How bad a year was it for managers? The Blue Jays' Cito Gaston missed 33 games with a herniated disk—and then suffered food poisoning. The Twins' Tom Kelly had shingles. The Pirates' Jim Leyland thought he'd had a heart attack. The Giants' Roger Craig underwent angioplasty. The Braves' Bobby Cox was attacked by a maniacal shower attachment. The Reds' Lou Piniella was sued by an umpire. And they were the lucky ones.
Twelve other managers were fired, the frenzy peaking last week when four managers—the Yankees' Stump Merrill, Boston's Joe Morgan, Milwaukee's Tom Trebelhorn and Seattle's Jim Lefebvre—were dismissed on consecutive days. So what's next? Here's some informed speculation.
Brewers: Toronto hitting coach Gene Tenace will probably get this job. His style is caustic and confrontational—the opposite of Trebelhorn's. New Milwaukee general manager Sal Bando was no Trebelhorn fan, but most of the players were.
Mariners: Former Yankee coach Buck Showalter and Cardinals coach Bucky Dent are among the top candidates. But it's becoming very clear that this team will be playing in St. Petersburg in 1993, if not '92. If so, don't count out Piniella, who grew up in Florida and is friends with Seattle G.M. Woody Woodward.
Red Sox: The odds are against new manager Butch Hobson. His hard-edged, tough-guy approach could grate on the millionaires in the Boston clubhouse.
White Sox: Why would Jeff Torborg leave a nice young team in Chicago to take over the sagging Mets? It seems that some people in the White Sox front office weren't so sorry to see him go. "He didn't do a good job with the pitching, especially the bullpen," says a member of the organization. "He cost us some games." His replacement could be the A's Dave Duncan, the best pitching coach in the league.
Cubs: Incumbent manager Jim Essian is just waiting to be fired, and the Pirates' third base coach Gene Lamont has a good shot at getting the job. He's a sharp guy, but he'll have his hands full. One Cub player says the team could lose 100 games in 1992.
Yankees: The list is long—headed by Doug Rader and Hal Lanier—but it almost surely doesn't include former Mets manager Davey Johnson.
Whither Bobby Bonilla? One Pirate says the Buc outfielder will re-sign with the club for 1992 rather than depart via free agency—despite indications that he's headed for the Mets or Yankees. "He loves it here," says the source. "He reminds me of the Ohio high school senior who tells his friends all summer that he's going to college in California, but the day before he's supposed to leave, he says, 'Well, I'm staying.' " The source also says it's a myth that Bonilla and Barry Bonds are close friends and that their futures are tied to one another. "They don't like each other very much," he says, noting that Bonds will probably leave after the 1992 season to play in California.
The Dodgers are expected to offer first baseman Eddie Murray a two-year contract to keep him from free agency. He is expected to accept....
Look for the Reds to pursue the Padres' Bip Roberts. They need a leadoff man and could dangle pitcher Randy Myers as the main bait....
The Angels will very likely make a run at Royals outfielder and potential free agent Danny Tartabull....
The Rangers are expected to explore dealing outfielder Ruben Siena at the winter meetings if they are unable to sign him by then. Sierra can become a free agent after the 1992 season.