Managers and general managers know they are hired to someday get fired. It's the nature of the job. For each of the managers and GMs below, there's a reason he's on the hot seat. Let's look at the reasons:

Lee Mazzilli, Baltimore Orioles

Lee Mazzilli

He made the list because there were rumors that Orioles owner Peter Angelos wanted Mazzilli out at the All-Star break last season, his first as a big-league manager. Good for co-GMs Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan for not acting on that request.

If Mazzilli is truly being evaluated on the team's performance and the number of games they win, he might be gone by the All-Star break this year. The Orioles won't finish any higher than third place with the Red Sox and Yankees in the same division.

The Orioles do have a formidable offense, but not even Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa or Joe Torre would finish better than third with the O's pitching staff. It won't be Mazzilli's fault if they don't finish higher than third, just as I believe it won't be the co-GMs' fault. It's just the nature of playing in the AL East.

Bruce Bochy, San Diego Padres

Bruce Bochy

He's one of the more highly respected managers in the major leagues. He handles his pitching staff well and he's a good communicator. He represents the Padres' organization extremely well and he's a winner. So why is he on the list?

I included him because he was in the midst of negotiating a two-year contract extension when owner John Moores pulled the plug. That's never a good sign. Moores claims there's no problem and they want to keep Bochy, but there are a lot of expectations for this team. Bochy and GM Kevin Towers have a relationship of mutual respect and understanding. They have been a good team, and they are building for this new era of Padres baseball (young talent and a new stadium).

Moores should know that if he ever does fire Bochy, Bruce will get a job offer from another team in five minutes. It's highly unlikely that you could find a better manager.

Jim Tracy, Los Angeles Dodgers

Jim Tracy

He doesn't belong on this list any more than Bochy does. Tracy did an unbelievable job managing the Dodgers last year to the National League West title. He masterfully handled the emotions of the team after the startling trade-deadline deal that sent Paul Lo Duca, Guillermo Mota and Juan Encarnacion to the Marlins for Brad Penny, Hee Seop Choi and a prospect.

He also signed a two-year contract this past offseason. But, because GM Paul DePodesta inherited Tracy, there's this persistent perception that he's not DePodesta's guy. Also, there may be some discrepancy between what DePodesta thinks the quality of the team is and what it truly is. This isn't a good equation for a manager.

If Tracy gets fired, he'll get gobbled up quicker than you can say Hee Seop Choi.

General Managers
Ed Wade, Philadelphia Phillies

Ed Wade

Wade is on the list because that's what happens the year after a GM fires a manager. At the end of the 2004 season, the Phillies decided that manager Larry Bowa had to go. In making that decision, Wade removed the buffer between his decisions and the team's ultimate performance.

It's the same thing that happened in New York with the Mets when we fired Bobby Valentine. I was next in line. It's just the nature of the beast.

Wade is a quality man who has worked his way through the ranks. Phillies fans are passionate, but nobody wants them to win more than Wade. His job depends on it.

No matter what happens, there's a place in baseball for Wade because he is a professional organizational man.

Joe Garagiola Jr., Arizona Diamondbacks

Joe Garagiola, Jr.

Last season was a year to forget for the Diamondbacks. Injuries crippled the team, and young players didn't deliver like they had in the past. Anything that could go wrong went wrong. Garagiola is the same GM who helped build a franchise from an expansion team to a world champion more quickly than it had ever been done before.

One bad season should not cause a GM to get fired, but he made my list because of the changes that have taken place above him in the front office. There's new leadership in Arizona with former owner Jerry Colangelo out and Ken Kendrick and Jeff Moorad in. New managing partners care less about what you have done in the past than they do about what you are delivering for them today. The Diamondbacks are going to be better this season, but I'm just not sure they'll be good enough to satisfy the new leadership.

There should always be a place for Garagiola in the Diamondbacks organization, because he's a class act and an important part of their history.

Paul DePodesta, Los Angeles Dodgers

Paul DePodesta

Yes, he's on my hot-seat list, but not because he has any chance of getting fired. He's well-liked by ownership and he delivered a division championship last season. He better not have any chance of getting fired with the success he has had.

He's on the hot seat only because he has put himself there. There's only one player (Cesar Izturis) remaining from the 25-man roster he inherited when he took the job about 14 months ago. When a GM makes that much change in such a short period of time, it becomes all about him. It's his team, and only his team.

DePodesta is a very smart guy, a Harvard graduate. He's also proven that he has the guts, the courage and the willingness to stick with his convictions in the face of significant criticism. Many of us so-called experts ripped the trade-deadline deal he made with the Marlins last season. Many thought it would be the demise of the Dodgers. And many of us were wrong.

This offseason has been no different. DePodesta has faced a lot of criticism for the remake of the offense in the face of losing Adrian Beltre and Steve Finley to free agency and the trade of Shawn Green. He faces criticism for taking apart the defense, which was so important to the Dodgers' success last season. He takes hits from every angle.

Despite all the criticism, DePodesta has stuck to his guns. He believes in his plan even if it isn't completely obvious to those close to him. I picked the Dodgers to finish fourth in the NL West this season, but of all of the teams I've evaluated, the Dodgers make me worry that I could be wrong.

You see, I think DePodesta might actually be smarter than I am.

In the end, I hope the season progresses in a way that no managers or general managers get fired. Having been there, it isn't much fun.

Steve Phillips, former general manager of the New York Mets, is a regular on ESPN's Baseball Tonight.