Monday, July 13, 2009

Might as well pile on

I'm pretty sure I said it a month ago, it had to be done.

Manny Acta might be a nice guy, a good baseball man and may end up being a successful manager elsewhere but it was not gonna happen here.  Eventually, the stink rubs off on the manager. 

It credited to Bill Parcells but it sounds more like a truism than a real quote

”You are what your record says you are.”

In the Nats case, they really are a little bit better than 26 wins. But not by much.

By my reckoning, Manny greatest failure was to not recognize what kind of team he had this year.  Despite the fact that he had a few more vets in the field, they still needed to be pushed to work hard every night like a young team that is bad would have to do just to remain somewhat competitive.  This team didn't do that.  The young pitchers sure have but between the meltdowns by the vet bullpen arms and the lackadasical play of vets in the field, the talent gap was too hard to climb.

I'd imagine that the psychology of losing also played a role here.  There were the three stomach punches early in the year against Florida. It seemed the team never got a chance to develop and swagger (ignorance and arrogance in the Bull Durham parlance) and that magnified the mistakes.  Attitudes changed from winning to performing and not getting hurt.  Who among us would put out effort day in and day out for a business that you knew was going down the toilet?  Real high character people might but the unwashed masses, they check out mentally but still cash the paychecks.

Interim manager?  Got to be the way to go.  The next two and a half months won't tell you anything about a new manager.  Better to use the time to decide what kind of guy you want and then go out and find him.  Oh and Teddy, pay the man too.  Stay off the discount rack please.

Finally, the late unlamented JimBo comes in for the lion's share of the blame here.  So, the '05, '06,'07 and '08 bullpens that were at the least mediocre to surprisingly effective were who's success?  Is the '09 lineup vastly superior to the lineups run out in the past few years?  They are what middle of the pack in runs scored?  That's a damn sight higher than they've been in the past.

If you want to kill someone for the dearth of talent here, kill the man responsible . . . Omar.  He drafted absolutely nothing. Zippo.  And tell me an outfield of Jason Bay in left, Grady Sizemore in center and Vlad Guerrero in right wouldn't have more than 26 wins?  I know I can't kill him for Vllad but the other two (plus reigning AL CY Young award winner Cliff Lee and talented but troubled Brandon Phillips.) 

The point is, as I love to make, is it takes a long time to become an overnight success. It will take longer because the ownership refuses to use their financial resources to jumpstart the process (not Mark Texieria but how about international signings or some creative take salary off your books for a prospect deals?)  Even I have to give them credit for their work in the draft (they've spent there until this year.)

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