There used to be a time when MLB teams remained patient with their managers, and even though firings were inevitable, they waited until the offseason to make a change.
It had been four years since a manager was even fired during a season, dating back to 2018 when the St. Louis Cardinals dismissed Mike Matheny just before the 2018 All-Star break.
These days, managers are having trouble retaining their jobs before school starts.
On Monday, Chris Woodward of the Texas Rangers became the fourth major-league manager to be fired this season.
The Rangers could have waited, of course, knowing this season has been a colossal disappointment, but decided to see whether third-base coach Tony Beasley is ready to run the show, making him the interim manager for the duration of the season.
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The Rangers were expected to contend for a postseason berth after spending $500 million on infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, but have flopped. They are 51-63, 23 games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
“We have had extensive discussions over the last several weeks,’’ Rangers president Jon Daniels said, “and while the team’s current performance is certainly a big part of this decision, we are also looking at the future. As the Rangers continue to develop a winning culture and put the pieces together to compete for the postseason year in and year out, we felt a change in leadership was necessary at this time.’’
The firing comes after the Rangers just beat the Seattle Mariners in two of three games during the weekend, but they are just 15-25 since July 1, and are 6-24 in one-run games.
The Rangers dominated the AL West from 2010 to 2016, winning two American League pennants and reaching the postseason five times in seven years, but have yet to have a winning season in the six years since their glorious run.
The drought is hardly all Woodward’s fault, but in his 3½-year stay, they have gone only 211-287, and were showing no signs of improvement.
It has been a rough year for managerial job security. It began in June with World Series championship managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon being fired by the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels. Charlie Montoyo, who led the Toronto Blue Jays to the postseason in 2020, was fired in July.
The Phillies, Angels and Blue Jays all hired interim managers with hopes of turning their seasons around and positioning themselves for playoff runs. The Phillies (63-51) and Blue Jays (61-52) have each shown improvement and would be in the postseason if the season ended today, while the Angels (51-64) have only gotten worse.
Who might be the next to go?
There may not be any other managerial firings over the final six weeks, but there are plenty of others who are on the hot seat once the season ends.
Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins: Mattingly took a pay cut to keep his job three years ago. He was instrumental during the Marlins' rebuild, but they were expected to contend for a wild-card berth, and instead have collapsed.
Phil Nevin, Los Angeles Angels: The Angels were hoping Nevin could jump-start the team after they fired Maddon. Not even close. It’s hardly Nevin’s fault, but they plan to interview for a permanent manager this winter.
Mike Matheny, Kansas City Royals: President Dayton Moore is loyal, but the Royals were expected to show improvement this year, and instead have regressed, producing the third-worst record in the American League.
Tony La Russa, Chicago White Sox: The White Sox would never fire La Russa again, but they would move him to a special assistant’s role if they miss the postseason. They are the most underachieving team in baseball playing in the league’s softest division.
Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks: The front office recommended to ownership two months ago that Lovullo be given an extension, but ownership decided to wait. The D-backs have since struggled, and Lovullo is without a contract in 2023.
Rob Thomson, Philadelphia Phillies: He has done a marvelous job, and certainly will be rewarded if the Phillies make the playoffs, but if they fall short, all bets are off.
John Schneider, Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays have performed better since he replaced Montoyo, but it’s hard to believe he’ll keep his job if they fall short of the playoffs.
Scott Servais, Seattle Mariners: Servais could be among the leading candidates to win AL manager of the year or he could be fired. The Mariners have positioned themselves to end their 20-year postseason drought, but if they fall short, guess who’ll be blamed?
Follow Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB hot seat: After Chris Woodward, who will be next manager fired?