Sunday, October 25, 2009

Manny Acta: Everyone's First Choice

Manny Acta not only landed the Cleveland Indians job today--he had his pick of jobs between Cleveland and the Houston Astros.

It should come as no surprise that Manny didn't have a hard time getting another shot to manage. Outside of DC, Manny's been compared to Terry Francona for years--a very talented young manager who never had a chance in his first job because his team was so dreadfully overmatched in terms of talent night-in and night-out.

But it's impressive that Manny's services were not only sought after, but apparently sparked an full-fledged bidding war. The Indians signed him for three years with a team option for a fourth, beating out the Astros' two-year offer.

Cleveland was clearly the more desirable option in terms of organizational strength and talent. The Indians really cratered in 2009, but with a core of Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, and Shin-Soo Choo, plus up-and-coming blue-chippers Carlos Santana and Matt LaPorta, Manny has far, far more to work with in Cleveland than he ever did in DC.

The pitching staff is a mess, after shipping off CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee in consecutive seasons and watching Fausto Carmona fall apart totally. I worry that they massively overrated Carlos Carrasco in the Cliff Lee trade. But in the soft AL Central, it's not hard to imagine Cleveland jumping up and making a run as soon as next season.

Regardless, in terms of contract and talent, Manny has a much better job now than the one he was fired from. It's a very good bet that he'll have a better record than whoever takes over the Nationals in 2010.

It kinda makes you think that with Manny's contract coming up at the end of this year, he just might have quit if he hadn't been fired. He obviously had no shortage of options.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe Acta will force the Nationals' hand with Riggleman by pursuing him as bench coach for Cleveland.

CoverageisLacking said...

I wonder if Shapiro watched any video of Acta-era Nats games from this past season. A video of the home opener against Philly and then the game at Citi Field where he sat on his ass while Dunn argued the HR should have been enough to scare anyone away. If not, then I would think pinch-hitting Cintron day after day while Willingham sat on the bench should have done it.

It will be interesting to see Manny handle his pitching staff with the DH. At least he doesn't have to worry about being confounded by double switch possibilities.

Seriously, I don't understand what about Manny impressed these teams. His "energy" and "communication skills"? Seriously? What exactly were we watching for the past 3 seasons?

JayB said...

Agreed CIL....I think Steven has it right with his phrase...."outside DC"....we know that nobody outside DC paid any attention to Nats baseball....this decision just proves it. Nats will have a better record next year and Acta will be fired by Jun 2011. I was right about him in DC and time will prove he is not a manager.

JayB said...

Steven,

Does it say anything about the organizations, Indians and Astros that they both fell like a rock from Playoff contention the past few years. What is your view of the two GM's who find Acta such an attractive choice. Most things I read say these two are near rock bottom in the League. Do you agree?

Anonymous said...

JayB, Acta is gone from here now and is not coming back. So perhaps if you want to continue to bash him you should move to Cleveland where people might actually care about what you're ranting about.

And as for Acta being the first choice of the GMs of two bad teams, what do you expect? Those were the only teams (besides the Nats) with manager openings. GMs of good teams tend to already have managers, you know, and are not looking for a new one.

As for perceptions of Acta outside DC, apparently Bobby Cox made an unsolicited call to Cleveland to recommend Acta to them. Perhaps you guys have heard of him? He's someone who knows good managing when he sees it - unlike you idiots.

Anonymous said...

hear, hear

CoverageisLacking said...

Perhaps the Dolans wanted someone to manage their baseball team who would remind them of the days when Isaiah Thomas ran their basketball team? Maybe they told Shapiro, find us a manager who will be as good as Isaiah was at coaching the Knicks? They really have an eye for talent.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was a Nationals website. Why haven't all you Manny-bashers relocated to Cleveland, either virtually or physically? Surely there are Indians blogs where you can go now to bash Manny to your heart's content.

CoverageisLacking said...

Anon, perhaps it is because the owner of this blog chose to put up a post on this Nats blog about how Acta had been hired by the Indians and was also given an offer by the Astros? The comments seem pretty responsive to the post, if you ask me.

By all means, if you would like to debate Acta's merits as a manager and offer your own opinions, rather than just make ad hominem attacks on posters, I would be happy to have at it, assuming that Steven wants that debate to go on here. Otherwise, it doesn't appear that you are actually contributing anything to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

CoverageisLacking, no one here is calling you a homo. But maybe you should try this place out if that's the kind of action you're looking for.

Steven said...

I think it's telling that Acta was such a hot property. I think Shapiro is one of the better GMs around. Cleveland is a good org.

I certainly had my critiques of Manny, and I was in favor of firing him. But I think Manny had to go mostly because you can't lose that long and not need a new voice. All those losses stick to you eventually. Yet, even a great manager would have lost and lost and lost.

And I still think the whole "Manny didn't fight with the umps enough" is wildly overblown. Sorry.

