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There have been few MLB players who I have been more critical of than former Pirates, Nationals and Brewers OF Nyjer Morgan. And perhaps it is something I should back off soon. As it has been announced that Morgan will not return to the Japanese Yokohama team next season, there is a good chance he will land a job back in major league baseball as a 4th OF or even a platoon starting situation in the right spot. In that regard, I wish him the best. He is still a very serviceable player who put up decent to good numbers at Yokohama. I am presented my own award, which goes to the biggest bonehead of the MLB season, and I am calling it the “Nyjer Morgan Award”, presented by www.johnpielli.com.
I guess my disdain for @theRealTPlush comes from a series of incidents that happened within a little more than a year from each other. There was his barreling over of a defenseless catcher who was nowhere near the plate against the Marlins. While playing for the Nationals, his hit on Brett Hayes was uncalled for. What was worse was his reaction after being hit in retaliation for it, which escalated the situation. I am not saying he should have taken it, but to show up the team by stealing bases in a meaningless time of the game added to the fact that he was already wrong by hitting the catcher for no reason. If that was the one time he brought the negative vibes to himself, I could deal with it. Then there was him sticking his head into the Brewers/ Cardinals rivalry of 2011. His unprovoked shouting match with Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter seemed like a cry for attention, and maybe an attempt to prove himself as a “Brewer”. With the fact that Carpenter has a reputation for antagonizing opposing players, that was another situation where if it was isolated, it would have been forgotten. Then there was the bold statements regarding the Cardinals playoff chances, which in itself simply made him look foolish. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers to win the NL Pennant and eventually the 2011 World Series. Add in the fact that he intentionally yelled “fuck yeah” knowing it was going to be heard on air on TBS, I have found it very difficult to endear myself to this man. Perhaps if he signed with my favorite baseball team, the New York Mets, I would give it one last chance.
But Nyjer Morgan is not the only associated with MLB that stands out as being a bonehead. 2013 was full of moments like that, from Mets SS Ruben Tejada’s overall cocky attitude almost costing him a job to some of the umpires either doing a terrible job at what they get paid to do or going on a world tour with the hopes that the general public knows their name. I came up with the five biggest boneheads in MLB for the 2013 season. But, before I get into them, here are some honorable mentions:
Brewers OF Carlos Gomez was clearly in the wrong when he took his grudge with Braves LHP Paul Maholm too far in a game in Milwaukee. Starting a fight with the entire Atlanta Braves team did not make Gomez look good, but to this point, this is the only time I have seen Carlos Gomez act that way.
Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig burst onto the scene and pretty much saved the Los Angeles Dodgers 2013 season. He did not do it without some questionable hick-ups though. The fact that he became enraged during an altercation with the Arizona Diamondbacks is justified as he was hit in the face. His lack of hustle and overstated bravado have made him as many enemies as fans.
Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin has hopefully learned his lesson after running himself off the New York Mets. He has not proven himself to be an MLB player, let alone one who can spout off at veteran teammates and then his manager after being sent down to AAA. Getting popped for a 50 game PED suspension did not help.
However, the Mets players and perhaps management decided to isolate Valdespin, which put them in the fire. They deserved some criticism for allowing Jordany to get hit by Pirates RHP Bryan Morris in a game after Valdespin admired a HR in a game that had been decided already. Valdespin should not have done what he did, but to let the Pirates discipline him made the Mets look small.
Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez showed up the Braves a little bit in a game this past season. I did not look at this as a serious bonehead move, but one that should be stated. Braves 3B Chris Johnson looked just as silly when he involved himself, then intentionally took a scared route around all the players. (It was clear he wanted to speak but wanted to nothing to do with backing up what he had to say.)
I am sure many others can be mentioned in regards to incidents that happened this season, so feel free to let me know. Before I get into my top five, I need to mention the consistent bad performance of umpire CB Bucknor, a man who I am sure tries very hard, but he is among the worst at what he does. Without further due, here are my top five boneheads of 2013 in MLB.
5. Carlos Quentin, OF, San Diego Padres: I would have ranked him a little higher as my initial reaction to his actions in the LA game had me more upset than I currently am. But, Carlos Quentin had no reason to rush the mound after he was hit by the Zack Greinke. While stating he was hit by Greinke twice before, he failed to acknowledge the fact that he stands closer to the plate than any other MLB hitter and is frequently among the most hit batters in all of MLB. If he has such a problem getting hit, maybe it is time to back off the plate.
