By Dan Schlossberg
With the season now in its next-to-last weekend, it’s a wonder that almost all 30 major-league managers have survived with nary a scratch.
That’s unusual. And it’s about to change.
With the singular exception of San Francisco's Gabe Kapler, fired on the season's final Friday, there were no dugout changes in 2023. But some are coming.
Terry Francona, celebrated manager of the Boston Red Sox before joining the Cleveland Guardians, is about to retire because of persistent health issues. He’s got a lock on a future plaque in the Hall of Fame gallery.
Buck Showalter, winner of four Manager of the Year awards despite never winning a pennant, is unlikely to return now that the New York Mets have hired David Stearns as president of baseball operations.
Stearns will try to convince Craig Counsell, well-respected manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, to follow his flight from Brewtown to Flushing.
Like Counsell, Dusty Baker’s contract is expiring in Houston. The oldest manager in the majors at age 74, he has a friend in Astros GM Dana Brown but that doesn’t mean he’ll be back at the helm after a rough year.
Baker could even wind up somewhere else — maybe as a replacement for rookie pilot Pedro Grifol on the South Side of Chicago or as successor to Bob Melvin, who lost his magic touch in San Diego.
Two managers virtually certain to be fired a month ago have received surprising endorsements from their GMs. That means Oli Marmol will return to St. Louis after the Cards dropped into the basement of the NL Central while Dave Martinez will be back in Washington, which is keeping last place warm in the NL East.
There could be a change in Boston, where the Red Sox might promote field manager Alex Cora to general manager and bring a new man into their dugout.
And let’s not forget the Bronx, where Aaron Boone has been on the firing line all summer, along with general manager Brian Cashman. Both have been busts this season.
There are plenty of familiar faces available to manage, including Joe Girardi, Fredi Gonzalez, Ozzie Guillen, Joe Maddon, and Mike Shildt, among others.
Much depends on the men in the front office. The White Sox, Red Sox, Tigers, and Mets have already made major changes, entrusting their futures to a new group of leaders.
By the time owners meet in November, all 30 teams should be poised for 2024 but fans may need a scorecard to tell who’s who and who’s where.
Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is the author of 41 baseball books, including The New Baseball Bible. Catch his byline in forbes.com, Memores & Dreams, Sports Collectors Digest, USA TODAY Sports Weekly, and other outlets. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.