MLB: Managers on the Hot Seat entering 2019

The Mets Mickey Callaway could be on his way out

These managers have a lot to prove if they hope to keep their jobs in 2019 and beyond.

Heading into spring training all 30 Major League Baseball teams have a fresh start, a clean slate. For some managers, however, the pressure heading into a new season is heavier than others. Along with the ultimate goal of a world series, each team has individual goals within their organization. If they are not, it’s often the manager who will be kicked to the curb as the team tries to find the best path forward.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets

Mickey Callaway’s first season as Mets manager was a nightmare. Despite having a starting rotation anchored by the National Leauge Cy-young award winner Jacob DeGrom, the Mets finished 77-85 and missed the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 seasons.

In New York, the pressure to win is always heightened, hence there was speculation he would be fired after one season. However, the Mets front office has given him another chance and provided the skipper with a great deal of talent to work with.

The Mets brought in all-star bats this off-season in Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, and Jed Lowrie along with a pair of all-star relievers in Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz. Paring with a rotation anchored by DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard, if Callaway doesn’t lead the Mets to the postseason there’s a very high possibility he is the odd man out.

Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners

Despite a recent contract extension, Scott Servais’s seat in the Mariners manager office is likely warm. Despite trading away James Paxton, Cano, Diaz Mike Zunino, Jean Segura and allowing Nelson Cruz to leave in free agency, Seattle still brought enough talent back for 2019 to win some games.

The M’s traded for Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce to provide some pop and traded for Mallex Smith to provide speed on the bases. There may not be sky-high expectations for Seattle but to avoid a complete tear-down that would likely include a managerial change Servais needs to win some games in 2019.

Gabe Kapler, Philadelphia Phillies

Many different factors put Phillies second-year skipper Gabe Kapler on the hot seat entering the 2019 season. Notably, he was jeered when introduced during the team’s home opener due to fans not liking his quick trigger with the bullpen.

Not to be forgotten, the team has a mix of home-grown talent and big-time additions such as Andrew McCutchen, Segura, David Robertson and a possible Bryce Harper of Manny Machado signing on the way the Phillies expectations are high. Also of note, Kapler is facing off the field legal issues.

Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals

Dave Martinez did not make many fans in his first season with the Nationals in 2018. Despite world series aspirations, the Nats missed out on the postseason and reports have stated that Martinez lost the locker room while the team struggled last summer.

Even with all the drama and speculation, the Nats decided to bring back Martinez for 2019. Despite there being a decent chance of officially losing Bryce Harper, Martinez has an excellent team to work with.

The Nats have two of the most promising young outfielders in all of baseball in Juan Soto and Victor Robles. The team also added Patrick Corbin to a rotation that already is anchored by three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer and all-star Stephen Strasburg. Many are choosing the Nats to win the national league east in 2019. If they don’t, it’s very likely Martinez will be shown the door.

Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs

Joe Maddon is easily the biggest name on this list. Maddon is entering the final season of his five-year contract that stunned the baseball world back in 2015 when he abruptly ditched the Tampa Bay Rays for Chicago. During his tenure, he delivered the Cubs first world series championship in over 100 years in 2016.

However, since then the Cubs have taken steps backward. The Cubs were swept aside in the NLCS by the Dodgers in 2017 and in 2018 lost a divisional tiebreaker game at home to the Brewers and then fell in the NL Wild Card game to the Rockies also at home.

Recent reports speculate this may just be Maddon’s last chance to get the Cubs back on top. This will not be easy. The Cardinals brought in Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller, the Brewers are reigning division champs, and the Reds have bolstered their roster for a 2019 playoff push.

The Cubs have not been active this season and may be the same team that came up short in 2018.

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