Melvin, the pro and con
As we approach Melvin’s inevitable canning, and because this seems to take over many other threads, here’s the catalog of Melvin’s purported strengths and weaknesses, with some commentary. Some I think are clearly fact, but most of these are subjective to some degree. I’ll probably think of more after I publish this, but that’s what editing’s for, right?
- Can win given the right team, as with last year’s 93-win team (counter: given that team’s performance, they should have won more, and an accordian-playing monkey would have won 90 games managing the 2003 Mariners)
- Relaxed leadership style makes veterans comfortable (counter: relaxed leadership style seems to be without accountability)
- Player’s manager style. Everyone knows their roles, when they’ll be coming in, and there’s little discontent about it (counter: you shouldn’t make those kind of promises to players in the first place, as Weaver will tell you)
- Willing to let players win jobs through performance, and to lose jobs (counter: even this is inconsistently applied, see “poor judge of talent” below)
- Doesn’t slag his players in public, even when they clearly deserve it (counter: this sometimes makes him appear ignorant of the obvious, like “Winn’s not doing so well in center”)
- Relaxed leadership style is boring (counter: style, in itself, is no reason to replace a manager)
- Team appears poorly coached, making baserunning, fielding, and other in-game blunders that indicate they aren’t adequately prepared for the team they’re facing and don’t quite know what they should be doing.
- Poor manager of pitchers. Ran Meche out there all year in 2003 as Meche wore down and fell apart, for instance, and has repeatedly left tired pitchers in one inning too long, left them work deep into meaningless games (counter: how much of this is Price or the organization?)
- Has never had to deal with difficult personalities, like a Milton Bradley, and so his ability to help develop younger players or those with unconventional skill sets is unknown (counter: wasn’t Cirillo supposedly a huge problem)(counter-counter: and what did he do about it?)
- Poor judge of talent, and prone to using his own impression of a player even when wrong, as with his belief that Clint Nageotte was the right-handed set-up man his team needed, when Nageotte clearly was not (counter: look at the talent he’s given)(counter-counter: look at the results he got from the players he told the team to go out and pick up, like Colbrunn, McCracken, etc)
- Poor motivator of players (counter: veteran players are pretty tough to motivate)(counter-counter: other managers do it)
- Inflexible adherence to ‘roles’ that make people comfortable mean some players are used badly. For instance, Soriano’s confinement to set-up duties because he was productive there (counter: we don’t know how much of this is player or organizational stubbornness)
- Loyalty to veterans, combined with inflexibility means players are often run out in roles they’re not able to do well in, even when it’s obvious they’re no longer suited for that limited, inflexible role. Like Hasegawa setting up in close games, for instance.
- Poor lineup construction. Other weaknesses put together result in a poor job doing the one thing managers can do well that most helps or hurts the team. Belief that Spiezio is an everyday player, and working to find ways to work him into a lineup, for instance, hurts the team far more than mechanically calling for the sac bunt with runners on 1-2 and no outs. (counter: how much of this, too, is organizational powers asking for the manager to showcase a Jarvis, or Spiezio?)
- Rigid adherenece to certain counter-productive in-game strategies, and is outfoxed by opposing managers
- Rigid adherenece to lefty/righty pitching matchups, resulting in poor bullpen usage strategies (also is extremely boring)