As we head into the 2018 Major League Baseball season, let us take a look at each manager, and how hot their seat is heading into the new year.
The 2018 Major League Baseball season is certain to be an exciting one, as it really is every year. Last season, the Houston Astros won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they will head into this season as one of the teams to watch.
The New York Yankees bolstered their lineup this past offseason, adding 50-plus home run slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a unit that already has 50-plus home run slugger Aaron Judge. Their rival, the Boston Red Sox, also added a huge bat in J.D. Martinez, so the AL East should be exciting once again.
As we head into the season, let us take a look at all 30 managers, and how hot their seat is, or could be by the end of the year.
Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles
It seems like Buck Showalter has been the manager of the Baltimore Orioles for 20 years now. However, he has only been in charge since 2010, and has done a lot of winning with the franchise since then.
During his run as manager, Showalter has led the Orioles to two 90-plus win seasons. In addition, he was named American League Manager of the Year back in 2014.
Last season, the Orioles took a turn for the worse, and it could end up costing Showalter his job with the team. The team won only 75 games in 2017, which was his lowest number since his first full season with the team back in 2011.
In total, Buck has won over 600 games as manager of the Orioles, and usually with his team playing in one of the best divisions in all of baseball. His Orioles have been fighters during his tenure, but this 2018 team is going to give him even more grey hairs.
The 2018 Orioles are slated to finish near the bottom of the AL East, after failing to improve the roster during the offseason. The impending free agency of star third baseman Manny Machado is also on everybody’s mind, as he could be gone by the end of the season, so the Orioles can get something in return for him.
If the Orioles flounder and Machado leaves, it could spell the end of Showalter in Baltimore. He has given a lot to the City, and will go down as one of the best managers in the history of the franchise.
Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox won the AL East last season, but still felt the need to make a move at the manager role. Boston brought in Alex Cora for his first go-around as a Major League manager, and he brings a wealth of knowledge to the role.
In 2017, the Red Sox won 93 games, but their offense really had no pop. This offseason, they decided to spend some money on a home run hitter, bringing in J.D. Martinez to be the man in the middle of the lineup.
Martinez can flat out rake, and he should have a huge season playing inside Fenway Park. The Red Sox also have good pitching at the front of their rotation, as they return Chris Sale, who is the best left-handed starter in the big leagues.
Last season, Cora served as the bench coach for the Houston Astros, who went on to win the World Series. His deal with Boston runs through the 2020 season, and he certainly has the mental approach to do some good things in his first contract.
Red Sox faithful are going to want to win right now, so Cora needs to get off to a good start in his first season as a manager. He is only 42-years old, and has not been out of the game that long, so he should have a great rapport with the players in year one.
Rick Renteria, Chicago White Sox
Let us be perfectly honest, the Chicago White Sox are not expected to do much this season. The AL Central will likely be won by the Cleveland Indians, and coming off a 95-loss season, the White Sox figure to finish near the bottom of the division.
The team did not do much this offseason to help a roster that won only 67 games last season, though they did bolster the bullpen a bit. Wellington Castillo is a nice addition at catcher, and Miguel Gonzalez is a nice late-innings guy.
Manager Rick Renteria comes into the season with a warmer seat, due to the fact he could not get this team rolling last season. At 56-years old, he has been a baseball lifer, and does have a lot of knowlegde and experience to pass down to the young players on this roster.
Renteria was also the manager of the Chicago Cubs back in 2014, and joined Johnny Evers as the only two men to manage both franchises in Chicago. However, he has not had a ton of success as a manager at the Major League level, and the 2018 season won’t help matters that much.
Look for the White Sox to finish at the bottom of the AL Central, and if the team decides to move in a new direction, it could be only a two-year stint for Renteria before all is said and done.
Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians
When you think of American League managers, there are few with colder seats than Terry Francona. Since coming over to Cleveland from the Boston Red Sox, Francona has helped turn this franchise into a contender every season, and they are poised to make another run in 2018.
