Managers & Top Front Office Executives On Expiring Contracts

Some teams don’t publicly announce contract terms, or in some cases, even if a manager or a top front office executive (i.e. president of baseball operations, general manager, or whatever title is given to the lead decision-maker) has been given an extension whatsoever.  As a result, this list of the managers and executives entering the final years of their contracts is somewhat unofficial, as it wouldn’t be surprising if at least a few names on this list are indeed locked up beyond 2023 on pre-existing contracts or on extensions that have yet to be publicly announced.

Naturally, job security goes beyond just the terms of a contract.  One wouldn’t have imagined that the Rangers’ Jon Daniels or the Royals’ Dayton Moore were necessarily on thin ice heading into the 2022 season, yet the two longtime front office bosses were fired before the season was even over, as both Texas and Kansas City underachieved.  Likewise, former Astros GM James Click seemed like a sure bet for a long-term deal given Houston’s success, and yet due to some internal discord with owner Jim Crane, Click ended up leaving after the Astros offered him only (what seemed like a token of a) one-year extension.

The addition of the extra wild card spot could put even more pressure on teams to win, especially since the Phillies’ run from sixth seed to NL champions underlined what can happen if a club can just get into the postseason bracket.  In addition, some of the names on this list face uncertainty due to potential changes in team ownership — and as the Astros showed, no amount of on-field success can help if an owner simply wants someone new in the baseball ops department.

As always, thanks to Cot’s Baseball Contracts for reference information on some of these contract terms.

Angels: Phil Nevin was moved from third base coach to interim manager when Joe Maddon was fired in June, and Nevin ended up leading the Angels to an underwhelming 46-60 record in his first stint as a big league skipper.  Despite the lack of success, the Halos removed the interim tag by signing Nevin to a one-year deal, giving him a longer (but not much longer) opportunity to see what he can do as the team’s manager.  The Angels organization as a whole is in a fluid state given that a new owner might be running the club by Opening Day or soon thereafter, and yet in what looks to be Arte Moreno’s last offseason as the Halos’ owner, Anaheim has been pretty aggressive in adding roster pieces to try and find that elusive winning mix.  If Nevin can help get Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and company to the playoffs or even over the .500 mark, it will greatly help his case for a long-term contract under the new owner….or, possibly a managerial job elsewhere if the new owner still wants to brings in their own personnel.

Astros: Hired in rather abrupt fashion in the wake of the sign-stealing scandal, Dusty Baker’s three seasons in Houston have resulted in two World Series appearances, and the 2022 championship represented Baker’s first ring as a manager in 25 seasons in the dugout.  Baker’s initial contract (one year and a club option) has been followed up by successive one-year deals that weren’t finalized until after the Astros’ playoff runs were over, but Crane has repeatedly stated that he prefers to avoid distractions by waiting until after the season to work out contractual matters.  Baker’s age (74 in June) might be another reason why Crane has resisted giving Baker a longer-term deal, so another extension might not come for Baker until October or November.  With the Click situation lingering as an odd footnote to Houston’s championship season, Baker at least seems to have more sway with ownership than the former GM did, yet the Astros might have to keep winning to ensure that Baker is back in 2024.

Athletics: GM David Forst has been a member of Oakland’s front office since 2000, and he’ll now finally take over as the top job in the baseball operations department after Billy Beane moved to an advisory role with the club.  As per the terms of Forst’s last extension, he is signed through the 2023 season, and there wasn’t any word of a new contract attached to the Athletics’ announcement of Forst’s new role.  As the A’s continue to search for a new ballpark in Oakland or a potential move to a new city, there’s a bit of flux involved throughout the organization, yet it would certainly seem like the A’s will continue their tradition of front-office continuity by giving Forst a new deal at some point.  Forst is currently shepherding the Athletics through their latest rebuild, but if an extension wasn’t worked out, he would likely quickly find work elsewhere given how many teams have tried to poach him for other front office vacancies in recent years.

Brewers: Craig Counsell has been managing the Brew Crew since 2015, and 2023 is the final year of the skipper’s current four-year contract.  Milwaukee is an impressive 615-555 under Counsell’s watch, with two NL Central titles, four postseason appearances and a trip to the NLCS in 2018.  However, 2018 was also the last time the Brewers won a playoff series, and the team’s postseason streak ended in 2022 despite a respectable 86-76 record.  It would still seem like Counsell would be a strong candidate to receive an extension, though there’s some uncertainty throughout the organization in the wake of David Stearns’ rather surprising decision to step down as the team’s president of baseball operations.  General manager Matt Arnold is now in charge of the front office, though past reports suggested that Arnold’s own deal only lasts through the 2023 season.  Brewers owner Mark Attanasio could have some inclination to pursue a new direction if the Brewers struggled next year, and if Arnold isn’t seen as a long-term answer, Attanasio could look for a new front office boss as Stearns’ true replacement, and a new PBO or GM might also want to make their own managerial hire.

