How many managers' heads are going to roll?

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Donald Trump.jpgFormer Mets GM and current Sirius/XM radio host Jim Duquette tweeted something that caught my eye a few minutes ago:

Major League Scout – “Hearing more managerial
changes by the end of the month. Could be up to 10 changes by the end of
the season.”

Ten?  Really?  My reaction was the same as Duquette’s: Wow.  Duquette thinks that 3-5 firings by the end of the season is more reasonable. I think he’s right.

But just for fun, here’s my list of guys who, based on my gut, a hunch and some moderately informed approximatin’ have a decent-to-certain chance to find themselves out of a job come this fall, for whatever reason. Note: I’m being intentionally bearish on many of these guys just to see if I can get to ten:

  • Cito Gaston of the Blue Jays: Maybe he won’t be fired given how good the team is going, but there have been multiple indications that he’s going to retire after this season and that the team is just fine with that. Maybe everyone changes their mind about it if things continue to go well, though;

  • Dave Trembley of the Orioles: I was actually surprised he outlasted Trey Hillman;

  • Bob Geren of the Athletics: This is probably a longshot, but there was talk about it last year and things aren’t substantially better this year. The A’s tend not to make moves just to make moves;

  • Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins: Matthew is going to have more on him at around 6PM Eastern, but for now it’s worth noting that he was on thin ice last winter. Can the Hanley Ramirez Hullabaloo work to his political advantage?

  • Jerry Manuel of the Mets: The Mets are obviously in dire shape. I mean really, they have the same record as the Red Sox for crying out loud!

  • Bobby Cox of the Braves: This is a retirement, not a firing obviously. Although if Nate McClouth and Melky Cabrera don’t start hitting Cox may end the season in handcuffs after he murders them both;

  • Lou Piniella of the Cubs: I think Sweet Lou will be allowed to see the season through and then retire.

  • John Russell of the Pirates: He hasn’t done anything offensive to baseball and nature or anything, but the Pirates may be operating their franchise under numerology principles. Since Jim Leyland left, they’ve had managers serve for two, four, and five years each. If they fire Russell, they’ll have a three to complete the set.

  • Ken Macha of the Brewers: It’s getting ugly in Milwaukee. And, as I mentioned yesterday, this is a team that fired their manager just before the playoffs.

  • Joe Torre of the Dodgers: This is all a function of how much of a headache he really gets on the behind the scenes stuff.  For all that gets written about it, I don’t think anyone besides Torre knows if he’ll come back for more. And even he may not know yet.

  • A.J. Hinch of the Diamondbacks: The bullpen is bad and you can only fire so many players. In a lot of ways Hinch’s hiring was a grand experiment. That experiment appears to be failing.

That makes 11, although (a) some of those are long shots; and (b) Gaston, Cox, Torre, Piniella and Torre wouldn’t be firings, technically speaking.

So, six firings. Seem reasonable to you?

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.