Carlos Garcia is the best third base coach in the history of baseball

DMZ · September 26, 2006 at 10:33 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Oh, I could make you some sophisticated statistical argument, hit the databases, do my thing.

I’m not going to. Here’s my evidence. Carlos Garcia is the least-complained-about third base coach ever.

Since July 2nd, when he was involved in another “aggressive baserunning” gaffe (and I want to point out that the whole “when do you run” decision tree is the manager), no one here has complained about him in the comments. Before that, you have to go back to April to find a bad “waved him in” comment.

Two! All season! And the USSM commenting readership is extremely critical about this kind of thing. Every other team almost, the fan base wants the third base coach fired for gross incompetence. Garcia’s gone unnoticed, and not because Hargrove’s bizarre moves overshadow his – those same mistakes haven’t concealed many other lesser wrongs on the team.

I don’t think the third base coach makes a big difference, but isn’t it pretty clear by now that Garcia’s pretty good at it, or at least at making the judgement calls he’s allowed to under Hargrove’s baserunning strategy?


41 Responses to “Carlos Garcia is the best third base coach in the history of baseball”

  1. joser on September 26th, 2006 10:38 am

    Even better, number of players horribly injured by sudden/late call reversals: 0

    And this team has some players who are particularly sensitive to that kind of thing.

  2. pdb on September 26th, 2006 10:56 am

    Two! All season! And the USSM commenting readership is extremely critical about this kind of thing.

    I decided to start re-directing my criticism at the batboys. I wish they’d get that rosin bag out there faster and more effectively.

  3. vb1138 on September 26th, 2006 10:57 am

    Well, he doesn’t have to make the decision to run on Ichiro’s arm, so that limits potential outs at home right there. I am continuously boggled (and elated) at how many times people still try to do that.

  4. Evan on September 26th, 2006 11:14 am

    Yeah, now all we have to worry about are those Ichiro-Doyle collisions on the outfield (which scare the hell out of me).

    It’s possible Garcia is being insufficiently aggressive, but I’d rather that than the alternative. The worst possible third base coach is an indecisive one (like Myers), and Garcia certainly isn’t that.

  5. Deanna on September 26th, 2006 11:23 am

    Speaking of the base coaches, who the heck was the guy coaching first base last night? I saw “Brown #73”, and said, “If that’s Hunter Brown, I’m going to go down there and kill someone.”

    (This has probably been answered before, but I was out of the country for three weeks. Don’t hurt me! They’re not listed on the team pages anywhere that I can see, but then again, neither is Dom Woody and he’s been around all year)

    But yeah, Carlos Garcia is good.

  6. Dave on September 26th, 2006 11:24 am

    Daren Brown. He was the manager for San Antonio this year.

  7. Grizz on September 26th, 2006 11:25 am

    If the criterion is the number of negative comments, tomorrow can we expect the post “Jim Slaton is the Best Bullpen Coach in the History of Baseball”?

  8. dw on September 26th, 2006 11:35 am

    Or perhaps “Joe Maddon: Best Devil Rays Manager Ever?”

  9. Ralph Malph on September 26th, 2006 11:37 am

    I have read the third paragraph of this post about 5 times and I’m still not sure exactly what it’s supposed to say. Do we really think Hargrove has a “when do you run” decision tree? I tend to think Hargrove says to his coaches “be aggressive out there” and they talk about which outfielders have strong or weak arms and the rest is up to the coach. There’s a limit to how much the manager can do from the bench about whether a runner decides to try for an extra base.

  10. Ralph Malph on September 26th, 2006 11:37 am

    By the way, who saw the P-I mailbag question today about whether anybody keeps statistics on runners thrown out on the bases. Is there really no information on that available at all?

  11. Dave on September 26th, 2006 11:40 am

    Dan Fox at Baseball Prospectus has been doing a long analysis on that kind of information. It certainly is availble.

  12. Tek Jansen on September 26th, 2006 11:44 am

    I am comforted by the fact that the M’s do not need to use their money or time to find a high priced third base coach this offseason.

  13. Mat on September 26th, 2006 12:04 pm

    If the criterion is the number of negative comments, tomorrow can we expect the post “Jim Slaton is the Best Bullpen Coach in the History of Baseball”?

    My criteria would be more like number of negative comments below league average. The league average on comments about bullpen coaches is probably 3-4 comments per fanbase, per season.

    OTOH, adjusting for the fraction of the fanbase that comments on USSM, I would say that the average third base coach would elicit at least fifty negative comments during the course of the season. (One controversial decision approximately every sixteen games, and five comments per controversial decision.) Actually, I’d say that’s on the low side, as some fans love nothing more than second-guessing the third base coach, but if Garcia’s at 48 (or more) negative comments below average for the season, that’s best 3B coach in the league material.

