Recent history suggests that Bud Black can control his own destiny with the Rockies. Meanwhile in 2020, Rick Renteria was fired by the White Sox and is a nominee for American League Manager of the Year.
This awkward tweet from the White Sox ensued:
Congratulations to Rick Renteria on being named a finalist for A.L. Manager of the Year. https://t.co/dJWrFEg16f— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) November 2, 2020
When is the managerial final straw? More specifically—who breaks the straw?
(Bud Black is currently holding the straw. More on that later.)
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune wrote this about the Renteria firing: “When the Sox got rid of Renteria on Monday less than two weeks after their playoff exit, it was announced as a ‘mutual’ decision. But no sane person would agree on his own to leave a team with as much upside as the Sox, especially after going through four grueling years of a rebuild to get to this spot.”
It isn’t fair to speculate how it was ‘mutual’ without consulting both parties, but there is understandable amounts of speculation.
Team success would suggest a manager would stick around. The White Sox tied for the fourth-best record in the AL this year. A manager that helped rebuild a team—like Renteria did in Chicago—would suggest they would be a great fit for what they rebuilt for.
Let’s view it from a Rockies perspective: Who breaks the straw in Colorado?
In 28 seasons of Rockies baseball, the franchise has parted ways with six managers. Here is how each of their tenures ended:
- Don Baylor (1993-98): Finished 77-85 in final season after three consecutive winning seasons
- Jim Leyland (1999): Finished 72-90 in only season *Won World Series with Marlins in 1997; went 54-108 with Florida in 1998
- Buddy Bell (2000-02): went 73-89 in final full season (2001); started 6-16 in 2002 before being replaced
- Clint Hurdle (2002-09): went 74-88 in final full season (2008); started 18-28 in 2009 before being replaced
- Jim Tracy (2009-12): went 64-98 in final season
- Walt Weiss (2013-16): went 75-87 in final season
It is shallow to generalize each decision without analyzing them individually, but it appears Colorado has followed more traditional means when it comes to managerial moves. The Rockies have never parted ways with a skipper after a winning season,
The two most recent moves paint a more complex picture, however: Jim Tracy and Walt Weiss resigned on their own.
Jim Tracy felt “uncomfortable with his role after changes were made to the front office,” and Walt Weiss left due to a “poor working relationship with [the] front office.” Perhaps the expectations were too high for what they had. Perhaps they didn’t feel there was adequate communication with team executives. We can’t make conclusive statements without knowing the full story, of course, but we do know that Tracy and Weiss had similar rationale.
Under that basic premise, perhaps we can conclude there won’t be news in Denver like the news Rick Renteria received in Chicago this year. Jim Tracy received an “indefinite” extension with the Rockies in 2012, after all.
It has been 11 years since the Rockies last fired a manager.
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With a severe left-handed pitching shortage to finish the year, the Rockies could easily be on the hunt for more lefties. Free agent Brad Hand is one of the marquee arms on the free agent market, but Noah Yingling of RoxPile discusses how the Rockies should not go after him.
“For the Rockies, they also have to determine how much Hand would cost. If he gets offers for $10+ million a season (like his team option that was declined was), the Rockies won’t be able to afford it.”
“[The Rockies] can never seem to dodge headlines about trading their best player(s).”
Mark Martell of Sports Illustrated previews the looming free-agency for Trevor Story after 2021 and a potential Nolan Arenado opt-out. He briefly addresses trade talks for both of them, and he highlights a key discussion point for all 30 MLB teams.
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