This post isn’t so much about the Nats as it is about someone who used to be employed by the Nats. Yeah, this isn’t really my beat, but in case you haven’t noticed, the Nationals aren’t too exciting right now (sorry, it’s a long season). If you’re a fan, this is a good thing. ¬†We’ll be back on the Nationals next week (and if the lead shrinks to three games, maybe sooner).
Manny Acta never really had a chance. When he took over the Washington Nationals in 2007, he was in essence managing an above-average Triple A team. In 2008, make no mistake: there was nothing “above-average” about this team. They would have been lucky to win half of their minor league games. Instead, they settled for roughly one-third of their major league games. With the same terrible roster in 2009, he was fired not long after the man responsible for giving him such terrible players, Jim Bowden, resigned in disgrace.
In 2010, Acta was given a shot at redemption with Cleveland. Unfortunately, the fate of shoddy roster construction plagued him in 2010 (69 wins), 2011 (80 wins), and 2012 (65 wins with six games left).¬†Unsurprisingly, Manny was let go Thursday afternoon. However, unlike his time in Washington, his bosses failed to suffer the same fate he did.
I’m not a big fan of Cleveland President Mark Shapiro and GM Chris Antonetti: I think both get a free pass from the media because they are darlings of the Sabermetric community¬†(not that there’s anything wrong with that; those guys tend to be right more often than not). Shapiro even moreso because of how well-respected his father is by baseball lifers (justifiably so).
However, for every Bartolo Colon and Carlos Santana¬†blockbuster*, there are piles of prospect corpses reminding desperate Tribe fans of the Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia moves. Let’s not also forget the terribly misguided 2011 trade for Ubaldo Jimenez; an irrational move that in retrospect looks palatable only because of the Rockies’ own ineptitude in developing prospects.
Since 2007, the Indians have failed to eclipse the .500 mark. Their farm system, once one of the greatest ever (yep, you heard me), has failed to produce a homegrown impact player in what seems like years. Playing in one of the most beautiful stadiums in all of sports, the team’s attendance is among baseball’s worst. Yet, according to reports, both Shapiro and Antonetti will return in 2013.
Hey Paul Dolan, maybe Cleveland’s problem isn’t so much who manages this team, but who constructs it?
*In retrospect, these trades don’t help Shapiro’s resume as much as one would think. Omar Minaya was a lame duck manager in Montreal in 2002; he knew the team was to either be contracted or moved, i.e., he was getting fired very soon. He had a good squad in 2002 and decided to go for broke. In 2008, the Dodgers rode the waning days of Joe Torre’s managing career along with a money-hungry owner in an attempt to make the playoffs (they would acquire Manny Ramirez a few days later). Plus, no one’s ever accused¬†Dodgers GM Ned Colletti of being a genius.