On paper, a longer contract equals a larger amount of job security. And yet every year, we seem to be adding a longer list of caveats to this annual post detailing which managers and front office bosses (a GM, president of baseball operations, chief baseball officer, or whatever the title may be) are entering the final guaranteed year of their contracts.
First off, this list is somewhat speculative — some teams don’t publicly announce the terms of employee contracts, nor are details always leaked to reporters. It is entirely possible some of the names listed have already quietly agreed to new deals, or were already contracted beyond 2024. Secondly, obviously a contract only carries so much weight if a team drastically underperforms, and if ownership feels a change is needed in the dugout or in the front office. Or, ownership might still desire a change even if the team is doing well on the field, i.e. the Marlins parting ways with Kim Ng after a wild card berth last season.
Craig Counsell’s five-year, $40MM deal to become the Cubs’ new manager also provides an interesting wrinkle to the managerial market. With Counsell’s contract setting a new modern benchmark for managerial salaries, some of the more established skippers on this list will surely be looking to match or top Counsell’s deal. These managers might choose (as Counsell did) to finish the year without signing a new contract and then test the open market, since you never know when a mystery team like the Cubs might swoop in to top the field.
As always, thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for reference information on some of these contract terms.
Angels: The Halos have had eight consecutive losing seasons, including the first three years of Perry Minasian’s stint as general manager. Minasian now faces the challenge of trying to break this losing streak without Shohei Ohtani on the roster, and even before Ohtani joined the Dodgers, Minasian was clear that the Angels weren’t going to be rebuilding. This tracks with the overall aggressive nature of owner Arte Moreno, yet this approach has also manifested itself in five non-interim GMs running the Angels since Moreno bought the team in 2003. As Minasian enters the last year of his contract, it will take at least a winning season to keep Moreno from making yet another front office change.
Athletics: There hasn’t been any word about an extension for general manger David Forst, even though Forst’s last deal purportedly expired after the 2023 season. It can therefore probably be assumed that Forst inked a new deal at some point, as it has appeared to be business as usual for the longtime Oakland executive this winter (or as “usual” as business can be given the Athletics’ bare-bones rebuild and the unusual nature of the team’s impending move to Las Vegas). Manager Mark Kotsay would’ve been entering the final guaranteed year of his original deal with the A’s, except the team exercised their club option on Kotsay through the 2025 season.
Braves: Alex Anthopoulos is entering the last season of his three-year extension as Atlanta’s president of baseball operations, and one would imagine that ownership will aim to lock Anthopoulos up to another deal as soon as possible. The Braves have won six straight NL East titles and the 2021 World Series championship during Anthopoulos’ six seasons with the organization, and look to be contenders for years to come thanks to the core of star players under long-term deals. Anthopoulos would seemingly be eager to stay in Atlanta for this same reason, though if he did choose to play out the year and test the market, he would undoubtedly command a lot of interest from teams looking for a new chief executive.
Cardinals: For just the third time in the last century, a Cardinals team lost 91 or more games. This unexpected interruption in the Cards’ run of success has naturally put a lot of heat on Oliver Marmol, who is entering the final season of his three-year contract. Unsurprisingly, the team had yet to have any extension talks with Marmol as of early December, and it remains to be seen if Marmol will get even one extra year of security. With such franchise stalwarts as Yadier Molina or Joe McEwing perhaps waiting in the wings as managers of the future, Marmol will surely need a quick start and at least a winning record in 2024 to retain his job.
Guardians: Chris Antonetti’s contract details haven’t been publicly known for more than a decade, yet there isn’t any sense that the longtime executive will be leaving Ohio any time soon. Antonetti has been part of Cleveland’s front office since 1999, and he has been running the baseball ops department (first as GM and then as president of baseball operations) since 2010. While the Guardians stumbled to a 76-86 record last year, Antonetti has a long track record of building contending teams on low payrolls, and he’ll now embark on a new era with Stephen Vogt replacing Terry Francona as the Guards’ manager.
