2013 Top 111 Free Agents: Nos. 80-51


Here’s part two of the top 111 free agents list. Part one can be found here, and I’ll be posting the top 50 tomorrow.

80. Carlos Lee (1B Marlins – Age 36): Lee still hits a fair number of liners at age 36, but his home run total has dropped six straight seasons and he hasn’t come all that close to sniffing a .300 average since 2009. It’s unlikely that anyone will be in a hurry to sign him as a regular this winter, though there is the chance that a veteran-loving team will settle for him after missing out on a couple of the better targets. Given his fondness for his ranch in Houston, he might simply opt to call it a career.

79. Joe Blanton (RHP Dodgers – Age 32): It’s hard to see how Blanton can be this bad while maintaining a 144/30 K/BB in 168 1/3 innings. Even accounting for the fact that he’s allowed 27 homers, his peripherals don’t support a 4.92 ERA. He’s also been no worse from the stretch than with the bases empty, so that doesn’t explain it. Nonetheless, Blanton isn’t likely to be taken seriously as more than a fifth starter this winter unless he can put together a big finish for the Dodgers. He’s lucky he’ll have the chance; if not for Chad Billingsley’s setback, he likely would have been bounced from the rotation after the Josh Beckett acquisition.

78. Daisuke Matsuzaka (RHP Red Sox – Age 32): Matsuzaka may be salvageable as a major league pitcher, but no team is going to spend a lot of money to find out. He’s gone 1-4 with a 6.15 ERA in seven starts this year after returning from Tommy John surgery, and he has a 5.17 ERA the last four years combined. If he wants to remain in the U.S., he’ll almost surely have to take an incentive-laden one-year deal.

77. David Ross (C Braves – Age 36): Ross is on the short list of the game’s best backup catchers. Playing behind Brian McCann, he’s hit .274/.363/.470 with 22 homers and 87 RBI in 530 at-bats for Atlanta the last four years. The Braves will surely want to keep him around, but they may need to offer him a substantial raise this time. While they’ve been fortunate enough to only have to pay him $1.625 million per year the last two seasons, some team might be willing to offer him $5 milion-$6 million for two years this winter.

76. Jason Grilli (RHP Pirates – Age 36): It’s been a long, twisted journey for the fourth overall pick in the 1997 draft, but Grilli is in the midst of his best season at age 35. Not only does he have 28 holds and a 2.16 ERA for the Pirates, but he’s fanned a whopping 76 batters in 50 innings. There’s a good chance it will earn him a multiyear deal from some team this winter, which would be quite a payoff for a guy who has never earned more than $1.1 million in a season.

75. Grady Sizemore (OF Indians – Age 30): The Indians took a chance on re-signing Sizemore last winter, but it’s proven to be a waste of $5 million. Absent all year because of continued back and knee problems, his future is very much in doubt. He might be ready to go next spring after resting his knee for a few months, but no team is going to sign him with the idea that he’ll be an everyday player. A large-market team could gamble on him as a fourth outfielder and hope for the best.

74. Brandon Lyon (RHP Blue Jays – Age 32): No one was counting on much of a comeback from Lyon this year after he underwent labrum surgery in June 2011, but he has a 2.98 ERA and he’s been especially good since a trade to the Blue Jays, amassing a 24/2 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings. It may well earn him another multiyear deal this winter, albeit one that’s worth only a fraction of the three-year, $15 million contract he’s finishing up.

73. Octavio Dotel (RHP Tigers – Age 39)*: Dotel set a major league record when he appeared for a 13th different team this year. The guess here is that he won’t be adding to the total in 2013, as the Tigers will likely exercise his $3.5 million option. Dotel has a 2.88 ERA and a 58/9 K/BB ratio in 50 innings this season. If he keeps it up, this will go down as his best year since 2003.

72. Randy Wolf (LHP Orioles – Age 36): Wolf gave the Brewers about what they should have expected for the first two years of his three-year, $29.75 million contract, but they released him last month after he went 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA in 142 1/3 innings this season. The numbers suggest that most of the drop off was due to bad luck. Wolf’s velocity is the same now as it was 10 years ago, and his strikeout rate is up slightly this year from where it was in 2010 and ’11. There’s no reason he can’t be a reasonable No. 4 starter for some team next year.

