Dave Trembley was officially added to Bo Porter's 2013 coaching staff this past Friday. Trembley is best known as the Baltimore Orioles coach from 2007-2010, but also has 20 years of managerial experience in the minor leagues. During that time he developed a track record as a solid player development guy that teaches fundamental baseball to young players.
What does Dave Trembley bring to Bo Porter’s coaching staff? The obvious answer is that he has American League experience which is something Jeff Luhnow was looking to add to the staff. Another obvious answer is that as a former manager he should be able to provide rookie manager Bo Porter guidance throughout the season. After all Trembley was in a similar position in Baltimore as Porter is in Houston being a first-time manager on a rebuilding club that was expected to take their lumps over the next couple of seasons. He should be well-equipped to offer up the “I’ve been there before” advice.
Besides the obvious answers though there are several other intangibles that Trembley brings to the table that could make him a key member of this coaching staff.
Trembley has a wealth of managerial experience in the minors. He had managed for twenty seasons in the minors prior to getting his opportunity at the major league level with Baltimore. During that time he developed a strong reputation as a “player development” guy, and also for teaching solid fundamental baseball to the younger players. This caught the eye of the Orioles who were looking to improve upon an underachieving farm system and hired Trembley in 2003. In his first year on the job he earned the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award. Given that the Astros ended the 2012 season with the youngest team in the majors, having someone who can teach fundamental baseball and assist in furthering the development of the team’s young players should be a valuable attribute to add to the team.
Another area in which the Astros should be able to benefit from Trembley’s presence is preparation. In this interview conducted by David Laurila Trembley talked briefly about being prepared and how to utilize the abundance of information that is readily available.
As far as Baseball Prospectus, I've been subscribing for about five years. As a manager, I looked at all of the numbers and all of the match-ups. I get the book every year and it's been kind of a Bible to read during the off-season, and then in spring training, with all of the stats. I also really like the stories and articles, like John Perrotto's. They really keep me up to date.
I used all of the services: BATS, Inside Edge, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs. I looked at all of them. Match-ups, left-versus-right, home-and-away, night-day...but in the end, this is who you have and sometimes you just go with the best guy you have that day. If it works, fine. If it doesn't, that's baseball.
I used numbers a lot, but I also think that Jim Leyland said it best. He said, "Go ahead and manage the game and don't worry about what you're going to say afterwards." Tony LaRussa would tell me, "Hey, you have to look at all of the numbers and you have to be prepared, but when you have to make a decision, go with your gut. But do it with that information and framework of reference in the back of your mind."
Even though the quotes above don’t exactly paint Trembley as the most saber-oriented guy out there they do a good job of showing the amount of preparation and information that he will be able to provide for game situations. It will be nice to know that Bo Porter should have all of the above mentioned information readily available to him for in-game strategy. After all Brad Arnsberg became a beloved pitching coach amongst the players in Houston due to his detailed prep work and elaborate game plans that he drew up for each pitcher. Too much information can’t be a bad thing can it?
Dave Trembley may not have the shiniest resume in the world with a career 187-283 record as a manager for the Orioles. He also possesses the unique distinction of being one of only nine managers to have managed in the majors without playing professional baseball. What he’s shown in the past is that he comes well prepared which hopefully will put young Astros players in the best situations for success in the future. What he has demonstrated is the ability to connect with young players and teach them the fundamentals of baseball. In that regard he has more experience than anyone else on the Astros coaching staff. Oh yeah, he also has American League experience as well.