by Alex Poletti
After the final outs of game 162 were recording, the National League announced it would be holding a winter-long fire sale for all managerial positions. Due to the league’s intent to clear out all current managers, the new hirings are expected to be at a major discount.
“The National League is having a fire sale, everyone must go!” an advertisement reads. “Managers? Bench coaches? Hitting coaches? Pitching coaches? Whatever you need, they just got fired!”
So far, four teams have announced that they will welcome new management in 2020. While some, like the parting of all-time great Bruce Bochy from the Giants, come as a result of retirement, most of the position openings are due to lackluster team performance.
With so many managers now looking for work—and certain Philadelphia coaches soon to join them—it’s uncertain whether the ex-managers will simply switch teams or retire. It’s possible that front offices could skip the fire sale altogether, opting for young former players instead.
“It’s like an outlet mall: it’s so hard to choose from so many discount options,” Cubs general manager Theo Epstein says. “But it is very convenient. I mean, why go and search for the next Alex Cora or Aaron Boone when there’s a perfectly good Clint Hurdle sitting on the shelf for a quarter of the price?”
Of course, there are still many managers slowly going stale from last year’s sale as well, such as Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia.
“There’s no warranty when you pick a manager,” the President of Baseball Operations for the Giants, Farhan Zaidi, says. “Every year you own a manager after a World Series, he depreciates in value. After a while, you need to ask whether it’s really worth it to your manager, or if your manager still works. Of course, some managers get better with age. If you can get a good manager before he’s vintage, that’s extremely valuable.”
Some teams even wonder if it’s even worth it to go after managers when there are so many homegrown options, such as bench coaches and minor league managers. This worked great for the Cardinals, who hired Mike Schildt from within en route to a National League Central crown.
“My players always ask me, ‘Can we have Joe Maddon?’” Phillies President Andy MacPhail says. “I tell them that we have Joe Maddon at home.”
Joe Maddon at home is Gabe Kapler.