Hotstove.com sent out a question to Jay bloggers asking 'is Cito Gaston the right manager for the Jays at this moment?' Both Hugo and I answered back 'no'. You can see the answers here. So what would we like to see in a manager for the Jays?
Well, first, we have a lot of young pitchers who will have to be handled carefully. I want a manager that can do a good job of weeding through them to find which he wants on his staff, which he feels needs more time in the minors and which we can send packing. I want someone that makes his choice of 5 starting pitchers and then sticks with his choices. What I'd like is him to say to each one he chooses is that 'you will start every 5th game and, barring injury you will get 15 starts guaranteed, so go out there and show us what you can do'. Don't have them worrying that a bad start will have them sent to the minors. If this is a learning year, let them learn. Oh, and if there is a day off, move them all back a day, don't skip someone.
Beyond that I want a manager that can see the signs of a pitcher tiring and I want him to pull the pitcher when he tires. I don't care about the pitch count, if the pitcher is tired at 50 pitches, pull him. With a young staff I would like a hard ceiling on pitches thrown of about 115. Pitchers, especially young pitchers, get hurt when they continue to throw when they are tired. I want a manager very sensitive to that. And I don't want a starter left in to be shelled. Allowing a guy to stay out there when he's got nothing doesn't help his confidence or his arm.
With the bullpen, I want a manager that has confidence in every guy in that pen. We have a lot of good arms battling for a spot in the pen. The manager is going to pick the 7 he likes best, if there are any he doesn't have confidence in, they shouldn't be on the staff. I don't want a manager that loses confidence in a guy because of one or two bad outings. You picked him, you stand by him. The flip side of this is: don't be using the same guys every day. Last year, any game that was close, Jesse Carlson and Brandon League came in. Yeah I get that Cito liked those two, but too much use isn't good for a reliever and showing some confidence in the other members of the bullpen isn't a bad idea. Let's not have guys leading the league in appearances when we have several arms that can do a good job.
On the offensive side, I want a manager that that will put young players like Travis Snider in the lineup and leave them there. I don't want Travis thinking 'if I go 0 for 4 I won't play for a week'. I want him out there every day. I don't care if he goes 0 for 18, I don't want him sent down to the minors. He's the future. Same goes for Brett Wallace and JP Arencibia if they were to make the team. Sitting does them no good.
On the flip side, I don't want a manager that falls in love with a veteran. Last year, Kevin Millar played and Randy Ruiz sat. Millar, we knew exactly what he could give us and we knew he wasn't going to be here the next year. Ruiz, we didn't know and we knew we controlled him. Jose Bautista played, we knew he could hit lefties, not so much righties and Travis sat.
Beyond that, I want a manager that communicates. Not just with the players he likes but with everyone. I want players to know where they sit with him. I don't want the players revolting at the end of the year. I want players to know their roles and I want the manager to talk to them if the role changes.
I'd like if the manager tried a few things. Hit and runs. Steals. Doesn't have to happen a lot, just enough to show the manager is taking part in the proceedings. But if he bunts with the number 2 hitter in the first inning I'm going to burn him in effigy.
Beyond that, yeah the calming presence that Cito has would be nice. The ability to teach. Being a nice guy would be ok but if he's a jerk that does everything else well, I can live with that.
Oh, and someone that calls me once a week or so to chew the fat and give us stuff to write about wouldn't hurt.