71. Maicer Izturis (INF Angels – Age 32): A lifetime .273/.337/.383 hitter, Izturis was solid enough to play regularly in his prime, but he’s never had more than 449 at-bats in a season. Given that he’s now 32 (well, he will be next week) and he’s always been injury prone, it’d be a mistake to bring him in as a starter at second or third. Izturis’ off year may cost him a multiyear contract this winter, but he’ll still be valued as a quality utilityman.

70. Carlos Zambrano (RHP Marlins – Age 31)*: Zambrano still possesses quite a variety of pitches, but since his fastball has dropped from the 91-95 mph range to 88-92 mph and his control hasn’t gotten any better through the years, he’s a fringe starter these days. If some wisdom comes with age, I could see him bouncing back as he approaches his mid-30s. He still gets an above average number of grounders, and he’s always been pretty good at avoiding the home run ball. For $3 million-$4 million, he wouldn’t be a bad gamble.

69. Kyle Farnsworth (RHP Rays – Age 36): Farnsworth got hurt right away this year and had no chance of reclaiming his closer’s gig from Fernando Rodney after returning, but it’s not like he’s sulked; in 20 innings for the Rays, he has a 2.70 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Since the beginning of 2011, he has a 2.32 ERA and just five homers allowed in 77 2/3 innings. It doesn’t make him worth a multiyear deal — he turns 37 in April — but if he finishes 2012 healthy, some team will give him $3.5 million-$4 million to work the eighth inning.

68. Darren Oliver (LHP Blue Jays – Age 42)*: Oliver talked about retirement after 2009 and ’10, but he’s still pitching as well as ever at age 41. In fact, he’s currently on pace to set a career low in ERA for the fifth straight year (he’s at 1.71 at the moment). The Jays hold a $3 million option on his services that amounts to a paycut from the $4 million he’s earning this year. It’s hard to imagine that they won’t exercise it as long as finishes the season healthy.

67. Carlos Pena (1B Rays – Age 34): The Rays made Pena their highest-paid player when they signed him to a one-year, $7.25 million contract last winter. His return to the AL started well enough, as he hit .286 with four homers during April. However, he came in under .200 each of the following four months, and the Rays announced at the end of August that they were reducing his role. With so much of his value coming in the form of homers and walks, Pena has a classic “old players’ skill set,” and his time as an effective regular could be over at age 34. His power will likely earn him one more chance as a starter, but the team that signs him should pair him with a righty platoon partner.

66. Erik Bedard (LHP free agent – Age 34): Bedard had never been both healthy and ineffective until his final 2 1/2 months with the Pirates. Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter, he had a 2.48 ERA in five April outings and a 3.59 ERA through June 8, but he turned in quality starts in just four of his last 12 turns before being released. Bedard’s average fastball dipped from 91.5 mph in 2009 to 90.8 mph last year to 89.4 mph this season. Still, he was able to rack up 118 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings before being let go. There will certainly be more teams open to taking a chance on him.

65. Grant Balfour (RHP Athletics – Age 35)*: Balfour’s stuff has deteriorated somewhat and his strikeout rate is down for the fourth straight year. but it hasn’t stopped him from amassing a 2.64 ERA to date, and it looks like he’ll finish under 3.00 for the third straight year. Barring a disappointing finish, the A’s will probably exercise his $4.5 million club option for 2013.

64. Marco Scutaro (2B-SS Giants – Age 37): Scutaro wasn’t much of a regular for the Rockies this season, but since being sent to the Giants, he’s hit .322 with 23 RBI in 36 games. Given his age and declining range, he’s likely done as a regular shortstop. However, he still fits as a starting second baseman or an excellent utilityman. The Giants may well seek to bring him back on a one-year deal in the $4 million range.

