With the 2019 baseball season set to begin, every team enters the season with at least a little optimism that this may be their year. Unfortunately, this won’t be the case for most teams. When things start to go wrong, fans immediately look to the manager to cast blame. When some teams struggle mightily, their front office may see the need for a change in the dugout. While firing a manager during the season is rare, a losing team will do whatever it can to change things up and try to reverse their fortunes. As the baseball season gets underway, here are six MLB managers who may not survive the 2019 season.
Don Mattingly, Florida Marlins
With the Marlins headed into yet another rebuild, Don Mattingly may find himself out of a job if the team struggles again. While it’s hard to blame Donnie Baseball for the Marlins’ problems based on ownership slashing payroll, the team’s win totals have decreased over each of the last three years.
It would be somewhat surprising if Marlins owner Derek Jeter fired his former hitting coach and fellow former Yankee great, but Mattingly is a remnant of the old ownership group. If the team gets off to a slow start as expected, a move wouldn’t be shocking.
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets
With names like the unpredictable Bobby Valentine and the frustratingly inconsistent Willie Randolph coming to mind, the Mets have never been known for stability at manage — even in their better years. Mickey Callaway is back after some rumors about his job status amid the team’s struggles last season. The rumors of last year could continue this season and make Callaway one of the MLB managers sitting on the hot seat.
The NL East is supercharged this year, with a revamped Phillies team and a young, hungry Nationals team both looking to contend. If Callaway can’t get the most out of his stud top two starting pitchers and heralded young talents like Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto, the same rumblings that popped up last year may reappear.
Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox
The Sox lost 100 games last year and struck out on Manny Machado in free agency. The team is rebuilding and isn’t expected to contend, but if Chicago closes in on another 100-loss season, Renteria could be one of the MLB managers to get the ax before the season ends.
He is a veteran and former Cubs manager who took over for Robin Ventura in 2017. If the team looks like it’s on pace to recreate its subpar 2018, replacing Renteria with a younger option may be the jolt the organization thinks it needs to get back on track.
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
Several years ago it would be hard to imagine a manager who won a championship appearing on this list, but here we are. The Royals are in the middle of a clear rebuilding process, and Yost has hinted at retirement before. A firing here is unlikely, but a mutually agreed upon transition from field manager to a front office position for the 64-year-old Yost wouldn’t be out of the question if the team continues to have trouble winning games.
Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals
Martinez is only in his second season as the Nats manager, but last season was the team’s most disappointing one since it moved to Washington. With Bryce Harper departing and a load of young talent ready to take over, there’s pressure on Martinez to turn it around after last year’s underwhelming campaign. The Nats aren’t a team known to hang on to managers too long, so if they go through a prolonged spell of poor play at any point, keep an eye out for them to make a move.
Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers
While Gardenhire is cautiously optimistic about the team’s chances in 2019, he could be one of the MLB managers out of a job in 2019. The Tigers lost 98 games last year and haven’t made any substantial additions that would indicate a jump to contender status in 2019. However, Gardenhire is in the second year of a three year deal, so based on his contract, he seems safe. The only way Gardenhire would be fired is if the team has a catastrophic first two months of the season, Then, it may become clear to the front office that they need to opt for a new option in the dugout.