2022 MLB Managers on the Hot Seat

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Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa walks to the dugout after removing starting pitcher Lance Lynn from the game in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians, Monday, July 11, 2022, in Cleveland.
(AP Photo/David Dermer)
Rachael Millanta @rachaelmillanta Sep 06, 2022, 5:16 PM
  • Four MLB managers have been fired during the 2022 season.
  • Tony La Russa and Mike Matheny top the list of who may be next.

First, it was Joe Girardi of the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, Joe Maddon went from the Los Angeles Angels. Charlie Montoyo of the Toronto Blue Jays was the third, and Chris Woodward from the Texas Rangers was last — for now.

Four MLB managers have been relieved of their duties during the 2022 season, and there are plenty of others whose days could be numbered. As MLB playoff odds continue to dominate news, rumors, and everything in between, who could be the next manager packing his bags? 

MLB Managers on the Hot Seat

Tony La Russa — Chicago White Sox

White Sox fans have been chanting “Fire Tony!” at La Russa for months, so you’d be forgiven for wondering if or when their prayers would finally be answered. With his name now seemingly synonymous with his intentionally walking not one but two batters on a 1-2 count, it definitely feels like the Hall of Famer’s forced exit from the dugout is just a matter of time.

The 2022 White Sox have arguably been one of the most disappointing MLB teams in recent memory, especially considering the overwhelming offseason hype about how this would be their World Series year. 

Now sitting in third place in the AL Central with a record of 68-67 (as of Sep. 6), Chicago would be out of contention if they fell in any other division — the fact that the Cleveland Guardians (69-64) and Minnesota Twins (68-65) have both had average seasons works in the White Sox’s favor.

With owner Jerry Reinsdorf firmly in La Russa’s corner, despite the disaster that has been the team’s 2022 record, I doubt he’ll be fired during the season. On Aug. 31, it was announced that La Russa would go on indefinite medical leave after undergoing tests on his heart, so perhaps he will simply retire from the White Sox, citing his health.

While I obviously hope La Russa has a speedy recovery from any health issues, retiring now comes with a convenient story if he and the White Sox want an out that allows them to save face. Either way, I don’t think we’ll see La Russa in the dugout in 2023.

Mike Matheny — Kansas City Royals

Matheny was hired by Kansas City on Oct. 31, 2019, after the retirement of Ned Yost. Despite posting a record of 26-34 in 2020 and 74-88 in 2021, the Royals exercised a contract option to keep Matheny on Mar. 31, 2022, retaining him as manager through the 2023 season. 

Regardless, I don’t think Matheny will still be in his position after the offseason.

As of Sep. 6, the Royals are fourth in the AL Central with a record of 55-81, putting the team firmly out of contention for a postseason run this year. Admittedly, it’s not unexpected for teams to go through a brief period of sucking after winning the World Series, which Kansas City did in 2015. Still, it’s been seven years now, and the Royals seem far more at home at the bottom of the standings than they ever were at the top.

Before the MLB Trade Deadline, the Royals cleared out a lot of their star players, including shipping Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays, in exchange for top prospects signaling that a rebuild is on the horizon for next season. It seems to now be a question of whether Matheny will still be around to see it.

Mediocrity in the dugout will only ever get you mediocrity in results. If Kansas City is looking to rebuild its way into contention, the managerial position seems like a great place to start.

Don Mattingly — Miami Marlins

Despite the team’s record, the Marlins have some outstanding players. Jazz Chisholm Jr. and Garrett Cooper were selected as All-Stars, Sandy Alcantara is a top contender for the NL Cy Young Award, and Jon Berti is leading the league in stolen bases. So, to be blunt, why is the team such a disaster?

This is Mattingly’s seventh season with Miami, making him the longest-serving manager in the franchise’s history. He was named NL Manager of the Year for his leadership during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but that barely-winning season (31-29) seemed to be the exception rather than the rule.

 

Since he took over in 2016, Mattingly has posted a rather uninspiring managerial record of 429-572 (.428). As of Sep. 6, the Marlins are fourth in the NL East with a record of 55-78, and while admittedly on track to end the season a little better than the team’s disastrous 2019 record of 67-105, it’s still a long way from anything to write home about.

In June, the Marlins exercised their club option to keep Mattingly through the 2023 season, so perhaps the team’s idea of success is a bit different from mine, and they’re happy continuing to compare losing season to losing season. This apparent nod of approval isn’t enough to convince me, though — I wouldn’t be shocked if the Marlins reassess in the offseason and give Donnie Baseball the boot.

Dave Martinez — Washington Nationals

The Nationals are likely to be sold this winter, which makes Martinez’s future as manager particularly murky. Washington won the World Series in 2019 under his leadership which has to hold some weight, but considering the Nationals went 26-34 in 2020, 65-97 in 2021, and, as of Sep. 6, are 48-87 in 2022, there’s a good case to be made that a change is needed.

Washington is still stuck in the early stages of a complete rebuild and the new owners, whoever they may be, are likely to want to appoint their own GM and manager to start fresh. Honestly, I would do the same — Martinez has had incredible career highs with the Nationals, and I’m sure Washington will be forever grateful for his service, but the time has come to move forward.

There’s always a chance that Martinez will convince the new owners to give him a single make-or-break season to prove he can turn the team around, but I think he’d be setting himself up to fail. This early into a rebuild, there’ll be at least another season, probably more, before the Nationals are anywhere near contention, so sticking around to prove himself seems like a gamble he can’t win. 

So, will this be Martinez’s final season in Washington? 

I’d say it’s very likely.

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About the Author

Rachael Millanta

Read More @rachaelmillanta

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.

Rachael Millanta is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM focusing on Major League Baseball. Her work has been published in SB Nation, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Slackjaw Humor. Originally from Sydney, Australia, Rachael now resides in Chicago, Illinois.