Four teams are fighting on for baseball immortality. Eight others, however, are currently trying to ward off infamy.
At the onset of LCS matchups, just under a third of MLB's 30 teams are looking for new on-field guidance upon dismissing their managers. All of them missed the postseason festivities, but some hold more advantages than others...
Outgoing: Clint Hurdle (Fired)
The Pirates deserved props in the early going, keeping pace in the jam-packed NL Central at the All-Star break before a brutal second half commenced the end of the line for Hurdle. Enough has been made about the Pirates's trades of Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow (Game 5 starters in the ALDS), but it's tough to feel enthusiastic about Pittsburgh's immediate chances in the aftermath with their current roster.
7. Kansas City
Outgoing: Ned Yost (Retired)
The fleeting good times are likewise gone in Kansas City, as the Royals are mired in another rebuild after their World Series visits. A majority of heroes from those championship teams are gone (Alex Gordon, one of the few leftovers, is a free agent) and the team showed little improvement In Yost's final season. With the AL Central under the control of Minnesota and Cleveland for the foreseeable future, whoever takes the Kansas City job better be in it for the long haul.
6. San Diego
Outgoing: Andy Green (in-season firing)
Members of the Padres' prized farm system are slowly making their way into the big leagues. A team full of youngsters and Manny Machado failed to produce desired results, leading to Green's September ousting. While the Padres have several promising talents ready to be groomed, the fact that most of their budget is invested in one player (Machado) might be troubling to a newcomer. The NL West's Los Angeles overlords in the Dodgers also aren't going anywhere any time soon, even if their playoff disappointments have been mounting.
5. San Francisco
Outgoing: Bruce Bochy (Retired)
The Giants' plethora of veterans, some of whom are free agents, make them a little more attractive for an incoming manager to work with. They're also blessed with an intriguing minor league group, giving the newcomer hope for the future. But, like their fellow Californians, they don't benefit from playing in the Dodger-dominated NL West. The aftermath of the Giants' decision to not sell at the trade deadline in an ill-fated attempt for a wild card bid will certainly be something to keep an eye on moving forward
4. Los Angeles Angels
Outgoing: Brad Ausmus (Fired)
The Angels certainly have an edge on other manager-less squad in that their new leader will immediately enjoy the services of Mike Trout. Of course, with the prescience of Trout comes the caveat of expectations and pressure. In other words, he who accepts the Los Angeles assignment must produce sooner rather than later. The American League's wild card situation is certainly manageable, but the Angels have several moves to make to be true contenders.
3. Chicago Cubs
Outgoing: Joe Maddon (Fired)
The attractiveness of the Cubs' situation is somewhat dependent on who stays from a strong free agent class (primarily Anthony Rizzo). But the Cubs, despite their late-season choke, still have one of the most complete rosters among the vacant lots. There's an opportunity to compete immediately, even if Rizzo walks off. With the ghosts of 2016 maintaining permanent residency at Elwood Blues' fake address, there's a pressure to carry on the new winning traditions on West Addison.
2. New York Mets
Outgoing: Mickey Callaway (Fired)
True to Mets form, this is an optimism that should be approached with the utmost of caution. Questions remain over whether the future of Noah Syndergaard, but otherwise, this roster is among the most talented in baseball. Jacob DeGrom will be back for another year, and Pete Alonso was just a rookie after breaking the half-century mark in home runs. Better bullpen management and working with younger talents will be a major plus in this search, as the Mets look to make a permanent change in their narrative.
Outgoing: Gabe Kapler (Fired)
Much like San Diego, the Phillies are ensnared in a one-player takes a lot salary situation, with Bryce Harper being the guilty party in this case. But Philadelphia is also blessed with a strong roster, one that has slowly been building toward a turning point. Harper can do a lot, but perhaps some guidance from a new leader would be the best source of grounding in a roller coaster career. The Phillies have been close to turning a corner over the pat two seasons, hovering around the .500 mark.They finished at exactly that mark last season, and suitors will be lining up to give this talented roster the extra push it needs.