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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Could baseball’s sign-stealing scandal lead to a manager’s job for Ozzie Guillen?

Will baseball’s sign-stealing scandal have a silver lining for a South Side legend?

Three teams whose managers were caught up in the scandal are suddenly without skippers just a month away from the start of spring training: the Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and New York Mets. The Astros’ practice of stealing signs and relaying them to players on the field during their championship season in 2017 led to the firings of A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, creating three high-profile job openings.

January managerial searches aren’t common, for obvious reasons, and while any or all of the teams in the market for a new manager could go about it as a regular search — potentially sticking with baseball’s trend of young, inexperienced guys at the helm — there’s a good argument to be made that an experienced skipper would be best to slide into that position this late in the offseason calendar.

There has been no shortage of suggested candidates, but one was conspicuously absent from an extensive list discussed on MLB Network, an experienced manager with a World Series championship on his resume. And that former manager was happy to point out the omission.

Well, we’ve been wondering who the Bobby Valentine of this situation could be….

 

QLE Posted: January 18, 2020 at 01:26 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: managerial search, ozzie guillen

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   1. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: January 18, 2020 at 07:06 AM (#5917133)
Answer: No.

Near the end of Guillen's time in Chicago, local hack sportswriter Rick Morrissey wrote a crummy book about Guillen, but that crummy book about Guillen had one notable point: It said that prior to each series, when Guillen received an advance scouting report on the upcoming opponent, he'd throw it in the trash, sight unseen. The only time he'd even look at it is if it was a interleague series. In Guillen's mind, it was his knowledge or the scouting department's knowledge, and if the team hired him, then they should rely on HIM, not others.

In modern baseball, there's a clear trend towards a closer relationship between the manager and front office. Especially now in the Statcast era, front offices want managers to incorporate their data into his game plan. Guillen? Man, forget sabermetrics - he doesn't even want to use their scouting information.

And to that, on a personal level, he had a bad relationship with the Sox front office. He and GM Kenny Williams feuded fairly openly for a few years. That relationship actually started out well, but became more and more disfunctional over time.

So you got a guy who's resistant to any sabermetric information coming from the front office. Hell, it's a guy who resists using scouting information.
A guy who doesn't get along with the front office on a personal level. And this is an era when the front office wants to work more closely with the manager.

He'll never work as a manager again.
   2. asinwreck Posted: January 18, 2020 at 09:22 AM (#5917137)
A team hiring Ozzie Guillen to manage would have to have its collective memory wiped of his active disregard for the job the last couple of years he was in Chicago and the one disastrous year he was in Miami. I would hire him as a TV or radio analyst in a heartbeat, but he's as likely as Bobby Valentine to be a manager this decade.

You know who would be an interesting managerial candidate in the next couple of years? His son Ozney, who managed Tri-City last year. He's already in the Astros organization if that team wants to go young with its next hire.
   3. Dock Ellis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 09:47 AM (#5917141)
   4. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5917215)
IMO, the only sensible option for these teams is an interim/caretaker manager followed by a genuine process that maybe could take place during the season** but more likely after the season. At this point, you just want to get through to the AS break while the long-term planning focuses on 2021 and beyond. You don't want to be making decisions that will affect 2021 and beyond this quickly.

That caretaker might be the current bench coach or, if he'll agree to a one-year job, Dusty Baker or similar recent manager. (I would lean towards the respectable vet if I can find one.) If this happened 5-10 years ago, it would have been Frank Robinson or Felipe Alou or Jack McKeon or maybe Cito Gaston. Bochy is also out there but I don't think he'd come back unless it's multiyear (which might be true of Baker too of course). Anyway, with all the recent clearning out of veteran managers, there must be somebody out there that the press will react to with "you know X will run a tight ship" which is what you want right now. (Hurdle? Black?)

I guess in other words, I'm stressing that the immediate risk is reputational risk and that has the potential to do long-term damage. You want a manager right now who is "above reproach," esp for the Astros and Red Sox (Mets hiring a manager they have to fire before he manages a game is just Mets being Mets).

