I was looking over the history of the Manager of the Year award in preparation for this year’s winners being announced tonight and it struck me just how many of them were fired within a couple years.
Jim Tracy won in 2009 and was canned by the Rockies last month.
Lou Piniella won in 2008 and stepped down from the Cubs in mid-2010.
Bob Melvin won in 2007 and was fired by the Diamondbacks in early 2009.
Eric Wedge won in 2007 and was fired by the Indians after 2009.
Joe Girardi won in 2006 and was let go by the Marlins that same year.
Buck Showalter won in 2004 and was canned by the Rangers after 2006.
Tony Pena won in 2003 and was fired by the Royals after 2005.
There are more examples, but you get the idea. Ron Gardenhire and Bud Black were the 2010 winners and both remain on the job, but they’ve combined to go 276-372 since then for a .426 winning percentage.
As for why so many Manager of the Year winners are goners within 2-3 years … I’m not sure. It might be due to the winners often coming from teams that surprised people and out-performed preseason expectations significantly, and in many cases those teams come back down to earth in the following seasons. Or maybe it’s just the nature of being a big-league manager and the lack of job security is just more noticeable when they have a recent award.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.