Now that it appears Manny Acta is probably not on his way out at least for the moment, I figure it's fair game to start nit-picking his moves again.
Sunday we saw one of the more inexplicable Manny decisions of the season. Facing the Rays in Tampa for a day game following a night game, Manny decided to start an outfield left-to-right of Adam Dunn, Elijah Dukes, and Corey Patterson.
Dukes, as we saw in brutal fashion last night, is a pretty terrible centerfielder. On the season, he's a -19.2 UZR/150 centerfielder, meaning that over the course of a full season his defense would allow 19.2 runs more than an average centerfielder. That'd make him the fifth worst fielder at any position in all of baseball (and basically no better or worse than Lastings Milledge). For his career, he's even worse: -24.6.
In right, on the other hand, Dukes is quite a good rightfielder, posting a +10.7 UZR/150 for his career. In other words, moving Dukes from right to center costs you at least 30 runs over the course of a season.
Patterson isn't the defensive whiz that he was earlier in his career. UZR has him as essentially an average centerfielder over the last two seasons in Baltimore and Cincy.
On the other hand, before Sunday, he'd made one appearance in right field ever. Ever. So we really have no idea whether he's a good or bad right fielder, but his arm is just ok for a centerfielder and is probably below-average in right. Though his range would certainly be above average there. Factor in the unfamiliarity with the position, and let's assume it's a wash and he's an average right.
What that means is that this one decision, extended over the course of a full season, would cost the team a net 30 runs, which is nearly 3 whole wins. It's uncommon for all the in-game decisions a manager makes all year to add up to three full wins or losses, so this is a huge difference. And a mind-numbingly bad one. It's really very hard to imagine what Manny was thinking here.