It might be hard to believe, but Joe Girardi will soon begin his 10th season as the Yankees’ manager. Hell, it’s hard for older fans to believe that the Yankees have had such remarkable stability in the dugout for so long. Between 1988 and 1990, the Yankees changed managers four times. Since 1992, the Yankees have changed managers just three times. In contrast, the Marlins have had 13 managers (including Girardi) since they were established in 1993.
Almost every other team in baseball has changed skippers multiple times since Girardi was hired, so it can be fascinating to take a look at how the managerial landscape has changed. This will go back to the beginning of the 2008 season, when Girardi took over.
2008 manager: Bob Melvin (now A’s manager)
2017 manager: Torey Lovullo (then Buffalo Bisons manager)
Back at the outset of ‘08, it seemed like good times were ahead for Melvin and the D’backs, who won the 2007 NL West with a young team led by Justin Upton and got off to a hot start in April. Then it all went into the tank, and outside of a surprising worst-to-first showing in 2011 with Kirk Gibson, it’s been all bad for the Snakes. The inconsistency at the GM spot definitely has to do with the number of changes. New hire Mike Hazen marks the fourth different GM Arizona has had since 2010 alone.
Melvin was canned early in ‘09, and Arizona gave current Astros skipper A.J. Hinch his first managerial job in the big leagues. That barely lasted more than a calendar year until he was replaced by Gibson, whose tough guy bravado won points in 2011 but otherwise was a nuisance. Two subpar years with Chip Hale later, old Red Sox coach Torey Lovullo will take over in 2017.
2008 manager: Bobby Cox (now in Hall of Fame)
2017 manager: Brian Snitker (then Braves coach)
Even though Bobby Cox is 75, he might still be managing the Braves if he hadn’t retired. Atlanta loves that guy. Nevertheless, he turned over the reins to Fredi Gonzalez, and the past few years with him were quite turbulent. They collapsed in 2011, fell in a one-game playoff in 2012, and won the NL East in 2013, only for Gonzalez to lose the Division Series in baffling fashion.
The past few years have been a tank, and Gonzalez was let go early in 2016 in favor of longtime minor league coach Brian Snitker. The Braves played decently well under him, so they removed the interim tag from his title rather than bring in a new voice.
2008 manager: Dave Trembley (now Braves executive)
2017 manager: Buck Showalter (then ESPN analyst)
The O’s only became good in 2012, but they still have only one major managerial change since the start of ‘08. “Diamond Dave” was in his first full year on the job that year after taking over from Sam Perlozzo on an interim basis in ‘07. That stint didn’t go too well, either, so Baltimore canned Trembley in the middle of 2010. Although Juan Samuel was the interim manager, the real move was to later hire Buck Showalter. He’s been a Baltimore fan favorite ever since... well until the 2016 playoffs anyway.
Boston Red Sox
2008 manager: Terry Francona (now Cleveland manager)
2017 manager: John Farrell (then Red Sox coach)
Hey remember the time that the Red Sox had the most successful manager in the American League, ran him out of town, and hired Bobby Valentine?
I definitely do.
Boston atoned for that idiocy by winning a World Series with John Farrell in 2013, but returns to the AL East cellar in 2014 and 2015 had Farrell’s job in jeopardy until he won the AL East again in 2016.
2008 manager: Lou Piniella (now retired)
2017 manager: Joe Maddon (then Rays manager)
Perhaps no team demonstrates how much baseball has changed since Girardi took over than the Cubs. They were riding the coattails of their last run to glory in ‘08, when Piniella guided them to the second of back-to-back division titles, only to be swept in each year.
The team slumped, fell into disarray, and began executing a full rebuild not long after Piniella retired in 2010. The writing was on the wall for replacement Mike Quade when Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer were hired following the 2011 campaign. They cycled through Dale Sveum and Rick Renteria during the rebuild, and then snatched Joe Maddon up from the Rays once he became available. Now they’re of course on top again.
Chicago White Sox
2008 manager: Ozzie Guillen (now ESPN Deportes analyst)
2017 manager: Rick Renteria (then Padres coach)
The only good sustained run of White Sox baseball in the past century came to an end after 2008, when the South Siders won their third AL Central crown of the decade. They haven’t made the playoff since then and have been so dismal that just two managerial changes seems low. The fiery Guillen was dealt to Miami, and Robin Ventura’s moderately successful rookie season in 2012 led to four years of job security for an under-.500 team.
