Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Managerial Lazy Sunday

With so very little being known about the only real relevant topic this Sunday that wasn’t hit on earlier in the week – that is, the Indians’ managerial search – let’s take a quick look at what information IS actually being revealed as to which candidates the Indians are considering for their post of skipper. Sitting in my father-in-law’s office in Milwaukee, surrounded by Packer Green and Gold, it’s time to get loose on a Lazy Sunday:

Starting off with Terry Pluto, who seems to have the most inside knowledge of the names being bandied about by the organization, he reports that the candidates that he knows were part of the phone interview process were Manny Acta, Bobby Valentine, Travis Fryman, and Torey Lovullo. Since Pluto writes that “of the in-house candidates, Fryman has the best chance to make the final five”, it’s pretty safe to say that anyone that had fears that Torey Lovullo would be Wedge Part II can ease their troubled minds.

Who else is on that list that was involved with the phone interview process?
Those bench coaches that had been mentioned in the past (Roenicke, Wotus, etc.) don’t show up, but Pluto does put forth the notion that names that were NOT included on the list would be Mike Hargrove, Tony Pena, Buck Showalter, and Phil Garner, slipping in the strange addendum that “Hargrove could end up being a bench coach if the team hires a younger manager.”

Reading too far into this (obviously), anyone else find it interesting that the two names that Pluto mentions (one being a managerial candidate, one not being a managerial candidate) would actually set up a Fryman as Manager, Grover as Bench Coach dynamic in the Indians’ dugout?

Fryman as Manager, Grover as Bench Coach, eh?
Let me think about that one…and direct you to the interview that Fryman did with Baseball Prospectus last August where he talks about himself as a manager and specifically how he was trying to help Lonnie Chisenhall make the transition from SS to 3B, a move Fryman made for the Tigers as a young player.

Interesting in that piece is the discussion on Chris Chambliss, who Fryman valued as his manager as a young player in the Detroit farm system. Chambliss was obviously hitting coach for the Yankees’ teams of the late ‘90s and has held various hitting coaching positions since then (NYM, CIN). He is currently the manager of the AAA Charlotte Knights (White Sox affiliate), so if the concern is there that Fryman may be inexperienced for a big-league managerial job, maybe filling out the staff with veteran coaches like Chambliss and Hargrove (both former Tribe players) is how the coaching staff gets filled out to blend some veteran savvy with Fryman’s relative inexperience.

The one name that is unquestionably out there and seems to be getting a good deal of attention is Manny Acta, who may be looking at the Indians’ job as a fall-back to the job he’s interviewing for in Houston, who had this to say to the assembled Houston press corps about the prospect of managing the Astros:
"It would be too good to be true," Acta said. "It's amazing because as I mentioned I owe them everything, including my wife. I met her while playing in the Minor Leagues for them. That being said, I understand what the process is all about. They have to do what's best for the Astros, and I'm happy to be part of it."

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a managerial candidate for the Tribe come out and say that?
Pipe down there, Grover…

Seriously though, Acta responded to the criticism that he was unqualified to manage again based on the struggles of his team in Washington thusly:
"I learned that rebuilding is tough, rebuilding is cruel and can be grueling, but those are the types of jobs that go to people like me," Acta said. "Obviously, you're going to ask one of those big-time managers to do one of those jobs, but we have to get our foot in the door. We did it and it was a tremendous experience and we can use that going forward."
Sound about what you would imagine the Indians’ brass heard in Acta’s phone interview?

Back to square one then, it seems like the names that did get interviewed (or at least the ones we seem to know about) fall in line with what we’ve been hearing. While the list of candidates is supposed to be parsed down to five this week for the sit-down interviews, we’ll have to see if the veil of secrecy lifts at all from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.

Based on the tea leaves and on the coverage of various candidates, guys like Acta and Fryman are likely to make it through to the next round, with the probability of a couple of surprises (meriting a “who’s that guy” at first mention) could be included as the Indians try to find the right fit.

Maybe more will come out about the managerial search (and hopefully no more surprise surgeries are mentioned) in the next week, but until then we’ll all keep sitting, waiting, and wishing for happier days to arrive.

1 comment:

Cy Slapnicka said...

nice hat tip to jack johnson.

if fryman ends up managing the team, i might go all harry on shapiro

while i can't say he's overly qualified, he certainly is a solid dude.