Last season, the Indians won over 100 games with Francona at the helm, and his team did a nice job shrugging off their loss in Game 7 of the World Series the year before. In 2016, Francona was named American League Manager of the Year, and his job is pretty much his as long as he wants it.
Tito will be 59 in April, and has accomplished so much in this game already. One of the highlights of last season was the teams 22-game winning streak, and he has a remarkable 454-354 record as the manager of the Indians.
This team lost a lot of power from last year’s squad, as both Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce are gone heading into 2018. The Minnesota Twins made a nice run last season, and they could challenge the Indians for supremacy in the AL Central this season.
However, they still have a stellar pitching staff, and they should be one of the last teams standing in the American League this season. Francona’s job is safe no matter what this team does, and he is likely to finish his managerial career in Cleveland.
Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers
For years, Ron Gardenhire was the face of the Minnesota Twins, leading a low-budget team to the playoffs seemingly every year. He is an absolute legend in the Twin Cities, but now he takes on the role of rival, as he was named the manager of the Detroit Tigers this offseason.
The Tigers play in the same division as the Twins, so you can expect a lot of emotions when he goes back home to play in the Twin Cities. You can also expect a lot of emotion out of him due to all the losses this team is likely to accumulate during what should be a very rough season in the Motor City.
Last season, the Tigers finished with only 64 wins, coming very close to losing 100 games. He inherits a team that let go of a lot of their talent this offseason, as guys like J.D. Martinez and Justin Verlander, who was moved last season, will not be there to lead the way.
For his career, Gardenhire has done a lot of winning, as he posted over 1,000 games into the win column as manager of the Twins. He will struggle to find wins this upcoming season, but his job is definitely safe, especially in year one.
Gardy always got the best out of his players in Minnesota, and he will have the same kind of challenges in Detroit. Those Twins teams won with little talent, and hopefully for Tigers fans, he can pull off that kind of magic again in 2018.
A.J. Hinch, Houston Astros
The Houston Astros were building something special coming into the 2017 season, and it came to fruition in a big way. The Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, making a championship manager out of A.J. Hinch.
Hinch was not supposed to be this good a manager. During his tenure with the Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2009 and 2010, he struggled to put wins together. Since coming over to Houston, he has shown himself to be one of the best managers in baseball, and it could not have happened to a better guy.
Last season, the Astros were a dominant team throughout, as they won over 100 games during the regular season. Houston has an incredible core of young players, and they should be a contender for years to come.
Guys like George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa are cornerstone young players, and the trade for Justin Verlander last season really put a leader at the top of their rotation. They have to be the favorite to win the American League in 2018, though they will have plenty of challenges from the likes of the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians to name a few.
Replacing Bo Porter with Hinch towards the end of the 2014 season proved to be a stroke of genius for the Astros, who have their man in place for the foreseeable future. His seat is as cold as it gets entering 2018, and it should stay that way for the next few seasons.
Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals
During the 2014 and 2015 seasons, the most dominant American League team in baseball was the Kansas City Royals. Let us allow that to sink in, as this team had been a perennial loser for nearly 30 years.
The man who turned this franchise around is Ned Yost, who is still the manager of the team heading into 2018. Yost and his Royals have struggled during the last two seasons, but he has enough equity that his seat is cold coming into the new season.
The team’s manager since he replaced Trey Hillman for the 2010 season, Yost has become the winningest manager in franchise history since. When he led the team to the playoffs back in 2014, it was their first time playing postseason baseball since 1985.
The 2018 Royals lost a true leader in Eric Hosmer, who went west to play with the San Diego Padres. They will have to rely on guys like Salvador Perez and Alex Gordon in 2018, though those two players are World Series champions.
Yost is signed through 2018, and this job is his to lose. The last two seasons have seen the team fail to win more than 81 games, so his seat could get warmer if the team finished towards the bottom of the AL Central this season.
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Suddenly, the seat beneath Mike Scioscia is starting to heat up. The manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim since 2000, Mike Scioscia has brought a lot of victories to the team, though the losses are starting to pile up.