4. Umpire Tom Hallion: Hallion has had enough of a reputation for being a hothead. Maybe he simply needs some anger management. However, his actions during a Rays game in Chicago simply make Hallion look silly. After what arguably seemed like a small strike zone by Rays LHP David Price, it seemed like Price composed himself professionally walking off the field after the 7th and final inning of his outing. Was he happy? No, but he did nothing to show up Hallion. Hallion took his mask and said, “Throw the fucking ball over the plate!”, enraging the Rays bench and leading to his subsequent ejection of Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson. Hallion then called Price and the Rays bench a “liar” when asked about it after the game. My two cents: The Rays bench would not have reacted the way it did had Hallion not made that statement. Fans come out to see the players play baseball, not Tom Hallion.
3. Umpire Angel Hernandez: This will be my final time I cite a MLB umpire in this piece (#HoldUmpiresAccountable). Similar to Bucknor, there is no doubt that Angel Hernandez is one of the worst at doing his job. This was something known prior to his actions in a game between the Oakland Athletics and Cleveland Indians when he was named temporary crew chief when Gerry Davis was unable to participate in Oakland. A ball hit by Athletics infielder Adam Rosales was ruled a double on the field when there was uncertainty over whether it went over the HR line or not. The umpires went to watch the video replay of it, which should have shown inconclusively that the ball hit the railing above the yellow line over the fence in right center field. As the crew chief, Hernandez refused to overturn the improper call. After ejecting Athletics manager Bob Melvin, MLB determined that Hernandez made the incorrect call, even though instant replay was used.
2. Brian McCann, catcher, Atlanta Braves: I, personally, like the fact that Brian McCann defends his teammates and has the reputation for being a very good leader. That should translate well to his new team, the New York Yankees. And the two particular incidents were provoked by Jose Fernandez and Carlos Gomez, respectively. But, McCann does look like a bonehead after taking it upon himself to be the police on the diamond. Many players show up the opposition by admiring home runs, and in my opinion, Fernandez did nothing more than what guys like Yasiel Puig and David Ortiz do on a nightly basis. If the first instance does not happen, the second is not blown up as much as it was. I thought McCann overreacted with the Fernandez situation, though he was correct with the way he handled the Gomez one. And while I admire McCann for defending his teammates, there is no one MLB player in charge of morality.
1. Luis Cruz, 3B, team Mexico in WBC, Dodgers, Yankees: I find it amazing that the biggest bonehead in 2013 happened to be over an incident during MLB’s spring training. I figured somebody would have topped it during the long MLB season, and subsequent postseason. But Cruz, who currently is not playing for a MLB team and was let go twice during the season, still owns the prize. Not only did Cruz provoke a nasty brawl between team Mexico and team Canada, but the fact that he did not understand the rules of the tournament made him look even more foolish. After Canada OF Shane Robinson laid down a bunt to reach via a hit while Canada held a decisive lead, Cruz openly signaled to his pitcher to hit the next batter. The rules of the tournament stated that if teams finished with the same records, one of the ways of determining which team moved on was total runs scored. Cruz’ voice was heard, which led to three pitches being thrown inside to the next batter, the last which incited the aggressive brawl between the two teams. Cruz recently signed a contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Professional League.
Perhaps I missed some other boneheads in MLB in 2013. Feel free to comment if there are any that strike your ire. Just remember, bitter feelings towards a manager for a team not doing well really dont count. Neither do underachieving players. Congratulations to Luis Cruz on winning the first annual “Nyjer Morgan Award”, presented by www.johnpielli.com.
Baseball fans should be excited as there have now been more days in the offseason than there are left until the pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Of course, teams and players have yet to submit their bids for potential arbitration cases. Within that, many of the cases will settle for somewhere in the middle of the bids of the team and the player. Plus, the amount of free agents that are out there will impact which teams are projected to have higher payrolls than they currently have. The following is a list of which teams, at this very moment, have the highest payroll. This does not include contracts that have been agreed to that have not become official. In parenthesis are the amount of the players on the 25 man roster have already been signed (not counting arbitration eligibles and players on progressive contracts).