It seemed like Ventura would continue to linger in the dugout for no real reason aside from front office attachment until he decided to leave. Rather than interview anyone, the White Sox just promoted Renteria, who had been Ventura’s bench coach after the Cubs let him go. AL Central teams do not like shake-ups.
2008 manager: Dusty Baker (now Nationals manager)
2017 manager: Bryan Price (then Diamondbacks coach)
2008 was Dusty’s first year on the job in Cincinnati after leaving the Cubs, and he did win a pair of division titles for the Reds, snapping a 15-year postseason drought. However, a 2-7 playoff record led to his departure after a one-game Wild Card loss to the Pirates in 2013. Price, his pitching coach, took over, and it’s been a complete tire fire in the Queen City ever since. He does not seem long for his job. Ah, rebuilds.
2008 manager: Eric Wedge (now Blue Jays executive)
2017 manager: Terry Francona (then Red Sox manager)
Much like the Diamondbacks, Cleveland expected to be regular contenders after a return to the playoffs and the League Championship Series in 2007. Much like the Diamondbacks, they fell apart, albeit not nearly as much. Manny Acta’s three-year stint following Wedge was forgettable, so jumping on the opportunity to hire Francona when Boston let him go was a smart move.
Since then, Cleveland has made the playoffs twice in four years and came one win shy of breaking their 68-year World Series drought in 2016. Not bad.
2008 manager: Clint Hurdle (now Pirates manager)
2017 manager: Bud Black (then Padres manager)
The Rockies made a stunning run to the NL pennant in 2007. Then they played like crap in ‘08 and early ‘09, leading to Hurdle’s midseason departure, only to inexplicably go 32 games over .500 for interim manager Jim Tracy, snatching a Wild Card spot.
That is the end of recent good Rockies news. They’ve won more than 75 games just once in the past seven years, with Walt Weiss recently following Tracy out the door. Maybe Bud Black can turn it around.
2008 manager: Jim Leyland (now retired)
2017 manager: Brad Ausmus (then Astros catcher)
For a team that won zero World Series games, the Tigers were quite successful under Leyland, winning three straight division titles in large part due to the efforts of MVPs Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. They could never get over the hump though, as they were swept by the Giants in the 2012 World Series and they blew an early advantage to the Red Sox in the 2013 ALCS.
Following Leyland’s retirement, Ausmus (a player in 2008) won the team’s fourth straight division title in 2014, only to see them swept aside by the Orioles. They haven’t returned to the playoffs since then, and Ausmus is likely on the wobbly chair.
2008 manager: Cecil Cooper (now retired)
2017 manager: A.J. Hinch (then Diamondbacks executive)
The 2008 season was a lifetime ago for the Astros, who were still in the National League. A collapse and rebuild followed, and by the time they emerged in the 2015 playoffs, they had gone through three straight 100-loss seasons, were in the American League, and cycled through Brad Mills and Bo Porter before settling on Hinch.
Kansas City Royals
2008 manager: Trey Hillman (now SK Wyverns manager)
2017 manager: Ned Yost (then Brewers manager)
Hillman was the man chosen by Dayton Moore to turn Kansas City baseball around in wake of the Buddy Bell/Allard Baird years. He was not the right choice, but when the youth came up and slowly developed under Ned Yost, it all ended up working out for the Royals.
It remains bizarre to consider the idea that had it not been for Madison Bumgarner, the Kansas City Royals would have won back-to-back championships.
Los Angeles Angels
2008 manager: Mike Scioscia
2017 manager: Mike Scioscia
The game’s longest-tenured manager has been at his post since 2000, even as the Angels spiral into oblivion. Scioscia’s last playoff win was Game 5 of the 2009 ALCS, a contest that featured six now-retired players in his starting lineup.
The Angels have made the playoffs once since that win, despite featuring the best player in baseball for five years in a row. They were swept. Yet Mike Scioscia will probably be the Angels’ skipper as long as he wants. Suit yourselves, Halos.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2008 manager: Joe Torre (now in Hall of Fame)
2017 manager: Dave Roberts (then Giants outfielder)
Ah, the late 2000s, when the Dodgers were annual playoff disappointments and desperate for their first pennant since 1988.
Now we’re in much more modern times, when the Dodgers are annual playoff disappointments and desperate for their first pennant since 1988!
At least they now have owners who aren’t frauds, I guess.