63. Francisco Rodriguez (RHP Brewers – Age 32): After Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon jumped at their early offers, there weren’t any big deals out their for closers last winter. K-Rod ended up accepting arbitration from the Brewers, even though he knew that meant he’d occupy a setup role in front of John Axford. As it turned out, Rodriguez got another chance to close anyway, but he blew it in a big way while allowing nine runs in a three-appearance stretch in July. Currently sporting a 5.12 ERA, K-Rod is likely looking at another winter without any multiyear offers. He’s not done as a quality closer, though.

62. J.P. Howell (LHP Rays – Age 29): Returning to form after a couple of years of shoulder problems, Howell has a 2.89 ERA in 46 2/3 innings for Tampa Bay this year. Lefties have hit .184 with one homer in 76 at-bats against him, and righties haven’t been all that great at .224 with four homers in 85 at-bats. The Rays will probably have to step up with a multiyear contract offer if they’re going to keep him this winter.

61. Roberto Hernandez (RHP Indians – Age 32)*: The former Fausto Carmona has struggled since rejoining the Indians, going 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA, and he’s currently on the disabled list with an ankle injury. The Indians hold a $6 million option on his services for 2013, but they’ll probably decline it unless he looks outstanding in his last couple of starts. Hernandez will be pretty intriguing in free agency; he’s relatively young, he’s durable and he still shows a very good sinker when he’s on. He’s had just one good season in the last five, but there will be teams that believe they can get him turned around.

60. Scott Rolen (3B Reds – Age 37): Just when it seemed safe to write Rolen off after all of his shoulder problems, he’s come out and hit .325/.420/.513 in 117 at-bats since the All-Star break. A team can’t sign him with the idea that he’ll start 140 games at third base next year, but if he’s managed properly — and Dusty Baker has done a great job of handling him to date — he might be able to contribute for another year or two. Perhaps the Reds will bring him back with the idea of having Todd Frazier alternate between left field and third base.

59. Sean Burnett (LHP Nationals – Age 30)*: Unless Burnett’s recent bout with a sore elbow proves more troublesome than the Nationals are anticipating, it’s safe to assume the left-hander will decline his half of a $3.5 million mutual option this winter. One of the game’s top lefty specialists, he’s held left-handers to a .203 average, one homer and just one walk in 79 at-bats this season. He’s in line for a two-year deal worth around $4 million per season.

58. Joakim Soria (RHP Royals – Age 28)*: Maybe the game’s second best reliever from 2007-10, Soria took a big step backwards in 2011 and then required Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for the entire 2012 season. The Royals aren’t likely to exercise his $8 million club option for 2013, but they’ll probably have some interest in bringing him back at a smaller price. With his upside, one imagines several large-market teams will try to bring him in as a setup man, while others could sway him by promising him the closer’s role. Either way, he’ll probably want a one-year deal with a chance to go back on the market next winter.

57. Ichiro Suzuki (OF Yankees – Age 39): At .273/.299/.402 in 132 at-bats, Ichiro isn’t playing any better as a Yankee than he did as a Mariner. Still, he’s probably enhanced his value a bit with his willingness to move around the outfield and hit low in the order without complaint. Ichiro may well be a liability if signed as a full-time leadoff hitter this winter, but as someone who starts three or four times per week, pinch-hits and serves as a defensive replacement, he could help a lot of teams. He’d just have to buy into the idea of being a fourth outfielder.

56. Joe Saunders (LHP Orioles – Age 31): That Saunders didn’t get any multiyear contract offers after going 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA for the Diamondbacks last year is a testament to the increasing smarts in MLB front offices. It’s not that Saunders was or is worthless, but he’s exactly the kind of pitcher a team can go year-to-year with and dump if someone better comes along. That’s what happened in Arizona last month, as the Diamondbacks sent him to Baltimore in order to try a younger starter in his place. Saunders will probably make $5 million-$6 million as some team’s third or fourth starter again next year.

55. Brett Myers (RHP White Sox – Age 32)*: Myers’ move back to the pen has gone smoothly, but since he went from closing games in Houston to setting up in Chicago, his $10 million vesting option for 2013 that was based on games finished won’t kick in. The White Sox figure to buy him out, though they may be interested in retaining him at a lesser price. He has a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings since the move to Chicago and a 3.38 ERA in 50 2/3 innings overall.