Over the last two seasons, the Angels have failed to win more than they have lost, and have finished below .500 in each campaign. All of that losing despite the fact they have arguably the best baseball player on the planet in Mike Trout would lead one to believe Scioscia could be on his way out with another sub-.500 season.
While the losing has piled up, it would be very hard for the team to unseat a legend. Scioscia brought winning back to the Angels, and his players really love him. The team comes into the season having the daunting task of beating the Houston Astros for the division, so a Wild Card may be their best bet.
In his career managing the Angels, Scioscia has not only won over 1,500 games, but he has also brought home a World Series title back in 2002. That seems like forever ago, and this team has fallen far since winning 98 games back in 2014.
The Angels made one of the bigger splashes of free agency when they brought over Shohei Ohtani. A player who can hit, and pitch at the Major League level, Ohtani really struggled this spring.
It may seem crazy to think Scioscia would be on the hot season heading into 2018, but it is certainly getting warm in here.
Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins
To say that Paul Molitor is a legend in the Twin Cities would be an understatement, as he is the embodiment of Twins baseball. A Hall of Fame player for the team, the sweet-swinging Molitor now has his Twins back as a perennial playoff team in the American League.
To see the success of the Twins last season, you have to look back at what they were before Molitor took over. They were the laughingstock of the AL Central, and a once-proud fan base was really looking for a savior.
That came in the form of Molitor, who helped this team to a World Series victory as a player back in 1993. Last season, Molitor led the Twins to a very surprising Wild Card finish, though they did lose the one-game playoff to the New York Yankees.
Still, he has this team pointed in the right direction, and they come into 2018 as the Cleveland Indians’ biggest challenger in the AL Central. He is signed through 2020, and there is no way he loses his job unless he decides to step down for some reason.
In 2017, Molitor joined only Frank Robinson as someone who was a Hall of Fame player, and a winner of a Manager of the Year award. This team has a lot of good young talent in players like Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton to name a few, and they still have veterans like Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer leading the clubhouse.
Aaron Boone, New York Yankees
The New York Yankees come into the 2018 season fresh off a surprising appearance in the American League Championship Series last season. The 2017 Yankees were supposed to be a team that saw growth from their young players, but they ended up getting incredible years out of players that were expected to just contribute.
One of those players was Aaron Judge, who became the face of baseball by the All Star break. Judge blasted over 50 home runs for the Yankees, becoming a fan favorite, and captivating America with his incredible display in the Home Run Derby.
This offseason, the Yankees added even more punch to their lineup, trading for Giancarlo Stanton. Yes, you read that right, the team has two guys in the middle of their lineup who hit over 50 homes runs last season.
Outside of Judge and Stanton, the team also has one of the best young catchers in the game in Gary Sanchez. Add to the fact that they also have one of the better farm systems, and you have the makings of the next Yankees dynasty.
Aaron Boone replaces Joe Girardi at manager this season, and he is going to have a lot of eyeballs on him. He would be wise to get off to a hot start in the Bronx, though even if the team stumbles out of the gate, his job is secure.
In fact, Boone should be clear even if the Yankees do not win it all this season, but if they fail to come close to expectations, his welcome in New York will be short-lived.
Bob Melvin, Oakland Athletics
When Bob Melvin took over the Oakland Athletics back in 2011, he had an incredible first two seasons with the team. Melvin led the A’s to back-to-back 90-plus win seasons, and establishing himself as one of the hottest managers in baseball.
However, the last three seasons have been anything but, and he comes into the 2018 campaign on the hot seat. His team has won 75 or fewer games in each of the last three season, and failed to win 70 in two of them.
Melvin replaced Bob Geren during the 2011 season, and led the team to a Wild Card berth back in 2014. The “king of platoons,” Melvin has his work cut out for him this season, as he tries to hold onto his job in a very tough AL West division.
Back in September of 2017, Melvin signed a three-year extension with the Athletics, and that contract runs through next season. However, another season below 80 wins could lead to his demise in Oakland, who does not figure to be a good team in 2018.
