What Do You Think of Your Team’s Manager?

Last weekend, the Cardinals fired manager Mike Matheny. Several teams are and were doing worse than the Cardinals in the standings, but then, the Cardinals hold themselves to a certain standard, and there were mounting concerns regarding not only Matheny’s strategy, but also leadership skills. The clubhouse seemed to be fracturing around him, so management pulled the trigger in the hopes that the season and roster might be salvaged. The response was immediate, and nearly unanimous: It was about time. Over the years, no other manager seemed to attract such a degree of internet criticism.

In a podcast after the firing, Ben Lindbergh and myself wondered who might take Matheny’s place. Not with the Cardinals — that’s Mike Shildt — but on the internet at large. Matheny was probably the most criticized manager in baseball. Now he’s out of work, which means someone else will become the most criticized manager in baseball. Who, though, will it actually be? That conversation led me to this broader polling project. This felt like a question to take straight to the FanGraphs community.

If you’ve been around for any length of time, you know how these things work. Below, you will find a poll for every team. There are actually two polls for the Cardinals. For the sake of consistency, I have to ask about Shildt, but I’m also asking about Matheny, despite the fact that he’s gone. Anyway, for each poll, the question is simple: What do you think of the manager? We don’t talk about managers here a whole lot, but they wouldn’t get paid what they do if they didn’t matter, and I want to evaluate the landscape of community opinions.

I’d ask that you only vote in polls for teams that you care about and follow pretty closely. If you don’t have much of an opinion, that’s fine, and I’m collecting that information, too. Don’t worry if you don’t know whether a manager is actually good. We don’t know if any managers are actually good or actually bad. I just want to know what you all think, because you know more about your own managers than I do. So who am I to pretend I’m all-knowing?

As far as the question is concerned, keep in mind the extent of a manager’s responsibilities. First and foremost, a manager is supposed to serve as a leader of men. Do you sense that a given manager is an effective leader? An effective communicator? The strategy does also matter, too. Do you love or hate how a given manager uses his bullpen? Does he seem particularly creative, or especially stubborn? Compare the current manager to previous managers. Compare to other active managers, if you’d like. I know it basically comes down to gut feelings, but if you have a gut feeling, I want to record it. God knows I can never get enough of another polling project.

Thank you all in advance for your participation. We’ll look at the results either later this week, or early next week. Then we’ll see which manager might take Matheny’s place as an internet punching bag. And we’ll look at everybody else, as well. Who doesn’t love a 1-through-30 ranking? With your assistance, we’ll have that very thing coming up.

To proceed directly to a specific team manager poll, click on the team’s name below.

Angels, Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Yankees

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Angels

Astros

Athletics

Blue Jays

Braves

Brewers

Cardinals

Cubs

Diamondbacks

Dodgers

Giants

Indians

Mariners

Marlins

Mets

Nationals

Orioles

Padres

Phillies

Pirates

Rangers

Rays

Red Sox

Reds

Rockies

Royals

Tigers

Twins

White Sox

Yankees

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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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swood999
Member
swood999

I’m expecting a direct correlation to how the team is performing!

stever20
Member
Member
stever20

Not so sure about that. Sometimes managers for the top teams are looked at far harsher than ones from more mediocre teams.

Hughes
Member
Member
Hughes

For sure. Having multiple valid options available increases the ability of people to say “Why did you send in X instead of Y?” when X has a bad performance. Clearly the manager screwed up!

Stupideas22
Member
Stupideas22

Well, we can actually mathematically assess that prediction when the polls are done. Which is nice.

wildcard09
Member

Yeah the Sox won 3 division titles and a WS under Farrell, and I don’t know anybody that wanted him back this year.

baubo
Member
baubo

For good teams postseason success is probably better indicator of how well liked they are

sadtrombone
Member
Member
sadtrombone

Maybe I have rose-colored glasses, but my sense with Farrell was that he just lost control of the team. He was good for a while, but perhaps he relied a little too much on Ortiz to keep the team going in the right direction.

I think he might be a very good manager again in another place.

EonADS
Member
EonADS

Teams stuck in the middle or on the back end of the WC race are going to be the interesting ones, I think. Angels, Rockies, Rays, ect.

stever20
Member
Member
stever20

yeah. I think some of the ones as well like Arizona, Philly, Atlanta, Milwaukee- would be interesting.

snood
Member
snood

Philly’s leading the NL East in Kapler’s first season after losing 96 games last year. I don’t see any suspense in whether he’ll be popular.

EonADS
Member
EonADS

His bullpen management is incredibly unpopular and has plenty of people doubting him. I personally don’t think he’s that bad at it, but a lot of people do.

stever20
Member
Member
stever20

Yeah my hunch is Kapler will be one of the more polarizing guys on this. Just looking at the 10 playoff teams currently- the only one who has more combined pretty bad and very bad ratings is Atlanta. And I would say- that’s here on Fan Graphs.

Sertorius
Member
Sertorius

I’m thinking a correlation to the difference in record from last year might be stronger.

Stupideas22
Member
Stupideas22

That’s a good point. Fair or no, we generally see managers’ performance as Team Talent – Team Record. Perceptions of Team Talent is linked to expectations about the club, and expectations are largely based off last year’s record.

PC1970
Member
PC1970

I’d guess the strongest correlation might be difference from 2018 expected record.

swood999
Member
swood999

Great points about my comment. I may have been haste with that thought. I’m hoping Jeff does the correlation for us.

channelclemente
Member

I’m curious if fans can separate Front Office from Field Management in their assessment.