And if it was 10 years ago, George Mitchell would be forming a Blue Ribbon panel right now to "investigate" MLB cheating.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:44 PM (#5917224)
Oops, forgot my "**" in #4 ... I was just gonna note that I don't know how open other teams are for letting their coaches interview with other teams during the season so doing a proper search and finding the right guy during the season might be impossible.
   6. TJ Posted: January 18, 2020 at 05:55 PM (#5917228)
So you got a guy who's resistant to any sabermetric information coming from the front office. Hell, it's a guy who resists using scouting information.
A guy who doesn't get along with the front office on a personal level. And this is an era when the front office wants to work more closely with the manager.


This is exactly why I hope somebody hires Guillen to manage- this guy is BBTF comment section gold!
   7. Sunday silence Posted: January 18, 2020 at 06:02 PM (#5917230)

I guess in other words, I'm stressing that the immediate risk is reputational risk...


what exactly is "reputational risk?"
   8. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 18, 2020 at 06:21 PM (#5917237)
I was just gonna note that I don't know how open other teams are for letting their coaches interview with other teams during the season so doing a proper search and finding the right guy during the season might be impossible.
It’s also so close to Spring Training that other teams will be less likely to allow their coaches, minor league managers, and front office staff to interview now for these suddenly open positions, even if a promotion is available. That might make bringing in a veteran manager more likely, but I don’t think you can get the guys you’d want on a 1-year deal.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:21 PM (#5917276)
"reputational risk?"

A risk to the organization's reputation. Will Astros fans and baseball fans in general "trust" that the next good Astros team (which will probably be 2020) is not cheating. If you put Luhnow's #1 assistant and Hinch's bench coach in as interims, many people will see that as a continuation.

Addressing reputational risk was the main impetus behind Landis becoming commissioner. MLB and MLBPA waiting so long to implement testing, waiting too long, to the point where the legitimacy of the records was questioned by many, led to the most draconian testing/punishment system in major US sports ... and every time some reasonably famous name gets busted, there's outcry at how "weak" the penalty is and it goes up.

The Astros and Red Sox will want to send a strong signal that they are "clean" now. The issue then is who and how quickly can you get them in there. Like I said, Frank Robinson would have been perfect. Everyone would agree that Robinson never would have stood for this stuff to begin with. He'd also spent time as the MLB guy who doled out punishments for regular player naughtiness. As much instant credibility as you could possibly ask for. I'm not sure "that guy" really exists right now but Baker and Bochy strike me as the closest. Maybe Torre but he's turning 80 this year.

The Mets I think are not in that sort of difficulty here since they didn't cheat, they just unknowingly hired a cheater and canned him soon after they found out he cheated.

It's possible there is no reputational risk for anybody really. Astros fans might keep turning out and tuning in no matter the reputation. I'm 99.99% certain Red Sox fans will still pack Fenway. Business as usual is pretty much how it's worked out for NCAA recruiting scandals.
   10. Sunday silence Posted: January 19, 2020 at 05:23 AM (#5917299)

A risk to the organization's reputation. Will Astros fans and baseball fans in general "trust" that the next good Astros team (which will probably be 2020) is not cheating...


What about PED use? What about hiring domestic violence players? ANd what about the type of claims made against Taubman?

Do any of these issues impact an organizations reputation? or is it just "cheating" you decribe that will impact reputation?

And if answer is "yes", then how much damage if any, have these done to specific teams and/or mlb?
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 19, 2020 at 07:27 AM (#5917311)
PED use was blamed on the individual players ... and they paid a severe reputational price. MLB appointed the George Mitchell blue ribbon panel -- a reputational risk management classic. The MLBPA was so afraid of reputational risk they had little choice but to finally agree to testing ... and then stiffer penalties after Palmeiro and then again after ARod. These were all to deal with reputational risk.

The DV issue has been on the players but, no, it hasn't been held against the teams to a great extent. Still, why do you think MLB/MLBPA have a DV policy to begin with -- they want to avoid a PR disaster. And MLBPA wants so little to do with it they've essentially agreed to let Manfred set whatever penalty he wants and haven't squawked one bit when players are suspended without being charged much less convicted.

Taubman was mainly considered an individual ####### although the Astros made the PR blunder of defending him before canning him. That was done and dusted until he was resurrected in this scandal.