1. LAD(16) $188.3M
2. BOS (15) $155.0M
3. SFG (14) $138.2M
4. PHI (11) $137.3M
5. NYY (11) $134.4M
6. LAA (10) $129.9M
7. TOR (15) $121.2M
8. DET (11) $119.3M
9. TEX (14) $101.9M
10. STL (8) $91.5M
11. WSN (12) $87.1M
12. CIN (12) $78.6M
13. ARI (11) $74.8M
14. MIL (8) $71.2M
15. MIN (8) $66.0M
16. COL (8) $65.5M
17. CHW (9) $62.5M
18. KCR (9) $62.1M
19. CLE (10) $55.6M
20. CHC (8) $48.4M
21. NYM (4) $48.2M
22. PIT (9) $47.5M
23. BAL (9) $46.0M
24. ATL (6) $45.5M
25. SDP (9) $43.1M
26. SEA (4) $36.1M
27. TBR (9) $33.8M
28. OAK (5) $33.5M
29. MIA (6) $20.4M
30. HOU (3) $16.8M
It should be understood that recently agreed to contracts for the Mets Bartolo Colon ($10 mil), Dodgers Juan Uribe (7.5), Twins Mike Pelfrey ($5.5) and the Braves expected signing of Gavin Floyd are not counted against the listed payrolls. The Mets would be at $58.2 mil (19th), Dodgers at $195.8 (still at 1st) and the Twins at 71.5 (14th).
Assuming the Floyd deal in Atlanta is $8 million, which is the median of the starting pitchers salaries this offseason, I have included the four mentioned deals in what can be projected as the payrolls for the 2014 season. One thing needs to be understood, however. All the free agents on the board will eventually come off the board and there is still a possibility that more trades will be made. Plus, salary arbitration cases are very unpredictable. So, as we head into the season, here is where payrolls could be, with the remaining 25 man spots estimated with salary arbitration estimates and the balance of players paid the league minimum.
1. LAD $224.8M
2. BOS $165.5M
3. DET $157.3M
4. PHI $155.3M
5. NYY $154.9M
6. SFG $148.2M
7. LAA $144.4M
8. WSN $133.1M
9. TOR $132.7M
10. TEX $115.4M
11. STL $103.5M
12. CIN $102.6M
13. ARI $96.3M
14. ATL $91.5M
15. KCR $88.1M
16. NYM $86.2M
17. MIL $83.7M
18. MIN $83.5M
19. BAL $81.5M
20. CLE $81.1M
21. CHW $80.0M
22. COL $78.0M
23. CHC $74.8M
24. SDP $73.6M
25. OAK $71.0M
26. PIT $69.0M
27. TBR $62.2M
28. SEA $52.1M
29. MIA $37.5M
30. HOU $29.3M
As will be expected, teams like Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Baltimore and even the Cubs, Rockies and Brewers could spend considerably more. Especially with either the Orioles or Mariners likely to sign Nelson Cruz. The payroll totals at the moment as well as the projected ones from here are in no way a guarantee of what will be in a month or two. But it does set a good barometer of where teams may be by spring training. Stay tuned.
Sandy Alderson wants to be a visionary. He feels like he can single handedly change the pace of the free agent process. Maybe he is using the advice of some of the 1980s baseball owners when they were colluding together to drive the prices of free agency down. The only problem is he is by himself and has gotten no support from any other GM in major league baseball. In fact, GMs in MLB are probably laughing as he continues to nickel and dime every free agent he has the opportunity to meet with. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where it has gotten him so far.
Sandy Alderson is a hero to John Q twitter follower because John Q twitter follower feels any money spent in free agency is coming from HIS pocket. John Q twitter follower is also extremely jealous because of their own situation, maybe he has to work to minimum wage jobs and still cannot get by. He looks at the average salary of a MLB player and cries at night as he holds his pillow.
Lets be honest, John Q twitter follower and Sandy Alderson have one thing in common: neither have any interest in the Mets ever becoming a competitive baseball team. And the issue is not Curtis Granderson. There are better all around baseball players that have the ability to do a lot more to change the fortune of the Mets than Curtis Granderson. The problem is the Mets have chosen to go the mode of not spending money, the mantra of the organization since Sandy Alderson took over as General Manager after the 2010 season.
