huh?
The Red Sox have 36,000+ fans every year going back to 2006. And I use that date because that’s when I arbitrarily stopped looking. That’s on a capacity of roughly 37,500. There is no “poor attendance” in Boston.
Those official “published numbers” for fenway are deeply flawed and do not correspond to turnstile counts.
Many, many Boston tickets are bought by companies, instantly marked up, and listed on your favorite reseller’s choice forum.
Then there are season tickets, which is some cases go unused.
It’s common to be sitting in a ballpark with 1/3 of the seats empty as they announce the latest ‘sellout.’
Boston reports tickets sold/issued per game. Nothing to do with who actually shows up, and before you argue they still get their money, you’re only 1/3 right. Surveys/studies show the average fan spends much more in the ballpark as part of the trip than ticket face value.
When someone isn’t in the seat because the product is so bad they choose not to go the club loses substantial revenue. Meanwhile, poor product +other things to do= another POOR year for nesn in 2020.
I hope Woodward doesn’t come baxk because he’s a terrible leader, and I’d hate to see him with even younger players. I was hoping we’d replace him with either Mathis or Renteria this off-season, but that never came to be. Maybe next off-season we can replace him with somebody better.
Mathis would be an incredible coach if he is done playing. Wonderful suggestion Rangers29.
Renew Boone. Cashman has one championship in 20 years with unlimited checkbook.
Shapiro has been asked a few times about his contract situation during radio appearances in Toronto since October, usually in the context of whether the uncertainty about club leadership might be a detriment in pursuing top free agents. The way he’s always answered this, together with the fact that he’s been talking about long-term business plans and outlooks, and that he’s been liaising with ownership on long-term commitments, has led the beat writers and other connected journalists in Toronto to suspect that the Shapiro extension has been done for a while already, but that both sides are reluctant to announce a big multi-million front-office deal at a time when the organization is cutting jobs. Other organizations may have similar concerns with their extensions.
The corporate effect.
Boone’s expectations would be more realistic if he managed elsewhere
No they wouldn’t.
What does that even mean? Are managers less motivated and incentivized to win games and improve on their talent pools depending on the city of which they manage?
FredMcGriff for the HOF
I think we’ve found Cashman’s MLBTR burner account ^^^
Love dipoto keep him in Seattle pls
I think 2021 is a very important year for Dipoto. If the M’s do not continue to make progress (in actual wins), it’s hard to justify giving this guy a 3rd contract. If he goes, Servais goes.
Whenever their contracts expire, between now and then, they will be expected to produce results.
I think you’re a year early. It’ll be 2022 when Kelenic and JRod have a season together in the outfield, with Gilbert and possibly Kirby reaching the rotation. It’ll be up to Dipoto to supplement the roster with talent to build around the youth I mentioned above. If he fails to do that I think he’s gone.
That’s only if his contract expires in 2022, not 2021. You cant give him a 3rd contract because some guys he traded for arent ready yet. He’s put a terrible product on the field, while everyone waits for some 20 year old franchise saviors. It’s hard to imagine a team full of rookies making a playoff push, in 2022, that’s just not how these things work.
Oh it for sure depends on when his current contract expires. You absolutely can give him a contract extension based on what you expect those players to be. He didn’t trade Cano/Diaz for a turd. He got a guy who is now a top 15 prospect in all of baseball. I’m also not relying on the team full of youth. All i presuppose for my theory is the youth currently on the roster taking a step forward, the next wave of even greater talent arriving, and Dipoto supplementing the roster as needed.
It’s not a stretch to think this can and will happen.
You’re right, it’s not a stretch to think that can happen. All I’m saying is, it has to start happening. Dipoto himself didn’t ask for a 5 year rebuild. He called it a “reimaging” and said it could be done sooner than that.
Who knows, maybe he got a 5 year extension and all this is moot. Whenever his contract does expire though, I believe there needs to be a serious consideration of his overall body of work before giving out more years.
Gosh I feel the opposite. Do tell: what is it you like about him?