Cardinals: 2023 is the final season of the three-year extension John Mozeliak signed in November 2019.  A member of the Cardinals organization since 1995 and the head of their front office since the 2007-08 offseason, Mozeliak has been working under the president of baseball operations title since 2017.  Michael Girsch was promoted to the GM role at that same time, and is signed through at least 2024 as per the terms of an extension signed back in October.  With Girsch’s deal in mind, it would seem like Mozeliak will also be extended again, as the Cardinals have enjoyed 15 straight winning seasons and have reached the postseason in each of the last four years.  This being said, the bar for success is always high in St. Louis, and the team hasn’t won a playoff series since 2019 and hasn’t reached the World Series since 2013.

Diamondbacks: Executive VP/general manager Mike Hazen was already under contract through 2020 when he signed a new extension in September 2019, and the length of that new deal wasn’t released.  As such, it is possible 2023 might be Hazen’s final year under contract.  Manager Torey Lovullo’s status is more public, as the D’Backs exercised their club option on his services for 2023.  Since the Diamondbacks haven’t had a winning season since 2019 and haven’t made the postseason since 2017 (Hazen and Lovullo’s first year in Arizona), ownership might be waiting to see if any significant progress is made before exploring an extension for either its GM or manager.

Dodgers: Andrew Friedman came to Los Angeles on a five-year, $35MM contract that covered the 2014-19 seasons, and he then signed a new extension of an unknown length after the 2019 campaign was complete.  If that extension was only a four-year pact, 2023 would be Friedman’s final season as the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, barring another new deal.  Despite the relative lack of postseason success in regards to the Dodgers’ dominance of the regular season, Friedman’s tenure has still delivered one World Series title, and it would seem like he has as much job security as anyone in baseball.

Giants: Farhan Zaidi is entering the final season of his five-year contract as San Francisco’s president of baseball operations.  Through two years of rebuilding (and competitive baseball) and then a 107-win season in 2021, it seemed like the Giants had taken a fast track to success, but things took a step backwards with an 81-81 record last year.  Heading into with the winter with an aggressive mandate to spend and attract high-profile talent to the Bay Area, the Giants have added some notable players but fallen short on two superstars — Aaron Judge re-signed with the Yankees, while Carlos Correa had agreed to a 13-year, $350MM pact with the Giants before the team delayed finalizing the deal due to concerns stemming from Correa’s physical.  Correa immediately pivoted to the Mets on a 12-year, $315MM contract, and since the Mets reportedly have their own issues with Correa’s lower right leg and ankle, the situation has become less of a fiasco for the Giants than it initially appeared.  Team chairman Greg Johnson gave Zaidi a vote of confidence heading into the offseason, but it remains to be seen if ownership is satisfied with the aftermath of this very unusual winter.

Guardians: There hasn’t yet been any public word on the details of Terry Francona’s extension, but the reigning AL Manager Of The Year has already been confirmed as returning for the 2023 campaign.  Given Francona’s health issues, 2023 could be his final season in the dugout, but the Guardians’ front office and team owner Paul Dolan have both intimated that Francona can remain as manager as long as he is willing and able.  President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti also doesn’t seem to be in any danger, though the longtime Cleveland exec’s contract terms aren’t known.

Marlins: Kim Ng has a 137-188 record over her first two seasons as Miami’s general manager, though as usual with the Marlins, it isn’t clear how much of those struggles are the GM’s fault.  Derek Jeter’s departure as CEO last March left an upper management void within the organization, and while the Marlins have slightly expanded payroll in Ng’s tenure, they are still among the game’s lower spenders.  It could be argued that with Jeter and ex-manager Don Mattingly gone, Ng now freer rein to turn the Marlins in her own direction, beginning with the hiring of Skip Schumaker as the club’s new bench boss.  The terms of Ng’s contract weren’t publicly revealed, so 2023 could conceivably be the final guaranteed year of her deal — if so, some progress might be necessary to keep owner Bruce Sherman from starting yet another rebuild.

Nationals: President of baseball operations Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez are both only signed through the 2023 season, as the Nationals exercised club options on both men back in July.  Wins and losses aren’t really a factor for the rebuilding Nats, but the ongoing search for a new owner certainly is, though the most recent reports haven’t given any clear timeline on when a sale might be finalized.  As a result, Rizzo and Martinez might each be facing a lame-duck season, with their fates unknown until a new owner is in place.

Orioles: The contract terms of GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde haven’t been publicized, though Hyde’s newest extension runs through at least the 2023 season.  Since the O’s were so quiet about extending Hyde, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Elias was also extended at some point, continuing a tenure that began with the 2018-19 offseason.  Regardless of the details, it certainly doesn’t seem like either Elias or Hyde are going anywhere, considering how the Orioles had a winning record (83-79) in 2022 and seem ready to put their rebuild firmly in the rearview mirror.