I won't be shocked if Manny succeeds in Cleveland. He's a smart guy, a charismatic leader (that comes across much better when you're in the room with him than when you're just watching the MASN shots of him watching Joel Hanrahan self-immolate).

An Briosca Mor said...

Interesting that one of the biggest gripes the unwashed masses here had with Manny Acta was that he didn't show that he had his players' backs by arguing with the umps. Yet somehow the world champion of doing that, Bobby Cox, took it upon himself to call the Indians unsolicited to offer a ringing endorsement of Manny Acta for manager. Perhaps the unwashed masses here are just a little clueless about the qualities it really takes to be a good manager.

Michael said...

What are the chances that the Nats make a play, and are successful, at netting Bobby Valentine?

HH said...

Manny Acta is not the loser that Nationals fans think he is. No one is that bad. And no manager can win with bad talent. Few managers can lose with good talent. The Nationals were a disaster and Acta took the fall and the blame for it.

A lot of credit went to Riggleman for a turnaround but that would likely have occurred with Acta, too, because it was inevitable.

The Nationals would be stupid not to hire Bobby Valentine. He would create energy for the organization and with fans and he's very good at getting a lot out of mediocre players. He's won with three dysfunctional franchises in Texas, New York and even in Japan.

Because the Nationals are not very smart, I don't see them going after Valentine.

Valentine is probably a little too high profile for Rizzo's liking and he'd like to bring in a guy that he can put his stamp on. I see Riggleman or a first-time manager.

phil dunn said...

Yes, Manny has lots of options because he works cheap. Otherwise, the Nats would never have hired him. My guess is that the Nats will hire Riggleman because he'll come cheap too.

CoverageisLacking said...

ABM, what is *your* opinion of Manny as a manager, and what are the reasons that inform your opinion? You've critiqued the views of others but you haven't offered any views about what you actually think. Assuming you think Manny was/is a good manager, what are the "qualities it really takes to be a good manager" that you believe Manny offers?

As to your comment about Manny arguing with umps: First off, that is one of many, many deficiencies that I believe Manny had as the Nats' manager. I raised it specifically in my earlier post, as opposed to discussing others, because I think that Manny's inability to support his players with umps is directly contrary to some of the supposed positive qualities that the stories about Manny's desirability have mentioned. As to Cox making a phone call for him, we can all read whatever we want into that, but in any case I don't think it suggests that supporting one's players with umpires is unimportant, or that Cox himself even believes that to be the case.

My take on the "Manny didn't back up his players enough" is that the views of the players are what matter most. And on that point, Zimmerman--the de facto leader of the clubhouse whom Rizzo pretty much anointed as future captain--spoke pretty clearly on the issue:

"Every player is different. Personally, I don't need that kind of stuff, but I think a lot of players do. It's so different from a player to player basis, so it's hard for me to speak for everybody. But there were some points sometimes where some people have said some stuff on our team -- not to him, obviously, but player-to-player -- that they would've liked him to do more of that.

"He's not a very controversial person. ... But I think sometimes you have to go out and do that. Not just because you're the manager and you've got to do that, but because your players want you to step up."

An Briosca Mor said...

Personally, I think Manny Acta was a fine manager here. I align pretty closely with Phil Wood's take on him.

And CoverageisLacking, I can see why you think being argumentative is an important quality to have in a manager, since being argumentative does seem to be one of the fundamental tenets of your very existence.

JayB said...

ABM...that is rich....calling CIL out for being argumentative.....perfect irony!

JayB said...

Phil Wood has set the bar at so low here that anyone but Bob Short and the Expansion Senators could lead it.....Not sure what that says about Manny's work in DC.....

CoverageisLacking said...

Whatever, ABM. I'm not making personal attacks against you or any other poster. I'm merely asking you what your opinion is, after you have critiqued an aspect of mine. Yet you, on the other hand, are making personal attacks against other posters--i.e. the "unwashed masses" who are "clueless" in your view--rather than just addressing the substance of what they are writing. And then you accuse me of being "argumentative"? Huh?

An Briosca Mor said...

CoverageisLacking and JayB, expressing an opinion opposite of yours does not constitute a personal attack on you. Why can't you guys figure that out? You'd find yourself getting in a lot fewer fights if you did. I am, as always, just calling them as I see them. As are you. Yet for some reason I'm the one doing nothing but making personal attacks. Oh-kay...

An Briosca Mor said...

Interesting that one of the biggest gripes the unwashed masses here had with Manny Acta was that he didn't show that he had his players' backs by arguing with the umps.

And of course, when I speak of the "unwashed masses here" I'm talking about in DC, not in this comments section. That should be obvious, because there are not masses of commenters here. Yet CoverageisLacking is so vain, he always thinks the song is about him.

An Briosca Mor said...

Phil Wood has set the bar at so low here that anyone but Bob Short and the Expansion Senators could lead it.....Not sure what that says about Manny's work in DC.....

I dunno. Phil Wood talks to scouts, he talks to front office people, he talks to managers, coaches and players. Not just with the Nationals, but around the league. JayB, near as I can tell, talks to himself. I'm going with Phil Wood any day of the week.

