- Keep some moving boxes next to your desk:
There's been little action over the last couple of days, so let's have a look at the managers who will begin the season on the hotseat and some possible replacements for said managers. (They're in no particular order.)
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
I don't like the way he manages strategically; I don't like the way he handles the clubhouse; and frankly I don't know why they've kept him this long. He zones out during games----see his absurd decisions during the 2008 post-season and the gaffe of accidentally submitting different lineup cards in a game last season forcing pitcher Andy Sonnanstine to bat third. Plus the inmates are running the asylum. It's dangerous to have a young team so seemingly out of control and things could spiral fast right out of the gate. Maddon's not helped by a disappointing 2009 in which the club at times looked as if they'd quit.
His contract is good through 2012, but if things get off badly, they can't mess around in the AL East. If there was ever a perfect job for Bobby Valentine to re-emerge, it's in Tampa. Larry Bowa would be a good idea as well.
Cito Gaston, Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays gave up in August, something I find reprehensible; Gaston spoke of retirement. I'd have fired him if I were the Blue Jays. There's a lot of young talent on the club especially on the mound, I don't like Brad Arnsberg as pitching coach, and if they're going to bring in someone else to manage the club and handle the pitchers when they turn the corner, they might as well do it now. Joey Cora would be perfect for that job. Per-fect.
Dave Trembley, Baltimore Orioles:
I was stunned when the Orioles exercised Trembley's contract option and kept him on. This was the second straight year that the Orioles played respectably into the summer and collapsed. In an ideal world, Trembley's lack of professional playing experience wouldn't be held against him, but I'd never hire a manager who had no professional playing experience; it's too easy for the players to tune him out.
The expectations for the Orioles will be higher with their acquisitions of Kevin Millwood, Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins, joining the young nucleus Andy MacPhail's built. I'd bring Davey Johnson back. Larry Bowa would be a great idea too.
Trey Hillman, Kansas City Royals
Hillman might be one of the worst managers I've ever seen in my life. I had a man-crush on the guy when he got the job, for which I am endlessly ashamed, but his resume----managing and winning a championship in Japan; scouting; running the Rangers minor league system----was impeccable.
Hillman doesn't know what he's doing, but then neither does GM Dayton Moore, so Hillman's not getting fired even though they have a built-in replacement for whom I have great respect as a manager----coach John Gibbons.
Bob Geren, Oakland Athletics
The only reason Geren's lasted this long is because he's one of GM Billy Beane's best friends; but Beane's under fire and he's not going to go down without doing something to try and save his own ass.
Michael Corleone clipped Fredo in The Godfather Part II; and Billy Beane will clip Bob Geren if (when) the A's get off to a bad start and fall to the basement of the tough NL West. Beane might go the veteran manager route----Clint Hurdle for example----to save himself. Phillies coach Pete Mackanin is a good man too.
Fredi Gonzalez, Florida Marlins
I did not understand the vacillation over Fredi Gonzalez's job with the Marlins after the job he's done as manager since 2007. From watching him, he handles the players well and does a fine job strategically. The Marlins made a very public show of thinking about replacing Gonzalez with Bobby Valentine and I don't understand it.
Getting fired wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for Gonzalez because he'd be the replacement for Bobby Cox in Atlanta after 2010.
Jerry Manuel, New York Mets
Manuel and his returning coaches (specifically pitching coach Dan Warthen) survived by their fingertips only because of the ridiculous number of injuries that befell the Mets. Manuel's strategies were strange to say the least and with the Mets trying to overcome the disaster that 2009 was and spending money to improve drastically, they'd better get off to a good start. Bobby Valentine would love to return; and Jim Fregosi is the calm, veteran-type who'd settle things down.
Ken Macha, Milwaukee Brewers
Macha almost got fired after the 2009 season, he's in the last year of his contract and the players don't like him all that much. Macha has no chance unless the Brewers get off to a hot start; if not, he's getting fired and fast. Willie Randolph will be managing the Brewers by May.
John Russell, Pittsburgh Pirates
Another man who had a solid minor league managing resume and was a well-respected mind as a player who hung around the big leagues with limited skills; but he's not a good manager. The Pirates as an organization don't have the faintest clue what they're doing, so I doubt they'll fire Russell. Pete Mackanin or Gary Varsho would be good replacements.
Bud Black, San Diego Padres
Black's a rotten manager on a rotten team. I have no idea why his contract was extended when owner Jeff Moorad intended to fire GM Kevin Towers. On some level, I understand it. Black's contract is only guaranteed through 2010 and the Padres are going to be horrific one way or the other, so why pay someone else to manage the team? But one would think Jed Hoyer would want to bring in his own person (Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell?) to run things.
The problem with the Padres is that they have some young talent now and need a manager to steer the club and teach the youngsters. Everyone has nothing but nice things to say about Black personally, but that doesn't matter to me. It's business.
I'd hesitate to hire a former pitcher as manager which would make me reluctant to hire Farrell regardless of how respected he is. Black was respected as well when he got the job.
Glenn Hoffman's on the Padres staff and has managing experience with the Dodgers. Tim Flannery is a lifelong Padre now coaching with the Giants and would be a popular choice. Bob Melvin worked for Moorad with the Diamondbacks and is a solid manager all around.
- Viewer Mail 1.4.2010:
Gabriel (Capo) writes RE a potential Moneyball zombie movie and sequel:
I want to be a John McClane-type of character in the Zombie Hunter movie. My favourite xmas movie are Die Hard and Die Harder.
You can be the crazy lunatic with no fear. I, the calm, ruthless leader; and Jeff the brains with the lethal skills in martial arts and weaponry. Other roles are pending...
The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes:
The collective bargaining agreement is almost up. PED testing, Salary Caps, Player Contract Terms, Arbitration are just some of the things we're going to see a knock-out, drag-down brawl over. Selig will be gone. Fehr is out. And guys like Boras, there's more dents in his armor today than just 3 years ago. I digress. I think this has everything to do with so many players still unsigned, and the number of 1 and 2 year deals being offered. I think times-are-a-changin' in a big way pretty soon; as dramatic an upheaval as when Marvin Miller won the right to put this whole system into effect in the first place.
be well...happy new year
There's not going to be a salary cap, but with the economy in the state it's in and ownerships suddenly refusing to spend ridiculous amounts of money, there's a salary cap without there being a salary cap and the players and agents are beginning to panic. Things are changing----drastically.
Jeff (Acting Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE the remaining free agents:
Wow. LOTS of names on the list. You think come February we're just gonna have a fire storm of short one year, low money signings for these guys? It'll be confusing for the fan to figure out who's with who now... but I'm preparing for just that.
It's a nuisance for me personally because I can't start writing my book until all the chips have fallen.
Well, technically I could start writing it, but I find it more entertaining when I write the whole thing over a 2-3 week period; am more wired Robbie Williams in the midst of his über-healthy diet of Red Bull, coffee and cigarettes; and look back at what I've written after the fact with almost no recollection of having written 75% of it.
My Tweets will be something to see during that time. I'm not saying that's good or bad. It just "is". Like a hurricane.
Ric Nunez writes RE the still available free agents:
a lot the names available, most of this guys are only good for bad teams...
LMAO the funny review about Mike Jacobs.
I can't wait to see the money some of the still available and very useful players get.
With Jacobs, he's another of the Rick Ankiel, Eric Bruntlett, Brian Anderson and Doug Mientkiewicz-types who I have to ask what it is they do exactly to keep big a big league job. It's one of the unanswerable questions of life.