No NBA head coach has been fired this season, which is a huge surprise. However, it’s essentially a guarantee that at least one MLB manager will be canned during the 2017 campaign because one always is. Here are BookMaker’s top candidates.
The various sportsbooks were dead-on last season on the “First Manger to be Fired” MLB prop as the even-money betting favorite entering 2016 was Atlanta’s Fredi Gonzalez. He was gone by mid-May after the Braves started an MLB-worst 9-28. At that point, the Braves as a team had 11 homers. Four individual players around baseball had more than that. Brian Snitker, manager of Atlanta's Triple-A Gwinnett farm team, replaced Gonzalez on an interim basis but got the full-time job after the season as the Braves improved quite a bit under his watch.
Here are BookMaker’s MLB betting candidates to be the first fired in 2017.
Bryan Price, Reds (+200): I’m not sure why Price is still employed as the Reds have had three losing seasons under their former pitching coach. They were 68-94 last year and allowed the most home runs in major-league history. But late last September the team said Price would return in 2017. This is probably because the Reds are simply too cheap to pay Price not to manage. He now has a contract only through 2017 with an option for 2018. Also, the front office knows the team is rebuilding and will struggle again this year, so why bother making a change in the dugout. Maybe after the season.
Paul Molitor, Twins (+300): If Molitor wasn’t a former Twins player and Hall of Famer, he probably wouldn’t have survived last season when Minnesota had the majors’ worst record at 59-103. The team fired GM Terry Ryan last July, and a new front office tends to like to hire its own manager. Molitor still has some goodwill from leading the Twins to an 83-79 mark in 2015, but there’s not much left.
Bob Melvin, A’s (+400): Melvin enters his seventh season in Oakland and is 462-447 with playoff appearances from 2012-14. However, the A’s were 68-94 in 2015 and 69-93 last year. It’s not really Melvin’s fault that this is a small-market team with a tiny payroll and the worst stadium in baseball.
Clint Hurdle, Pirates (+750): Bit surprised to see Hurdle’s name on here considering he led this franchise out of the doldrums and to playoff appearances from 2013-15. The Bucs slipped to 78-83 last year and are destined for no better than third in the NL Central behind the powerhouse Cubs and Cardinals.
Kevin Cash, Rays (+800): The Rays have long been a very stable team in the dugout and front office and are in a similar situation as Oakland: small-market team with a tiny payroll and a terrible stadium situation. The Rays unfortunately are stuck with big-spenders like the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays in the AL East. Tampa went 80-82 in Cash’s first season and slipped to 68-94 in 2016.
Andy Green, Padres (+900): Green is in his second season after leading the “Fathers” to a 68-94 mark in 2016. This might be the least-talented big-league roster in the majors, although there are some good prospects on the way in a few years. Green should get at least one more full season to show what he can do with a young team. San Diego’s MLB wins total for this season is just 65.5, the fewest in the majors.
Joe Girardi, Yankees (+1200): Were the Yankees still owned by the late George Steinbrenner and not his sons these days, Girardi would have been fired in 2013 when the Bombers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. New York missed out on the postseason for the third time in four years in 2016 with an 84-78 mark. These aren’t George’s Yankees any longer. It’s a patient organization now building from within with prospects. Girardi should be fine.
Field (+400): Some guys with the potential to be fired first in this group include the Orioles’ Buck Showalter, Tigers’ Brad Ausmus, Royals’ Ned Yost, Angels’ Mike Scioscia, Mets’ Terry Collins and Phillies’ Pete Mackanin. The Tigers nearly fired Ausmus after last season. Detroit has missed the playoff the past two years after four straight Central Division titles. I think he might be the first one gone.Free MLB Pick: Field At +400Best Line Offered: BookMaker