CoverageisLacking said...

ABM, you're the only person around here who I see engaging in name-calling of other commenters. These comments are not simply expressing a contrary opinion:

"And CoverageisLacking...being argumentative does seem to be one of the fundamental tenets of your very existence."

"CoverageisLacking is so vain, he always thinks the song is about him."

"JayB, near as I can tell, talks to himself."

"Perhaps the unwashed masses here are just a little clueless about the qualities it really takes to be a good manager." (If you want to contend that this is directed to Nats fans "in general," as opposed to any of us in particular, go for it, the point is that you're still just calling fans names based on their point of view.)

And those are just from the comments in this thread that you signed, as opposed to any of the anonymous ones that you might have written.

In any case, I'm not quite sure what purpose you hope to achieve with these name-calling riffs and attacking commenters personally. But the effect is that it becomes needlessly unpleasant and not worth it to continue discussing the actual substantive issues that some of us, at least, would like to discuss. So to the extent you just want to drive people away who you might disagree with, congratulations, nice job. Have fun arguing with yourself.

Steven, it's too bad that a potentially-decent debate on your blog was derailed like this.

An Briosca Mor said...

SkinIsTooThin, if you can't find a rational counter to an argument, attack the messenger. It's not a disagreement with your opinion, it's a personal attack on you. So I called you argumentative. You're gonna argue that you're not? You seem to think that being argumentative is a good trait in a manager. Why then is it an insult if I attribute that trait to you?

Can't counter the argument, attack the messenger instead. Oldest trick in the book, and you're a master at it. Kudos to you. But we see right through it, you know.

An Briosca Mor said...

And as for the "substantive issue" that CoverageisLacking wants to discuss, really it's just a matter of opinion. There is no right or wrong as to whether a manager who's prone to argue is a good thing or not. The Zimmerman quote that CoverageisLacking went to pains to transcribe really boils down to "six of one, half dozen of the other" on it. On the other hand, I find it telling that a future Hall of Fame manager who is known as an argumentative type went to bat, unsolicited, in favor of a manager who is known to be the direct opposite when it comes to arguing with umps. That says to me that the HoF manager really doesn't put all that much weight on arguing calls as a factor in good managing. Also, two teams made a non-arguing manager their first choice for an open job. That says to me also that they don't care much about that aspect of his managing. They're happy with what he is.

Now who's to say whether that opinion is right or wrong? We'll never know. But it sure seems like the opinions that really count are stacked against the theory that having a manager who argues calls is important, doesn't it?

Ben said...

I'm a little perplexed as the the perception that Riggleman 'turned the team around'. We have been crying for a center fielder/lead off man since the Nat's arrived in DC. Riggleman had one and Manny didn't.

Rigglemans record without Morgan in the line-up is scarily similar to Manny's record. I agree with Steve that in the end Manny had to go simply because we needed change for changes sake but, not one person here could argue that Manny could have been expected to succeed with the line-up he was given.

Also the shouting argument is just ridiculous. Every manager has their own style, and there are successes and failures with each. Arguing with an ump for a team that is that far in the doldrums makes you look sad.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

It's possible that Manny demonstrated during his interviews that he recognized some of the mistakes he made and learned from them. It wouldn't be the first time that the Nationals paid for the education that some other team benefited from. Remember how much Ron Darling was criticized during his stint as color man here? Now he's seen as an excellent analyst for the Mets and got himself a post-season gig as well.

HH said...

There is hope for Manny, and I'm rooting for him.

I've never seen an umpire change his call yet when a manager comes out to argue. The team would probably be better off to just shut up and walk off the field.

Joe Torre's record was about the same as Manny's over a 5-year period when he started out. Not just 2 1/2 years.

For all the nonsense he's had to deal with, I hope he does well in Cleveland.

J.M. White IV said...

I see ABM is still up to his old tricks.

It's been a few years now, let it go dude.

J.M. White IV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.M. White IV said...

SkinIsTooThin, if you can't find a rational counter to an argument, attack the messenger. It's not a disagreement with your opinion, it's a personal attack on you. So I called you argumentative. You're gonna argue that you're not? You seem to think that being argumentative is a good trait in a manager. Why then is it an insult if I attribute that trait to you?

Can't counter the argument, attack the messenger instead. Oldest trick in the book, and you're a master at it. Kudos to you. But we see right through it, you know.

October 26, 2009 9:41 PM

----------------

By the way....Pot, meet Kettle, ABM.

In the past 2 years, you've never made anything that even resembles a point.

The only thing you have ever done, both here, and on Nationals Journal, is Attack The Messenger. Obsessively, I might add.

Yet somehow it is ok for you to do this to JayB and CiL, and Steven, and anyone else, but wrong for them to do so to you.

funny how that works.

An Briosca Mor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sasskuash said...

Can you all just meet at a bar and fight it out amongst yourselves instead of crying and whining and calling names back and forth like school children? It's really, really annoying to read.