Manager Joe Maddon and the Angels are off to an excellent start, and Maddon – one of many high-profile lame-duck managers – might require a big season to make it back for next year. The Angels deferred discussion of a new deal for him in the winter with his MLB-high $ 12 million, three-year contract potentially expiring at this year’s end and let go of two of his closer coaches, Brian Butterfield and Bruce Hines. A nice playoff run and World Series appearance triggers a $ 4 million vesting option, but there are no guarantees if they miss the playoffs again.
Bobby Valentine quietly was hired as an Angels postgame analyst, triggering manager-in-waiting speculation considering GM Perry Minasian’s dad Zack was Valentine’s clubhouse guy in Texas and right-hand man in Boston. However, folks are convinced that if the Angels make a change, the job would go to Ray Montgomery, the personable New Yorker (White Plains and Fordham) just elevated to his first coaching job as a bench coach out of the front office.
Though many didn’t project the Angels as a playoff team, they boast perhaps the game’s two best players, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and it’d be a shame to see Trout (again MLB’s qualified OPS leader at 1,284) become a latter -day Ernie Banks, especially with expanded playoffs. Maddon, as manager and one of the game’s best marketers, has made some wild moves – most notably shocking by intentionally walking Corey Seager with the bases loaded. Maybe Maddon has to do something extra-special to keep his job, considering his sport-high $ 4 million salary and two nondescript seasons in Anaheim. A friend said Maddon “is not stressing out over it,” and with his carefree personality, that’s believable.
More managers whose seats could get warm in 2022
Joe Girardi, Phillies: The Phillies, stuck around .500 forever, invested $ 179 million in bookend hitters Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber. Girardi is also in the final year of his contract.
Dusty Baker, Astros: Houston gave Baker only one extra year (2022) following yet another World Series appearance and outstanding job by Johnnie B. Baker.
Tony La Russa, White Sox: La Russa has another year on his three-year deal for $ 3.75 million per, and this rough start was triggered by injuries and generally isn’t his doing. But doing things like batting utilityman Leury Garcia third raises eyebrows. Owner Jerry Reinsdorf’s greatest regret was firing La Russa four decades ago. Would he do it again?
Don Mattingly, Marlins: Derek Jeter is gone. Could Mattingly step away, as he did as a player? (However, the Marlins are off to a nice start and have won five in a row.)
Davey Martinez, Nationals: He has a $ 3.5 million option for July, good timing for him. GM Mike Rizzo has an option in July, too, and with the team winning a title in 2019 and likely selling, ownership should want to reward the duo and show stability.
Terry Francona, Guardians: The future Hall of Fame manager has his toughest challenge in years with their meager $ 60 million payroll. It’s all about health really.
David Bell, Reds: They are bad, but his father Buddy, the excellent ex-big leaguer, is said to be close to owner Bob Castellini.
Torey Lovullo, Diamondbacks: They didn’t blame him last year. Is this year any different?
Derek Shelton, Pirates: Tough to judge.
Brandon Hyde, Orioles: Ditto.