Mariners: Another somewhat speculative situation, as while president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais signed extensions in September 2021, the exact length of those extensions wasn’t reported. It is probably fair to assume both men are signed beyond 2024, though Servais’ previous two deals were three-year contracts, and 2024 would be his final guaranteed year if the skipper’s latest contract was also a three-year pact.
Orioles: Baltimore is particularly mum about the details of any employee contracts, as GM Mike Elias’ contract terms have never been publicized since he took over the club in November 2018. Manager Brandon Hyde has already signed one extension that flew under the radar, and that deal has apparently stretched beyond the 2023 season, as there hasn’t been any suggestion that Hyde won’t return to the AL East champions. In either case, Elias and Hyde won’t seem to have any worries about job security given how the Orioles won 101 games last year, and might be budding powerhouses for the next decade given the amount of young talent on the roster and in the minor league pipeline.
Pirates: Ben Cherington is entering his fifth season as Pittsburgh’s general manager, and terms of his original deal weren’t reported. With the Bucs perhaps starting to turn the corner after their long rebuild, there wouldn’t appear to be any reason for ownership to move on from Cherington, if he hasn’t already been quietly signed to a new deal. The Pirates already extended manager Derek Shelton back in April, in another hint that ownership is satisfied with the team’s direction.
Rays: Kevin Cash’s last extension was a lengthy six-year deal covering the 2019-24 seasons, with a club option for 2025. It seems like a lock that the Rays will at least exercise that club option and seek out another multi-year deal, and Cash has a good case to argue for a Counsell-esque contract. Widely considered one of baseball’s best managers, Cash is 739-617 over his nine seasons in Tampa Bay and has led the team to five consecutive postseason berths.
Red Sox: Alex Cora is entering the final year of his contract, and the Red Sox are coming off a pair of last-place finishes in the AL East. Despite these results, the blame seems to have been placed on now-fired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, as there hasn’t been much indication that ownership is dissatisfied with Cora’s performance as manager. Since Cora has hinted that he might like to run a front office himself in the future, it will be interesting to monitor if he might pursue those ambitions as soon as next offseason, or if he might sign a new extension with the Red Sox as manager, or if Cora could perhaps let the season play out and then accept bids from several suitors outside of Boston.
Rockies: In each of the last two Februarys, Bud Black has signed a one-year extension to tack an extra year onto his run as Colorado’s manager. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Black do the same this spring, as past reports have indicated that Black and the Rockies are working on an unofficial roll-over arrangement with the manager’s contract status. As loyal as owner Dick Monfort is known to be with his employees, however, one wonders if the Rockies’ 103-loss season in 2023 (or their five straight losing seasons) might lead to questions about Black’s future, even if the team’s roster construction or their boatload of pitching injuries last year can’t be blamed on Black. For what it’s worth, the terms of GM Bill Schmidt’s deal weren’t publicized when Schmidt was promoted to the full-time position after the 2021 season, though Schmidt isn’t thought to be in any danger of being replaced.
Twins: Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine are both apparently entering the final year of their contracts, though Minnesota has been known to be somewhat quiet about employee contracts (such as manager Rocco Baldelli’s last extension). The duo known as “Falvine” have been on the job for seven seasons, with something of an all-or-nothing track record of either losing seasons or playoff berths, and the Twins were on the upswing again with an AL Central title in 2023. Assuming either exec hasn’t already signed an under-the-radar extension, the Twins would seemingly be eager to retain both Falvey and Levine, though either could explore options elsewhere for at least leverage purposes. For Levine in particular, he could be looking to lead his own front office, after being a finalist for Boston’s CBO job this fall and previously getting some consideration for front office vacancies with the Rockies and Phillies in recent years.
Yankees: Perhaps no skipper in baseball faces more public pressure than Aaron Boone, given how a lot of Bronx fans were calling for his ouster even before the Yankees missed the playoffs and won only 82 games in 2023. Boone is entering the last guaranteed year of his contract, and the Yankees have a club option on his services for 2025. For as much loyalty as owner Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman have shown to Boone, it is hard to imagine the manager would be retained if New York doesn’t at least make the postseason again, and another miss could also raise some new questions about Cashman’s status (though his deal runs through the 2026 season).