Anyone keeping tabs on CBS Sports' managerial tracker knows there are currently four jobs available across Major League Baseball. The Cleveland Guardians (Terry Francona), Los Angeles Angels (Phil Nevin), New York Mets (Buck Showalter), and San Francisco Giants (Gabe Kapler) each either fired their managers or lost them to retirement at season's end.
Soon, two other teams could join the hunt for a new skipper. The Milwaukee Brewers (Craig Counsell) and Houston Astros (Dusty Baker) will both see their current manager's contract expire at the end of the month. Other teams, like the San Diego Padres (Bob Melvin), Los Angeles Dodgers (Dave Roberts) and Boston Red Sox (Alex Cora) have made it known they're sticking by their manager's side for at least another winter.
With that in mind, CBS Sports figured this would be an appropriate time to offer up four storylines worth knowing about the managerial market.
1. Why have no vacancies been filled yet?
You may have noticed that more than three weeks have passed since MLB's regular season ended, yet no team has hired a new manager. Is that normal? We're here to tell you that yes, everything is operating on the typical timetable. For evidence, consider how last winter's hiring schedule played out.
The Texas Rangers lured Bruce Bochy out of retirement on Oct. 21. The Miami Marlins hired Skip Schumaker on Oct. 25. The Kansas City Royals added Matt Quartaro on Oct. 30. And, last but not least, the Chicago White Sox tabbed Pedro Grifol as their newest skipper on Nov. 3.
Presuming this winter follows suit -- and we expect it will -- teams should start picking their new managers as soon as this or next week.
2. Is Craig Counsell still with the Brewers?
Yes, but he's only under contract for a few more days. Counsell, 53, has led the Brewers to a .530 winning percentage and five postseason berths over his nine years in charge. He's proven that he's a talented manager who can get more from less. In turn, he's expected to be a highly coveted free agent once his contract expires on Oct. 31.
The Mets have been linked to Counsell since they installed former Brewers executive David Stearns as their president of baseball operations. Some within the industry have speculated that the Mets may be willing to make Counsell the highest paid manager in the game -- something that the Brewers are presumably unwilling to do given the differences in their finances.
Whether or not that comes to pass is to be seen. Just know that Counsell will be able to explore all his options in a matter of days.
3. Will Dusty Baker retire?
Whereas Counsell's future is almost certain to be in a dugout, it's possible that Dusty Baker decides he's had his fill and heads into retirement.
Baker, 74, is in his 26th season as manager. He won his first World Series ring as a skipper last fall, suggesting he has nothing left to prove. Baker has worked on one-year guarantees since arriving in Houston in early 2020, and the New York Post's Jon Heyman reported recently that he's grown weary of ideological clashes with the front office. One example Heyman provided is Baker's preference for Martín Maldonado behind the plate, while the front office would rather him start Yainer Díaz, a younger and better offensive player.
Even if Baker wants to continue managing, he and/or the Astros might conclude that a separation would be best for both parties.
4. What potential future managers are coaching in playoffs?
CBS Sports has been putting together potential candidate lists for most of the openings. (For two examples, here was the Mets list, and here was the Giants list.) We'll note that if you want some idea of who your team might interview for their opening, you could do worse than paying attention to the postseason.
The final four teams left standing featured several hot candidates. Rangers associate manager Will Venable popped up in rumors before telling teams he intended to stay put. Phillies hitting coach Kevin Long has long been identified as a potential manager someday. Ditto for Astros bench coach Joe Espada.
Might this end up being the winter that Long or Espada land their own team? We'll find out soon enough.