Bruce Bochy has led the San Francisco Giants to three World Series titles in his time with the organization. He is beloved by the fanbase (excluding armchair managers on the internet), and he has one more year remaining in his contract.
It has been talked about in the past that Bochy might opt to retire either before or when his contract is over, due to the health issues he has faced over the last few years. Thankfully, though, he seems to be doing well (as far as we know) and he said he wants to come back next season.
Now, I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would willingly want to do that, considering how bad the last two seasons have been. But he does.
It’s hard to blame Bochy for too much of what has gone wrong, especially this season. Not only did most of the usual key contributors under-perform, but everyone was hurt. You can’t plan for that. You can’t do too much about it as a manager.
Derek Holland said that Bochy is a legend, and that “He can only do so much. He does such a good job getting us ready for what we need to do out there. You can’t say it’s his fault. He’s not going out there making plays, swinging the bat, making pitches. It’s on us.”
Sure, some may not like his lineups or his use of certain players overall. But at a certain point over the last two seasons I think we’ve all acknowledged that constructing a lineup for this team has basically been like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Per ESPN, Bochy was quoted as saying:
“The love of the game and the desire to get back to the postseason (...) I’d love to have another shot at winning the championship. That doesn’t mean it happens like you want, but that’s what I want. I’m still hungry for that.”
That’s an understandable drive for anyone in professional sports, especially a manager who has had as much success has Bochy has. It’s hard to see the end of that era coming, and where the team has been the last two seasons, and not want to turn it around before he leaves. It’s hard not to want to have one last hurrah.
However, per the same linked article above, though Bochy plans to be back next year, no conversations have actually taken place between he and the organization about his status, according to Larry Baer.
Now, that could just mean that it is assumed that he will be back to finish out his contract. Or it could mean the organization may be thinking about parting ways with him one year ahead of schedule. It could mean anything at this point, so it’s not worth reading too much into it. Not yet, anyway.
Baer himself is quoted in SFGate as saying: “We evaluate the season when the season is over.”
Which is fair enough. The season is still in progress, tortuous as it is, and they still have to wrap of these last few series before the real work of the off-season begins.
For my money, I don’t see that they would fire Bochy with only one year left. Unless they plan to go gangbusters this winter, next year is unlikely to be competitive and is more likely to be the start of a rebuild rather than another push at a playoff window that is pretty much closed at this point.
For an organization as committed to nostalgia and pomp & circumstance as the Giants are, I don’t believe they would cut short Bochy’s tenure and deny him a chance to have a sendoff from the fans. But, baseball is a business and managers are fired every season, often with little notice, so anything is possible.