When a team is struggling, fans and the sports media start scrutinizing the manager. You wonder whether a certain pitching change cost the team a game, or whether a different lineup could change an offensive drought. If you want to get more specific, you might wonder about pitch selection at a crucial moment or even a decision to bunt.
Because even great managers make bad decisions. Think about Joe Maddon sending out Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning with a 9-2 lead in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series. (Joe, you needed four wins for the title and Game 7 was the next day.) Then there was Buck Showalter saving the best reliever in baseball for a save situation in extra innings during the same postseason. The lesson there: You can’t save a game you’ve already lost.
But no one would call Maddon and Showalter bad managers. Great players sometimes choke in clutch spots, and managers can do the same. You must look at their overall body of work. For MLB managers it’s mainly about steering 25 guys toward a collective goal, one day at a time for six months. Some skippers are not very good at it. Here are the worst managers on the job today.