The next team Brad Ausmus will be managing, and other upcoming job changes

Left to right: former Tiger manager Brad Ausmus, Houston bench coach Alex Cora, Miami manager Don Mattingly, and Detroit first base coach Omar Vizquel.

There are many teams scrambling for new managers this offseason. Four MLB teams, two in each league, currently have openings. Two other teams have a cloudy situation that might result in new manager searches.

Whether there will be four or six jobs available, this offseason will be exciting as these teams seek a new field manager. Invariably, some of the same candidates will be interviewed by several teams. It’s been quite a while since there’s been such a favorable job market for MLB managers.

Here’s my look at where each team stands and who might end up with new jobs.

Philadelphia Phillies

Managerial Status: Job open
Last Manager: Pete Mackanin

The Phils are in the midst of a massive overhaul after a great run that saw them win five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011 which included two pennants and a World Series title. The slate has been wiped clean and young players are being cultivated with an eye to the future. In 2017 they were the youngest team in baseball, with not one regular position player as old as 29. The team moved Mackanin to a front office position where the 66-year old baseball lifer is best suited. He was never going to be the guy to move a young group of guys into learn-how-to-win mode. Mackanin was a peculiar knee-jerk solution after the enigmatic Ryne Sandberg abruptly “retired” following the 2015 season.

The team has interviewed Juan Samuel, a popular former Phillie but someone whose only managerial track record is 51 games as an interim for the Orioles back in 2010. Most likely, Samuel is a courtesy interview to appease a former star and the fan base. The Phillies will probably want someone with experience teaching young players.

The popular choice seems to be Jorge Velandia, a former Phils coach respected for his ability to connect with Latin American players.

I’d be surprised if Alex Cora doesn’t get an interview, he’s a hot managerial name who will likely get a look from most of the teams on this list. But the Phils won’t be the best job available to him.

An interesting rumor has emerged around Baltimore’s Buck Showalter, who has ties to the Philly front office. Buck doesn’t have a great relationship with his current bosses, so if he leaves it would probably be because he’s tired of that situation.

Their Next Manager:  Dusty Wathan
Wathan has managed most of the current Phillies in their minor league system at several different levels. At 44 he’s young and progressive in his approach to analytics. He’s not a marquee name, but he has dugout experience, and the frisky young Phils are the perfect spot for Wathan to get his first shot in the big leagues.

New York Mets

Managerial Status: Job open
Last Manager: Terry Collins

Two years after guiding the Mets to a pennant, Collins retired at the end of this season, ending seven years at the helm. His record was spotty, and depending on who you talk to, he was either a fiery old-school manager in the mold of his good friend Jim Leyland, or he was a doddering old man whom the game has passed by.

The Mets are in a state of drama, as often is the case. Are they a few moves away from competing in the NL East or will they need to reshuffle the roster to get younger and better? Probably a little of both. Can they do that in the fish bowl of New York without imploding? Their next manager will need to be able to withstand the scrutiny that comes from the New York media while also handling a young pitching staff with great potential.

Former Tiger manager Brad Ausmus has reportedly already interviewed for the job. His four-year run in Detroit had mixed results. He was skilled at handling the few young players on his roster, but at times he seemed to lose control of a veteran clubhouse. He bristled at the daily media questions that come with the job. Ausmus doesn’t have much respect or tolerance for questioning from people he sees as “outside the game.” That thin skin would not serve him well in New York.

The Mets are also linked to Athletics third base coach Chip Hale and White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing. Current batting coach Kevin Long will almost certainly also get a look. Could they also bring John Farrell in for an interview? That could cause a stir.

Their Next Manager: Brad Ausmus
Three straight disappointing seasons in Detroit have not soured Ausmus, who is still well respected in baseball. He’s smart (maybe too smart for his own good) and has a drive to win. Since they hired Davey Johnson in the early 1980s, the Mets have only hired two managers without big league experience (Bud Harrelson and Willie Randolph), so they like big league experience. Ausmus’ sour post-game pressers will be must-see TV in New York.

Miami Marlins

Managerial Status: Uncertain
Current Manager: Don Mattingly

No decision has been made on Mattingly’s future with the club in the wake of new ownership taking over. Derek Jeter is going to make baseball decisions for the new ownership group and he (typically) is keeping his cards close to his vest. Will he clean house and start from scratch?

Their Next Manager: Don Mattingly
Jeter’s best move would be to focus his energy on the roster rather than shaking up the managerial position. I don’t think Jeter wants to have a five-year plan (he was fostered under the impatient George Steinbrenner). Does that mean he’ll trade superstar Giancarlo Stanton for a ton of prospects? We’ll see. In the meantime, Mattingly hasn’t done anything to lose his job, and he has a winning managerial pedigree from his days with the Dodgers.


Boston Red Sox

Managerial Status: Job open
Last Manager: John Farrell

After a very successful tenure with the Sox, Farrell was dumped quickly after their exit from the ALDS. Team president Dave Dombrowski was cryptic after dismissing him, stating that winning in the postseason was not going to change the team’s decision to make a change. That points to a rift between Dombrowski and Farrell, two very different men. Dombrowski is a straight-laced company man. Farrell is a bit more rough around the edges and he lorded over a Boston clubhouse that devolved into a bickering shambles with a leadership void after the retirement of David Ortiz. Trader Dave has a chance to put his own man in the dugout. But where will he turn?