The sad thing about it is a lot of fans love it. They love the fact that only one player on the team is getting paid in the top five in MLB at his position. They love the thought that ten or more players on the team in 2014 could make the league minimum. It makes them happy because ten or more Mets players could be making exactly what their boss’s boss’s boss’s boss’ boss’ boss’ boss is making a year in salary.
Curtis Granderson would not win the Mets the World Series in 2014, but it would be a start. Even with him, you’d still have to add at least one more power bat to be considered a contending team. Obviously there are a lot of other holes to fill. But stop making like giving the guy a 4 year deal is equal to a 10 year, $225 million contact! He will sign a 4 year contact, whether the Mets want to give him one or not. If they do not, shame on them.
Some fans will be excited to see Sandy hold his ground. Until the day he gets the 4 year deal. And some will still appreciate the fact that he did not back down. So, my message to you is this: Enjoy your OF of Chris Young, Eric Young Jr and Juan Lagares. Carlos Torres will not make a lot of money as your 5th starter. And maybe it is time to start buying your Ruben Tejada jerseys and put the big Lucas Duda in the cleanup spot of the order. I’m sure you jealous crybabies, who happen to be down on life, will enjoy another season of losing baseball. That is what you want, right? God forbid you pay a player market value and what another team will pay. Keep trying to be the hero, Sandy!
Many teams in Major League Baseball have a spot for Granderson. And though John Q twitter follower thinks a 4 year deal is too much, it is market value for a player of his age and his ability. Maybe not market value for you- the cubicle guy who works 9-5 and has his weekends off; but it is market value for a MLB player who can hit for some power, play some OF defense and provide a little depth in the middle of the order. If you do not agree, here are teams that could absolutely take Granderson and give him a guaranteed fourth year:
Texas Rangers: The Rangers may be interested in Shin-Soo Choo and can probably afford a little bit more for another player. Granderson at 4 years, $60 million would be a steal for them and still leave some money in the tank to add a significant starting pitcher.
Detroit Tigers: The Tigers have set their sights on Choo as well. Yes, Choo is the better player, but to get Granderson at a much lower price will provide some flexibility to get a 3B, reliever and maybe even another starting pitcher. He has had success in Detroit and will be welcomed back with open arms.
San Francisco Giants: The Giants have hung a lot of dollars up in the re-signing of their own players. This would keep them from wanting to commit a ton of money in a free agent from another team. The Giants may not want to pony up a lot of dollars on the AAV, but they would at least offer something in the 4 year, $52-55 million range.
Baltimore Orioles: For the same reasons people say Granderson benefitted from the short RF porch at Yankee Stadium, Granderson could the same in Camden Yards. The Orioles have been a little gun shy about the huge contract. The can afford Granderson and still be able to address their needs in starting pitching and get themselves a closer (Joaquin Benoit).
Seattle Mariners: If the negotiations between the team and Robinson Cano go down the tubes, it will be likely the Mariners could afford who outfielders. If they sign Cano, they can add Granderson for a fraction of what they have to pay Choo. Obviously, they save money if they sign Choo instead of Cano. The Mariners want to bring in impact offensive players; to them Granderson would not be overpaid.
Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox would likely climb into the race for Granderson, but not be interested in giving a four year deal. But, if they offer three, is he going to take three years from the defending World Series Champions, or the lovable losers that will have little additional help in the lineup?
Chicago White Sox: The White Sox added Jose Abreu to play 1B. They have a young team and some good pitching. Paying Granderson for four years will not break the bank for them.
Other teams to think about are Toronto, San Diego and even Miami or Houston. A four year contact will not prohibit any team from continuing their development. Would it shock you if Tampa Bay got in the mix? And even if they went three years, he’d be a fool to take the Mets 3 year deal over Tampa’s. The only teams that would not be in the mix for Curtis Granderson at his asking price are teams that simply do not want him and have other outfielders. I do not look at him as a star, but his asking price is not excessive. It doesn’t matter if your job is in an outlet store, or not.
And lets be honest, signing Granderson to a 4 year deal is not breaking the bank for ANYBODY. Unless you are a cheap, throwback to the 1980s and think other GMs should collude with you to drive down the price of free agency. Which, let’s be honest, is not a terrible thought to have. It just looks stupid when you are the only one.
