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Sunday, October 22, 2017

WaPo: d MLB’s newest managers are Red Sox’s Alex Cora and Mets’ Mickey Callaway

The World Series has yet to get underway, but a pair of MLB teams have already found new managers for the 2018 season. On Sunday, the New York Mets reportedly tabbed former Cleveland Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway to fill their vacancy, while the Boston Red Sox went with Alex Cora, who is a bit tied up at the moment as the World Series-bound Astros’ bench coach.

Boston will have to wait until Houston finishes battling for a championship against the Los Angeles Dodgers before it can formally introduce the 42-year-old Cora, who has spent the past year with the Astros after being an ESPN analyst for several years following his final MLB season in 2011.

Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 22, 2017 at 11:01 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: managers, mets, red sox

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   1. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:56 AM (#5560259)
Maybe it's a sign of getting old that I'm having a hard time even thinking it makes a difference at all who the manager is.
   2. Greg K Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:02 AM (#5560261)
Weird, I think of discounting the importance of the manager as a young man's game.

Or I guess you mean, you're too old to get worked up about stuff?
   3. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:28 AM (#5560277)
Weird, I think of discounting the importance of the manager as a young man's game.

Hmmmm.... maybe.


Or I guess you mean, you're too old to get worked up about stuff?

Hmmmm.... maybe.


Seriously, though, maybe it is generational. ORIGINALLY I thought managers were important, man did I hate Art Howe. Today, however, after the year we just had, it's not like this Callaway dude is going to be operating on guy's arms, so.
   4. villageidiom Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:32 AM (#5560279)
Maybe it's a sign of getting old that I'm having a hard time even thinking it makes a difference at all who the manager is.
Being a fan of the most recent team to have Bobby Valentine as manager, I can say it ABSOLUTELY makes a difference who the manager is. I mean that in the sense that there might not be a big difference between a good manager and a great manager, but a bad manager is truly awful.
   5. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:36 AM (#5560281)
I can see that, although of course, Bobby was awesome for the Mets, regardless of the clown he turned into following.

And actually, I AM happy that it's this unknown quality, Callaway, rather than someone I know would probably be terrible.
   6. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:39 AM (#5560284)
I think managers are important but I think we are crap at evaluating them. It's easy to say "oh why did he use Jimenez instead of Britton" but there is so much more to the manager's job than that. Recognizing when guys need a rest, keeping players sharp, motivating people, dealing with the day to day BS of media, agents and players who have more power than you do...that all is complex. I think we also don't appreciate managers who are smart enough not to screw things up. "Oh he has all that talent" is one of those things that seems obvious but there are managers out there who pull the Monty Burns "this is what good managers do to when ballgames" type moves rather than just trusting their players.

To vi's point I think a bad manager is much worse than a good manager is good. A good manager can't turn a 75 win team into a 90 win team but I firmly believe a bad manager can turn a 90 win team into a 75 win team.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:42 AM (#5560287)
One other thing about managers is that there are horses for courses. There are some managers who are great at developing kids but not so great with a more mature, finished product. Likewise the right guy to guide a team of vets might do a poor job of developing young players.
   8. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:45 AM (#5560290)
About the only thing I remember about Alex Cora is that one epic at-bat he had against the Cubs.
   9. Lassus Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:45 AM (#5560291)
I feel bad that I derailed the thread into meta issues immediately.

Does anyone have thoughts about these hires, specifically?
   10. BDC Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5560292)
Mickey Callaway ended his big-league pitching career with the 2003-04 Texas Rangers. I had no memory of this. Probably because he gave up 28 runs in 34 innings for Texas – not that that was necessarily traumatic, but that most of the Ranger pitchers of that era were similar.
   11. Zonk just has affection for alumni Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:51 AM (#5560294)
I think Cora's been the Next Manager for several years now, so not surprising on that count...

I will say for the Mets - unless I'm forgetting someone - the record of highly regarded pitching coaches becoming managers seems like it's almost universally dreadful.
   12. bunyon Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:58 AM (#5560295)
One other thing about managers is that there are horses for courses. There are some managers who are great at developing kids but not so great with a more mature, finished product. Likewise the right guy to guide a team of vets might do a poor job of developing young players.

It's even worse than that. You can have a manager who is great with one group of workers and crap with another. People fit together oddly and, as you note, unpredictably. I think hiring a manager - especially one without a lot of experience - is a crap shoot.

Having been a Braves fan for a long time, I think there is a lot of merit to having a manager who has a significant hand in the whole system. The idea of having scouts/evaluators hire personnel (players) and then just handing them off seems odd. Of course, it could just be that Bobby Cox was an amazing manager.

So, my thoughts on the specific hires? Who knows?
   13. Textbook Editor Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:12 AM (#5560300)
I think what soccer calls the "man management" side of things is far more important for a baseball manager than the tactical stuff. To be sure--a manager CAN be a tactical buffoon... But I think the # of truly buffoonish managers now is fairly small (and not likely to get hired now unless a crony hire).

