In an era when front offices are calling more and more shots, the manager spot in Major League Baseball isn't as important as it used to be.
Still, you'd better believe the manager hot seat still exists.
When looking around the league, we see at least eight skippers who could lose their jobs after the 2021 season or perhaps even beforehand. Some are in more danger than others, but what they all have in common is that they've fallen perilously short of expectations.
We've ranked their likelihood of getting the boot on a scale of one to five, with a one indicating a relatively cold seat and a five indicating a scorching seat.
8. Derek Shelton, Pittsburgh Pirates
Derek Shelton didn't have a hard act to follow when the Pittsburgh Pirates hired him after the 2019 season, in which the team's clubhouse fell to rancor en route to 93 losses and last place in the National League Central.
It's not a good look, then, that Shelton has managed the Pirates to an even worse winning percentage in his two seasons on the job. Perhaps it's something that they've improved from a .317 mark in 2020 to .372 this year, but the latter still has the team on track for its first 100-loss season since 2010.
It is, however, unclear how much longer Shelton is under contract with the Pirates. There's also the reality that nobody has high hopes for the franchise while it's rebuilding under general manager Ben Cherington, who's on record with his satisfaction with the culture that Shelton has fostered.
As Cherington said in August, according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "One of the things I feel best about this group—and it's fun to be around—is that they're willing to challenge themselves to get better, they want feedback to get better, and they give it back to me too. We all need that."
So in spite of his record, Shelton is probably safe for at least one more year.
Hot Seat: 1
7. Chris Woodward, Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers were fresh off a 95-loss season when they hired Chris Woodward in November 2018, and he immediately made an impression by guiding a turnaround to 78-84 in 2019.
Since then, it's been ugly. Woodward's Rangers went 22-38 in 2020 and are 54-91 in 2021, which gives them a .371 winning percentage over the last two seasons that ranks ahead of only the Baltimore Orioles among AL clubs.
At least for now, the good news for Woodward is that he's due to return in 2022. The Rangers held an option for next season and exercised it in March. Firing him wouldn't undo that financial commitment, which means they have at least one obvious incentive to keep him around.
But even if it's not likely, is it nonetheless possible that the Rangers will fire him anyway?
Even setting aside Woodward's recent record, there's also how much the team's roster and front office have changed since his hiring. The former has gotten younger and more inexperienced, while the latter got a new general manager in Chris Young last winter. Such things arguably necessitate new on-field leadership.
Hot Seat: 2