The A’s just do not spend money, and while players like Dustin Fowler and Jed Lowrie should lead the offense, there just is not enough talent to compete with the likes of the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. It is going to be a long season in Oakland, and Melvin may not make it out of there with his job.
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners
The seat underneath Scott Servais is warming up, though he should be able to cool it down with a solid start to the season. Servais was all the rage when he took over the Mariners back in 2016, as he led the team to a stunning 86-76 record.
However, the Mariners took a major step back last season, and it was mostly due to the fact they did not have their ace healthy enough to compete. Felix Hernandez appears to be healthy coming into 2018, and James Paxton proved to be a formidable starter last season, giving Seattle two good pitchers at the top of their rotation.
Servais took over for Lloyd McClendon in October of 2016, and he has done a nice job in his first role as a manager in the Major Leagues. This offseason, the team brought back a legend in Ichiro Suzuki, and the expectation is that he will start in left field for the team.
While Ichiro is no longer the player who won Most Valuable Player awards for the team, he does bring great leadership, and work ethic to the roster. The Mariners also brought in Dee Gordon from Miami, and he will transition from second base to centerfield for the upcoming season.
The AL West is going to be tough this season, and the Mariners may find themselves in the bottom of the division with the Oakland Athletics. Servais has proven to be a solid leader, and with more talent on the roster in 2018, his seat could get very cold very fast.
Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays
Back in 2014, Kevin Cash succeeded Joe Maddon as the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. At the time, it seemed like a joke of a hiring, as Cash was only 37-years old, and had just ended his career as a player.
Three years later, Cash is no longer a joke, and has done a great job winning games with a Rays roster that really has little talent. Whenever the organization develops a player, they trade them away before they have to pay them, leaving Cash with one of the hardest jobs in baseball.
Still, Cash has won 80 games as manager of the Rays in two of his three seasons, and he comes into the 2018 season in a very good position with the organization. While his roster does not have a ton of talent, they have a front-line starter in Chris Archer, who could be trade bait as we get closer to the All Star Break.
Cash has done a nice job keeping this team focused, and if he does see his tenure in Tampa Bay end, he will be a hot commodity elsewhere. He is an incredible baseball man, and the Rays are likely to give teams fits again in 2018.
Alex Colome is a solid closer, and Denard Span is a nice addition to an outfield led by Kevin Kiermaier. Evan Longoria is gone, and he was the face of the franchise, but the hope is someone can step up this season, and help this team possibly eclipse the .500 mark in Cash’s fourth season at the helm.
Jeff Banister, Texas Rangers
Back in October of 2014, Jeff Banister was named the manager of the Texas Rangers. Expected to bring analytics to the team, Banister has done a nice job incorporating that in his daily job, and has the Rangers as a perennial contender in the very tough AL West.
Banister won the AL West in his first season as manager back in 2015, and was named the American League Manager of the Year. He led the team to an 88-win season that year, and they would go on to do even better in 2016.
In 2016, the Rangers won the division again, but this time they won 95 games. They took a step back last season, as the Houston Astros dominated the AL West, but he is in no danger of losing his job any time soon.
The former Major League pitcher is signed through this season, and he has an option for 2019. The Rangers should be able to pound the ball this season, as they have one of the better offensive infields in all of baseball in Elvis Andrus, Roughed Odor, Joey Gallo, and Adrian Beltre.
The Astros are the class of the division, but the Rangers should challenge for at least a Wild Card spot. Banister was a great hire by this organization, and he should lead this team deep into the postseason one of these years.
John Gibbons, Toronto Blue Jays
It seems like John Gibbons has been the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays forever, but it has only been for most of the last 14 years. Gibbons got his first start with the team back in 2004, but he was fired during the 2008 season and replaced by Blue Jays legend Cito Gaston.
In his second stint with the Blue Jays, Gibbons has been the team’s manager since 2013, and actually led them to the AL East title back in 2015. The team made the playoffs in 2016 as well, but they really hit a wall last season.
