In an attempt to be factually correct on my supposition -- that it's rather odd to go through almost an entire MLB season with only one managerial firing -- I couldn't locate the numbers. But the fact that only Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves was removed this season, while seemingly odd, won't change the other fact: nearly nine managers now face the reality that Oct. 2 could be the last day they are employed by their current teams as skippers.
Let's start with three I would rank as almost definite firings at years' end:
Gonzalez' replacement Brian Snitker is a long-time organizational guy in Atlanta who doesn't seem to be viewed as the long-term answer for rebuilding the Braves. Plus, with a new ballpark set to open next April, general manager John Coppolella and his bosses John Hart and team president John Schuerholz will want something that excites the fan base.
While not moving into a new stadium any time soon, the Arizona Diamondbacks have had a season to forget, and it's certainly a season that has put the heat squarely on their two top baseball executives -- director of baseball operations Tony La Russa and his general manager Dave Stewart, who have put a decent team in reverse. They are under intense heat for their huge signing of right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke and the now-panned trade for right-hander Shelby Miller. Whether they keep their jobs, their manager, Chip Hale, will not.
This one is a little bit of a surprise, especially with how well Twins manager Paul Molitor's boys did in 2015. But the fall of the Twins has already cost respected baseball executive Terry Ryan his position as general manager and has the team looking to follow the trend of hiring a director of baseball operations/team president type who would then hire the general manager. Molitor was Ryan's handpicked successor to Ron Gardenhire, and despite his position in Cooperstown, N.Y., the fact that this season went horrendously wrong, and how despite all sorts of personnel maneuvering the team never put together a solid 15- or 20-game stretch, may cost Molitor his post. His stature in the game could possibly get him an honest hearing with his new bosses, but it's much easier for them to start fresh after this type of sad season.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller's selection of unknown manager Andy Green always seemed like an oddly obscure reach. The team has been awful, and who knows how much remaining power Preller will have with his bosses. That could possibly keep Green in his position, but it's far from a certainty.
One interesting manager who is also unlikely to return for 2017 is Rockies manager Walt Weiss. He has treaded water for the full four years of his initial contract, and it's probably just time for a change by a general manager Jeff Bridich, who did not hire Weiss. If La Russa and Stewart keep their jobs, Weiss, who played for the Oakland A's when La Russa and Stewart were there, could be a solid bet to replace Hale.
Another manager certain to be relieved of his duties is Reds skipper Bryan Price. He was miscast as a manager from Day One. The writing on the wall was that he never understood he would end up being the guy when the rebuilding started. He's a fine pitching coach, and the organization will most likely lose him in that role going forward.
That leaves us with the three managers who are on the hot seat and may not even know it -- The Los Angeles Angels' Mike Scioscia, the Chicago White Sox's Robin Ventura and the Toronto Blue Jays' John Gibbons. Scioscia is a favorite of owner Arte Moreno, and he has mostly been bulletproof. But Scioscia is just about to finish up his 17th season at the helm of the Angels. He and Moreno might decide it'll just be better to end the relationship and part as friends. General manager Billy Eppler is on a tight-rope and can't push for this, but it could happen. If Scioscia were to be let go, he'd immediately have one of the other jobs noted here.
White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is a loyal guy, but his team seems to be stuck in neutral -- no matter how much he spends. Venture never went through the normal course to gain a big league job, and perhaps that lack of a burning passion is what ultimately makes his teams respond in kind.
Lastly, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons has seemed like an odd fit from the moment Mark Shapiro became the Jays' president. But Shapiro could hardly let go of the inherited Gibbons until there was due cause. If the Jays' current stumble takes them out of the playoffs altogether, Gibbons will be as good as gone. In fact, at this point, anything short of a trip to the World Series and Shapiro will cut ties with the off-putting Gibbons.
1. Chicago Cubs (91-51 overall record, No. 1 ranking last week) -- The Cubs have had just four weeks this season in which they played under .500 baseball. From July 3-9, they went 1-6, but since then, they have gone 39-16. At this point, it looks like the only team that can beat the Cubs is the Cubs.
