If you haven't caught on by now, I'm not overly enamoured with how the managerial search is going. I don't know why that is exactly, but it probably just has something to do with the fact that I won't get to make the decision; or that I don't trust I'll like the decision made.
By far the best thing to come of the managerial search, though, came last night via a Tweet from Brian McTaggart:
With that chuckle out of the way, it seems to me like we'll get less perspective on what goes on with the managerial search from here on out, but that doesn't mean we can't keep getting a better feel of who these gentlemen are. I've enlisted the help of some gracious blog managers from around SBN who have had to opportunity to observe the various managerial candidates in action.
So after the jump, check out what they had to say about their experience with our candidates as a manager.
The only manager that I'm familiar with is Pete Mackanin, who managed the Reds for half the season in 2007. A lot of the readers on our site really like Mackanin for a couple of reasons. First, he's hilarious. He seemed like the kind of guy that simply appreciated the opportunity to be in the dugout and didn't mind making jokes to the media. His light-hearted personality is a breath of fresh air with most managers and players who speak in cliches all of the time.
The second reason so many of us liked Mackanin is because he wasn't afraid to think outside of the norm. Granted, since he was interim manager and it was fairly clear that he didn't have much chance to get hired on, he didn't have a lot to lose. The only specific example I have right now is when he brought in a 5th infielder during a game to try to prevent a ball from getting through the infield. He also did stuff like put Jeff Keppinger at SS even when Kepp didn't have much experience there. Of course, Kepp isn't really that good of a shortstop, but it definitely helped the Reds to have his bat in the lineup everyday since Keppinger was killing the ball.
Mackanin took a team that was 20 games under .500 when he took them over and they went 2 over in the last 80 games under him. That's probably the number one reason why fans took to him. Who knows if that was real or just a bad team having a decent stretch. I don't remember many times during that span though that I regretted Mackanin being with the team. Unfortunately, I can't say much of the same about Dusty Baker.
Acta was interviewed by the Rangers when they fired Buck Showalter, and he was the guy I was most interested in, mainly because in his interviews (including the rather famous one in saber-circles he did with BP) he came across as a stathead type. He was in a no-win situation in Washington, but he's someone who it seems like deserves a second chance, although with Houston's dysfunctional front office situation, this may not be the best second-chance landing spot for him.
Yost is still hated by Rangers fans because the Rangers traded Jim Sundberg for him back in the early 80s, and he had one of the worst seasons ever in major league history. So if you are looking for more Astro/Ranger rivalry stuff, Yost has that going for him.
[I think this probably get's Yost some street cred with some of us]
Yost did a pretty nice job of sticking with the young guys and developing a nice core of talent during his early years as manager of the Brewers, leading some to believe he might be a decent choice to manage a rebuilding team.
With that said, Yost's temperament and stubbornness really seemed to flare up when the Brewers were expected to contend. His lineup and bullpen decision making were questionable at best. He tended to stick with his starting pitchers far too long, giving them just enough rope to hang themselves, then telling reporters they "really battled today" and were "one pitch away from getting out of it" after the game.
He likely wasn't the worst manager in baseball, but his stubbornness and his prickly demeanor did him no favors, and his unwillingness to publicly admit a mistake or explain the rationale behind a questionable move quickly earned him a lot of hostility from the fan base. He doesn't appear to have learned from that mistake - he told reporters following his interview in Houston that he still didn't know why he'd been fired in Milwaukee.
Behind the scenes, Yost was often referred to as "Nervous Ned," reportedly drank volumes of coffee that can only be described as legendary, and was widely blamed for a tight, edgy clubhouse atmosphere in 2008, when he was eventually fired.
Pedrique was basically handed the keys to the Titanic after hitting the iceberg and told, "Have fun." He was given the job on a team with a 29-50 record that had lost its best slugger (Richie Sexson) for the season. He didn't really have much hope of doing anything, given the group of replacement-level players with the team, and was never intended as more than a place-holder.
Bob Melvin is a more interesting case. His first three years, he oversaw continual improvement, taking the team to the 2007 NLCS with a league-leading 90 wins. I'll confess, I bought into the myth of his genius, given that he had overseen two of the biggest gaps over Pythagorean expected record in baseball history (+11 games in both 2005 and 2007). However, he couldn't sustain it, and the team basically dropped off a cliff after April 2008 - he was 74-88 over the last "season" of his time here.
I didn't like his managerial style. Too fond of bunts by position players, even in the first couple of innings, and tended to stay with his starters too long - supposedly "giving them a change to win," it seemed to end up condemning them to defeat more often than not. His choice of bullpen arms was also questionable, not least his mis-use of Juan Cruz, who was one of the best relievers in the league from 2007-08, but was largely condemned to mop-up duty by Melvin. He had his favorites, and they played pretty fixed roles - the concept that the game might need to be 'saved' before the ninth was totally alien to Melvin. Do not expect a fixed line-up either. In 2007, we had *158* different batting orders including pitchers, and 151 in 2008.
As more responses come in, I'll post them and send this back to the top of the home page, but I think we have enough here to start dissecting the managerial tendencies of these candidates. Thanks to all the other bloggers at SBN for helping out with this; I'm pretty sure this will be indispensable in helping us better gauge the candidates.