During his first stint with the team, the Blue Jays had a quick trigger firing him during the 2008 campaign. One would think that could be the case ten years later, as this Blue Jays team could struggle again in 2018.
A winner of 720 games as manager of the team, Gibbons has gone 415-395 in his second stint with the team. The team did lose some pop in the lineup by bidding adieu to guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, but they still have the likes of John Donaldson and Curtis Granderson in the lineup to blast home runs next season.
The rotation is also solid with J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada, but they will have to navigate a very tough AL East this season. If the Blue Jays get off to a slow start, Gibbons seat will start to get even hotter as we move closer to the All Star Break.
Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks
Last season, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally got their act together, and went to become a playoff team in their new manager’s first season. General manager Mike Hazen brought in Torey Lovullo to be the main man in Arizona prior to the 2017 campaign, and it appears to have been a stroke of genius.
Not only did Lovullo get this team headed in the right direction, but he has them in place to be a playoff contender for years to come. He is trusted by his players, and they showed him what they can do last season, as the team won 93 games, which was a 24-game improvement from the year before.
Lovullo knew Hazen well, so it was no big shock when he was named manager after his stint in Boston. An incredible baseball mind, Lovullo earned some hardware of his own last season, as he was named National League Manager of the Year.
The Diamondbacks come into the 2018 season with a solid roster in place, and two big aces at the top of their rotation in Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke. They also have a heavy-hitter at first base in Paul Goldschmidt, who is likely in for another monster season in 2018.
The NL West is a tough division, and pitching usually is the way to win it. There may be no better rotation in the division than the one that resides in Arizona, and Lovullo’s seat is one of the coldest in the National League heading into the new campaign.
Brian Snitker, Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves struggled mightily under Brian Snitker last season, which was his first full season as the team’s manager. Snitker took over for the fired Fredi Gonzalez during the 2016 campaign, and actually led the team well down the stretch.
As they head into 2018, he is one of those coaches who could be the first fired if his team gets off to a bad start. However, he is very valuable to this Braves organization, and if they have to go another route, he will likely end up in the front office.
Snitker earned his stripes in the minors, where he was the manager of a ton of Braves affiliates. He is a very well-respected baseball guy, and he will be given every opportunity to turn this thing around this season.
Atlanta has some of the best prospects in baseball, though they will likely break camp in the minor leagues. If the Braves are to be successful, those players need to live up to their top billings, but it may be too late to save Snitker’s job.
The Braves have ex-managers in Walt Weiss and Ron Washington on their staff, and either could step in if Snitker is fired. After a 90-loss season in 2017, there is not a lot of room for error, so keep an eye on Atlanta early in the year.
Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs
During the 2016 Major League Baseball season, the Chicago Cubs did something that many believed would never happen. For the first time in 108 years, the Cubbies actually won the World Series, getting a huge monkey off of the organization’s back.
The man in charge of that team was Joe Maddon, who has become one of the better managers in baseball over the last 11 years. He took the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series back in 2008, and has an incredible record with the Cubs since coming over in 2015.
During his tenure with the Cubbies, Maddon has gone 292-193, and has brought a championship to the franchise. The 2018 Cubs are loaded with talent once again, and they have to be one of the favorites to bring home another World Series this season.
In his three years as skipper, Maddon has led his team to 97, 103, and 92 wins, which is a pretty incredible statistics. He has been aided by the likes of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Jon Lester, all of whom are legends for the team already.
As they head into 2018, you have to like the Cubs chances in the NL Central. They have the talent in the rotation, and in the lineup to do some serious damage, and they certainly have the right man pushing all of the buttons in the dugout.
Bryan Price, Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds have never had a winning season under Bryan Price, and that trend is likely to continue in 2018. This Reds team is going to struggle to win games this season, as evident by the fact that Homer Bailey is their Opening Day starter.
No offense to Price, but this team is not going to save him his job this season. They have holes up and down the lineup, and the NL Central has gotten better from a year ago. During his four years as skipper, the Reds are nearly 100 games under .500.