54. Kelly Johnson (2B Blue Jays – Age 31): This makes two pretty disappointing seasons in a row for Johnson, but it’s not like there’s another second baseman with his kind of offensive upside available in free agency. After all, this is a guy who hit .284/.370/.496 with 26 homers for the Diamondbacks in 2010, and he’s only turning 31 this winter. He won’t command more than a one-year deal this winter, so a team needing to gamble on someone with firepower could spend $5 million-$6 million on him.

53. Jeremy Affeldt (LHP Giants – Age 33): The Giants spent big to retain their left-handed relievers last winter, picking up Affeldt’s $5 million option and re-signing Javier Lopez to a two-year, $8.5 million contract. They’ll have to decide again this winter whether it makes sense to put about $9 million of their payroll towards keeping both. With a 2.73 ERA in 52 2/3 innings, Affeldt has maintained his 2011 performance and actually improved his peripherals this year. He’ll probably command a two-year deal worth at least $4 million per season.

52. Hiroyuki Nakajima (SS Japan – Age 30): Nakajima was posted last winter, but with the Tsuyoshi Nishioka flop fresh in the minds of everyone, he didn’t get taken seriously as a regular. The Yankees won his rights for $2 million, but he decided he’d rather stay in Japan for another year than come to the U.S. as a utilityman. Nakajima has done nothing to hurt his stock since; he currently leads the Pacific League with a .323 average and has 12 homers and 27 doubles in 421 at-bats for Seibu. As bare as the middle-infield market is this winter, there should be more interest in Nakajima as a free agent this time around. The Diamondbacks are thought to like him at short, and others could have interest in him as a second baseman.

51. Roy Oswalt (RHP Rangers – Age 35): Oswalt’s midseason return to the majors certainly hasn’t gone as planned, as he’s currently an unhappy reliever after being cast off from the Texas rotation. In Oswalt’s defense, he probably wouldn’t have signed with the Rangers had he known that three bad starts would be enough to sour the team on him. While Oswalt’s ERA stands at 5.94, he has an exceptional 47/10 K/BB ratio in 50 innings, and his velocity has held steady from where he was last year. His plans for 2013 are up in the air, but he’d fit as a fourth or fifth starter for a contender.

Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL — Brad Ausmus’ reign atop the most handsome manager list is over, ended by his termination. All good things come to an end.

It’s possible, though, that he would not have ranked number one even if he was still managing the Tigers. There’s a lot of hot new blood in the managerial ranks this year and the competition is getting tougher and tougher. It’s also worth noting that, after several years of the Tigers underachieving, the stress was probably starting to get to old Brad too. As anyone who appreciates handsomeness knows, stress can adversely impact one’s hunk-factor. A rugged jawline, smoldering eyes and undeniable beefcake can only get a man so far. Carefree, devil-may-care confidence has to take you the rest of the way home, and Ausmus didn’t have that anymore.

With Ausmus gone, in our fifth year of ranking managerial handsomeness, we enter an unsure new world.

Which skipper is the most handsome this year? See below to find out. But first, the disclaimers:

  • No baseball manager is ugly. All of them have inner beauty, I’m sure.
  • This is a subjective list, obviously. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I will privately judge you for thinking unattractive managers are handsome, but that reflects poorly on me, not you. Let no one besides you dictate your feelings.
  • Finally, because some of you will inevitably offer a neanderthal comment about all of this, let me head it off by assuring you that this is merely a list of aesthetic handsomeness, not one of love or longing. I hate that even in 2017 I feel as though I have to say it, but I will say that I am a totally straight man making these judgments. If you find something wrong or amiss with that, I feel sorry for you. There is far too much beauty among people in the world for us to fail to acknowledge 50% of it merely because we’re worried about appearing less than traditionally masculine or feminine. Free your mind, the rest will follow.

And now, the rankings:

1. Gabe Kapler, Phillies: Was there ever really a doubt?

You’ve seen this one, of course. It’s from a long time ago:

And you may have seen these more recent ones, showing that he’s gone from six pack to, like, 12 pack:

But have you seen sensitive bass playing Kapler?

