What is the Job of the Manager?

If you don't want to hear anything negative about Cito, cover your ears now. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In his 'Covering the Bases' post after yesterday's game Jordan Bastian had this little bit about Lyle Overbay and Cito.

Overbay then went 0-for-3 against Danks, increasing the first baseman's drought to 0-for-11 vs. left-handed pitching this season. Overbay hit .190 against lefties last year. Gaston handed Overbay a full-time job instead of platooning him this year, giving the first baseman a chance to cash in during a contract year.

Now, being fair to Cito, I haven't heard him say this. It is possible that Jordan is misreading Cito. But Jordan spends time with Cito, so I'm taking his word. 

Now explain this to me. How is it the manager's job to give a player 'a chance to cash in'? To me, the manager has one loyalty, to his team. His job is to win as many games as he can, while keeping an eye on the future. Try to win today without costing the team in the future. 

The last thing I want a manager to worry about is trying to maximize the earning potential of one player. Yes, Lyle should be able to make as much money as he can. I am a capitalist. I'm all for players making every dollar they can. But trying to make the most money you can for Overbay hurts the potential money making that Randy Ruiz (or someone else) could hope for. Randy is trying to establish himself as a major leaguer. Getting at bats this year could help him get a job next year. 

Lyle's already had a pretty decent contract. Why are we worried about getting him another one? If we are worried about getting someone money, why wouldn't we pick the guy that has been toiling in the minors for the last 10+ years. Yeah Lyle could use another big payday I'm sure, but if he has any money sense he's set for life already. Ruiz....not so much.

And if we are worried about someone making money, why the guy that won't be with the team next year?

Now I don't want my manager going out of his way to screw with someone's future. I want him to be a reasonable human being, to act morally, to treat his players like honorably. I want him to take the interests of the group over the interests of the individual. And I want him to let players' agents worry about their next contract. 

As it turns out, playing Lyle against LHP is exactly the worst thing you could do to help him cash in on free agency. Lyle would be better off having other teams think he couldn't hit lefties rather than hand them proof. It is better to sit and have them think you can't hit  than to bat and remove all doubt. 

I don't ever want a player's future contracts to even cross the mind of the manager. I barely want the present contracts to cross the manager's mind.  

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