Ok, I was really frustrated after yesterday's loss and let that frustration show (you think) in the recap. It was a terrible game at the end of a poor series. The question 'make the case for Cito' came out of conversation in each of the last couple of game threads. I hit that wall of wondering what Cito does well, because after those losses you don't see it. But really, the answer to the question is a simple one. The reason why Cito is manager is because of his record. He won 2 World Series. Now it may seem like some sort of insult but it isn't. People say 'yeah but he had a great team'. Guess what, lots of guys have had great teams, not many have won two World Series in a row. I mean, it's trump.
Winning is the most important stat for a manager. We can say a manager doesn't do several things right but if he wins, who cares. There are a lot of things that a manager does that we don't see. And a lot of the time the things we do see matter far less than we think they do. So if a guy wins and yet does everything wrong, who cares.
But at what point do we say that was then this is now?
Well, let's look at Cito. If you listen to Rance, you hear the term 'player's manager' time and time again. It really is a term I've come to hate. Earl Weaver used to say that on every team there were 5 guys that loved you, 5 guys that hated you and the secret to managing was keeping the 5 guys that hate you away from the 15 that are on the fence. Yeah guys that you play will like you. Guys you don't play won't like you.
They call Cito a player's manager because once he decides he likes you, you will play every day no matter what. Up to a point it is a good thing. A manager shouldn't over react to a slump. All players slump, but if a guy is looking over his shoulder every time he goes 0 for 4 that's a bad thing. But at some point it become self parody. There has to be accountability.
Look at Joe Maddon. B.J. Upton looks terrible at the start of the year. Joe gives him some time to play out of it then sits him, then he moves him to 9th in the order. The message is clear. Dioner Navarro plays terrible he gives the catcher job to Greg Zaun. The players get the message, but I'd still call Maddon a players manager.
Cito? Millar shows he really has no value anymore as a player, and he bats cleanup. Rod Barajas hits under .200 for most of the season, does he sit and watch Chavez play for a couple of weeks? No. Vernon hits nothing all year and plays poor defense. Now I'm totally all for giving him a chance to turn it around because he was great just last year but some signal has to be sent. b
The flip side? Randy Ruiz is called up and gives the team a shot in the arm. Do I think he's a great player? No. But man he is hustling, hitting the ball hard and clearly trying to show well. Where has he been the last 3 or 4 games? The bench. I mean he sat yesterday so we could have both Bautista and McDonald in the game. On bluejays.com there is a story 'scuffing offense needs a spark'. What has Ruiz been but a spark?
Cito is supposed to be a great hitting coach and talks about players having a plan when they come up to the plate. Anyone see any signs of that? We got beat by Paul frigging Byrd yesterday. If that doesn't show we don't have a plan at the plate, nothing does.
Anyway, I know JP's not going to fire him in a hurry, I'd just like to know what he is doing well enough to keep his job. He is very likable but then likable isn't exactly the first thing I look for in a manager.