Friday, April 03, 2015
It’s always been about finding the truth and integrating good new ideas with good old ideas.
Banister, like Hurdle, seems like an old-school baseball man who saw the light. He came to the Rangers and let loose with this to the Dallas Morning News: “We hang onto tradition. But is it tradition, or is it truth? You’ve got to seek the truth. If the numbers say the same thing year after year, there’s gotta be some truth to it, right?”
I don’t want to name the names of the old-school gatekeepers. If you follow the sport, you know who they are. They were trained in a very different time. Only a few years ago, these old salts resisted the wave of open-minded thought, and Joe Maddon was safely tucked away with the low-payroll Rays, where he could only do so much damage. Maddon was the modern prototype of a manager, an extension of an exceptional front office that won 90 games five times in six years. Had he stayed with Andrew Friedman in Tampa Bay, he would still be marginalized. This is not likely with the rising Cubs.
Maddon to Chicago. Hurdle with a model franchise. Banister exporting the new approach to Texas. The shift-happy Astros with analytically-inclined A.J. Hinch. The Orioles over-performing with Buck Showalter every year. The old walls are breaking down, and the best ideas are flowing freely.
More than a decade after “Moneyball,” and a full 30 years since “The Hidden Game of Baseball,” the fully integrated approach of analytics and coaching has arrived. The teams with everyone on board will benefit from the new competitive advantage.
Posted: April 03, 2015 at 07:19 AM | 0 comment(s)
Monday, March 02, 2015
His team needs a new pitcher.
Monday, February 16, 2015
Friday, January 30, 2015
There are minor league legends, and then there was Rocky Bridges. Jim Bouton called Bridges his favorite manager, even though he never played for him. Why? Because Bridges made the game fun for his players.
Bridges was also the man who dubbed Mike Epstein “Superjew” and Greg Minton “Moon Man.”
Friday, December 12, 2014
30. Clint Hurdle: Last year someone told him that I ranked him last and he was reportedly happy about it, as I would hope a legit old school baseball man would. Indeed, he even took it as a compliment. So far be it from me to elevate him from this position of honor. Which is difficult! He just had hip surgery and, as my father has told me, when you get to a certain age in life, your attractiveness is positively influenced by your access to handicapped parking placards. So use what you got, Clint. Use what you got.
Posted: December 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM | 46 comment(s)
Friday, December 05, 2014
The Rays will hire former big league catcher Kevin Cash as their next manager, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Cash was reportedly one of three finalists with Raul Ibanez and former Mariners manager/current Royals bench coach Don Wakamatsu. Ibanez had reportedly withdrawn himself from consideration earlier this week…
Cash, who turns 37 tomorrow, served as the Indians’ bullpen coach in 2013-14 after a brief stop in the Blue Jays’ scouting department following his playing career… Cash spent parts of eight Major League seasons as a catcher for the Red Sox, Yankees, Astros, Rays and Blue Jays, batting a combined .183/.248/.278 in 714 plate appearances.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
We know that over the course of a season, plate discipline erodes as hitters presumably get more tired. It’s hard to get enough sleep out on the road and after a while even a fun job becomes just another job. Well, if players lose plate discipline, they are probably bleeding away strikes, and that can have a significant effect on a team’s chances. Maybe there are some managers who are just better at handling the grind, and in minimizing the penalty to be paid for fatigue and boredom at the end of a long season.
Ideally, we could find a manager (or 12) who could actually reverse the downward trend. That is, over a season, we would actually see that the players who played under them performed a little better. While everyone else was trending downward, his players would be trending upward. At the very least, he would hold the line. It turns out that there are a few of those managers. Again, setting aside the managers who were interims or who only managed for one year in the sample, we see that Mike Matheny actually turns out to be pretty good at this, along with Cito Gaston, Bud Black, Davey Johnson, and Terry Francona.
There’s a certain chicken-and-egg problem that we must first deal with. One could make the case that perhaps what we’re seeing is that as the season wears on for some teams, they become involved in a pennant race, and that’s really what keeps them from trailing off. I can’t fully rule that one out. There’s also the question of whether the manager should take all the credit (or blame) for these effects. Maybe it’s the hitting coach who wears the rainbow wig. Maybe it’s an organizational thing. We know that there’s an effect, but there’s a black box around it right now. How can we encourage managers to set things up to better fight The Grind? There’s more work to do here and it’s pretty clear that the possible benefits are enormous.
Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
BBC might have been on board with Parker’s rant ... until he wondered aloud about Ausmus.
The Maddon hire isn’t the problem. He’s a veteran skipper who has had success. It’s the Molitor hiring that should make aspiring black and Hispanic managers feeling salty.
While a great player, Molitor doesn’t have any managerial experience - not in the minors or majors.
That’s a new trend in MLB, hiring guys who have never managed before. Some have never even been a coach on the minor league or major league level.
Enter Brad Ausmus. Somehow, Ausmus got the Detroit Tigers’ manager’s job without ever being a coach first after his playing days were over.
Sadly, the last three managers to get such a plum gig had more than just no experience in common. All three were white.
In St. Louis, Mike Matheny was named manager of the Cardinals in 2008. It was a shocking hire because Matheny had no prior managing or coaching experience in professional baseball, but took over for the retiring Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa.
The trend would be cool if it were happening to all involved in MLB, if black and Hispanic former players were landing these gigs as well. But it’s not the case.
Right now, there’s only one black manager left in the MLB ranks. That’s Lloyd McClendon of the Seattle Mariners. McClendon had a good first year, just missing the postseason in the final week of the season. ...
With Maddon gone from Tampa Bay, the Rays need a new skipper.
It should have been a layup. Dave Martinez, their longtime Hispanic bench coach, should have gotten that gig already.
Martinez is qualified, to say the least. Best of all, he knows the organization and the personnel. Plus, Martinez has been interviewed for numerous managerial gigs in the majors in recent years. He hadn’t gotten a gig thus far mainly because the fit wasn’t right.
But instead of nabbing Martinez, the Rays have opened up the job and looking at a number of candidates to replace Maddon.
It would be a crime if Martinez doesn’t get the job. The man has paid his dues. That’s the way guys used to become managers.
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Jay Jaffe gives a rundown of three new managers.
Monday, November 03, 2014
Saturday, November 01, 2014
Where’s the proof? Maddon had a opt-out clause in his contract. He reportedly was reminded about the clause by TB’s Matt Silverman, “The opt-out clause, Maddon said, was something of a fine-print treasure revealed to him in a call from Matt Silverman, the Rays’ president of baseball operations, just after Friedman left. “I had totally forgotten about it,” Maddon said. “Andrew leaves, and I get a phone call that I have an opt-out clause. Otherwise I would not have known, I swear to you.”” Without evidence, this is reckless reporting.
From the Rays’ perspective, the way the Maddon situation has played out must be, well, maddening. In the hours after Andrew Friedman’s departure to the Dodgers was announced, Maddon publicly stated a renewed commitment to remain with the Rays for the long term, and Matt Silverman—who replaced Friedman at the head of the Rays’ baseball operations—announced that Maddon would be the manager for 2015, and that the team would work to sign him to a long-term deal.
And the Rays followed up. They opened negotiations with Maddon and offered him a deal that would guarantee him standing as one of baseball’s highest-paid managers. There was a sense in the Tampa Bay organization that the two sides were on the verge of a deal.
Then, abruptly, something changed, days before Maddon formally opted out of his contract.
Update: Alen Nero talking about Joe Maddon.
Posted: November 01, 2014 at 01:52 PM | 39 comment(s)
Friday, October 31, 2014
“You’re always going to have those questions,” Bochy said of managerial criticism. “‘Well, you could have done this or done that or it may not work out.’ It’s part of the game now, more so now than ever. You understand that, but hey, it’s great people are watching the game.”
Posted: October 31, 2014 at 09:43 AM | 9 comment(s)
Sunday, October 26, 2014
The scrutiny of every managerial decision has been over the top this series. Every decision shouldn’t be made based on the Win Expectancy Table.
As always, you will find a lot of good sense from Rany Jazayerli in this postgame write-up after Game 4.
Someone – I believe it may have been Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus – wrote earlier this month something to the effect that we’ve reached the point with baseball analysis where players no longer are blamed for failure: it’s either the fault of the manager for putting him in that position or the GM for not acquiring a better player. It’s hyperbole, but seeing the reaction to Game 4, I wonder just how much of an exaggeration it is.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Micro analysis in real time.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Thursday, October 23, 2014
“I don’t think I can ever live up to matching a wit with Tony La Russa,” quipped Washington. “What I will try to do is put my players in the right position. If my players perform, I don’t have to worry about matching wits; they’ll take care of things.”
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