The early off season moves have started and they seem to have begun with non-players. The Indians got a new manager...the one that the Astros wanted. The Padres have a new General Manager. Tony LaRussa decided to stay with the Cardinals and now the big news is that perhaps Mark McGwire will be his new hitting coach.
Let's start with the Indians. They announced that they have hired Manual Elias Acta as their new manager. Umm... Do you think the Indians' fans are thrilled by that choice? As they were out there wondering who would replace Mr. Wedge, could you see them pondering Bobby Valentine or Buck Showalter or some big name like that? Perhaps they could pry LaRussa from the Cardinals. Something splashy and all, you know? And they hired Manny Acta. It's a given that a manager is given too much credit for when a team wins and when they lose. Even so, Manny Acta's major league record as a manager is 158-252. His .385 winning percentage is 285th on the list of managers of all time, slightly better than Alan Trammell and Art Fletcher. Preston Gomez has a better all-time winning percentage. So does Larry Rothschild and Dave Trembley. Can you feel the collective thud of enthusiasm in Cleveland?
Okay, so Acta managed the Washington Nationals. Yeah, they were a mess. But now he is being asked to take another team that is currently a mess and do what he couldn't do in Washington? This Fan doesn't get it. And the funny thing is that the Astros wanted him too and only didn't get him because their owner wouldn't give him a three year contract. Would you? Well, the Astros can rejoice because the Fan is sure that Trembley or Rothschild are available. And Acta is from the Dominican Republic. It's cold in Cleveland in the spring. He better pack his long johns.
The dual news that LaRussa is staying in St. Louis and could perhaps be bringing Mark McGwire back to the majors as a coach is double-the-fun news. Anyone who has read this blog for long knows that the Fan has a healthy dislike for Mr. LaRussa. He is an arrogant SOB if you ask this writer. But you know what? If he brings McGwire back and thumbs his nose at the upper echelon of baseball, he's a hero. McGwire may be a paragon for what we abhor about what we now know about PEDS and baseball, but he's a good guy too. And you may not agree, and no doubt many of you don't, but if 70% of the guys were using, how come they didn't hit 70 homers too? The Fan loves the guy. Always will. Who can blame the guy for not wanting to perjure himself? Look what it got Clemens and Tejada? Lying to congress will cost you a bit. But this Fan will never forget that Labor Day weekend when McGwire hugged his son and made the world a fun place to be. You go, LaRussa! Hope you get to the World Series next year. The only question remaining is if Duncan will still be there.
The Padres hired a GM from the Boston Think Factory. Not a bad idea. It's refreshing that someone with Hoyer's pedigree in sabermetrics and smarts got him a job like that. It shows good signs in San Diego and their fans should be encouraged.