This is the GM, the manager, several players and clearly carries a great risk to the organization. I didn't say it will impact their reputation, I said it carries that risk. And you handle that risk by making sure your new public face has unquestioned integrity if you can find one.

My claim is in no way controversial or even really debatable. The Astros have just been dressed down by the commisioner saying their FO was rotten top to bottom. Grichuk called for them having their title stripped. Their two biggest young stars are implicated. Clearly this is a marketing/PR nightmare.

I mean, for ####'s sake man, in another thread you've claimed this is already worse than the Black Sox scandal and now you're questioning whether reputational risk exists?
   12. Sunday silence Posted: January 19, 2020 at 09:31 AM (#5917321)
Im questioning how much of a risk it really is. DId anyone not go to games because of the PED scandal? Maybe someone did a study I dont recall it really impacting attendance.

Same with hiring DMV playess. It didnt seem to hurt the CUbs in the middle of a pennant race. Presumably the Cubs meets your def'n of an Institution.


Still, why do you think MLB/MLBPA have a DV policy to begin with -- they want to avoid a PR disaster.


I understand why they have one. Thank you Captain Obvious. Do you want to hammer that one home to prove some pt?

...although the Astros made the PR blunder of defending him before canning him. That was done and dusted until he was resurrected in this scandal.


RIght. SO isnt that making my pt?

I didn't say it will impact their reputation, I said it carries that risk.


Well big deal, it carries some risk. Care to speculate on how much?

. And you handle that risk by making sure your new public face has unquestioned integrity if you can find one.


I think we all get the idea of hiring PR people etc I just dunno if it really makes much difference. Does the average family think: "You know the Astros had a terrible problem in how they treated women, but know that they've hired Mr. Clean, I think we should go to more games."

DOes anyone really think like that? I mean according to Lisa, Crane and co. had a terrible reputation before any of this all got started. It didnt seem to hurt them one bit.

Take the NFL and DMV. They have a serious problem there dont you think? I mean we had guys like Carruth literally kill their girlfriend. While he was an active player. They have a policy and then they started putting out public service ads, and i guess theyve pledged to put money into certain charities.

Still they have a problem. STill people go to games. How much because the NFL runs some ads and donates some money and how much because no one really cares about that when they head for the stadium on sunday to grill some brats and smoke cigars in the parking lot?

My claim is in no way controversial or even really debatable.... Clearly this is a marketing/PR nightmare.


Right this all perfectly obvious. You seem to retreat to these obvious positions like you're afraid of making a statement that might call you into question.

BUt you can continue to bang on the idea of why PR guys/policies are needed like your driving home some great point there.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: January 19, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5917411)
In modern baseball, there's a clear trend towards a closer relationship between the manager and front office. Especially now in the Statcast era, front offices want managers to incorporate their data into his game plan. Guillen? Man, forget sabermetrics - he doesn't even want to use their scouting information.

This is a positive at the moment. The simplest way for the Astros to start addressing this is an "old school" manager. A manager that plays nice with the GM is partly what got the Astros into this mess. Sure, you don't hire Ozzie to be your manager for the next 5 years ... and I don't think you hire him in the short term either ... but what you're looking for is the integrity/standards/tough guy who wouldn't let the players get away with this and would stand up to FO nonsense ... or at least gives that perception.

Personally (and not justifiably), my image of Ozzie is he's in the "I'd do anything to win" category ... well, anything except take a walk obviously.

Well big deal, it carries some risk. Care to speculate on how much?

How much more speculating do you want me to do? In one thread you made the absurd claim that it's worse than the Black Sox scandal, here you seem to be claiming it carries no risk at all.

It carries a fairly standard level of reputational risk for the two teams directly involved. I have already noted several times that I do not think it carries any risk for the Mets and that MLB has so far handled the risk it faces by dealing harshly with the Astros (and presumably the Red Sox). I have suggested that the Astros and Red Sox can probably deal with the reputational risk they face largely by employing the fairly simple, standard strategy of hiring a public face (i.e. manager and hopeuflly GM) with an "unimpeachable" reputation. (And of course actually stopping the cheating at least for a while.) As it stands now, the worst outcome is that the 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox may not be considered "real champions" by many people in the way that Bonds is not considered the "real HR record holder" by many people. Since that's Houston's only title, that may matter more to them than the Red Sox but, in both cases, as long as their fans still consider them the real champions, they should come through this OK.

