Which Hot Seat To Sit In

There is a common refrain among those in the coaching profession that coaches are hired to be fired. We have reached the point that clubs have to be honest with themselves about where they are and where they are headed. To this point of the season four managers have been fired, with more replacements to come. I wanted to take a look at the clubs without a permanent field manager, and consider which job I would want to have if I were handed a five year deal. The best job today might not be the best job tomorrow. When thinking about the managerial¬† openings, the front office matters a lot. Baseball isn’t scoccer; the field manager doesn’t pick the players on the roster. All of the current openings have real pros and cons, so the job I would pick is harder than I thought on the surface. Texas Rangers The Rangers are under the impression they are on the backside of the rebuild they embarked upon a few years ago. I say under the impression because things have not gone to plan this year. Jon Daniels who ran their baseball operations was fired earlier this week, so the restructuring of the front office is well under way. Team ownership is invested in building a winner. They spent aggressively over the winter to land Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Jon Gray. Recent drafts have yielded young arms, Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter. They have a new ballpark, so the facilities are up-to-date. Dallas is actually a large market, but is only treated like one during football season. Conversely, the job is open due to the Rangers’ issues. The front office upheaval will make any incoming manger nervous because it is impossible to know their vision for the direction of the franchise. Despite drafting Rocker and Leiter, the young pitching is still a ways off; Rocker was just drafted last month and Leiter hasn’t dominated in the minors. One external factor which cannot be overlooked is being in the same division as the American League champion Houston Astros. Los Angeles Angels The Angels are a consistent conundrum. Of the teams with openings, they might have the widest variance between their potential outcomes. Obviously, a roster with Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, and Anthony Rendon at the top means there is a real option to compete assuming health. The Angels have an owner who has shown he is willing to spend as he chases the first championship for the organization since 2002. The Los Angeles market size, without the Los Angeles pressure helps with revenue and attracting free agents. However, there are real reasons the Angels have not won in twenty years. That same aggressive owner likes to spend on things he might want, but doesn’t need. Rendon was a luxury signing when it happened, and has become an albatross since. The club has gone through multiple versions of front office structures which leads to roster issues. The farm system of the Angels needs a lot of work; the 2021 draft of all pitchers was novel, but illustrates how deep the issues go. The big league pitching staff as a whole needs to be overhauled. On the back of this, Ohtani is a free agent after next season and has a stated desire to play for a winner, which could hasten his exit from the organization. The Astros are a divisional foe for the Angels as well as Rangers, but they have to get their own house in order before being concerned with outside forces. Toronto Blue Jays The Blue Jays being on this list is a bit of a surprise. They are hanging around in the American League East and they are in the wild card mix. The Jays have their group of young stars led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Alek Manoah. They are the only team to have an entire nation to themselves; they have a large and vibrant fanbase. The club is in the middle of their contention window. The Jays are here because the young guys haven’t taken off and dominated in the division. The American League East is about as tough as it gets. The Yankees are who we thought they were, the Rays are still doing it on a budget, the Orioles are starting to turn the corner on their rebuild, and that leaves the Red Sox as the only port in a storm. Canada is a sovereign nation, which can be overlooked sometimes. Currency exchange rates are a real thing and players aren’t going to lose money to play there. As the anti-vaxxer crowd has found out, Canada doesn’t play around with their borders, which can lead to some situations with the players on the roster or player acquisitions. While they are in a contention window, the farm system is a bit barren, so the window might now stay open for as long as one might imagine. Philadelphia Phillies The Philles might be the National league version of the Los Angeles Angels. They have invested heavily on the offensive side which has left large questions with the other aspects of the ballclub. The defense isn’t good. The back of the rotation is iffy and the bullpen is a crapshoot. The things they are good at, they are very good at. The Bryce Harper-led offense is very potent and can keep pace with anyone. The Zack Wheller and Aaron Nola duo in the front of the rotation keep long losing streaks to a minimum. While the World Series Champion Atlanta Braves are in the division, the National League East is not as daunting as some others. Dave Dombrowski has come in and went scorched earth on the limited farm system. The never-ending parade of questionable relief pitchers makes the manager’s job that much harder; blown late leads are very difficult to overcome from a player morale perspective. The Philadelphia fanbase is not known for being the most patient of the bunch, so the pressure to win is relentless. Verdict When considering the availability options, I am thinking the Rangers offer the most upside as they haven’t won a World Series, but the job I would take would be the Blue Jays as they offfer the most here and now opportunity, and is less dependent upon guys reaching their potential. Beating the Yankees and Astros over the next few seasons could be tough, but the Jays have the financial resources to go out and get what is needed. I can’t trust Angels ownership, nor the Phillies front office.

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