Hey You Kids, Get Off My Mound; And The Next Manager Is…

I have to agree with Dallas Braden – it was a sign of disrespect, or an attempt at gamesmanship, for Alex Rodriguez to cut back to first across the mound in the afternoon in Oakland. And I have to agree with Rodriguez that Braden’s temper tantrum in the dugout was bush league. And I have to agree with whoever investigates Braden’s comments that they probably already constitute a threat, or certainly something to watch in future meetings.

Here in New York the Cubs just completed a somnambulant series loss to the Mets and the listlessness of the team makes one wonder if Lou Piniella has just had enough of his underachieving, poorly-designed team. The irony here is that Cub starting pitching may not have been this good in decades – good enough that I entirely buy the idea of moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, at least unless and until Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny collapses.
But Piniella’s ennui and the unlikely fact that two other big league skippers are already official lame ducks has made me think, and put out a few calls, about who would be the likeliest successor to each of the current 30 big league skippers. There are some interesting facts to consider: none of the current managers were promoted to the big league job from having been manager of the team’s AAA affiliate, and only six (Gardenhire, Geren, Jerry Manuel, Riggleman, Trembley, Tracy) were promoted from their own team’s coaching staff (although Cox, Gaston, Girardi, Hinch, and Charlie Manuel were working in their organizations in other jobs when they became the boss). 
Thus 19 of the current 30 big league managers are outside hires, making predicting successors a dicey business. Still we’ll try – and none of these names are meant to suggest I know anything about any imminent changes – I’ll start in the NL and try the AL over the weekend. Where I have no clue, I’ll say so:
ARIZONA: No clue and given the last hire, it could come from almost anywhere.
ATLANTA: Maybe Chico Cadahia or Eddie Perez, but I think the best bets are two former Cox lieutenants, Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins, and ex-Brewers boss Ned Yost. If the latter were the obvious choice, he’d probably be back on the staff, not an advisor in KC.
CHICAGO: It’s Ryne Sandberg. If Lou walked away suddenly there’d be a good chance Alan Trammell would be an acting skipper, but in any kind of orderly transition, it’s Sandberg.
CINCINNATI: No obvious candidate. Possibly Mark Berry – it would be nice to see AAA skipper Rick Sweet given first shot, but he may be a victim of his own development ability.
COLORADO: No clue.
FLORIDA: It would be Carlos Tosca short term, but the Marlins would probably like a name if they made a change.
HOUSTON: Very unlikely that any change would take place. Dave Clark would probably get another chance if Brad Mills runs screaming into the street.
LOS ANGELES: Mattingly. How odd will that look?
MILWAUKEE: It was a surprise that given how well Dale Sveum handled what could have been a sinking ship, coming in weeks before the playoffs in 2008, that he didn’t keep the job. Even now when Ken Macha goes, it could easily be not Sveum but Willie Randolph.
NEW YORK: Bob Melvin, Major League Scout. His managerial track record is pretty good. Ironically, the man for whom he took over in Arizona after the briefest off-season tenure in managerial history, Wally Backman, is the top minor league possibility.
PITTSBURGH: They like Carlos Garcia. How much, I don’t know. The Bucs (despite the 20-0 loss) have a serious conviction they are breaking through under John Russell.
SAN DIEGO: No clue.
SAN FRANCISCO: No clue. Last internal hire was Dusty Baker.
ST. LOUIS: Jose Oquendo, unless somebody else has grabbed him first.
WASHINGTON: Pat Listach. That may not be soon, but that may be the plan.


  1. charlene.vickers@gmail.com

    Better that A-Rod not apologize than he cough up one of those “I regret if anyone was offended” self-justifying non-apologies. Bit of a tempest in a thimble, though.

  2. stevesamazins

    Keith, nothing to do with this article, but I would love your take on records that will never be broken. A few that I have thought about are:
    1. Van De Meers back to back no hitters (to break it, you would need 3 in a row)
    2. Cy Young’s win record – you would need 512, or 25 wins a year for 20 1/2 years
    3. Cy Young’s loss record of 316. Again, it would take 317 losses, or 15 losses a year for over 21 years (I’m sure if that player was around, the Mets would sign them)
    4. Ryan’s career strikeouts. Only a handful of pitchers pitched more then 220 innings last year, and even if they average one K per inning, it would still take nearly 26 years at that rate.
    Any others that come to mind?

