If you are the general manager of a losing team, mid-August can be the point in a season when you start to get nervous about the MLB rumors that may be flying around.
Could this season be your last? Will the team owner knock on your door bring news that you will be replaced?
That scenario plays out every season and given the rampant level of failed expectations in 2023, it is virtually guaranteed to happen at least two or three time between now and early October. Among the 30 MLB front offices, several who watched the teams they spent millions assembling fail so miserably could not be blamed for feeling uneasy about their own job security.
Performance in 2023 is not, of course, the only criteria determining whether a team president or general manager can feel secure. Less measurable factors (contract status, relationship with the owner, longer-term performance and the history of organizational stability, or lack of same) also come into play.
But change is the one certainty in the game. This past offseason alone, three front office decision-making positions turned over … in Detroit, San Francisco and Houston. Since 2019 (that’s just five winters ago), the average number of major front office changes has been 4.4 per season.
Not all of those, obviously, could be attributed to underperformance or management dissatisfaction. Retirements played some role, as did shifts in upper-level duties. A few teams promoted their existing general manager to a new position of team president and hired a GM replacement.
The most common driver of change, however, has been precisely what you would expect, a sense at the top level that for one reason or another a shakeup at the top was needed. In the past few seasons alone, that happened in Houston, in Detroit, in Queens (twice), in Miami, in Anaheim, in Texas, in Baltimore and we haven’t exhausted the list.