While all of the predictions to this point have been for positive accomplishments, such as the teams favored to win a division or the World Series, or an individual picked to win one of baseball’s major awards, this time around we will be looking at an inevitable negative feature of every single MLB season – the first manager to be fired.
During the calendar year of 2015, five different MLB skippers were either fired or resigned.
The unfortunate winner of this “first to be fired” race a year ago was Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, who was fired from his post on May 3rd. Roenicke had led the Brew Crew into his 5th season, and had a 342-331 record.
During Roenicke’s first season he guided the Brewers to a 96-66 record and a first place finish in the NL Central Division. The effort saw Roenicke finish 2nd in the NL Coach of the Year voting that season.
But the Brewers then dropped to become basically a .500 team over the following three seasons, and were off to a miserable 7-18 start last year, leading to his dismissal.
MLB had to wait just two weeks for the next head to roll, when Miami Marlins skipperMike Redmond was let go in South Florida in just his 3rd season.
The Fish had gone a combined 139-185 over his first two years, and were off to a 16-22 start a year ago when he was canned.
That was it for the 2015 season, at least as far as managers actually being fired during the season.
As we all well know here in Philadelphia, it was not all as far as managerial changes would go. Ryne Sandberg resigned on June 26th with a 119-159 record over parts of three seasons.
Both Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals and Lloyd McClendon with the Seattle Mariners were let go during the first days of October once the 2015 regular season had ended, each after following up strong 2014 campaigns with a disappointing season a year ago.
In a TBOH staff vote to determine who we believe will be the unfortunate “first manager to be fired” this time around, only Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox received two votes.
Now in his 5th season, Ventura has not won since he first year back in 2012, and comes into the season with a career 297-351 managerial mark.
The Chisox have added some big name veterans and are competing in the city against the dynamic young Cubs, putting even more pressure on him.
Six of the other managers receiving a vote from our writing staff were Walt Weiss of the Colorado Rockies, Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves, Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics, Chip Hale of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Craig Counsell, who was Roenicke’s successor in Milwaukee.
My own vote went to Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with this reasoning.
The 57-year old is now the managerial dean, now in his 17th season with the Halos. He has a career 1,416-1,178 managerial mark, and has skippered the club to a half-dozen AL West crowns. In 2002, Scioscia guided the club to the only World Series championship in franchise history.
However, it is rare that a manager lasts forever with a team, even a highly successful one.
Even Sparky Anderson, manager of the Big Red Machine dynasty in Cincinnati during the 1970’s eventually moved on to Detroit, where he continued and finished out his brilliant managerial career.
Scioscia’s team is competing now as the presumptive third wheel team in the division behind the growing Texas rivalry between the Rangers and the Houston Astros. There is growing competition from the Seattle Mariners as well.
Beyond Mike Trout, Albert Pujols when healthy, and defensive whiz shortstopAndrelton Simmons, there is little to like about the current Angels team, who have started off 0-2.
The show is going to end for Scioscia at some point out in Disneyland, and I would not at all be surprised to find that 2016 is the year.