This has been a busy week on the executive front. On Tuesday, news broke that the New York Mets had reached an agreement with Milwaukee Brewers executive David Stearns to become their president of baseball operations. Stearns, who will join the Mets at the end of the regular season, will have a slew of important decisions to make this winter, including what to do about first baseman Pete Alonso and manager Buck Showalter. One decision that Stearns won't have to make pertains to incumbent general manager Billy Eppler. It's already been established that Eppler will remain in place as New York's GM. The only difference is that Eppler will no longer reside at the top of the Mets' baseball operations chain of command. That distinction will instead belong to Stearns.
With those fates decided, we figure this would be a good time to ask around the industry and see what executives are believed to be on the hot seat. Below, you'll find four general managers ranked and tiered, depending on what the perception is about their job security. Obviously no one wants to see anybody lose their job, but it's part of the bargain in a results-based industry -- you get the acclaim when your team wins, and the blame when they don't.
As always, this is more of an art than a science.
Tier 1: Can't get any hotter
1. Perry Minasian, Angels
The Angels hired Minasian in November 2020 with the hope that he would maximize Shohei Ohtani's three remaining seasons of team control. Barring a miraculous run to end the season, he's going to have led them to three consecutive 70-something-win efforts -- that despite a consistent top-10 payroll, as well as a midseason hail-mary attempt that saw him deplete a weak farm. (The Angels have since, notoriously, remedied the financial aspect of those deals by shedding most of them through waivers for no return.)
Owner Arte Moreno isn't going to fire himself for the Angels' shortcomings, which has led to speculation across the league that Minasian and manager Phil Nevin will instead be the ones cast out. (Maybe they can hold the door open for Ohtani on the way out?) Whatever the case, the Angels are in for a grim stretch -- or, perhaps, an even grimmer stretch given that they haven't made the postseason since 2014. If Minasian does go, don't expect this to be viewed as a great gig.
Tier 2: Heating up
2. A.J. Preller, Padres
The Padres are in a race with the Mets for the title of "season's most disappointing team." Preller has burned substantive capital, of the financial and prospect varieties, to assemble a star-laden roster in pursuit of the Padres' first World Series crown. It didn't work out this year. Will it matter? Preller has drawn endless criticism from corners of the industry for what other front offices view as a myopic approach to roster building. His ability to engender buy-in from above can't be knocked, however, and that relationship with owner Peter Seidler might grant him another year at the helm.
Tier 3: Safe, but don't do it again
3. Michael Girsch, Cardinals
The Cardinals are not only going to finish below .500 for the first time since 2007, they're also going to extend their playoff series victory drought to four years. Even so, we think Girsch is safe. The Cardinals' front office remains highly regarded across the industry, and most ownership groups would happily sign up to experience one bad year every 15 or so seasons.
4. Brian Cashman, Yankees
Cashman is the longest-tenured general manager in baseball, having first taken the reins in 1998. There's no indication that he's on the hot seat despite a disappointing season at the big-league level. Rather, recent reports have him returning next year regardless of how things play out over the final few weeks. We're including him anyway because we were raised to believe that that's the consequence for guiding the Yankees to their first last-place finish since 1990.