08 December 2014

2015 MLB Managerial Carousel: Grading the Hires

(USATSI)
Six MLB franchises have made changes at the managerial position this offseason. How did each do in their respective hires? Here are my grades.

Arizona Diamondbacks - Chip Hale (Athletics bench coach)
Kirk Gibson and his nonsense will certainly not be missed in the desert and with a whole new brass running the show in Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart, they will go with a completely different approach. I highly doubt that Hale will be employing any grit shenanigans and his energy and enthusiasm in the clubhouse will be key amid a rebuilding process.
Grade: B

Chicago Cubs - Joe Maddon (Rays manager)
Let's be honest, Rick Renteria did not get a fair shake from the Cubs and did not deserve to get fired after only one season. That said, when you have the opportunity to bring in a manger the caliber of Maddon, you just about have to pull the trigger. Maddon has earned the reputation of being one of the brightest managers in baseball and he will be a great fit for a Cubs team that is looking to make a leap this upcoming season.
Grade: A

Houston Astros - A.J. Hinch (Padres assistant GM)
For the second time, Hinch is from a front office position into the managerial spot. Given his background with sabermetrics, he makes sense given the Astros' affinity for that and he is said to be a pretty bright guy but his previous managerial experience with the Diamondbacks really was not that successful at all. The fit makes sense but I'm still not sold just yet.
Grade: C+

Paul Molitor (Twins baserunning & infield coordinator)
Ron Gardenhire did great work in the Twin Cities but it came to appear that it was time for some change on the field. They continue their streak of hiring from within the organization (every manager hired since Gene Mauch last managed) by hiring the Hall of Famer Molitor. Molitor makes sense not just because of his career but also because of his experience working with the Minnesota farm system which will be key considering the caliber of players considered to be the team's future going forward.
Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Rays - Kevin Cash (Indians bullpen coach)
Cash has some pretty big shows to fill in the wake of the departure of Joe Maddon, who did a spectacular job during his tenure in St. Petersburg. The franchise chose to bring in an outsider without any managerial experience but Cash, a former Ray and a Tampa native, has been highly regarded in baseball and has a reputation of working very well with players. It has the feeling of a Rays kind of move and I like it.
Grade: B+

Texas Rangers - Jeff Banister (Pirates bench coach)
The departure of Ron Washington was bizarre but they made a good move in bringing in Banister from Pittsburgh. Given that the Pirates had one of the stronger analytics departments in baseball and his experience in utilizing advanced metrics will be a nice departure from the old school style of Washington. He seems like a really good fit with GM Jon Daniels and I like this hire a lot.
Grade: A-

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