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?

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.