Or Tai Chi (or whatever it is) on the beach Kapler?

Or, “hey, my eyes are up here, dude” Kapler?

Maybe the muscular, square-jawed thing is not for you. Maybe you like the silver foxes. Maybe you like your managers to be more waif-like or to have more meat on their bones or to give off more of a matinee idol vibe. I get that. Obviously, to each their own. As this list goes on, you’ll see lots of examples of those types.

But there is no doubt we’ve never had a manager that looks like Kapler does, and if I did not at least start him out at number one on this list I’d be hounded off the Internet by hordes of haters.

Oh, and a P.S. to Kapler personally: I saw you walking around the lobby of the Dolphin Hotel here at the Winter Meetings on Sunday night, clean-shaven and fresh-faced. I know you like the stubble, but smooth-cheeked look makes you look a lot younger. I’d go with it. Fight back against the beards which have taken over baseball, my man.

2. A.J. Hinch, Astros:

Those of you who have followed these rankings over the past several years know that winning has a way of making a manager more handsome. Hinch won it all this past season, so there’s no doubt a new glow about him. Plus, I was probably ranking him too low to begin with. He’s got an Andrew McCarthy vibe going, right? And yes, that’s a good thing.

3. Aaron Boone, Yankees: This is, already, a handsome man:

And they took that photo before the Giancarlo Stanton trade. He’s gotta be positively radiant now. When he’s hoisting up a World Series trophy in the next couple of years, Joe Girardi will be off somewhere grumbling at a television, wondering why he was forced to make do with guys like Jayson Nix, Vernon Wells, Kelly Johnson and an aging Lance Berkman added to his roster instead of the reigning MVP. Boone will just be getting more of those laugh lines, which make a happy man look good.

4. Mike Matheny, Cardinals: Matheny does not make the top two for the first time since I’ve been making this list. I know some Cardinals fans are gonna hate me for that, but a lot of them hate me already so it’s not that big of a deal. And, to be honest, the reason I knocked him down a couple of slots is because of all of the negativity I’ve heard about him from Cardinals fans. I can’t think of a manager of a generally good team that gets as much criticism as Matheny gets, not that it’s wholly undeserved. Either way, that shouldn’t matter too much here because, apart from the boost some managers get from winning, there is no connection between handsomeness and success as a manager. But I’m wondering if he’s starting to listen to the haters and if, in turn, that’s chipping away at his rugged, handsome exterior.

I mean, this is not very handsome. It’s a proof-of-life photo, right?

5. Dave Roberts, Dodgers: Everything I wrote about him last year remains true, but I feel like this postseason took a lot out of him. It was stressful and he took on an air of fatigue from all of those pitching changes. This is not a serious blow — I feel his natural handsomeness is unharmed — but for this year he falls back a bit. Just a bit.

6. Alex Cora, Red Sox:

Can we talk about how cool it would be for a manager to actually wear a tie under his uniform in a real game situation? Power move in my view. Pity no one will ever do it. Also:

Maybe one of them will try to go without a cap one day too, sending a signal to bald men everywhere that we, er, they have nothing to be ashamed of.

7. Bud Black, Rockies: The Nationals just fired the guy they picked over Bud Black a few years back. The Braves, also having passed on Black, are in some sort of extended purgatory. Meanwhile, Black just keeps on looking like one of those actors the studios used to get for a picture when they couldn’t get Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck or Joseph Cotton or someone. Not that that’s a bad thing at all. Tell me he could not play a convincing general in a WWII movie:

8. Andy Green, Padres: I could write 50 posts slandering the San Diego Padres and no Padres fan would ever get mad at me because nothing ever seems to anger Padres fans. I mean, if I lived in San Diego I wouldn’t get mad at much either. Putting Andy Green at 13 last year, however, pissed ’em off good. So I reassessed this year:

I’m still not happy with the facial hair — it’s relatively light in this pic but unfortunate most of the time — and he too often sports bad, sporty-guy sunglasses in the dugout. But I can see it. I’ve probably been underrating him. Get the guy a shave and a pair of Ray-Ban Clubmasters and he’s top-5 material.