MLB stayed consistent through the 1960 season, with each league having 8 teams. Expansion first came in 1961, with the AL adding the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators (the original Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins and the later Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972). The NL expanded in 1962, as the New York Mets and Houston Astros joined the NL. Both the AL and NL expanded by two for the 1969 season, as the AL added the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (the Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers for the 1970 season) and the NL added the San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos. The AL would add the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays for the 1977 season. It wasn’t until 1993 that the NL added two more teams: the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies. Both leagues concluded the expansion with the AL’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the NL’s Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998.
Prior to the first game played by each of the new teams, a draft was held the year before for the new teams to attempt to put together a roster of players for the next season. The rules for the availability of players changed slightly from 1962 to 1998, but what was common was the opportunity for the new teams to decide which players they could use from the existing teams in MLB. Over a series of 14 posts, I will review the expansion drafts of each of these newer 14 teams. Included are trades made following the draft and which players were taken first overall. Without further due, here is a recap of the 1992 expansion draft for the Florida Marlins.
The draft was set up to where the two new NL teams, the Rockies and the Florida Marlins, could select players from both the National and American Leagues. To give the AL a little of a break, there was a limit of 8 AL teams that could have three players chosen. Each round consisted of 24 players taken for a total of 72 players. The Rockies won the coin toss and had a choice to either pick first and receive the last pick in the 1993 amateur draft or to pick 2nd and 3rd and receive the 2nd to last pick in the 1993 amateur draft. The Rockies chose to take the first pick, leaving the Marlins with the 2nd overall pick and the 27th pick in the upcoming draft. The Marlins took outfielder Nigel Wilson from the Toronto Blue Jays organization with their first pick.
That was followed by RHP Jose Martinez (4th) from the New York Mets. The Marlins 3rd selection was SS Bret Barberie (6th) from the Montreal Expos. They followed that up with RHP Trevor Hoffman (8th) from the Cincinnati Reds. The Marlins next two picks were RHP Pat Rapp (10th) from the San Francisco Giants and LHP Greg Hibbard (12th) from the Chicago Cubs. The rest of their top ten picks were OF Chuck Carr (14th) from the St Louis Cardinals, OF Darrell Whitmore (16th) from the Indians, RHP Bryan Harvey (18th) from the California Angels and OF Jeff Conine (20th) from the Kansas City Royals. The Marlins finished off the first round by drafting RHP Kip Yaughn (22nd) from the Baltimore Orioles and OF Jesus Tavarez (24th) from the Seattle Mariners.
The Marlins opened up the second round by drafting OF Carl Everett (27th) from the New York Yankees. Their next pick was RHP David Weathers (29th) from the Blue Jays. Other notable second round picks were SS Ramon Martinez (33rd) from the Pittsburgh Pirates, C Steve Decker (35th) from the Giants, RHP Jack Armstrong (37th) from the Reds and RHPs Robert Person (47th) from the White Sox, Jim Corsi (49th) from the Oakland Athletics and Richie Lewis (51st) from the Orioles.
The Marlins also had the first pick of the third round and used that to select LHP Danny Jackson (53rd) from the Pirates. Other notable third round selections were OF Junior Felix (60th) from the Angels, 3B Chris Donnels (60th) from the Mets and OF Monty Fariss (70th) from the Texas Rangers. They also had the last pick in the draft which they used to pick LHP Jeff Tabaka (72nd) from the Milwaukee Brewers.
The following is the entire Florida Marlins expansion draft:
54Danny JacksonLeft-handed pitcherPittsburgh PiratesFlorida Marlins
56Jamie McAndrewRight-handed pitcherLos Angeles DodgersFlorida Marlins
58Bob NatalCatcherMontreal ExposFlorida Marlins
60Junior FélixOutfielderCalifornia AngelsFlorida Marlins
62Kerwin MooreOutfielderKansas City RoyalsFlorida Marlins
64Ryan BowenRight-handed pitcherHouston AstrosFlorida Marlins
66Scott BakerLeft-handed pitcherSt. Louis CardinalsFlorida Marlins
68Chris DonnelsThird basemanNew York MetsFlorida Marlins
70Monty FarissOutfielderTexas RangersFlorida Marlins
72Jeff TabakaLeft-handed pitcherMilwaukee BrewersFlorida Marlins
After the draft, the Marlins signed free agents Charlie Hough, Benito Santiago, Orestes Destrade and Dave Magadan. They traded Hibbard to back to the Cubs for 3B Gary Scott and SS Alex Arias. They dealt Helfand back to the Athletics along with Baker to get SS Walt Weiss. They Marlins also added free agent catcher Terry McGriff and 2B Rick Renteria. The Marlins took OF Scott Pose in the 1992 Rule 5 draft from the Reds.
