Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Manny on Life Support

With the loss last night, Manny Acta moved into sole possession of 10th place all-time of lowest winning percentage of qualifiying managers. Alan Trammell is up next if Manny continues his quest, having presided over the Tigers' 2003 debacle. The writing was on the wall when they didn't extend his contract: "Win or Else". So far, the Nats have chosen "Else with Formaldehyde". Obviously somebody is going to fire Manny Acta. The million dollar question is when.

Many managers, like Trammell for instance, buy time with their organizational credibility. They played ball, coached upon retirement, and were eventually given a shot to turn around the team. Neither Manny Acta nor Jim Riggleman played major league ball, and Acta's hiring may have been the closest thing MLB has had to a true Al Davis moment. Right now, management is tired of paying for guys not on the roster. They are also tired of looking like a bunch of buffoons running a franchise. Firing Manny is not going to solve either of those problems; if anything, it guarantees they are going to pay another person to stay home without assuring improvement. Believe it or not, this situation sucks a lot move for Acta than it does the players or fans. He came back to a no-win situation and failed. Granted, his quotes and indifference are not inspiring anybody, and his lack of situational awareness should alone be grounds for termination, regardless of record.

Barring Manny embarrassing the club further, they will probably leave him on the bench through the summer. If things get worse, Riggleman will finish the season. Neither will remain with the club next season, and it is a good bet the pitching coaches will be cleared out as well. The smart move would be to do this before the season ends so they can pursue options as soon as the final out is made, if not sooner. Depite his track record, Pat Listach probably isn't ready yet to take the everyday job, but you never know. Keeping him and Grissom will be great for continuity and improving the abysmal defense. However, the best solution to turn the Nats into a winner will likely be found outside the organization.

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