Whenever a major league manager is canned — like Boston’s John Farrell was Wednesday — it gives me pause.
I’ve covered several managerial firings – Mike Hargrove, Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Dave Trembley — and it’s never fun.
It also makes me realize how long Buck Showalter has been at the helm of the Orioles now.
I haven’t had to cover a managerial hiring or firing in more than seven years. And that’s pretty remarkable, given that these are the Orioles and this is Showalter.
Consider in the seven previous seasons before Showalter took over the Orioles in Aug. 2010, the club had four managers.
When the Orioles hired Showalter, his reputation after three other big league stops was that he didn’t stick with one team particularly long. Well, that’s no longer the case.
Showalter has now managed more games in modern franchise history than any other Oriole besides Hall of Famer Earl Weaver. He just finished his seventh full season with the club and eighth consecutive in which he’s held the title of Orioles manager.
The significance of Showalter’s longevity goes beyond this franchise.
He’s the second longest tenured manager in the American League East, fourth in the AL and fifth in the majors. The only ones who have been with their current teams longer are Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia, San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy, the New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi and Kansas City’s Ned Yost, who was hired about two months before Showalter in 2010.
Those other four, of course, have won World Series titles with their clubs – and Showalter hasn’t gotten to the big dance in his career. But Farrell won a ring managing the Red Sox, and now he’s looking for a job after Boston failed to advance to the second round of the playoffs this year.
The AL East has been a rather stable place for managers in the past few years. Before Farrell, the last switch was in 2014, when Joe Maddon left Tampa Bay for the Chicago Cubs, and the Rays hired Kevin Cash, who now is heading into his fourth season as a big league skipper.
Since Showalter was hired, the Yankees have had one manager, the Rays have had two, the Toronto Blue Jays have had three and the Red Sox are working on their fourth.
Who could have imagined 10 years ago that the Orioles would have one of the more stable managerial situations in baseball?
Of course, Showalter’s contract expires after next season, so things could change soon.
But, this offseason, several teams are looking for a new manager. And the Orioles, again, aren’t one of them.