Each year MLB is filled with underperforming teams — that’s just part of the game. But this season, there seems to be a larger portion of clubs that have fallen below expectations. The Reds, Indians, Padres, Mariners, White Sox, Angels, Nationals, Tigers, and Red Sox were all on different levels of promise, but all have fallen well below reasonable expectations.
While few, if anyone, expected teams like the Reds, Padres or White Sox to raise any October hardware, their shortcomings have still been palpable, and palpable enough that it could cost a manager their job — just ask former Padres skipper Bud Black.
Here is a glimpse of teams that could (and probably should) be looking for new managers in less than a month.
Bryan Price, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds’ Bryan Price is 132-165 in nearly two full seasons as the skipper in Cincinnati. Given the Reds' performance in 2015 and some of the changes that have already been made, it's pretty apparent more turnover is on the horizon.
At the end of the 2014 season, the Cincinnati brass released a statement that Price and GM Walt Jocketty would return in 2015 — not exactly a vote of confidence for a manager finishing his first year. I wouldn't expect either to be in their respective role in 2016 after what appears to be a last-place finish in the NL Central — but both Price and Jocketty are well liked by Reds’ ownership.
Robin Ventura, Chicago White Sox
Ventura is somewhat the victim of others' expectations. Offseason moves that were supposed to make the South Siders contenders have not come to fruition. The additions of Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, and Jeff Samardzija have completely backfired. Bad offseason additions mixed with the assumed regression of last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, Jose Abreu, compounded with the worst defense in baseball and marginal pitching made this season a disaster for the White Sox.
The biggest problem now for GM Rick Hahn and president Kenny Williams is how do they move on from a White Sox legend in Ventura?
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Speaking of moving on… now might finally be the time for Scioscia to move on from the Angels. And while the time may be the right time for Scioscia to pack up and try somewhere else (the other Los Angeles team, perhaps), he’s a long shot to be let go — or even leave on his own, even with a new GM coming in soon.
Lloyd McClendon, Seattle Mariners
The Mariners might be the most disappointing team in all of baseball this year. General manager Jack Zduriencik’s recent firing should all but signal the end of McClendon’s stint as manager.
The Mariners were built to be AL contenders this season, but have been just flat out bad since Opening Day and currently sit 21 wins behind their 87-75 mark last season. The Ms have been a .500 team just three times in 2015 — the second day of the season and in late May (23-23, 24-24).
With the changing of the guard in the front office looming and the disaster of a season on the field, it seems McClendon and his epic on-field shenanigans will be elsewhere in 2016.
Matt Williams, Washington Nationals
If the Mariners aren’t the most disappointing team in baseball, then the Nationals definitely are — again. For the past two seasons the Nats' “World Series or bust” mentality has come back to bite them. Last season’s early postseason flame out compounded with this season’s struggles could ultimately spell the end of Williams' tenure in D.C.
Williams' ineptitude to manage a bullpen has been front and center yet again (as it was in last year’s postseason) when he refused to use his two best relievers, Jonathan Papelbon and Drew Storen (…again), in recent must-win situations against the Cardinals. The Nats dropped both games in the late innings and remain four games back of the Mets in the NL East.
Williams' complete lack of urgency is only enabled by GM Mike Rizzo, the architect of the most underachieving roster in baseball this season. After those consecutive collapses against St. Louis Rizzo defended Williams’ archaic bullpen utilization, calling Williams’ managing as “masterful” and claiming that his manager is “pushing all the right buttons.”
Maybe Rizzo is publicly supporting his flailing skipper to save face. But unless the Nationals can chase down the Mets or earn one of the Wild Card spots to give them another shot at getting to the World Series, Rizzo may have to cut ties with Williams if only to save his own job.
— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. An avid baseball fan, Rose also takes time to do some play-by-play work for the radio broadcasts of Middle Tennessee State Blue Raider baseball games. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.