The Red Sox are coming off two straight division titles and they’re clearly a good team that can win a title in the next few seasons. Their next manager must be able to exert leadership on the field and in a troubled clubhouse where veterans have fought over who should be the next team leader while also bickering with the blistering Boston media. (Maybe team from-the-hip broadcaster Dennis Eckersley should be involved in the interview process?)

Rumored candidates are Houston bench coach Alex Cora (who will likely get interviews from all of these teams), Cleveland pitching coach Micky Callaway, Cubs’ bench coach Dave Martinez, Toronto bench coach Demarlo Hale, and Dombrowski’s special assistant Jason Varitek, a fan favorite.

Their Next Manager: Alex Cora
With this team, you’d think the Red Sox would want an established manager who has been to the postseason. But Dombrowski hired an untested Ausmus in Detroit, and could again with Cora, who’s baseball’s darling manager-in-waiting. He’s also good with the media (his personality is a lot like that of Tito Francona) and he’s ready to have his own team. Boston will likely snatch him up before a rival does.

New York Yankees

Managerial Status: Current manager’s contract expires after this season
Current Manager: Joe Girardi

Is The Joe II Era over? In ten years at the helm, Girardi has established a fine record, taking the Yankees to the playoffs six times, to the Final Four round of the LCS four times, and winning a World Series title in 2009. He’s averaged 91 wins a season, but to many Yankee fans that isn’t good enough. The Red Sox have won the last two AL East titles and the Yanks haven’t finished in first place in five years.

But Girardi’s work with a young team in 2017 has probably been the best of his career. The Yanks were supposed to be germinating with a group of young players a few years away from making the playoffs. Instead, Girardi has the team one step away a chance to win the franchise’s 28th championship. But his contract is expiring and ten years in one place (especially The Bronx) is a long time.

In Game Two of the ALDS against Cleveland, Girardi goofed when he failed to challenge a hit-by-pitch. In the ensuing days he was skewered by Yankee fans and the media for the gaffe. But his team bailed him out by coming back to beat the Indians in five games. Is that enough to earn Girardi a new contract or has longtime general manager Brian Cashman already made up his mind?

Their Next Manager: Joe Girardi
The Yankees might look around to survey the managerial candidates, but I suspect they’ll ink Girardi to a new short-term deal. The fact is they can’t do much better than Girardi, an underrated skipper who has a great relationship with the current core group of Yankee players. That young group is poised to launch a new era of Yankee playoff success, and while Joe won’t probably be there for all of it, he’s earned a few more years. Ironically, the unexpected success of 2017 will only make his seat hotter going forward.

Detroit Tigers

Managerial Status: Job open
Last Manager: Brad Ausmus

The Tigers are in full rebuild mode. They shed some salary at the trade deadline and dumped most of their established big league talent. That leaves a small group of young players under team control and Miguel Cabrera, who’s coming off his worst season after playing with an injury for the entire season. The future is very uncertain off the field too: after the death of owner Mike Ilitch earlier this year, it’s not clear whether his family will keep or sell the team. Publicly they claim to be committed to longterm ownership, but that seems unlikely. It’s very possible that the front office is clearing salary and making the team lean before putting on the auction block. That uncertainty makes the managerial spot a tricky one.

General manager Al Avila is in over his head. His moves so far in just over two years in charge prove that. He’s made bad free agent decisions and has been unable to pull off shrewd trades that Dombrowski used to make with regularity. Considering the tenuous ownership situation, his job is not secure either. Still, he has to hire someone to manage a ballclub in transition. Of all the jobs available, this one will be least attractive, so Avila will need to deal with being a backup plan for most candidates.

Their Next Manager: Omar Vizquel
Detroit has reportedly interviewed Colorado bench coach Mike Redmond and is rumored to be interested in Manny Acta, who had previous stints with the Nats and Indians before being fired. They’ll also court Cora, Hale, and McEwing. They may even interview former Tiger Gabe Kapler, a rising star in front office circles who currently works for the Dodgers. Some fans are obsessed with Ron Gardenhire, who spent what felt like 30 years with the Twins and won occasionally. Gardenhire is a great guy, a smart guy, and he apparently wants another chance in the manager seat, but he’s not a good fit for a team that is being dismantled while being led by a clueless front office. I doubt the Tigers could entice him to come out of retirement.

Ultimately, the Tigers could turn to current first base coach Omar Vizquel, who has made it very clear he’d like to have a managerial job someday. He’s a low-risk option. The fans already know him, he’s a good-natured guy, a good face for the organization, and he’s capable at handling young players. It won’t matter if he wins or not, because the team has succeeded at convincing the fan base to accept that it will take 4-5 years to compete again. Want a longshot option? How about team special assistant Jim Leyland coming out of retirement to help his former team out for a year or two? (Doubtful, but an interesting idea that would get the fans buzzing.)