Professional baseball players tend to retire from play fairly early in life, generally around 40 years old as their bodies and abilities wear down. But many, if not most, are not ready for a total retirement. Some may go on to something totally different. For most of them, baseball is their way of life. They want to find another niche within it. Some become sportscasters or color commentators such as Bob Uecker, Fernando Valenzuela, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling. Others remain in the dugout as managers or coaches, and the pay can be lucrative. These are the five highest paid managers in Major League Baseball in 2019.
5. Clint Hurdle — Pittsburgh Pirates
- Salary: $3 million
Pittsburgh hired Clint Hurdle at the end of 2010. The former professional outfielder previously managed the Colorado Rockies. Under his guidance, the Pirates earned their way to the Wild Card game in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The team made it to the Division Series in 2013 but lost in Game 5 against the Cardinals.
Recent results in the Steel City haven’t been as good, but Hurdle isn’t going anywhere. In 2017, he and the Pirates signed a four-year extension to his contract through 2021.
4. Ned Yost — Kansas City Royals
- Salary: $3.7 million
A former catcher for the Brewers, Rangers, and Montreal Expos, Ned Yost returned to Milwaukee in his managerial debut in 2003. He led the team through 2008 before moving on to the Royals in 2010.
In 2015, Kansas City won its first World Series title since 1985. Also that year, Yost also became the longest tenured manager in the team’s history. In 2016, he received a contract extension through 2018. At the end of last season, another agreement was made retaining Yost through 2019.
3. Terry Francona — Cleveland Indians
- Salary: $4 million
Terry Francona started managing at the turn of the century, first with Philadelphia, then with the Red Sox whom he managed to a World Series win in 2007. He’s been with the Indians since 2013 and they won the AL pennant in 2016.
In the summer of 2017, he missed his time as skipper for the AL in the All-Star game undergoing a heart ablation to regulate his heartbeat. A month later he guided the Indians through the longest winning streak in AL history — 22 games.
1. Joe Maddon — Chicago Cubs (TIE)
- Salary: $6 million
Joe Maddon started coaching in 1993 having served under some of the most notable managers in the game including Buck Rogers, Marcel Lachemann, John McNamara, and Terry Collins. He started as a manager Tampa Bay, then opted out to join the Cubs in 2014.
Maddon earned the NL Manager of the Year title in 2015. In 2016, he led the team to its first World Series title since 1908 — no wonder Chicago loves him! Maddon is in the last year of his current contract. It is expected the Cubs will offer him an extension, but he could also explore other options.
1. Bruce Bochy — San Francisco Giants (TIE)
- Salary: $6 million
Bochy started managing in 1994, but he says he is going to retire after this season. He became the youngest manager ever in the National League when he started his career on the bench at the age of 39. He has 1,926 wins during his 24 years as a manager, and he led the Giants to three World Series rings.
Former highly-paid managers who left the bench
One World Series-winning manager fell off the list of highest-paid managers. Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia made $6 million last year, but after 19 years at the helm, he retired at the end of the 2018 season. He was replaced by another former catcher, Brad Ausmus, who managed the Tigers from 2014 – 2017.
Like Francona, Buck Showalter made $4 million last year, but he was booted by the Orioles at the end of the season. Brandon Hyde who has been coaching since 2003, is Baltimore’s new manager.
Being a bench boss isn’t that lucrative
Leading a Major League Baseball team may seem like a dream come true, but not every job is the same. We know who the highest-paid managers are, but some bench bosses are barely scraping by.
USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale summed up MLB manager salaries this way:
“New managers today are barely making more than the minimum $545,000 player salary, despite more demands on their time. The managers, with minimum 12-hour workdays, talk twice a day to local reporters, interact with various departments, try to blend different factions, accommodate huge personalities, and then must get the players to buy into the process.”