Valentine broke the Red Sox in 2012, but we perhaps discount the ways in which breaking the Red Sox that year actually helped them in pretty much all subsequent years. They tried the "Valentine approach" (for lack of a better phrase) and found out it's pretty much a disaster, and I frankly doubt the current ownership will ever go in that direction again (a firebrand manager). That has real value--in the sense that, without the disaster of 2012, hiring a firebrand would still seem--in theory--like a good thing to do on occasion; ownership would be tempted to do this had 2012 not happened.

I think Cora will be fine. Not perfect, but perfectly fine--at worst, replacement-level. And with the current team I think mainly what you want to do is avoid disaster in a manager hire.
   14. Rally Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:15 AM (#5560303)
To vi's point I think a bad manager is much worse than a good manager is good. A good manager can't turn a 75 win team into a 90 win team but I firmly believe a bad manager can turn a 90 win team into a 75 win team.


This makes sense if you view it as the manager job being very important, but there is a high level of competence around the league and an upper limit to what a manager can do. If most of the other managers are able to get players to play to 95-100% of their ability, then the fact that you can do it will not improve your team too much. But if you hire someone who's only getting 80% on average from the players, there is a lot of downside.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:27 AM (#5560306)
Do people think that they fired Farrell because they specifically wanted Cora?
   16. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:32 AM (#5560310)
Do people think that they fired Farrell because they specifically wanted Cora?


I don't. But they did move very quickly, interviewed very few people (3?) and the other two interviewees were pretty far from Cora in a lot of ways. It seems there are a number of good candidates out there right now and I think they felt that they could upgrade on Farrell without much difficulty.
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:33 AM (#5560311)
Do people think that they fired Farrell because they specifically wanted Cora?


NN--I don't think so (but naturally I have no idea).

I think losing to the Astros wasn't any kind of "final nail in the coffin"-situation, but I do think that how flat the team came out in those first two games MAY have had some sort of impact in terms of confirmation for a move DD already wanted to make. Wasn't Cora in the mix for the job back in 2012 or 2013? In my memory he was, but I could be wrong...

I think they thought (perhaps rightly, perhaps wrongly) that Farrell wasn't getting enough consistency out of the younger players, and thus needed to make the change because the window there is somewhat closer to closing than opening (in the sense this core--if not extended--really only has 3 years or so left together).

It all may blow up in their faces, of course, and maybe the kids aren't as good as we think they should be... but I do think having a younger guy in there may well help things.
   18. bunyon Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:41 AM (#5560316)
I don't. But they did move very quickly, interviewed very few people (3?) and the other two interviewees were pretty far from Cora in a lot of ways. It seems there are a number of good candidates out there right now and I think they felt that they could upgrade on Farrell without much difficulty.

There are, undoubtedly, more people who could be good/decent MLB managers than there are positions. I'd say it's almost always possible to make a change that is barely noticed. Unless you have an all-time great or an abysmal disaster, changing is unlikely to do much. IMHO, of course.
   19. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:54 AM (#5560320)
If you think Red Sox games are going to be quicker than before with Cora as the manager, I'll point out that not only does he have the 18-pitch at-bat with the Dodgers against the Cubs' Matt Clement, but the also participated in the two longest 9-inning games in MLB history before this post-season started, this one and this one.
   20. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: October 23, 2017 at 11:19 AM (#5560329)
And actually, I AM happy that it's this unknown quality, Callaway, rather than someone I know would probably be terrible.


Wholeheartedly agree. That's why I appointed myself chairman of the "Oh God! NOT MANNY ACTA!" club...
   21. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 23, 2017 at 01:25 PM (#5560428)

I will say for the Mets - unless I'm forgetting someone - the record of highly regarded pitching coaches becoming managers seems like it's almost universally dreadful.


He did just get fired, but Farrell was rather decent overall with the Sox. 3 div titles and the WS win in 5 years. Somehow I'd think Mets fans would be ok with that.
   22. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: October 23, 2017 at 03:06 PM (#5560483)
Here!
   23. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: October 23, 2017 at 04:57 PM (#5560581)
rare is the pitching coach who became a longtime manager. I can't think of one who lasted as long as Farrell did in his Sox stint.
   24. kthejoker Posted: October 23, 2017 at 05:05 PM (#5560592)
Bud Black lasted 7 years at San Diego. We'll see how he does with Colorado.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: October 23, 2017 at 05:10 PM (#5560595)
rare is the pitching coach who became a longtime manager. I can't think of one who lasted as long as Farrell did in his Sox stint.


5.5 years is a fairly long stretch for most managers.
   26. asinwreck Posted: October 23, 2017 at 09:38 PM (#5560710)
Roger Craig had seven pretty successful seasons managing the Giants before making way for Dusty Baker's first gig.
   27. Lars6788 Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:13 PM (#5560720)
Seems obvious Callaway was hired to patch up the pitching staff as someone who should have a clue about not destroying arms.

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