The Texas Rangers fired manager Chris Woodward on Monday, ending his tenure after three-plus seasons at the helm. Woodward won just 42.4 percent of the games he managed, and he had the Rangers on schedule for 72 wins in 2022 — or, evidently, below their expectations after they signed top free agents Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.
“Chris Young and I had the very difficult task of informing Chris Woodward of our decision today,” Rangers executive Jon Daniels said in a statement. “In his tenure as Rangers’ manager, Chris worked tirelessly under what was at times some difficult circumstances. He has been dedicated and passionate in his efforts to improve the on-field performance of the Texas Rangers, and it is greatly appreciated. He has represented the organization with class and dignity.”
Woodward is the fourth manager to be fired this season, joining Joe Girardi (Philadelphia Phillies), Joe Maddon (Los Angeles Angels), and Charlie Montoyo (Toronto Blue Jays). Receiving the blame — and, sometimes, the boot — when things go wrong is part of the tacit agreement individuals make when they agree to manage. While nobody likes to see anyone lose their job, it’s inevitable in a results-based business that declares one — and only one — team a champion each fall.
With that in mind, CBS Sports must ask: who will be next? Below, we’ve identified and ranked five managers who would seem to have hotter seats than their counterparts. As always, do note that this is more of an art than a science, and that we’re not declaring these managers should or will be fired over the coming weeks; merely that they appear to be at greater risk of falling victim to the same fate as Woodward.
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1. Tony La Russa, Chicago White Sox
La Russa’s inclusion is a given. The White Sox have underperformed all year despite playing in a weak division, and he made one of the most foolish strategic decisions of the season back in June, when he intentionally walked a batter on a 1-2 count. La Russa has only one year remaining on his contract, making it easier to justify a divorce. The catch is that if La Russa has only one supporter in his corner, it just so happens to be the one person who can keep him around, in owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Even acknowledging that reality, it’s hard to justify ranking him lower on this list.
2. Mike Matheny, Kansas City Royals
We’ll stick in the American League Central to highlight Matheny, who is nearing the end of his third season in charge. The Royals have graduated several of their top young players to the majors this season, yet they’re on pace to post their worst winning percentage since 2019 — or, the year before Matheny took over. Factor in how Matheny has just one season remaining on his deal (the Royals exercised their club option on him back in March) and it seems likely that a change is coming over the next 8-12 months, perhaps even as soon as this winter.
3. Dave Martinez, Washington Nationals
The Nationals are expected to be sold this offseason, at which point it seems more likely than not the new owners will choose to install their own general manager and field manager. The best-case scenario for Martinez, who guided the Nationals to the 2019 World Series title, is that the incoming owners give him a season to prove he’s the right individual for the job. We’re skeptical he’ll be able to do so, if only because the Nationals remain in the early stages of a complete rebuild.
4. Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins
Mattingly has been on various “next manager fired’ shortlists ever since taking over in the Marlins dugout prior to the 2016 season. He’s somehow survived this long despite posting just one winning effort in six (going on seven) tries, but his luck will have to come to an end at some point. It should be noted that the Marlins exercised his club option for next season back in July, suggesting they may be all right kicking the can down the road a little farther before they have to make a final call on his status.
5. Derek Shelton, Pittsburgh Pirates
It’s no fun being the manager of a team in the midst of a deep rebuild. Individuals like Shelton take jobs like the Pirates’ not because they expect to see things through, but because they want to gain experience for their future managerial gigs. Perhaps Shelton will prove to be the exception; with one guaranteed year remaining on his contract, we’re not willing to bet on that being the case.