Of all top-tier professional coaching jobs, the most irrelevant may be that of the Major League Baseball manager.
What is a Major League Baseball manager worth, salary-wise? Certainly not $8 million in 2024. If you DNA spliced a hybrid of Connie Mack, Sparky Anderson, and Bobby Cox, I still wouldn’t pay the clone more that three million. So I am a little amazed that the average manager salary is above $4 million, and new Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsel will get the astonishing eight mill over five years.
I would place the modern MLB manager average at $2 million plus an additional $500,000 stipend to cover in-game fines.
Why belittle the MLB manager? Because over the course of a 162-game season, specific coaching decisions are largely irrelevant and unlikely to affect the final outcome. The only two factors that truly matter, both in regular and post-season, are (1) overall health of your pitchers’ arms and (2) the team’s OPS. Leave all the particulars to sabermetrics and pitch count limits.
The general manger is by far more relevant, as it will be by his decisions that the lineup and pitching rotation is formed. Sure, there are minor choices on, for example, playing rookies versus journeymen, but can the manager ever bench the 10-year billion-dollar position player?
And let’s not forget that the most important in-game aspect of MLB manager, how to match and counter decisions with hitting pitchers, no longer applies now that there are two American Leagues.
I have nothing against Craig Craig Counsel. I remember him as a player for the Brewers, with that funny stance where he held the bat really high. But for $8 million, perhaps the Ricketts and Cubs know something I don’t, that another World Series ring is now all but guaranteed.
Thank you for reading my article. Donec deinde tempum.