Friday, November 08, 2013
The more attention analysts pay to on-field tactics, the less important they seem to be in the minds of GMs when selecting managers, apparently:
Managers matter less and less in baseball today. I wrote about the disappearance of the managerial cult of personality back in August. Sports on Earth’s Jack Moore just explored the new model of manager, while Baseball Prospectus editor-in-chief and Grantland contributor Ben Lindbergh noted that as we learn more about baseball’s tactics, the men who execute those tactics are skewing younger, less experienced, and less expensive.
Why is this happening? Says Moore: “This is a shift that has been inevitable for some time now, for a variety of reasons: the rise of free agency and the increase in player power; the rise of analytics in baseball; the integration of more and more international players into the major league ranks. … No transition better emphasizes the changes baseball and the world around it has undergone in the past 30 years.”
The manager’s role is shrinking in importance, at least during the course of a game. We’re realizing that the overwhelming majority of a manager’s job takes place behind the scenes: teaching, encouraging, disciplining, communicating with the front office, etc. Never has managing a baseball team so closely resembled managing a department store.
Posted: November 08, 2013 at 01:13 PM | 10 comment(s)
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Rick Renteria, who served the last two seasons as bench coach for the San Diego Padres, will be named Thursday to succeed the fired Dale Sveum as Chicago Cubs manager, the Tribune confirmed.
Renteria, 51, has spent the past six seasons as a coach with the Padres and fits numerous qualifications that Cubs team President Theo Epstein sought after firing Sveum on Sept. 30.
I have no initial impressions, but I’m glad the search is finally over.
Posted: November 06, 2013 at 06:56 PM | 22 comment(s)
Friday, October 25, 2013
The Nationals plan to hire Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams to become the fifth manager in the team’s brief history, according to a person familiar with the situation. The expected move was first reported by Fox Sports. The Nationals have not confirmed Williams’s planned hiring, as MLB prohibits teams from making major announcements during the World Series.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The Dodgers fired bench coach Trey Hillman and advance scout Wade Taylor, sources say.
The pair are seen as two of manager Don Mattingly’s closest friends with the team.
While the firings came only one day after Mattingly expressed unhappiness with managing as a lame duck this past season (and potentially next season), it’s quite possible that the timing could be coincidence. In any case, it is clear that the Dodgers weren’t the happiest of qualifiers for the NL Championship Series.
They carried a “World Series or bust” mentality and came up two games short. It’s been reported here and elsewhere they’ve intended to bring Mattingly back, but that hasn’t been made official yet and his comments suggesting how “tough” and “frustrating” this year was are believed to have taken Dodgers powers by surprise.
Friday, October 11, 2013
What the wha?
On the sacrifice bunt: “The equation changes depending on things like where you’re playing, who you’re playing against and what you have available in your bullpen. Overall, I’m not a fan of it. I think it’s needed from time to time, but we led the league in runs scored this year and had the fewest sacrifice bunts.
“At times, it can work to advance a guy into scoring position, but by and large, I’ve learned over the years that the sacrifice bunt can be a rally stopper. Every out is precious. You’re playing with 27, so if you give up two or three a game, you’re playing with 24 or 25. You’re giving up an inning’s worth of outs to sacrifice guys into scoring position, and the law of averages shows that just because you’re at second base doesn’t mean you’re going to score. If you’re at first base with no outs, you have a better chance of scoring runs. The numbers show that. That’s what we’re all about. We’re about putting up big innings and scoring a lot of runs, especially in [Fenway Park].”....
“You want your best hitters at the top of the order to give yourself the best opportunity to score runs. Over the course of the season, the ninth hitter is going to get about 150 fewer at bats. You want your best hitters up as often as possible, so if they’re hitting one, two, three or four, they’re naturally going to get more plate appearances over the course of a full season. That’s what every team that wants to score runs should be looking for.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Not so much for the losses, but for the failure to shave his sideburns.
The 52-year-old Mattingly said Tuesday night that Dodgers president Stan Kasten met with him in late May and told him that he would be forced to make a change if the team didn’t turn their season around.
“Stan was really honest. He didn’t want to do anything but he said, ‘Donnie, at some point I got to do something,’ ” Mattingly said. “I understood it. I was fine with that. I understand. At some point you need a change of voice, a different voice. If they’re not listening and it’s not going good, you got to be make a change just to make a change. You could be doing the best job you could possibly do and it wouldn’t make a difference. I get it. I got that.”
Mattingly didn’t remember when the conversation took place but recalls it happening “when this was rearing its ugly head” and when speculation about his job security was at its height after the Dodgers returned home from a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 22.
“I told him I understood,” Mattingly said. “It was good. I didn’t mind it because it was honest and he wasn’t trying to make me feel better. He was basically telling me the truth. I just understood. I understand baseball.”
The Dodgers actually sunk to a season-worst 12 games under .500 on June 21 before turning their season around. Since then, they have won 32 of their last 39 games, the franchise’s best 39-game stretch since 1953. They have also won 15 straight road games, the longest winning streak away from home by a National League team since 1957.
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