Take out the trash: A recommendation for the replacement 2017 MVP.
Cheaters never prosper. Or get to keep their jobs, apparently. In the ongoing fallout from the Astros 2017 garbage can heist, we saw A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, and Carlos Beltrán join the ranks of unemployed baseball managers (Beltrán, impressively, without making it to Opening Day). In the spirit of our AL and NL scorecards last October, I present a special edition. Let’s meet some candidates, and speculate wildly.
2019 Record: 107-55
First Place, AL West
Former manager: A.J. Hinch (570-452*; .588)
*101-61 record earned while cheating in 2017
What a week.
Astros Rumors: Considering pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, the Astros could take the quick route and promote Joe Espada (the current bench coach). He’s the current interim manager, and his name was getting kicked around when there were more vacancies (interviewing with the Cubs and Giants). The bonus here for the Astros is that Espada knows the team but didn’t join the Astros until after the 2017 season, so he wasn’t part of the sign-stealing scandal.
Buck Showalter has popped up a few times. An experienced vet would be a good choice for Houston, and tragically Joe Girardi already has a job (can he manage two teams at once?). Showalter’s been around the league, from the Yankees to the Rangers and Diamondbacks before ending up in Baltimore from 2010-18. He managed to bring the Orioles to the postseason twice — first the 2012 ALDS and then the 2014 ALCS — so he’s got the ability to manage if he has the talent (sorry, Baltimore). He’s well respected, with an overall record of 1,551-1,517, and could provide the Astros a much-needed boost as well as a “new sheriff in town” mentality.
Clint Hurdle officially retired from baseball in November, which is sad to me because I like a grizzled old character. Dusty Baker is still available, though. Coming out of this, though, I think the Astros are going to have a hard time getting someone to interview. The organization has taken big hits in the PR department, with culture, and morale.
Boston Red Sox
2019 Record: 84-78
Third Place, AL East
Former manager: Alex Cora (192-132, .593)
Given that Alex Cora was named as a primary participant in the MLB findings it’s not a surprise that the Red Sox fired him, especially while they’re still waiting for the investigation of their own sign stealing to conclude and lead to more fallout.
Red Sox Rumors: The Red Sox are in a tough spot compared to the Astros because they’re still being investigated for other cheating, meaning they don’t exactly have an Espada to fall back on at the moment. Ron Roenicke has worked with Cora as bench coach for the last two seasons, but we don’t know where he falls in the 2018 investigation.
Jason Varitek is a name getting kicked around a lot, but I don’t see the Red Sox making a player without experience their manager — they’re not the Mets or the Cubs. Oh, and speaking of the Mets …
New York Mets
2019 record 86-76
Third Place, NL East
Former Managers: Mickey Callaway (163-161, .503); Carlos Beltrán (0-0)
Not ones to be left out of any excitement, the Mets fired Carlos Beltrán – who was the only player named in the Astros investigation. My favorite part is the fact that MLB didn’t pressure the Mets to fire Beltrán, but the team elected to do it all on their own. I love the Mets, they’re my “other” team, but after these last few seasons (and offseasons) of drama they really need to just change their names to the New York Messy Bitches.
Mets Rumors: I dunno … is Mr. Met available?