I have a hard time seeing DiPoto and Servais being let go before the top prospects are up. At least for a year or two. They won’t be let go before they see how Kelenic and Gilbert and a few others play
Sodo, I agree. Continuity is important during a rebuild. A possible monkey wrench (for all teams) is developing players in these times when the minor leagues are being interrupted. Young players need to develop a routine. I’m especially worried about the impact a shortened or canceled minor league season will have on pitchers. It would be interesting to know how different teams are handling this.
If the Mariners can be a 75-80 win team next season you give them an extension. If they are a 95-100 loss team you cut them both
Agreed. Dipoto bought himself an extension at least thru 2022 by the Cano/Diaz trade. I’ll be looking to see how the team progresses during the second half of the season.
No offense to Rockies fans, but how in the world does Bridich still have a job??
I’m not a Rockies fan, but the problem in Denver is that ownership is insanely loyal to its employees. The only way Bridich is out is if he dies or is caught with the owner’s wife, and even then I think Monfort would ultimately cut him a break.
Montoyo did not lead the Blue Jays to a playoff spot, they fell into the playoffs when all the other teams traded away assets, while the the Blue Jays traded upwards. Montoyo should have been gone this year and a major league manager brought in that knows how to manage in the big leagues.
Time for David Bell to go … he makes some of the most bonehead decisions I’ve ever seen. Plus , he has to lead the league in ejections … he’s such a hot head.
Bell did not lead the reds to the playoffs. Bell cost the reds a higher seed with how terrible he managed that team!
In a normal year Reds would have missed the playoffs
I can’t see Montoyo or Hyde sticking around; they show no indication of playing above their base talent level. Nice guys? Sure, to reports, they’re the best. But we all know where nice guys (not named Francona) finish.
Neander’s probably gone from TB at some point (right around the time he wants money). But they have a bunch of bright young guys hanging out there, so it won’t be the end of the world. And the owner is likely mad at Eric for the Keirmier contract.
The Rockies are a train wreck on its way to a dumpster fire. There’s really no excuse there. And the D-Backs gang remains one of the brightest around; if they get fired on a Monday, they’ll have new jobs on Tuesday.
DiPoto/Servais likely deserve at least one more year (probably two) to see where the rebuild took them. It’s not a tough division; they could come quick.
Nobody except for the Reds and God knows Cincy is up to; doesn’t know what they’re doing.
Seems a no brainer to keep Brandon Hyde. He’s done an outstanding job with a very limited roster.
Please make this the last year for Bridich. He has made a mediocre franchise terrible.
Boone is not a good manager. He’s not good an in game management and his pitching decision are awful. He gets exposed every postseason.
1. isn’t he a bit of a puppet for Cashman? he most def is
2. his pitching decisions are awful b/c the anointed genius GM is deficient. After Cole any manager is up the creek. then there is the overrated overpaid exhausted Pen.
Problem is not so much Boone as it is Cashman
And yet he makes the postseason and he’s tied with Joe McCarthy for the best W-L% in the history of the game..
How does a manager who isn’t good do that?
Additionally, how did a manager who isn’t good take the team with the most injured players in baseball history to the ALCS in 2019, which they only lost because the Astros were cheating and Altuve knew what pitch Chapman was going to throw? “Don’t rip my shirt off!”
NL East Teams:
Atlanta – Most likely Snitker gets extended, but how many years will Atlanta accept losing in the playoffs? At some point, if they don’t make the World Series, Snitker may be held accountable.
Marlins – with making the playoffs this past season, even though a 60-game season, it still will buy Mattingly another season and possible long term extension if things are continuing to progress in the rebuild.
Mets – If the Mets don’t live up to the hype this upcoming season, no matter how long the season, Rojas will be the fall guy. Unless the Mets surprise everyone with multiple major additions, in all likelihood, they won’t live up to the hype.
For all 3 of these teams, even though it’s mostly a player-related decision, the DH for 2021 will play a big role for these teams. For the Mets, it allows them to not have to move one of their bats. For the Braves, it makes it clear for them to re-sign Ozuna. For the Marlins, it helps them as it did this past season with the ability to rotate the lineup, especially with Aguilar and Cooper, then moving forward with the kids coming up in Lewin Diaz at 1B and some of the OFs.