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Change has been in the air across Major League Baseball. Over the last two weeks, the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers have each fired top executives, in Al Avila and Jon Daniels, after their rebuild attempts sputtered out. The Rangers also fired manager Chris Woodward during that timespan, which inspired us to contemplate what other skippers could be on the hot seat.
In the interest of fairness, today we’re engaging in the same exercise at the front-office level. As we noted before: no one likes seeing people lose their jobs. Taking the blame when things go south is an accepted part of life for field and general managers, however, and ignoring that reality doesn’t make it go away.
With that in mind, let’s get to it by highlighting three high-ranking executives with warm seats.
Rizzo is a good example of how quickly things can change in professional baseball. He’s not even three full years removed from hoisting the World Series trophy, yet here he is on the top of our list. Rizzo’s catbird position has a lot to do with the Nationals’ impending ownership change: it stands to reason that whichever billionaire takes over will want to install their own braintrust. They may allow Rizzo (and manager Dave Martinez, for that matter) to hang around into next year as they settle in, but the sword of Damocles will continue to loom overhead. It doesn’t help that the Nationals have bled front-office talent in recent years, particularly on the analytical side, or that their player-development processes have failed to get the most out of several former top prospects, including Victor Robles and Carter Kieboom. As unfair as it is to put all of the blame for those shortcomings at Rizzo’s feet, that’s simply how it goes.
Minasian is caught in an unenviable position. He has two of the best players in baseball under his employ, yet his best path toward building a winner (and maximizing the rest of Mike Trout’s prime) might involve trading Shohei Ohtani this offseason. The question is whether or not owner Arte Moreno will sign off on such a deal, or if he’ll consider Minasian’s fate to be tied to Ohtani’s. Given that Minasian has failed in his two attempts to surround Trout and Ohtani with a supporting cast good enough to make the playoffs, the clock might be ticking regardless. Minasian seems aware of it, too: he’s been aggressive in pushing several of his top draft picks from this class to the Double-A level, suggesting they could be in line to debut next spring.
Moore has his quirks, but he’s almost universally praised within the game as a human being and leader. Professional baseball is a results-based business, though, and at some point it’s worth wondering when Moore’s results will take precedent. The Royals haven’t had a .500 season or better since 2016, and they’ve enjoyed just three winning efforts since he took over the reins in 2006. The Royals did reach back-to-back World Series, winning the 2015 edition, and that surely earned him a fountain of good will. (Of course, Daniels’ Rangers had also won consecutive pennants a few years prior, and that didn’t spare him in the end.) New Royals owner John Sherman promoted Moore earlier this year to club president (with J.J. Picollo taking over as GM), suggesting he’s content to carry on with the status quo for now.
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