On Thursday, the Minnesota Twins named Rocco Baldelli the 14th manager in franchise history. Baldelli joins David Bell (Cincinnati Reds) and Brad Ausmus (Los Angeles Angels) as skippers installed this week around the World Series hush periods. Three teams — the Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, and Toronto Blue Jays — still have to appoint a field general. But halfway through the hiring cycle let’s look at four things you need to know about managerial trends.
Baldelli is the youngest
Just a few days ago, Baldelli celebrated his 37th birthday. It should come as no surprise then that he’s the youngest active skipper. Heck, he’s the first person born after 1980 to be hired as a manager. Doesn’t that make you feel old?
The Rangers and Blue Jays have both been connected to young candidates, so things could change between now and spring training. But as it stands, Baldelli will be the only manager younger than 40. Kevin Cash (40) and Andy Green (41) have each been around for years, and could enter the season as the second- and third-youngest. Meanwhile, Alex Cora, Gabe Kapler, and Mickey Callaway round out the top-six with a three-way tie as 43-year-olds.
In an interesting coincidence, Baldelli will be the youngest manager since Cash was 37 in 2015. Baldelli, of course, was (and had remained) on Cash’s coaching staff.
Maddon is the oldest
Here’s another Baldelli-related coincidence: his one-time Tampa Bay skipper, Joe Maddon, is now his opposite as the oldest active manager in baseball.
Maddon will turn 65 in February, putting him just ahead of Ned Yost, who is 64 and the oldest captain in the AL. Bruce Bochy (Giants) and Brian Snitker (Braves) are both is 63 years old.
Experience not required
Of the 27 current managers — remember, three teams are without — 15 are on their first managerial jobs. That 15 comprises 14 of the 16 youngest skippers, as A.J. Hinch and Brad Ausmus had reigns elsewhere. Snitker, conversely, is the only manager older than 55 who remains a one-stint skipper — and that makes sense, given his now-unusual path to the job.
Predictably, most of the game’s managers were recent hires. Only eight managers were hired before the 2015 season. Comparatively, 10 have been hired since the beginning of 2017. That number will, obviously, increase to 13 before next season starts.
Veteran managers without gigs
The perceived push toward youth and newcomers has left a number of well-regarded managers without jobs or much in the way of prospects.
Dusty Baker has the sixth-most playoff appearances all-time as a manager, yet hasn’t received an interview since being let go last fall. Mike Scioscia ranks 13th; Joe Girardi 19th; and Buck Showalter tied for 25. Outside of Girardi, none of the above have been tied to any of the remaining posts. (Girardi has reportedly removed himself from consideration from jobs.)
Granted, using playoff appearances to judge a manager tilts the board in favor of the modern skipper who has benefitted from the advent of the wild card. Change the parameters to “most games over .500,” however, and Terry Francona is the only active manager ahead of Baker, Scioscia, and Girardi, according to Baseball Reference.
However one judges managers, it’s clear that some of the most decorated managers in recent memory are available — and nobody seems to want to hire them.
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