The following was the Marlins opening day lineup in 1993:
The Marlins finished 64-98 in their first season under manager Rene Lachemann. In June, within a couple days of each other, the Marlins acquired Gary Sheffield from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Hoffman, Jose Martinez and Berumen and acquired OF Henry Cotto and RHP Jeff Darwin from the Mariners for Magadan.
During this offseason, four teams have hired new managers with no MLB managing experience. The Cubs just hired Rick Renteria, the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus, the Nationals Matt WIlliams and the Reds Bryan Price. Of course, the Phillies hired former Cubs star and Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as manager during the 2013 season. Sandberg joined Walt Weiss (Colorado), Mike Redmond (Miami) and Bo Porter (Houston) as first time managers in 2013. Prior to the 2012 season, the Cubs hired Dale Sveum to be their new manager. The Chicago White Sox shocked when they hired Robin Ventura to be their manager as Ventura had never managed or coached on any professional level. Of course, the Cardinals would go the same root with Mike Matheny, but the performance of the Cardinals over the past two seasons make him look like he had tons of experience.
Of course, one thing every MLB manager has in common is the fact that they too were a first time manager at one point. Most of the veteran managers have retired, with few proven candidates seeking a new job. The ones that are are, in some cases, in their 60s (Larry Bowa, Charlie Manuel) and in others, have not had a track record of success (Eric Wedge, Manny Acta). The “new blood” in regards to MLB managers is something that has to happen every 15-20 years. If it happens gradually, it is not as noticeable. It obviously has not been gradual as we have seen 11 first time managers over the past three seasons. Some will have to prove their ability to develop young players and do more with less. Some will have the pressure to win right away. A successful manager is measured by one thing… winning.
The Cubs have hired their second first time manager in three seasons. Renteria is a good baseball man who has had the opportunity to coach for a couple different organizations. The key with the Cubs is how their three young potential star prospects, who have not played a game in the major leagues, impact the team. In my opinion, Renteria stays in Chicago for a while.
The Reds did not take much time hiring their pitching coach, Price, as manager. Price has a great track record as a MLB pitching coach in Seattle, Arizona and Cincinnati. A former minor league pitcher, he continues to trend of pitchers getting an opportunity to manage in the big leagues. He inherits a team that has the ability to win the whole thing. With that, comes the responsibility to maintain it. In my opinion, the Reds success of the first two seasons will determine whether Price is long for the job. However, if things do not completely implode, I think he can get another chance even if the Reds digress during his run as manager.
Brad Ausmus has been a top managerial candidate over the past couple seasons. He has probably the biggest responsibility, as he takes over the Detroit Tigers, a team who is a perennial playoff team that lost in the ALCS last season following a World Series appearance in 2012. He inherits a team that is most ready to win now. The only major moves that will be made will probably be within the bullpen. Many have said Ausmus will be a successful MLB manager. Odds are he will be based on the team that he is now in charge in. However, if the Tigers fade over the next couple seasons, the first finger pointed will be at Ausmus.
The Nationals are a very good team that won 98 games in 2012. They won just 86 last season, but had to deal with some injuries and an overall sophomore slump. Williams may have the biggest challenge as he is to right a ship that started sinking last year. The Nationals did finish strong, but had struggled so mightily in the first half of the season, they could never get back in the race. The fact is, the Nationals have one of the more talented rosters in all of MLB. They are going to be picked by many to win the NL East division this season. If Williams leads them back to prominence, he looks like a good hire. In addition, he probably will be there long term. In things do not go to well, GM Mike Rizzo will blame him and odds are, he will not be around that long.
The bottom line is that is managers in MLB win, they look great. When teams lose, it is always the managers fault. Renteria in Chicago probably gets the longest opportunity as the Cubs are the farthest away from contention. The onice will be on the other three to set a winning pace early. My prediction: one of these three; Ausmus, Price, Williams will be a victim of circumstance and will not last long in their post. We will see how it turns out.