The 55-year old Price is not a bad manager, but he has had very little talent to work with. They play in a very small ballpark, and their pitching staff is just not good enough to keep opposing batters from going yard on a consistent basis.
In addition, their roster has been depleted in recent years, and their best offensive options are Joey Votto, who is fantastic, and the speedy Billy Hamilton. Price has tried to piece this thing together since taking over for Dusty Baker, but it has proven to be too tough a task.
As they head into 2018, nobody really expects the Reds to do much in terms of the standings. That means that Price will likely be the first to go, as that is what usually happens with managers. If they get off to a slow start, he may not make it to the All Star break.
Bud Black, Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies made a change from Walt Weiss after the 2016 Major League Baseball season, bringing in Bud Black to assume the role of manager. The Rockies struggled to put wins together consistently under Weiss, and Black was brought in to bring his expertise to the pitching staff.
Getting good pitching has always been an issue in Colorado, as balls have a way of flying out of Coors Field. Black was able to stabilize that in 2017, and by the end of the season, the Rockies were back to being a playoff team.
While the team lost their Wild Card game, they have the pieces in place to make another run in 2018. The NL West is going to be loaded with talent, but the Rockies lineup can certainly hit with any team they go up against.
Black was a solid manager during his time in San Diego, and he brought that knowledge of the NL West over with him to Colorado. His 87 wins in year one may be just a starting point for the Rockies, who also have a fantastic farm system.
Black is a very good Major League manager, and he heads into next season with a very cold seat. The Rockies should be very competitive once again, but soon, this organization is going to start expecting Black to win some games in the playoffs.
Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers
Since taking over as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, all Dave Roberts has done is win. His first season with the team, Roberts on 91 games, winning the NL West, and advancing to the National League Championship Series.
Last season, the Dodgers took the next step, winning the National League pennant. The team won over 100 games under Roberts’ watchful eye, winning a very tough NL West division that saw three teams go to the playoffs.
As they enter the 2018 season, the Dodgers are in position to possibly win it all. The team has two incredible starters at the front of their rotation in Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood, two southpaws who can rack up strikeouts in bunches.
While Yasiel Puig is always a wild card, this team has talent up and down the lineup. Guys like Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger, and Corey Seager are all entering the prime of their careers, and the injured Justin Turner is a fantastic third baseman.
The Dodgers figure to be one of the last teams standing again this season, and Roberts has proven to be the perfect manager for the ballclub. He has nothing to worry about heading into 2018, aside from the fact his division is loaded.
Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins
One of the few marquee people to survive the carnage that was Derek Jeter was a fellow New York Yankees legend. Don Mattingly will return for his third season as the manager of the Miami Marlins next season, but he could be on borrowed time as well.
Mattingly has not done a ton of winning since coming to Miami from Los Angeles, where he led the Dodgers to the NL West title in each of his last two seasons. Donnie Baseball does not have much to work with in 2018, as the team traded away most of their star power this offseason.
Gone are the likes of Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton, and Dee Gordon, leaving the team with Justin Bour and Starlin Castro as the cogs in their lineup. The team figures to finish in the bottom of the NL East, and the organization may decide to go another direction in 2019 with their manager.
Mattingly also may decide to bolt Miami as well, as this team is not going to be good for a long time. Jeter was an incredible baseball player, but his moves as the man running the show in Miami have brought more head scratching than anything else.
In his two seasons with the team, Mattingly has yet to win 80 games in a campaign, and that won’t change in 2018. They are going to struggle pretty bad this season, and Mattingly should see his warm seat turn pretty hot in the second half of the season.
Craig Counsell, Milwaukee Brewers
Only 47-years old, Craig Counsell is slowly turning into one of the better managers in the National League. When he took over for Ron Roenicke during the 2015 season, many saw him as a stopgap before they hire their long-term solution at manager, but he has become the right man in charge.
The Brewers played very well under Counsell last season, racking up 86 wins, and finishing ten games over .500. While he has a 220-241 record in his tenure with the team, he took a pretty mediocre team to a better record than anybody could have expected last season.
