30 November 2015

2016 MLB Managerial Carousel: Grading the Hires

Five MLB clubs have hired new managers this offseason in the hopes that a fresh voice will either lead said team to a World Series, consistent playoff success, or simply improvement. Which hires made the grade and which did not? Here is my exclusive take.

Los Angeles Dodgers - Dave Roberts (Padres bench coach)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1968 - 1971)The goals for Dave Roberts are quite clear: win the World Series. He has an expensive roster to work with but not one that is without some flaws but even then, one would expect that the team with the highest payroll in baseball to be a World Series contender. Roberts has never managed before but he was a respected player and he should at least bring more energy to the clubhouse than Don Mattingly ever did.
Grade: B

Miami Marlins - Don Mattingly (formerly Dodgers manager)
Miami Marlins (2012 - Pres)Mattingly certainly won a ton of games as manager of the Dodgers but his shortcomings as a manager became apparent during playoff time as his teams consistently underperformed there. Now he is going to a roster that does have some talent, but also nowhere near the financial resources that his previous team. And without the talent level of his past teams, you will start to see how mediocre of a manager Donnie Baseball is.
Grade: C-

San Diego Padres - Andy Green (Diamondbacks third base coach)
San Diego Padres (2015 - Pres)Green probably will not be the manager that Ron Gardenhire is but I think this is a solid fit. Green, who will be the second youngest manager in the majors, has a solid record as a minor league manager, including with developing talent, and that will help for a team that is taking a step back after trying to win last season. He doesn't have a lot of experience coaching in the majors but his fresh thoughts should help this club.
Grade: B

Seattle Mariners - Scott Servais (Angels assistant general manager)
Seattle Mariners (1993 - Pres)It may not be entirely fair, but I find it hard to entirely dismiss the notion that new Seattle GM Jerry DiPoto basically hired a yes-man as his manager. Servais played a decade in the majors, and as a catcher nonetheless, so he is not a stranger to the clubhouse but he still seems like an odd fit for a team that really disappointed a season ago. The key for him will be what he can get out of Robinson Cano.
Grade: C

Washington Nationals - Dusty Baker (formerly Reds manager)
Washington Nationals (2005 - 2005)It had been reported that the Nationals were going to hire former Padres manager Bud Black, which would have been a big improvement over Matt Williams (particularly with his managing of a bullpen), but ultimately that proved to be a little premature and so in the end, the Nats hired Baker. Baker's skills as a strategist have always been in question and while his players do like to play for him, he has also never been a manager that will ever adapt to anything other than the old-school line of thinking. For a franchise that now has a reputation of not meeting expectations, Baker is not a good fit.
Grade: D

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