9. Paul Molitor, Twins: Another one who gets a reassessment and an attendant bump up the list:

His 14-ranking last year was my fault. I was so hung up on him looking like he did back in his playing prime — he was smokin,’ y’all — that I graded him too harshly for aging. Not all of us are Bud Black, wearing our 60s like a glove. All things considered, Molitor is lookin’ pretty fine for a guy with his mileage.

10. Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks:

This is the look of a man who heard y’all say the Dbacks would finish in third place, at best, in 2017 and then went on to win 93 games. A bit smug, which may not be to your liking, but he’s earned it.

11. Craig Counsell, Brewers: Last year I riffed on Counsell sort of looking like an overgrown kid. That still sticks out and I’m not sure what to do about it. There’s nothing wrong with being a boyish 47-year-old, but it’s hard to square with a baseball manager, who is supposed to have a lot of gravitas.

I’ll be honest and say that, when I’m thinking about these rankings, part of me wonders what the guy would choose to emphasize in an online dating profile. What does Counsell’s Match.com page say to you?

Ok, maybe that’s too hard. What does his Tinder page say to you?

12. Jeff Bannister, Rangers: This list is, obviously, subjective as hell. To that end, I’m gonna go a bit weird here and rate Bannister based on how he looked when he coached for the Pirates 17 years ago:

Two tickets to the gun show, please. I’m all-in on 36-year-old Jeff Bannister.

13. Joe Maddon, Cubs: He takes quite a tumble because of this:

That is not the color of Joe Maddon’s hair. This, from a photo taken a year earlier, is:

We all age. Not all of us age gracefully. Joe, own your gray hair. It’s your battle scars. The evidence that you’ve lived and seen some stuff. You’re not foolin’ anyone. Indeed, you appear to be trying to fool yourself. A bad look for a guy who seems pretty conscious of how he looks.

14. Ned Yost, Royals:

The core of his World Series team is going away and he’s recovering from a near fatal injury. Ned has had better offseasons, but he’s still a fine-lookin’ rugged sort of dude. Your aunt would give anything to date a guy like Ned.

15. Kevin Cash, Rays:

Last year I compared him to a tobacco-chewing Mark Ruffalo. Now maybe I’m seeing a young Vincent D’Onofrio? Could Cash play Kingpin in flashback scenes in an epic “Daredevil” Season 3? Haha, nah. Marvel is just gonna use a script outline that says “Daredevil just fights, like, 1,000 ninjas. We’ll put a plot on it all in post production.”

16. Terry Francona, Indians: I used to say that he was baseball’s most handsome bald manager. Now, with Alex Cora in Boston, he’s not even that. A lot to think about for Tito this winter. A lot to think about.

17. Dave Martinez, Nationals: 

Martinez has often worn beards in his playing and coaching career, but even when he has gone “clean shaven,” he has never had anything less than a five o’clock shadow, even five minutes after finishing shaving, I suspect. That’s a rugged man look Nats fans can get behind. I’d rate him higher, but I’m still sorta sad that Dusty Baker got the axe. Baseball is poorer for not having Dusty and his cool, old school charm in the game. He’d never dye his hair like Joe Maddon does, that’s for damn sure.

18. Mickey Callaway, Mets: It’s not my taste, by I imagine there are those who are into the whole Mickey Callaway aesthetic:

Of course, those people are probably into a lot of things I’m not into. We’ll give Callaway extra credit for not even pretending to shave like Martinez does. Not even at his introductory presser:

We’re thiiiis close to having a manager grow out one of those ugly Dallas Keuchel-style beards, aren’t we? God, will someone put a stop to this? Gillette: I thought you were an official MLB sponsor? Exert some damn influence, will ya?

19. Brian Snitker, Braves: I would really like to know where he got this off-brand, clearly not officially licensed hat:

That’s not a hat for a major league manager. That’s a hat a guy working at a garage or a pawn shop in a 1970s New Hollywood crime movie wears. He gets recruited into a heist by an old friend. The heist, though, is really a metaphor for the hopelessness of the working class in post-Watergate society and they all die in the end. And yes, Robert Duvall is TOTALLY playing Snitker’s role. They had to pay him an extra $50K to take the part, though, because of all of the hours he had to spend in the makeup chair to achieve that “what if a man’s neck just grew right up into his face” look. Bobby Duvall is a pro, though, so he made that part shine.

