The past twelve months have a brought a number of managerial changes in Major League Baseball. That carousel may continue in 2023, as several teams may be looking for a new leader should things go awry over the coming months. So, which coaches could feel the heat this spring & summer? Here are five names to watch this season.
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We start off with A.J. Hinch of the Detroit Tigers. Detroit looked like it turned a corner in 2021, thanks to a young core that included several talented relievers and starters, and the impending arrival of top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene. 2022, however, was a different story. The Tigers won just 66 games, and saw tough campaigns from Torkelson and Javier Baez. Much of the Tigers’ young starters dealt with injuries, but Detroit did receive an elite season from left-hander Tarik Skubal. Skubal, though, succumbed to a flexor tendon injury in the summer.
Former GM Al Avila was fired last year, with former Giants front executive Scott Harris now running the show in Detroit. Hinch still remains in place, but one more difficult season could lead Harris to make his first managerial change.
After two winning seasons in Cincinnati from 2020-21, the Reds moved to re-tool yet again. The Reds moved on from a number of key contributors, and that certainly was reflected in the team’s 2022 win total. Cincinnati won just 62 games last season, tied for the third-fewest wins in 2022 alongside the Pirates. While the Reds did see some promise from youngsters like LHP Nick Lodolo and RHP Alexis Diaz, Cincinnati boasted a sluggish offense and inconsistent performances from the group’s pitching staff.
After a difficult 2022 season, the Reds did retain David Bell for 2023. However, the Reds front office did let go of five coaches from last year’s team, including hitting coach Alan Zinter and first base coach Delino DeShields. If the Reds don’t show improvement, Bell could be next to leave.
Former All-Star infielder Phil Nevin took over as Angels manager midway through last season, but the heat may already be on him entering the 2023 campaign. After a disappointing 2022 season, Los Angeles beefed up its lineup with the additions of Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury, and Gio Urshela. Plus, the Angels added LHP Tyler Anderson, who won 15 games with the crosstown Dodgers last year.
With Shohei Ohtani set to enter free agency after the 2023 campaign and Mike Trout still at the top of his game, Anaheim must put together a strong season. If not, the Angels may not stick with Nevin — who is on a one-year deal — for very long.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell has been at the helm since 2015, and his tenure has been relatively successful. After a 73-win season in his first full year in 2016, the Brewers have had a winning record in five of the last six season and made the playoffs four times. In fact, Counsell is the franchise’s winningest manager, as the ex-MLB infielder has a record of 615-555 with the Brewers.
On the other hand, it’s hard not to argue that last season was a disappointment for Milwaukee. The Brewers ceded a division lead to the Cardinals in the summer, and Milwaukee’s relievers blew 29 games in that campaign. Should the Brewers fail to meet expectations with a win-now group, Counsell’s job may get a bit hotter.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has seemingly been on the hot seat over the last three years, if fan reaction is any indication. After a mammoth campaign from AL MVP and Yankees star Aaron Judge in 2022, the Yankees squeaked by the Guardians in the ALDS. The Astros, though, disposed of the Yankees for the third time in six seasons in the 2022 ALCS. Upon yet another pre-World Series exit from the playoffs, many in the fanbase and media thought Boone would be shown the door. That, however, did not happen.
With two years left on his current deal, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner opted to retain Boone for the 2023 season this winter. While Boone may have some security given his contract, the pressure is high this season. New York has not made it the World Series since 2009, a drought that Yankees fans would like to end come this October.