  3. mantlewasarockstar

    Here are a few other “unbreakables,” Steve:

    Nolan Ryan’s no-hitters (7); Yankees’ consecutive World Series titles (5); Eric Gagne’s consecutive saves (84); Hank Aaron’s 2,297 RBIs; Orel Herscheiser’s consecutive scoreless innings pitched (59); Joe D’s 56-game hitting streak; Sam Crawford’s lifetime triples (309); Rickey Henderson’s both season high and lifetime stolen bases (130/1,406); Cal Ripken Jr’s 2,632 consecutive games played.

  4. eighttwentysix@gmail.com

    I agree, it will be odd to see Mattingly managing the Dodgers. Off topic, a friend of mine bought some packs of Topps baseball cards off Ebay. The cards are from 1987 and ’88, should she open the packs to see who’s in there, or leave them as is? Love the blog and keep writing.


  5. acdca

    Rodriguez was in the wrong, 100 percent. He was attempting to show up a young player, forgetting, I guess, that he was once a young player himself. Frankly, I sort of wish Braden would have plunked him with his pickoff move. Hit him right in the A-Rump, as you might say.

  6. persistentfan

    Off topic but an important reminder. The Yankees are scheduled to play the Diamondbacks in June. This means that they will need to bring their passports with them.

    Arizona is now, officially, a police state. It is only a matter of time before a Latino player is pulled over or even hauled in because “your papers are not in order.”

  7. blotzphoto@gmail.com

    I’m sure Mark Berry would make a fine interim manager, but remember, the only way The Dustbuster gets whacked is if the Reds completely implode.
    I worry the Rick Sweet would succumb to whatever managerial disease that felled our last highly regarded aaa skipper Dave Miley.

  8. historymike

    First, about A-Rod: in an article I read, Tom Seaver asked if anyone could imagine doing that to Drysdale or Gibson? The answer is simple: no. But Jim Kaat mentioned that Pete Rose always tried to go over the mound when he pitched, so he would stand in such a way that Rose couldn’t. It was just gamesmanship. But in A-Rod’s case, he probably was trying to remember whether he was dating Madonna or Kate Hudson last.

    Persistentfan, we all prefer to avoid politics here. Keith has a political life and a baseball life. But this actually brings up an interesting question, given the number of Latin players–whether they will run into any trouble in Arizona.

  9. hcurtisabbey@gmail.com

    Giants: How about Will Clark? Or go young with JT Snow? Maybe Bengie Molina as a player/manager?

  10. hcurtisabbey@gmail.com

    Giants: Bengie Molina player/manager, he could help develop Buster Posey into the next Mike Piazza.

    You’d think Dave Righetti would be in line given SF’s pitching staff.. but I think Bochy is probably safe there for a few more years.

    Re: St. Louis that would be great to see Oquendo as manager. I remember #11 well from his playing days, always a class act.

  11. stevesamazins

    mantlewasarockstar, you did bring up some good ones, although the one I would have to argue is Aaron’s RBI record. A-Rod is 591 RBI’s behind coming into this season. it is fair to say he will play at least 6 more years, which means he would need to average just under 100 a year to break the record. If you take out his first two years (total of 65 games appeared in), he is averaging nearly 120 RBIs per year since then. He has a shot at breaking the RBI and HR records, not to mention the “records with an asterick” record.

  12. blue_dog

    Brad Mills would be joining the more prescient of his fans were he to run screaming into Crawford street…

  13. glenn119@comcast.net

    I think the umps purposely didn’t throw Russel out today as being forced to watch the Pirates is punishment enough.

    How exactly did this team actually win 7 games??!!

  14. firejames

    For the Giants the heir is Steve Decker… he’s been moving up quickly and has managed Posey at every level…. don’t be surprized if he’s a coach on Major League staff next year, or even as soon as the Grizzely’s season is over.

  15. t.ritter01@gmail.com

    KO- I agree with you most of the time both here and on your show, but I have to ask…why Bubba? Why not just promote Ryno from AAA Iowa and then hire him on like the Nats did with Riggleman last year? Although, maybe I’m a little biased because Ryno was one of my boyhood heroes. He certainly has the temper Lou once had the reputation for. As a die hard Cubs fan, I am tired of hearing Lou make little or poor excuses for a lack of timely hitting and very poor bullpen support.

    PS Go Cubs!

  16. kurtismj

    When speaking of Atlanta, it’s “Chino,” not “Chico.”. You ignorant, racist, hate mongering bigot. You clearly hate Hispanics….

  17. sophia.morretti@gmx.com

    These are all pretty good picks. Some of the current managers need to take a hiatus and let some of these winners fill in. If I hear anymore about people in a baseball club (besides players) going into drug treatment I’m going to be so frustrated I could scream! Some of these teams deserve to be reorganized with someone more competent at the helm!

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