Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo hasn’t given up on the season, but at a time when the Phillies fired a legend, Charlie Manuel, there is a similar question for the Nationals: If there is no hope for the team by Sept. 1, is it best for manager Davey Johnson to work the final month?
Johnson, who said before the season that this would be his last, deserves to go out on his own terms, but the final month could give Rizzo a chance to see how Randy Knorr looks as a manager and how he handles the rigors of the job, from motivating players to meeting with reporters.
Manuel managed nine seasons in Philly and led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series title. But the debate is whether the team should have let Manuel finish the season. The Phillies decided that Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg should get a chance to prove himself as an interim manager in the final weeks.
Now on to other manager issues:
* The Royals were expected to contend this year, and while they are on the fringe of October, it might not be good enough for ownership. The Royals traded prospect Wil Myers for two pitchers, including James Shields, a free agent after 2014. That says management wanted a contender. Will manager Ned Yost be held accountable for an underachieving team?
* The White Sox have been dreadful under Robin Ventura, who was hired by Ken Williams despite no managerial experience. Rich Hahn, the new general manager, might want to make a change.
* The Blue Jays were a trendy pick to win the AL East after ownership spent millions on big-name players that didn’t work out. So should manager John Gibbons, hired partly because he was a friend of GM Alex Anthopoulos, be given a reprieve?
* The Twins weren’t expected to be good, but maybe this is the end of the line for Ron Gardenhire, who has held the job since 2002. GM Terry Ryan keeps saying that he and Gardenhire are “in it together,” when it comes to rebuilding, but Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and former catcher Terry Steinbach, each a Minnesota native, are top candidates if the Twins decide to replace Gardenhire.
* Seattle’s Eric Wedge has health problems and the Mariners aren’t going anywhere this season. The Mariners’ nucleus of young players is impressive, but will Wedge, who was critical of sabermetric statistics, a key element in player development, be the guy to lead them?
* The Angels’ Mike Scioscia is signed through 2018, but how responsible is he for the Angels’ lost season? Ownership spent the money. GM Jerry Dipoto signed the players. Owner Arte Moreno has said that his manager’s body of work, not the long-term contract, will be the determining factor. If Scioscia is fired, he won’t have trouble getting a job.
* The Yankees’ Joe Girardi had done a good job holding a team together despite age and injuries. Ownership is used to winning, but firing Girardi wouldn’t make much sense. The Yankees need Girardi’s stable leadership.
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