SportMLB: Don Mattingly, Joe Maddon among managers on the hot seat
Joe Maddon jokes about next career amid uncertain future with Cubs
Nothing is assured when it comes to Joe Maddon’s future with the Chicago Cubs beyond this season, and the eccentric manager has a whimsical plan for his next career if things don’t work out. Maddon’s uncertain future with the Cubs organization has been the source of conjecture going back to last season. With the veteran manager in the final year of his contract, speculation unsurprisingly increased throughout the 2019 season. In a discussion this week about where things may go from here for him personally if the Cubs elect not to bring him back, Maddon joked about what he envisions he might do for a job if he leaves baseball.
PHOENIX -- Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly leans forward in his desk chair, patiently answering question after question, and as the reporters shuffle out of his office, he takes a peek at the clock on the wall, and slams his eyes shut.
Another long night.
Another painful defeat.
The Marlins were no-hit for 5 2/3 innings, had their starting pitcher hit three batters alone in the first inning, had two relievers fail to record an out, and blew a two-run lead in a matter of minutes, resulting in their 98th loss of the season.
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The Marlins (52-98) could win the rest of their games, and still finish with the worst record in the National League.
This could be the first time in Mattingly’s career that he has been associated with a team that lost 100 games in a season.
They need to win three of their final 12 games to avoid the worst record in franchise history, 54-108 in 1998, but considering their .347 winning percentage, it’s hardly a given.
“These losses get to you, they really do,’’ Mattingly tells USA TODAY Sports. “You have to keep things in perspective. You’re still trying to manage the game the right way. If you’re not playing good you don’t like it, but if you’re playing as good as you can play, what are you going to do?
“I know from the outside it looks one way, but from the inside, it feels different.’’
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The Marlins are in a full-scale rebuilding project in a division where everyone else is trying to win, all with deep pockets to sustain their prowess. It’s going to take time.
Mattingly, who earns $2.8 million, said he wants to be around when the team finally starts winning again, but he can’t re-hire himself. This is CEO owner Derek Jeter’s call.
“I would like to stay, but we’ll see,’’ said Mattingly. “I’m going to do something. Somewhere. I think.’’
Who knows, maybe Mattingly winds back in Southern California, taking Andy Green’s job with the San Diego Padres, with Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada replacing Mattingly.
Mattingly, the longest-tenured manager in Marlins’ history, only knows for certain that Jeter plans to tell him his fate before the final game, which could start an avalanche of job dominoes in a year in which no one has been fired.
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For what could be just the fourth time since 2000, not one managerial change was made during the course of the season. But, there could be as many as 10 managerial openings this winter, with only one, future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants, voluntarily stepping down.
Here’s a look at the managers who await their fate these final two weeks:
Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
The biggest surprise in Chicago this winter will be if David Ross is not named their next manager by Thanksgiving.
The Cubs have been preparing Ross, who helped lead them to the 2016 World Series championship and four consecutive division titles, to the heir apparent, and although bench coach Mark Loretta can’t be completely ruled out, they believe Ross will be the perfect fit.
And just in case there was any lingering doubt where Maddon stands, Cubs president Theo Epstein took to the airwaves last week on his radio show and threw shade at Maddon.
“Honestly, we’ve been essentially a .500 team for months now ...,’’ Epstein told 670 The Score, the Cubs’ flagship station. “If you go back 12, 13 months, it’s just been marked by underachievement and uninspired play.’’
Rosenthal: It’s “a fait accompli” that Joe Maddon will not be back as Cubs manager
He is about to manage his final three games for the Cubs, it seemsRosenthal’s article lays out the indictment against Maddon, focusing mostly on the Cubs seeming uninspired play and lack of urgency. Those are the sorts of things that, however hard to quantify or sometimes even identify, usually get laid at the feet of a manager. The groundwork for all of that was laid out pretty starkly last offseason too, Rosenthal notes, when the Cubs front office spoke to players who told them that they thought Maddon and the coaching staff was too hands-off.
The biggest question no longer is whether Maddon will be back in Chicago, but where will he end up?
The Phillies? Mets? Padres?
