Not really, but in Ringolsby's column yesterday he puts Coop on the Hot Seat. Regard:
* Houston manager Cecil Cooper enters the season in the final year of his contact, which is not the norm for the Astros. That would put him on the hot seat if the Astros start the season cold.
I, personally, am calling bullcrap. We all know how the Astros finished the season on a 39-game winning streak, only to be screwed out of a post-season berth by Bud Selig and Cracker Jack taking up the cause of the Cubs' 100 years of abject failure.
Cold starts are something the Astros, and their fans, are used to. So I don't think any legitimate Astros fan panics in May. There is only one manager who should be on the hot seat for a cold start: Girardi, eyes up. To have those resources available and be 10 games behind Toronto on May 15 would mean Girardi could be dragging the East River.
The only reason to fire a manager before mid-season is if he plays cards in the clubhouse during the game. We'll focus on this as we get closer to the season opener, but I guarantee you the Astros will not be picked to finish higher than 3rd in the NL Central by any writer (save Richard Justice).
Let's be honest here, so far this off-season has felt like Easy Eddie has been playing with dynasty mode in MLB 2002: The Game. I mean, I hope to God that Hampton rebounds, and Russ Ortiz regains his former glory and all Aaron Boone does is hit walk-off home runs. But to play with a poor team and get poor results should not a fire-able offense.
There's also the "Who are they going to replace him with?" factor that should not be ignored. Like when the Brewers - who could be the most knee-jerk organization in the National League - fired Ned Yost (whose son I made fun of at a college baseball game, because I thought the shared name was a coincidence. I should have known better. And little Neddy, I'm sorry. I really am. That was bush-league of me to yell "The Brewers suck!" when you were at the plate in a Lone Star Conference game) with ten days left in the season to replace him with a manager who I vaguely remember from a Donruss complete set. Any thoughts on when Ausmus is offered a "professional services" contract within the organization?
So no, Coop is not on the hot seat - nor should he be.