Friday, May 27, 2005

Jaime, Could You Take Jose With You?

Lima sucks. I'm waiting for him to get wacked, Albie Lopez-style.

Glad we could be of service, Mr. Hidalgo. Please don't forget to tip your servers...errr...I mean pitchers.

I-29 Happenings

Before Thursday's game, the Royals optioned Jaime Cerda to Omaha and purchased the contract of Steve Stemle.

Cerda has been playing Russian Roulette all season, with bullets in, say, four of the six chambers. He'd have a couple of back-to-back solid outings and follow that up by allowing three runs in his next appearance. He wasn't getting it done and now his demotion leaves WTP Favorite Andy Sisco as the only lefty in the pen.

Stemle is a former fifth round draft choice by the Cardinals who basically throws strikes, averaging about 2 BB/9 IP. He was a starter until last season and has been very successful in Omaha this year posting the following line:

20 IP, 13 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 SO

That's impressive.

And the Royals, being the Royals, throw the new guy right into the middle of the action. Not a bad big league debut:

3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO


So lets turn our attention to the happenings off the field because, let’s face it, it’s more interesting.

Do you get the feeling that Allard Baird travels the country with a briefcase handcuffed to his wrist, with a lock only he knows the combination to, while the front office staff refers to him by a super-secret code name? Me too.

I think we can safely say we have the shortlist of candidates:

Buddy Bell
Terry Collins
Art Howe
Jerry Manuel
Bob Schaefer

Since we’ve already looked at Schaefer and Howe here, and Collins here, it’s time to look a little more in depth at the final two candidates on the list:

Buddy Bell

The fact that we are even considering this stiff gets me seriously depressed. How vanilla can you get? Do we want a guy who can teach our young players how to win, or do we want a guy who can recount the glory days of the 1970’s Cleveland juggernaut? Bell has never been a winner. Not as a player and not as a manager.

As a manager for all or part of six seasons, he’s guided his teams to a winning record only once (82-80 in 2000) while landing in last place twice. (He was fired in the midst of a third last place season.) His players all seemed to have liked him and he hasn’t had the best talent to work with, but this just seems like a bad fit. He’s twice been handed the reigns of a young team and twice failed to improve. Now that Phil Garner is in Houston, Bell is the ultimate managerial retread.

Jerry Manuel

Another surprise on the list, Manuel managed the Chicago White Sox for six full seasons before getting the ax after the 2003 season. Manuel is the antithesis of Buddy Bell: He had some talent, and the expectations, but didn’t win enough. He was at .500 or better in his last five seasons and finished below second place in the Central only once.

Manuel can’t shoulder all the blame for the troubles in Chicago. Saddled with Kenny Williams as a general manager, the Sox built a roster ultimately ill-suited for a pennant race. Awesome power can’t overcome a lack of a leadoff man, a weak bullpen and a below-average defense. Williams was also the architect of the horrible trades for Carl Everett and Roberto Alomar at the expense of an already thin farm system. As a GM, Williams has been a bust and Manuel was the fall guy.

Manuel strikes me as one of those steady baseball lifers...A steady presence in the clubhouse. I actually want to say he reminds me of Bob Schaefer, but Schaefer has a fun kind of personality that I’m not sure Manuel has. But Manuel has a calm and relaxed style that is popular with players. He will get after them if he needs to, but seems to favor a more hands off approach. I don’t think he's the best fit for this ballclub.


At 9:18 AM, Blogger cfos said...

Buddy Bell made my stomach uneasy, also. I think Manuel is probably a good baseball guy, but I think this team needs a 'meaner' personality. I'm hoping for Collins at this point.

At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Henry Mercedes said...

Do you really believe that Bob Schaefer has a better chance at the job than Art Howe or Terry Collins?

I would say he has a snowball's chance, just ahead of Jerry Manuel and Buddy Bell. Any last second adjustments to the odds?

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