This scandal is nothing in comparison with the concurrent impeachment trial. This scandal is nothing compared with what Boeing faces right now. This scandal has likely ended the (effective) careers of Luhnow, Cora, probably Hinch and Beltran, maybe Dombrowski (though I'm not sure he was coming back anyway) but, as it stands, won't impact beyond Astros and Red Sox and they have fairly obvious strategies to mitigate their risks. As far as I know, no laws were broken so there's no concern about indictments and trials to keep it in the public eye (cf Black Sox, Bonds, Clemens).

Further I have repeatedly noted that if it comes out that this is more widespread then the MLB risk increases. Earlier today (you won't have seen it) I added Bobby Rush's call for Congressional hearings as another possible route by which the risk spreads. If good evidence comes to light that Altuve, etc. were cheating for the last 3 years, using "high" tech, etc. then players start paying the price and it could become the next PEDs scandal. I'll now add that if it comes to light that MLB got wind of this 2 years ago or are sitting on evidence more strongly implicating Altuve or other players, then this thing blows up. (It's always the cover-up that gets you.) Clearly if there is more to learn this could get worse.

MLB will likely pass some rules meant to deal with this, add more draconian penalties, etc. Something more official than a "memo." Again, pretty standard response to stuff like this. Maybe there will even be a Deputy Commissioner for Ethics or something.

So right now it is a scandal that (a) poses low risk for MLB and they have handled it pretty well so far. I've made my opinion on that clear in several posts. (b) Ends the (effective) careers of the direct management participants but nobody cared about these guys anyway. (c) Carries substantial risk for the two teams although I don't expect their fans to care about it for much longer ... we'll see how they deal with it. (d) Will have less staying power than the PEDs scandal because fans, including casual fans and even non-fans, loved what McGwire, Sosa, Bonds were doing while nobody really cares about Lunhow, Hinch, Cora, etc. and because MLB kept it in the spotlight so they could pound MLBPA over the head with it. (Note, this is possibly another reason Manfred avoided punishing players as doing so ensures the scandal has more legs.)

But even so ... baseball is less important in American society, receives substantially less national media coverage, etc. than 100 years ago. Over the ensuing decades, there have been lots of scandals publicly exposed such that society is much more used to it -- with Trump's rise suggesting people care less. I can't claim it was thorough but a quick web search suggests the NBC nightly news hasn't mentiond the Astros in 5 days. Right now this scandal is pretty well limited to the serious baseball fan, not a national disgrace, not something that is going to inspire a dozen books and a movie (unless maybe Michael Lewis takes this one on). And even if things were worse, you've got impeachment, major scandal involving deaths at Boeing, saber-rattling with Iran. That along with reasons already mentioned are why this is nowhere near the Black Sox scandal (yet).
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 19, 2020 at 07:44 PM (#5917442)
Anyway, with all the recent clearning out of veteran managers, there must be somebody out there that the press will react to with "you know X will run a tight ship" which is what you want right now. (Hurdle? Black?)


Hurdle has his good points, but "running a tight ship" really isn't one of them. There were at least two different fistfights in the Pirates' clubhouse last year, including one that involved a coach.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 19, 2020 at 09:13 PM (#5917473)
Anyway, with all the recent clearning out of veteran managers, there must be somebody out there that the press will react to with "you know X will run a tight ship" which is what you want right now. (Hurdle? Black?)


Black? Bud Black? Bud Black already has a job.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: January 19, 2020 at 10:07 PM (#5917486)
Anyway, with all the recent clearning out of veteran managers, there must be somebody out there that the press will react to with "you know X will run a tight ship" which is what you want right now. (Hurdle? Black?)


Assuming the Rockies won't let Bud Black double-dip, I think either of these jobs is kind of made for Buck Showalter. He's not too old, is a tight-ship kind of guy and both rosters are still good enough to win ballgames.

   17. PreservedFish Posted: January 19, 2020 at 11:04 PM (#5917497)
I'm more of a leaky ship kinda guy, personally.
   18. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: January 20, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5917604)
I think you can take pills for that. If not, I guess you can try Depends.

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