Four managers who may not be back in 2010 and a whole lot more
When Yankees general manager
"Joe's doing an excellent job," Cashman said by phone. Cashman's similar words of encouragement in Atlanta silenced the alarm bells and headline writers, then the Yankees won two straight, ending the controversy -- at least until the next perceived mini catastrophe for the Bronx Bombers.
Two managers already have been fired this year -- Arizona's
Here is an update on four managers who don't appear to be guaranteed a date to manage in 2010.
There still isn't any real evidence of a rift between Girardi and struggling superstar
Although the conference call arranged by Cashman -- which didn't include Girardi -- is what finally got A-Rod to confess he needed time off, there shouldn't necessarily be anything negative read into that. (It is, however, thought true that some Yankees higher-ups blame the traveling training staff for not grasping that doctors wanted Rodriguez rested once a week.) Girardi likely trusted A-Rod's claims that he was OK too much. But that one miscommunication alone won't imperil the manager.
Girardi didn't have a smooth start last year with the old-guard stars of the dynasty era, but Cashman credits the manager for recognizing the need to loosen up. There are conflicting opinions about how popular Girardi is in the clubhouse now, but he certainly has tried harder, taking the troops on field trips to play billiards and watch the NCAA championships. Girardi will always be intense, but does seem slightly less tense. Cashman compares him to Giants head coach
Girardi's going to get the year, at least, as he is Cashman's handpicked successor to the legendary
"If I felt a change would improve our team, I'd make a change," Shapiro told SI.com. "I think that's just a copout that's too often accepted in today's world. Yes, I'd like to see improvement from the coaching staff and manager, but I don't think that's the root of our issue. The accountability lies with me more than Eric."
Shapiro and Wedge have been close dating back to Shapiro's days as assistant GM and Wedge's formative years managing in the Indians' minors. Shapiro has been blaming the bullpen that he and the front office put together (the pen's 5.07 ERA is the third-worst mark in baseball; their overall 5.23 ERA is the worst). All the injuries (
One person with ties to the Indians claims things have gotten "stale," and perhaps a change wouldn't be such a bad thing. At 30-43, they are surely one of baseball's most underachieving teams. "Maybe they need a new voice," that person said.
Shapiro disagrees: "I don't think a new voice is going to change the bullpen's performance."
Maybe so, and Wedge should be safe as long as Shapiro continues to believe Wedge isn't the problem. And even if Shapiro's bosses don't share that sentiment, the club-owning Dolans do believe in their GM, who is expected to eventually be promoted to club president. So it would be something of a surprise if they overruled Shapiro now.
The GM and pitching coach are gone, and Acta's bosses appeared perilously close to axing Acta a couple of weeks back, before the Nats beat the vaunted Yankees in two out of three. The Nats still have baseball's worst record by far, at 20-49, but they ruined Cooperstown-bound
"I can't predict whether it will work here, but I think he will. I think he's going to serve as a long-term manager here. That's my hope."
While Kasten said plenty of nice words about Acta, he has yet to offer any guarantees. Acta's friends say he is under the impression he's safe at least until the GM situation is settled, and with an "interim" tag still attached to
He gets the year, but there are no guarantees.
Tracy impressed Rockies people by establishing roles for players and doing a good job of keeping them in the loop. But it's quite possible he was only hired because he happened to be there when Clint Hurdle's time finally ran out. So Tracy may have to keep making miracles.
Tracy's bosses, of course, are impressed he's led the previously underperforming team quickly back to respectability with a streak of 17 victories in 18 games. But they won't make any call until after they see how he handles adversity. That call will not come until after the season.
The division always described as wide open became a little less so this week, as the Detroit Tigers' 6-0 homestand enabled them to open a five-game lead on the second-place Twins.
They have an owner,
The Tigers made perhaps the best trade of the winter, getting 99 mph-throwing starter
The Tigers continued to go for the gusto in this year's draft, taking two more Boras clients with their first two picks: high school pitcher
Ilitch has given Dombrowski the go-ahead to scan the market, and they could go either way (hitter or pitcher), or both ways, considering Ilitch's thirst to win. "It's a little early," Dombrowski said, "but we're monitoring the market."
The signing of
Ordonez, who homered for the first time in 40 games Thursday and is hitting .274 with three homers and 24 RBIs, will get there barring an injury or a decision to bench or release the longtime star. Ordonez is back after a recent "indefinite" benching by manager
Boras, Ordonez's agent, questioned Leyland's announcement that Ordonez would be benched "indefinitely," in what appeared to be a subtle warning shot regarding any possible future decision-making based on bucks. Teams are not supposed to make player moves based on money, and one thing about the Tigers is that they never have (for instance,
Boras pointed out that there were no complaints when Ordonez was racking up three straight 100-RBI seasons, that the clause to trigger next year (and one to trigger 2011, as well) were necessary elements in Ordonez signing there, and that the clause was about Ordonez's health, which was in question at the time.
Ultimately, there's a long way to go here before we get to the point of any real controversy, but it could get tricky if Ordonez doesn't show more power. "He's swinging the bat a little bit better," Dombrowski said. Ordonez's performance may, to some degree, have been affected by a very difficult personal situation, as his wife has a serious health issue that required a few days away earlier this year. Though, he hasn't made excuses for his lack of power.
Teams often give clauses such as Ordonez's to stars, but one competing GM opined, "The Tigers never should have given him that clause." In hindsight, they may feel that way as well. The obvious explanation, as with any player-friendly clause, is that they did probably feel it was necessary to get the deal done at the time.
Dombrowski said by phone, "I wouldn't discuss Magglio's situation. It was five years ago. We just hope he swings the bat as he has in the past."
• The Indians have started to field calls on starter
For now, though, the Indians' inclination is to keep Lee because they have him next year with a reasonable $9 million option (and no suitable in-house replacement). Even if the Indians are to concede this season, they don't want to concede next year, too.
• The Marlins, winners of five straight and a sudden threat in the NL East under manager
• Mets GM
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