Monday, October 4, 2010

Start The Firing And Speculation

Now that the MLB regular season is over its time to start the offseason speculation and get the firing squads ready.

The New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, and Pittsburgh Pirates wasted no time in giving their managers their walking papers. The Mets went for the double and also fired GM Omar Minaya. That rumor had been in the hopper for quite awhile. The Mets have been a bunch of overpaid underachievers for the last three seasons. Not much has gone right since losing Game 7 in the 2006 NLCS. That isn't what the top brass in Queens were looking for when they acquired the likes of Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez. Now the stories will start flying about who replaces Jerry Manuel and Minaya. I hear former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is on the list as well as former Mets second baseman Wally Backman.

The Brewers decided not to pick up the option on Ken Macha for the 2011 season. This came after two losing seasons after they made the playoffs in 2008. I guess this was bound to happen since they did fire Ned Yost with 12 games left in the 2008 season. There also were rumblings that he wasn't connecting with his players which is the reason why he was canned in Oakland. I guess Dale Sveum and Willie Randolph are on the list as of now.

Which brings me to the Pittsburgh Pirates. They fired John Russell after he compiled an astounding 299 losses in three seasons. The Pirates have been on this slippery slope for a while. Trading away young proven players for minor league prospects. Amazingly GM Neal Huntington was retained, since he's made some poor trades and questionable moves himself.  His saving grace is that this pattern had been going on long before he or Russell got into town.  Russell’s stoic demeanor, reluctance to argue most calls and peculiar strategy—such as letting a pitcher bat with runners in scoring position while the Pirates trailed by five runs—made him unpopular among fans. Russell’s first team in 2008 was competitive until midseason, when the franchise—eager to stockpile a talent-bereft farm system—began dealing away or cutting productive players such as Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, Freddy Sanchez Jack Wilson Nate McLouth Adam LaRoche, Matt Capps, John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny, Ian Snell, Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan. Also traded was 2010 major league home run leader Jose Bautista during a two-year roster purge. Russell was a surprise hire by the Pirates, especially after he was fired from being the third base coach by previous management. He was hired by Huntington and team prez Frank Coonelly because he had a reputation of being a patient, adept developer of young talent. I guess the Pirates were wrong about that. This franchise is a big mess and shows no signs of getting better anytime soon. They have identified no candidates (surprise) and I can't think of anyone that would take that job without a lifetime contract since they'll essentially be starting from rubble.

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