2008 manager: Fredi Gonzalez (now Marlins coach)
2017 manager: Don Mattingly (then Dodgers coach)
Jack McKeon 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Dan Jennings, the inexplicable GM-manager.
The Marlins are so messed up that their manager from a decade ago is now somehow back with the team in a lesser role. What a team.
2008 manager: Ned Yost (now Royals manager)
2017 manager: Craig Counsell (then Brewers infielder)
Thanks in large part to an otherworldly post-deadline performance by CC Sabathia, the Brewers broke their 26-year playoff drought in ‘08, but Yost wasn’t there to see it through. Milwaukee somewhat memorably fired him with two weeks to go, electing to have Dale Sveum finish the job in an interim capacity. It was all for naught, as the Phillies easily dispatched them in the playoffs anyway.
Ken Macha oversaw two forgettable years, but then new manager Ron Roenicke won the 2011 NL Central and brought them two games shy of a World Series. The next three seasons saw no such playoff glory, and Roenicke was let go in early 2015. His replacement was Craig Counsell, who 10 years ago was playing for Milwaukee.
2008 manager: Ron Gardenhire (now Diamondbacks coach)
2017 manager: Paul Molitor (then Twins coach)
The Twins have had just three managers in the last 30 years, so even one change is high for them. One can’t say it wasn’t deserved though, as after back-to-back division titles in 2009 and 2010, Gardenhire was at the helm for four straight 90-loss seasons. Molitor improbably brought them to contention and back over .500 in 2015, only to see them massively stumble and set a Minnesota record for most losses in 2016 (103). In Falvey they trust, but in Molitor? We’ll see.
New York Mets
2008 manager: Willie Randolph (now retired)
2017 manager: Terry Collins
I will never forgive the Mets for shitcanning Willie Randolph at 3 AM in the middle of June after a West Coast game. They seemingly tried to pin their 2007 collapse on him, only to eventually collapse all over again in 2008 under Jerry Manuel. Here’s a fun fact: Willie Randolph still has the second-highest winning percentage in Mets managerial history, behind only Davey Johnson.
Whatever. A later Mets rebuild led by Sandy Alderson brought about a Queens resurgence in 2015, though Collins’ job security is very much in doubt entering 2017.
2008 manager: Bob Geren (now Dodgers coach)
2017 manager: Bob Melvin (then Diamondbacks manager)
Well, the A’s still have a manager named Bob anyway. Geren never made the playoffs, so Melvin was more successful since he won consecutive AL West titles in 2012 and 2013, though in typical A’s fashion, they failed to advance. A midseason collapse in 2014 preceded a one-game playoff loss, and they’ve been a 90-loss team each of the past two years. Prepare your resumes, Bobs of the baseball world.
2008 manager: Charlie Manuel (now retired)
2017 manager: Pete Mackanin (then Yankees scout)
Guided by Ol’ Cholly, 2007-11 was a golden era for Phillies baseball, winning a helluva lot of games and a championship with some uber-talented players. As they aged though, the winning stopped, and to be honest, I already forgot that the Ryne Sandberg Era happened.
Manuel was fired in August 2013 and replaced by Sandberg, who quite obviously could not turn that declining roster around either. They were last place in 2014 and 22 games under .500 when Sandberg was canned and replaced by interim manager Pete Mackanin. The new front office led by Matt Klentak liked his work, so Mackanin will remain the Phillies’ skipper.
2008 manager: John Russell (now Orioles coach)
2017 manager: Clint Hurdle (then Rockies manager)
The Cubs and Astros made several managerial swaps during their rebuilds, but give the Pirates some credit for only needing one. Although Russell wasn’t the answer for the Bucs’ youth, they responded to Hurdle and snapped the longest streak of losing seasons in professional sports with a Wild Card berth in 2013.
The question is after three straight playoff appearances through 2015, what is the team’s future following a 78-83 campaign in 2016? Youth outside of Andrew McCutchen will have to further flourish. The organization seems to still like Hurdle, for now.
San Diego Padres
2008 manager: Bud Black (now Rockies manager)
2017 manager: Nick Green (then Louisville Bats infielder)
Black was the Padres’ manager for an amazing amount of time considering the fact that they never made the postseason. In eight and a half years, the team only competed in 2007, when they fell in the Wild Card tiebreaker to Colorado, and 2010, when an NL West bid slipped away in the final week. The manager can’t do everything, but results are results.
