The manager is one of the most essential positions in all of Major League Baseball. Not to be confused with a team’s general manager or GM, the field manager is limited to making in-game decisions. He’s responsible for determining lineups, adjusting strategies and calling on the bullpen among other things. Essentially, an MLB manager is equivalent to the head coach in other North American sports leagues. One main difference is that in baseball, the team manager wears the same uniform as the players and is even assigned a number. That being said, managers get paid nowhere near the amount that star players are making.
However, just like players, managers on teams with bigger payrolls tend to be paid more. For instance, in 2007 the New York Yankees paid Joe Torre $7.5 million for his services. In the same year, Joe Maddon only earned $550,000 from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Washington Nationals’ Manny Acta made even less with a salary of just $500,000.
Nevertheless, a good manager can end up being critical to a team’s success. The off-season can be a scary time for players and managers alike, as underperformers can risk losing their job at season’s end.
This listing of the highest-paid managers in the MLB takes into account salaries for the 2013 season. Some of these managers earn their pay based on their level of experience, while others are merely fortunate enough to be working with wealthy clubs. Regardless, these ten men rest at the top of the league as the most valuable coaches in the game
Note: Not all MLB teams are willing to reveal the details on the contracts that their managers receive.
10. Mike Matheny – St. Louis Cardinals – $1 Million in 2013
Mike Matheny was a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers for five years each during his playing career. Matheny became the youngest manager in the MLB after joining the Cards to replace retired Tony La Russa in 2011. Although he has only managed the team for two seasons, he already has a 185-139 record and one National League title to show for it. This is in spite of the Cardinals’ significant injuries and roster turnovers as well as the loss of free agents each year.
9. Buck Showalter – Baltimore Orioles – $1.25 Million in 2013
Buck Showalter has managed the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers but has been working for the Baltimore Orioles since midway through the 2010 season. A former ESPN analyst, he got a three-year extension to his contract with the Orioles at the start of the 2013 season, and for good reason. Showalter has a 281-262 record with the Orioles and has helped them stay competitive in a tough AL East division. Showalter was named AL Manager of the Year by The Sporting News in 2012 after ending the Orioles’ 14-year streak of missing the playoffs.
8. Ron Gardenhire – Minnesota Twins – $1.5 Million in 2013
As manager of the Minnesota Twins since 2002, Ron Gardenhire’s playoff record has been subject to much scrutiny despite his six AL Central titles. His regular season success has never managed to translate to the post season with the Twins sporting an abysmal 6-21 record under Gardenhire’s management. On the bright sode, as of the end of the 2013 season, he is only two wins away from the thousand-win mark. Gardenhire has won one AL Manager of the Year title, was runner-up five times and helped the Twins win 94 games and the division in 2002 amidst rumors of contraction. Always passionate about his team, Gardy has been ejected from an impressive 67 games during his tenure with the Twins. His 2-year contract extension will see him through to 2015.
7. Don Mattingly – Los Angeles Dodgers – $2 Million in 2013
Don Mattingly was a popular face for the New York Yankees for a number of years before moving across the country where he currently manages the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mattingly makes $2 million per year and has lead LA to a winning record in each of his three years with the team. Still, he has yet to get a World Series title in spite of the Dodgers’ best efforts. Mattingly came in second place in voting for the NL Manager of the Year Award in 2013.
6. Joe Maddon – TampaBay Rays – $2 Million in 2013
Joe Maddon made barely half a million dollars when he first became the manager the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2006. Since the Rays won the American League penant in 2008, Maddon has posted a winning record for the team and has been granted two AL Manager of the Year awards. It was enough to earn him a substantial raise to $2 million a year until 2015. Maddon currently has over 700 wins as an MLB manager.
5. Terry Francona – Cleveland Indians – $3 Million in 2013
Although Terry Francona won the 2004 and 2007 World Series with the Boston Red Sox, the team’s collapse in 2012 cost him his job. This past season, however, Francona earned $3 million with the Cleveland Indians and brought the team to a 92-70 record, a total that was good for second place in the AL Central. His contract will keep him with the Indians through to 2015. Francona was named this year’s AL Manager of the Year.
4. Jim Leyland – Detroit Tigers – $3 Million in 2013
Jim Leyland is getting $3 million a year from the Detroit Tigers thanks to not only his strong record with the team but also his extensive body of experience as a manager. Leyland has three straight division titles with Detroit and has won the AL pennant twice with the team since joining in 2006. He’s been in the managing game since 1986 when he started working with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He did win a title with the 1997 Florida Marlins but lost 108 games the year after that.
3. Dusty Baker – Cincinnati Reds – $3.5 Million in 2013
Although Dusty Baker had two NL Central titles in six years with the Cincinnati Reds and led the team to 90 wins in 2013, they still let him go at the end of last year. His oldschool approach to baseball was part of what made him a unique manager, but may have also led to his downfall. Baker was an avid non-believer in the on-base percentage statistic and routinely put batters with poor stats at the top of his lineups. He was also notorious for overusing pitchers and heavily preferred to use veterans over prospects, even when his team was out of the playoff picture. Baker had a decent record with the Reds but was never able to revisit the success he had in 2002 when he led the San Francisco Giants to the National League pennant.
2. Joe Girardi – New York Yankees – $4 Million in 2013
Joe Girardi played for the New York Yankees for four seasons from 1996-99 and won three World Series titles with the team. In 2008, he became the Yankees new manager after Joe Torre’s departure. During his tenure with New York, Girardi has won three division titles and one World Series championship. His new four-year deal will pay him a handsome $4 million per year up until 2016.
1. Mike Scioscia – Los Angeles Angels – $5 Million in 2013
Mike Scioscia spent thirteen years as a catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and has spent the last fourteen managing the Dodgers’ rivals, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Scioscia is reported to be earning $5 million per year from the Angels, a nice reward for his 1233-1035 record with the team. Scioscia also has one World Series title and two AL Manager of the Year awards in his collection. He is the first manager in MLB history to have reached the playoffs in six of his first ten seasons.
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