Pirates: Speaking of rebuilds, the Pirates can only hope for a Baltimore-esque breakout next year.  Ben Cherington is entering the fourth season as Pittsburgh’s general manager, on a contract of an unknown length.  Manager Derek Shelton is concretely operating on a four-year pact, so 2023 will be his last guaranteed season, though Cherington has spoken glowingly about Shelton’s work in leading the young Bucs through the hard times of the rebuild period.  Extensions would keep Shelton and perhaps Cherington from being lame ducks in 2023, though there doesn’t seem to be any sense that either is in danger of being let go.

Rangers: Chris Young became the Rangers’ GM in December 2020, and he unexpectedly found himself in charge of the front office entirely once Daniels was fired in August.  The terms of Young’s initial contract weren’t known, and it doesn’t seem as though his surprise promotion came with any extra years added onto his deal.  The Rangers’ spending spree over the last two offseasons has left no doubt that ownership wants to win now, so Young’s own job could be in jeopardy if Texas struggles (or perhaps has a slow start) in 2023.  That said, Young’s past history as a player under manager Bruce Bochy surely played a role in convincing Bochy to become the Rangers’ new skipper, so Young has started to make his influence known in the Texas front office.

Reds: David Bell’s two-year contract is up after the 2023 season, which would be Bell’s fifth season as the Reds’ manager.  Cincinnati promoted GM Nick Krall as the leader of the baseball ops department following the 2020 season, and Krall has since been tasked with cutting payroll and setting the Reds on a rebuilding path.  Krall’s contract length isn’t publicly known, so 2023 probably isn’t a make-or-break season for Krall to help his job security, unless the team absolutely craters and the development of the Reds’ younger players hits a roadblock.  The same could be true of Bell, unless the front office feels a new voice is needed in the dugout to continue the progress.

Red Sox: The terms of Chaim Bloom’s contract as Boston’s chief baseball officer aren’t publicly known, though 2023 will be Bloom’s fourth season.  This is a notable threshold considering Bloom’s predecessors in leading the Red Sox front office — Cherington didn’t last four full seasons, while Dave Dombrowski spent slightly over four years on the job, from August 2015 to September 2019.  Those two executives led the Sox to World Series titles in those brief tenures, while under Bloom, the Red Sox have a pair of last-place finishes sandwiched around a berth in the 2021 ALCS.  Assuming ownership is still as impatient to win, Bloom might need the Sox to take a big step up in 2023 in order to keep his job.

Rockies: Bud Black has only one guaranteed year remaining on his deal, yet seems to be operating on what The Athletic’s Nick Groke reported as “a rolling year-to-year contract.”  Even considering how the Rockies traditionally operate on a system of loyalty and continuity, one would imagine that a fifth straight losing season might be enough to convince the team to pursue a new manager.

Royals: Similar to the Rangers’ situation with Young, Kansas City GM J.J. Picollo found himself atop the Royals’ baseball ops pyramid when Moore was fired in September, with no word of a contract extension attached to this change in responsibility.  The difference is that Picollo has had a much longer tenure in K.C. (having worked in the front office since 2006 under Moore’s leadership), and while owner John Sherman is undoubtedly eager to start winning, he hasn’t invested the hundreds of millions that the Rangers’ owners have in their struggling club.  Immediate success might not be expected in Picollo’s first year, but his chances of a longer deal might hinge on whether or not the Royals’ younger players start developing at a better rate, or if new manager Matt Quatraro can get more out of the young club.

Twins: The 2022 season completed the guaranteed portion of Rocco Baldelli’s initial contract with the Twins, which was a four-year deal with multiple club options attached.  Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey stated in September that Baldelli would be back next season, so at the very least, the Twins have exercised their option on Baldelli for 2023.  For what it’s worth, Falvey and GM Thad Levine are both under contract through 2024, and it is possible Falvey, Levine, and Baldelli might all be in hot water if the Twins can’t turn things around this coming season.  Minnesota followed up AL Central titles in both 2019 and 2020 with two losing seasons, and another sub-.500 campaign might make Baldelli the first one out the door, given his lesser contractual control.

White Sox: Executive VP Ken Williams (1997) and general manager Rick Hahn (2002) are each long-time members of Chicago’s front office, and have been in their current positions since October 2012.  Since the White Sox don’t publicize executive contracts, not much is known about Williams or Hahn’s status, other than that their last extensions came during the 2017 season.  It’s fair to guess that both might have received new deals since that time, but in any case, it may be a moot point given how owner Jerry Reinsdorf isn’t quick to make changes in the front office.  The hope is that new manager Pedro Grifol can succeed where Tony La Russa didn’t, and there hasn’t been any sense that Williams or Hahn might be on the hot seat, though that could possibly change if a White Sox team built to win now stumbles again.

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