Thursday, October 18, 2012

Managing Expectations

Not long ago, I wondered what the qualities of a good Red Sox manager would be. At the time, the Sox had a manager, so the question was hypothetical. Now, with the search for a new leader underway, I hope the Sox have the answer to the question written down somewhere.

Everyone seems to have an idea of who might be a good manager, but not a lot of specifics as to why. I hear names tossed out here and there. This pitching coach, or that bench coach, or that announcer. I guess to me, they all seem to be one in the same.

There are really a few different ways you can look at a manager. What do you need from them? What do you want them to do for you? Is managing the game the most important thing? Is it dealing with personalities? Is it handling the media? Do you want a stats guy? A player’s guy? A mixture of them all?

How much of that are you getting out of an interview? Do they sit the guy down, like they did in Little Big League, and ask him what he’d do in different scenarios? There’s a guy on second with one out, and Sabathia pitching. What do you do? Jon Lester is pitching a one-hit shutout in the eighth inning, with a 1-0 lead. But, he just threw his 101st pitch. What do you do? Is the answer to that question different now than it will be in June? Or next October?

So, Tony Pena sounds like a fine choice to me. He’s managed well before, although those KC teams he had may have had more talent than he’ll have with the Sox. He’s been in NY for a while, learning how to handle media. That’s nice. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Brad Ausmus sounds like a good choice. He’s young, and eager. He’s apparently pretty smart. He’s local. He has the Terry Francona thing where’s he’s been both an all-star and washed up. So, he should be able to relate to both. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Which, I suppose, is why the John Farrell thing confuses me. He’s done a nice job in Toronto. He knows the area, and some of the players. Don’t see a reason not to hire him.

Oh, wait. Yes I do. The Sox would need to give something up to get him. Why is this an option? What makes him so far above everyone else that he’s worth giving up a player, any player, just to give him a shot? Why not try one of the guys you can get just sign? What is it that we’re all looking for in a manager that Farrell has more of than any of the other guys?

It’s not like Francona came here with a stellar resume.

1 comment:

  1. I agree about Farrell. The upside (being familiar with people/players) doesn't seem to outweigh the potential loss of a prospect, especially in our rebuilding scenario.

    I'm in the camp of preferring player manager. The vast majority of the time, the manager as a "shot caller" is fairly limited. The occasional hit and run, the occasional pitcher in/out scenario. The only problem is that you only remember those times when they get those calls wrong, and not the other 161 games where they inspired their players.

    This is totally just my opinion, but I've always thought the roll of the manager was to get the "best" out of his players, and that actually "managing a game" was a lesser consideration. By this point, these guys have been playing baseball all their lives. If they need someone to tell them they're up next, we're in serious trouble. They need the occasional kick in ass, or the pat on the back far more.

    I hope we find the right guy. This is going to be one heck of an interesting off season.


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