2. Washington Nationals (85-58, No. 6) -- The Nationals moved up to the No. 2 spot based on the certainty that they'll win the NL East. However, with right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg quite possibly out for the season with soreness in his right flexor tendon in his forearm/elbow, it's going to be imperative right fielder Bryce Harper improves his game. In his last 15 games, Harper is batting.236 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. In his last seven games, he's batting .217 with one home run and four RBIs. Trea Turner has been quite a revelation in center field and in the lead-off spot.
3. Texas Rangers (85-59, No. 2) -- The Rangers bold pickups of catcher Jonathan LuCroy (25) and designated hitter Carlos Beltran (22) have done their part, combining for 47 RBIS during the last 5.5 weeks. If righty Yu Darvish and lefty Cole Hamels can stay on top of their games, the Rangers could be the AL representatives in the World Series.
4. Cleveland Indians (83-59, No. 3) -- As I have said many times, their lineup without outfielder Michael Brantley (shoulder) for all but 11 games seems to be one bat too light. Now with an injury to right-hander Danny Salazar's arm and the way starters Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin have looked of late, could they also be a starting arm too light? Manager Terry Francona's experience and guile help.
5. Boston Red Sox (80-62, No. 5) -- The Red Sox have a potent lineup and two top-tier starters in David Price and Cy Young candidate Rick Porcello. Clearly, left-hander Drew Pomeranz looks like an ultra expensive non-answer. I am not sure this rotation has the goods for deep run.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (80-62, No. 7) -- The Dodgers have not yet completely shaken the Giants for a clear-cut division win. However, with an encouraging first start back from Clayton Kershaw, and now the 19 consecutive scoreless innings pitched since his return from a blister problem that saw him miss nearly five weeks, the Dodgers one-two punch might be as formidable as anyone.
7. Baltimore Orioles (78-62, No. 8) -- The Orioles have proven to be better than anyone thought at the season's onset. And on top of that, they are showing a winner's resolve that shouldn't be taken lightly by anyone. They got a big lift with right-hander Chris Tillman's performance in Detroit Sept. 11.
8. Toronto Blue Jays (78-6, No. 4) -- I cannot not say I predicted this sudden downturn in their fortunes. In fact, 10 days ago I thought they had the AL East on lockdown. Now that they are faltering, I can admit something just doesn't feel right about them.
9. San Francisco Giants (77-65, No. 12) -- The Giants are 9-9 in last 18 games. That's good enough to keep the Dodgers on their toes and still holding onto the first NL Wild Card spot. The Giants could be peaking in time to make them a dark horse.
10. New York Mets (76-67, No. 14) -- The Mets' 16-5 stretch started after they lost the first two to the Giants Aug. 18 and 19. They have won three out of four of right-hander Seth Lugo's starts. In 24.2 innings as a starter, the 26-year-old rookie has recorded a 2.18 ERA
11. Detroit Tigers (76-66, No. 9)
12. St. Louis Cardinals (75-67, No. 11)
13. Seattle Mariners (75-68, No. 18)
14. Houston Astros (75-68, No. 10)
15. Kansas City Royals (74-68, No. 13)
16. New York Yankees (76-66, No. 15)
17. Miami Marlins (71-72, No. 16)
18. Pittsburgh Pirates (69-72, No. 17)
19. Colorado Rockies (69-74, No. 19)
20. Chicago White Sox (68-74, No. 20)
21. Philadelphia Phillies (63-80, No. 24)
22. Milwaukee Brewers (64-79, No. 23)
23. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (63-79, No. 21)
24. Tampa Bay Rays (60-82, No. 22)
25. Cincinnati Reds (60-82, No. 25)
26. Oakland Athletics (60-82, No. 26)
27. San Diego Padres (59-84, No. 29)
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (58-84, No. 27)
29. Atlanta Braves (55-88, No. 28)
30. Minnesota Twins (53-90, No. 30)