He’ll be managing again in 2020, but it just won’t be in Chicago.
Andy Green, San Diego Padres
The silence in San Diego is deafening.
No one is coming out to say Green is coming back, and not a soul has come to Green’s defense.
The Padres just dropped $527 million the last three seasons on Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers, and the team is stuck in neutral.
The Padres’ record under Green is 273-363 (.429) over the past four years, with two last-place finishes.
No one is saying this is Green’s fault, but even with a contract through 2021, something has to change with the Padres missing the postseason for the 13th consecutive year.
The Padres missed their chance with Dave Roberts before he went to the Dodgers, and now must at least make a call to Bochy to see if his retirement lasts less than a month. But Bochy is expected to take at least a year off, so he’s out of the mix. Other options include San Diego native Eric Chavez, a special assistant with the Los Angeles Angels, who nearly got the managerial job instead of Brad Ausmus, New York Yankees special assistant Raul Ibanez and Padres bench coach Rod Barajas.
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets
The Mets, to steal Epstein’s phrase discussing his own team, haven’t played inspired baseball this year.
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They never quit under Callaway, but it wasn’t as if this was General George Patton inspiring the troops either.
Now, they have all off season and can take their sweet time interviewing Joe Girardi, Maddon.
Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies
You can’t pay Bryce Harper $330 million, bring in four other former All-Stars, including catcher J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Jean Segura, finish in fourth place in the NL East, and not have someone pay the price.
The only real question is whether Kapler takes the fall or his coaching staff?
Phillies GM Matt Klentak wants to bring Kapler back, and is open to shuffling the staff.
Then again, this may not necessarily be his call.
Phillies owner John Middleton is the one who ordered Klentak to, and it’s quite possible he calls the shot this time, too.
And, if Kapler is out, is he Bochy’s replacement in San Francisco, considering his relationship with Giants president Farhan Zaidi from their Los Angeles Dodgers’ days together?
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Yost, 65, will go down as the greatest Royals’ manager since Dick Howser, leading the team to the 2015 World Series title and back-to-back pennants.
Yet, with the Royals in a full-scale rebuild, and, maybe it’s time to start fresh.
The Royals’ next manager could be Mike Matheny, who led the St. Louis Cardinals to the 2013 World Series, and is already in the Royals’ front office.
The only real question is whether it happens this winter or next.
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh once again wasn't going anywhere, but neither was Hurdle, until the Pirates’ season came apart at the seams.
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The Pirates kept losing, but then started fighting, with relievers, with Crick’s season ending with a ruptured finger tendon while Vazquez had six stitches to close a wound on his nose.
It was hardly an isolated incident.
And just in case anyone wondered whether Hurdle’s job was secure, GM Neal Huntington told a radio audience that that the Pirates’ ownership may have had enough with both of them.
Hurdle, with a contract through 2021 likely is safe for now, and perhaps Huntington, too, but patience is running out quickly.
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
Was it just 14 months ago that Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto and Servais got contract extensions, overseeing a team that looked to be on the rise?
Well, they’ve since turned into a laughingstock.
The Mariners opened the season winning 13 of their first 15 games, and proceeded to go 49-86.
This is a once-proud franchise that looks hopelessly lost, spinning their wheels with countless trades, desperately trying to camouflage their ineptness.
It would make sense that if Servais goes, Dipoto should go out the door with him.
But these are the Mariners, where nothing makes sense.
History tells us that the Mariners will stay patient, but this act is getting stale.
Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals
The Nationals were the hottest team in baseball just two weeks ago, sitting with a seven-game cushion in the wild-card race, only to see it vanish as quickly as a $20-dollar bill laying on a street corner.
The Nationals still have a half-game lead over the Chicago Cubs and 1 ½-games over the Milwaukee Brewers, but if they blow it, guess who’s taking the fall?
If the Nationals can fire Dusty Baker after leading them to back-to-back division tiles, what would stop them from dumping Martinez who failed to even get the Nats to the postseason?
Martinez still has one year left on his contract, and considering the Nats’ disdain for paying managers, perhaps that would save him if they are sitting home in October.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
Related slideshow: The 2019 MLB season (Provided by imagn)
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