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?

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.