The 2018 Brewers should have a solid lineup this season, as they added both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain to their outfield this offseason. This could be a team that wins 90 games in 2018, thanks to Counsell’s great leadership in the dugout, and his wonderful way with the players.
The NL Central is a tough one to navigate, and the Chicago Cubs should be solid again this season. Still, this team is on the brink of being a perennial playoff contender, and Counsell should feel very secure in his job security going into this season.
Milwaukee needs to get good pitching this season if they hope to challenge the Cubbies, as they have a lineup that can challenge anybody. Counsell was a scrappy player during his Major League career, and he has brought that same attitude to his new role as manager.
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets
During the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the only real question surrounding the New York Mets was how long Terry Collins was going to last as the manager. Well, Collins ended any speculation this past offseason, as he retired after the 2017 campaign.
While many big names were talked about leading the Mets in 2018, it was a pitching coach from the Cleveland Indians that emerged with the job. Mickey Callaway will get his first shot as a Major League manager with the New York Mets, and there are certainly a lot of expectations in year one.
The biggest asset the Mets have had in recent years is their abundance of good starting pitching prospects. However, their big five have not been able to stay healthy, though they do head into the 2018 season ready to go for the first time.
Callaway is the perfect man to lead the charge, as he has helped develop Cy Young winners during his time with the Indians. The Mets also brought back Jay Bruce to their outfield this offseason, so their lineup is pretty solid in every position except catcher for the most part.
The first-year skipper will get a lot of slack in year one from the front office, although the Mets faithful may not be as kind. If this rotation can stay healthy, the Mets should win more than they lose in 2018, and Callaway gives them a fresh start at manager for the first time in a long time.
Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies
When you look at Gabe Kapler in his Philadelphia Phillies uniform, you may think the veteran journeyman is out there trying to win a job. Instead, he is the one finalizing the roster for the Phillies, as he will be a first-time manager this season.
Kapler played with incredible energy during his time in the Major Leagues, and he should bring that same enthusiasm to his new job as manager. The organization went out and brought him in some talent to the lineup this offseason, and then landed a big arm in Jake Arrieta a few weeks back.
While the Phillies do not figure to be a big player in the National League this season, they are building their organization with some solid young players. In addition, bringing in Carlos Santana to man first base was a huge get for the team, and he should provide the most punch they have seen from first base since Ryan Howard in his prime.
Arrieta will team with Aaron Nola to form a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation, where they have struggled mightily in recent years. Rhys Hopkins is another big bat to watch out for in Philadelphia, as the city is still on a high coming off their first Super Bowl victory with the Eagles.
The Phillies were only 174-238 during Pete Mackanin’s tenure as manager, so Kapler should breathe some fresh air into this locker room. If anything, Philadelphia is going to be fun to watch this season, and it should not be too long before they are a serious player in the NL East.
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
Clint Hurdle came to be known during his time with the Colorado Rockies, as he managed the team from 2002-09. Since his tenure there, he has gone on to become the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he has done a nice job turning the franchise around.
A perennial doormat, Hurdle actually has posted a 584-549 record with the team since taking over in 2011, and was the 2013 National League Manager of the Year. He led the team to the playoffs in 2013, 2014, and 2015, but has failed to do so in the last two campaigns.
Heading into this season, the Pirates have some huge holes to fill on their roster. No bigger than that of Andrew McCutchen, the legendary centerfielder who was an absolute stud during his time with the Pirates.
McCutchen has moved on to San Francisco, and will be replaced by Starling Marte in center this season. Marte is coming off a suspension for PED use, and is joined in the outfield by Corey Dickerson and Gregory Polcanco, giving them a solid trio out there.
Ivan Nova and Jameson Tallion will head the rotation, which is kind of a scary though considering who other teams in their division have leading their rotations. The NL Central is going to be a bear this season, and Hurdle could find himself on a hotter seat than usual by the All Star break.
Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals
Since becoming the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Mike Matheny has established himself as one of the best in the game. Still only 47-years old, Matheny has seen his team slowly slip in the standings the last two seasons, and needs a bounceback year in 2018.
It seems like only yesterday that these same Cardinals were winning 100 games. The winner of the NL Pennant back in 2013, St. Louis stumbled to an 83-win season in 2017, their lowest total of Matheny’s tenure as the manager.
Matheny became the manager back in 2012, and became the first manager in Major League history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first four seasons. However, it seemed at times last season that the fan base was calling for his head, and some analysts thought he could be on his way out.
His seat seems a bit warm heading into the season, but that will quickly fade away if this team can get it going early. The Cardinals made a nice move by bringing in Marcell Ozuna from Miami, giving them another big bat in the middle of their lineup.
In addition to their solid lineup, the Cardinals also have some incredible starting pitching. The trio of Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha should win more than they lose this season, and that will go a long way in making sure Matheny keeps his job in 2018 and beyond.
Andy Green, San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are going to have a tough time navigating the NL West this upcoming season, much like they have in recent memory. The man at the helm of the Padres is Andy Green, who at only 40-years old, is already entering his third season as a Major League manager.
A bench coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015, Green has been the Padres manager since 2016. He won only 68 games in his first season as the manager, and then went on to win only 71 games a year ago.
He has to do a better job at putting wins together, and the team went out this offseason and brought a nice bat to the middle of his lineup. Eric Hosmer was a sought-after free agent for many teams, and he ended up signing on the dotted line with the Padres, and brings a World Series ring to their locker room.
Green is a very smart baseball man, and he has some nice pieces to play with this season. Brad Hand is a solid closer, and Clayton Richard should be able to be the front man in the rotation. Manuel Margot is an exciting centerfield prospect, and he should have a nice season in 2018.
The NL West is going to be tough, and luckily for Green, he is signed through the 2021 season. However, if the Padres are downright awful like they have been over the last few seasons, he may not make it to the end of that contract.
Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants
For over 20 years, Bruce Bochy has been the manager of an NL West team. Back in 1995, he became the manager of the San Diego Padres, and stayed there up until the 2006 season. The following year, he went over to San Francisco, where he has been ever since.
To say Bochy is a legend in the Bay Area would be an understatement. During his tenure with the team, Bochy has led the Giants to three World Series titles, including two where his team was a Wild Card team.
However, his team put together their worst season since 1995 last year, and at times it felt like the organization may show him the door. You do not build up as much equity as Bochy has and just get fired after a horrible season, but the organization needs to make sure this does not become a pattern.
In order to avoid another bad year, the Giants went out and got themselves some bats this offseason. The team brought in Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates, and now has Evan Longoria manning the hot corner.
The key to their rotation is Madison Bumgarner, and as we saw last year, they struggled when he did not take the ball every fifth day. Well, MadBum broke a bone in his pitching hand already this spring, which could be an ominous sign for the Giants moving forward.
Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals
Despite the fact that he led the Washington Nationals to two straight NLDS appearances, the team decided it was time to part ways with manager Dusty Baker. After interviewing a bunch of candidates after the season, the team felt that Dave Martinez was the right man for the job moving forward.
Martinez was a member of Joe Maddon’s staff in Chicago, where the team won their first World Series title in 108 years. He brings a championship attitude to an organization that has fallen well short of expectations in recent seasons.
Every year, it seems like the Nationals go into the season as a favorite to represent the National Legaue in the Fall Classic, and every year they fall short. They do have one of the best players in baseball in Bryce Harper, and their tandem at the top of the rotation is the best in the National League.
Steven Strasburg and Max Scherzer are two bonafide aces, and they lead a rotation that is deep from one-to-five. Martinez inked a three-year deal to lead this team into their next era, and while he is locked up til 2020, the team also has an option for 2021.
Washington is going to win a ton of games this season, and Martinez should find himself managing in the playoffs in his first season as a manager. Can he finally get this franchise over the hump? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, he enters the season with a very cold seat.