Interim Pat Murphy was brought in after Black was fired in June 2015 with the hope that he would impress enough to earn a full-time gig. No dice, as he was let go in favor of Nick Green, who promptly lost 94 games in his debut. Promising.
San Francisco Giants
2008 manager: Bruce Bochy
2017 manager: Bruce Bochy
Hired one year before Girardi, Bochy has never left the Giants’ helm, and he has three pretty World Series trophies on his mantle. He’s a future Hall of Famer and he’s not going anywhere.
2008 manager: John McLaren (now Phillies coach)
2017 manager: Scott Servais (then Rangers coach)
It has been a rough decade for Mariners fans, who saw one bad GM era end in 2008 with Bill Bavasi's dismissal, only to see another poor one begin with Jack Z. He's gone now too in favor of Jerry Dipoto, but the disappointing results of the past 10 seasons are apparent simply from their managerial changes.
First it was John McLaren getting the boot barely a year after taking over midseason for Mike Hargrove. Interim Jim Riggleman didn't survive the year. Neither Don Wakamatsu nor Eric Wedge turned out to be the answer, and despite a promising 2015, Lloyd McClendon was doomed when Dipoto was hired and wanted to bring his own man in (Servais). Once Toronto made the playoffs, the Mariners were tagged with the longest postseason drought in the game. It's not hard to see why.
St. Louis Cardinals
2008 manager: Tony La Russa (now in Hall of Fame)
2017 manager: Mike Matheny (then Cardinals coach)
La Russa led the Cardinals to the improbably 2011 World Series run and retired, leaving them with his recommended replacement, former catcher Mike Matheny. Annual playoff berths continued through 2015, but with the Cubs surging ahead of their division, can Matheny keep his job? It’s another case where the organization seems to like him a lot, so he should be fine for awhile.
Tampa Bay Rays
2008 manager: Joe Maddon (now Cubs manager)
2017 manager: Kevin Cash (then Red Sox catcher)
The expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays had an opening decade about as bad as the Mets' early years, rarely finishing above last place. Then they rebranded as the Rays, saw their youthful talent flourish, and stunned baseball with a ride to the AL pennant in '08 under Joe Maddon. While they didn't make it back to the Fall Classic, they did clinch playoff spots in 2010, 2011, and 2013, not bad at all for a team in a terrible park with minimal payroll.
Since the 2014 departures of Maddon and GM Andrew Friedman though, the club has been in a malaise. The young Kevin Cash was the Rays' choice for watching over the rebuild, and given their early patience with Maddon in similar circumstances, he will likely stick around at least a little while.
2008 manager: Ron Washington (now Braves coach)
2017 manager: Jeff Banister (then Pirates executive)
Life was never better for the Rangers under Ron Washington, who guided them to back-to-back World Series in 2010 and 2011. The team was twice just one strike away from their first championship until Cardinals Devil Magic happened. Then a late-season collapse from the AL West lead doomed them to a one-game playoff loss in 2012, and they lost a tiebreaker game for the Wild Card in 2013.
A complete tire fire in 2014 combined with off-field issues led to Washington being fired, briefly replaced by Tim Bogar. To his credit, Jeff Banister has righted the ship with consecutive AL West crowns the past two years, so they're in good shape.
Toronto Blue Jays
2008 manager: John Gibbons
2017 manager: John Gibbons
Yes, somehow 10 years later, the Jays have returned back to where they started with Gibbons. George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin would be proud. Gibbons was let go in favor of early-'90s championship manager Cito Gaston, who returned to pilot the team through his retirement at the end of 2010.
The Jays hired then-pitching coach John Farrell away from Boston, but once the main job opened up there, he departed. So in came Gibbons again, and he helped snap the playoff drought. All's well that ends well.
2008 manager: Manny Acta (now Mariners coach)
2017 manager: Dusty Baker (then Reds manager)
The odyssey of the Washington Nationals is fascinating. Manny Acta was fired after a few forgettable seasons, and when they wouldn't negotiate an extension with the surprisingly decent Jim Riggleman, he was let go too. Davey Johnson came out of semi-retirement to guide the up-and-coming club to their first division title in 2012, though he retired for good following a heartbreaking NLDS loss and a playoff miss in 2013.
Matt Williams joined the Nats and watched as they succeeded despite his bizarre tactics in 2014. It all came apart the next year, and so now veteran Dusty Baker finds himself leading a contender once more. How long will he last with no playoff series wins? Who knows.