20. Bob Melvin, Athletics: 

Melvin, over the years, has just sort of morphed into Generic Baseball Manager. Hes the NPC “Manager” character in your MMORPG that, somehow, involves a quest at a ballpark. There is nothing wrong with that, really. The world needs its archetypes.

21. Ron Gardenhire, Tigers: Oh, Gardy, we’ve missed you:

Being honest: he looks better now than he did back when he was managing the Twins. A lot of older dudes who had some, how shall we put it, awkward middle aged years pull that off in later years. Go look at some pictures of notable men who are not exactly conventionally handsome. They always look way better in their 60s than they did in their 40s or 50s. Maybe they start to take better care of themselves (Gardenhire’s successful battle against cancer may have inspired some positive lifestyle changes). Maybe they’re just wiser and worry less and the stress is thus less apparent on their faces. Whatever the case, I think new Gardy is looking pretty dang good compared to old Gardy, who used to live down near the bottom of this list. He’s no Brad Ausmus, but the Tigers are rebuilding in lots of ways these days.

22. Don Mattingly, Marlins: Here is a graphical representation of Don Mattingly going from managing a good Dodgers team to being frustrated managing a good Dodgers team to managing the Marlins to managing the Marlins after they sold off all of their decent players so the owners can afford the extra nice teakwood on the deck of their backup yacht:

23. Bryan Price, Reds: At some point Price is going to be at the top of this list. Not because he will get any more handsome, but because he seems to be immortal and will outlive every single other human capable of managing a baseball team. Really, how this guy has had his job so long is something we should be investigating more. Not complaining, though. Stability can be sexy. For some of us, it’s all we have.

The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.

24. Scott Servais, Mariners:

If Bud Black is the general in a war movie, Servais is one of the guys on his staff. A major, maybe, who delivers a couple of lines of exposition here and there. After you watch the movie you go to his IMDb page and discover that his last credit was for an episode of “Kraft Suspense Theatre” in the early 60s, after which worked seemed to dry up. Not even an episode of “Love Boat.” Hollywood chews ’em up and spits ’em out, I tell ya.

25. Buck Showalter, Orioles:

[Crash Davis lecturing Nuke LaLoosh voice]: “If you win 90 games in the show, you can be all scowly and sour all the time and the press’ll think you’re colorful. If you don’t win 90 in the show, however, it means you’re kind of miserable and people are kinda getting tired of your act.”

26. Rick Renteria, White Sox:

Is he hunky? No. But he is the most authentic manager in Chicago.

27. Bruce Bochy, Giants:

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about Bochy on this list over the years. I damn near killed him with my ranking of him once, in fact. Let us leave his physical attributes out of it this year, though, and just note that orange is not his color. Really, that outfit is not anyone’s color. I wonder if that was the reason Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton said no to San Francisco.

28. Clint Hurdle, Pirates:

As I wrote last year, “Hurdle’s handsomeness is directly proportional to his happiness. He has a very pleasant smile and gives off an admirable rugged charm when things are going well.” I suppose this was a bad day. Given the state of the Pirates, I suppose he has had a lot of bad days lately.

29. Mike Scioscia, Angels: Scioscia has been at or near the bottom of this list for some time, but I think he’s earned a bump up the ladder a bit. Mostly because, for the first time since the 1980s, he cracked a smile in 2017:

And, just the other day, at the Shohei Ohtani presser, he even tried to style and profile a little bit!

He’s still not handsome, exactly, but credit to the big guy for trying.

30. John Gibbons, Blue Jays: As I said at the outset, no manager is ugly. Indeed, the current crop, in the aggregate, is a more handsome collection of men than we have ever had in the game at one time. But someone has to be at the bottom of the list. This year number 30 features The Many Faces of John Gibbons:

Just imagine how that scowl is gonna look after his pitchers face the Yankees lineup nineteen times next season.