  14. DMZ on September 26th, 2006 12:08 pm

    “Do we really think Hargrove has a “when do you run” decision tree? ”

    I’m sorry if this wasn’t clearer.

    Generally speaking, you’ve got the right idea, but essentially yes, he does. Or that’s the case for most teams: the manger will set an overall philosophy (“Go for the extra base”) and then they’ll go through what that means on the field. The vast majority of baserunning signals are essentially predetermined, because the manager’s said “I want my guys trying to score from second on any well-hit single”.

    Of course, the third base coach has to take that and make it make sense, but generally speaking they know, given the circumstances, what they’re going to tell the runner to do in any situation, based on what the manager wants.

  15. Evan on September 26th, 2006 12:14 pm

    But, they’ll still do things like hold Bengie Molina because he’s glacier-fast, or count a really well hit line-drive that one hops to the center fielder as too well hit.

  16. msb on September 26th, 2006 12:24 pm

    plus Carlos has intangibles.

    so, when did Dominic Woody move into the bullpen? last I remember he was a converted pitcher in the independent leagues….

  17. msb on September 26th, 2006 12:28 pm

    answered my own question

  18. G-Man on September 26th, 2006 1:44 pm

    Two thoughts came to my mind when I read this.

    1. If so few have complained here, maybe he is too conservative. However, I can’t recall any specific instance in which I thought this myself, though I don’t often try to judge it from TV.

    2. The USSM readership is sufficiently educated that they know that some of the situations in which a guy was thrown out were still good 3B coach decisions, i.e., there were two outs and a weak hitter would be up next.

    Bottom line, I agree.

  19. Mat on September 26th, 2006 2:04 pm

    If so few have complained here, maybe he is too conservative.

    I think that’s certainly possible, but in my experience ultra-conservative 3B coaches are criticized about as much as ultra-aggressive 3B coaches.

  20. PositivePaul on September 26th, 2006 2:04 pm

    Well, heck. With “Doyle Killer” officially out of the organization now, what right do we have to complain?

    Oh, and BTW:


    (Sorry — I’m the king of parenthetical clauses, and since I use them all the time, perhaps too frequently, I’m extra sensitive (I’m a programmer, too, and they always find a way to disappear from my code) to missing closing parentheses).

  21. Ralph Malph on September 26th, 2006 2:40 pm

    Certainly 90% of 3rd base coach decisions are absolutely clear cut. Or should be if the 3rd base coach has the slightest clue. It’s the close ones that determine whether he’s a good coach or not. And those are the ones that, I think, are not really controlled by the manager. The manager can set a tone to be more aggressive but it has to be the coach who makes a split-second decision whether to send or not.

    The decision tree has to depend on what kind of risks you’re willing to take. With 2 out and WFB on deck you would send the runner if you think he has a 30-40% chance of scoring because that’s better than Willie’s bat would get you. With nobody out and the heart of the lineup coming up you better have a 80-90% chance. Or whatever.

    So the coach has to figure out what the chances are based on how hard the ball is hit, who’s running, how strong (and how accurate) the OF arm is, and so forth. Before the pitch is thrown, presumably, he’s thought about what kind of risk he’s willing to tolerate given the game situation. It’s a lot to think about and to factor into a split-second decision. I certainly expect the manager has talked to the coach about all these things in advance.

    I would also expect, after a game when they watch video, that the manager talks to the 3rd base coach about situations that occurred and whether he agreed or disagreed with the decisions he made. I’m sure it’s a work in progress.

    It has seemed to me that the M’s have gotten less aggressive on the bases as the season progressed. While I don’t give Hargrove credit for much, I do give him a little bit of credit for seeing how badly their early season aggressiveness was working out.

    All my experience with this is coaching slow-pitch softball, where obviously the risk percentages would be very different, but you have to consider the same factors. Plus you consider the very high likelihood that the slow-pitch catcher will drop the ball on a close play.

  22. David J. Corcoran I on September 26th, 2006 3:12 pm

    Carlos Garcia >>>>> Myers.

    I was down at the final Aquasox game of this season and Myers easily cost the team 6-7 runs.

    That said, I still haven’t figured out what is screwed up with my laptop that is preventing me from commenting from that machine.

  23. David J. Corcoran I on September 26th, 2006 3:14 pm

    19: Like Dave Myers circa 2006. He was too conservative but you could hear everybody in the crowd saying “Darn you!” “Wave him in!”

  24. kcw2 on September 26th, 2006 3:31 pm

    I think there is at least one more controversy. Wasn’t there a night in August or September that Ichiro was thrown out? Ichiro said he was given the go signal, and Garcia said he was not.

  25. Seth on September 26th, 2006 3:32 pm

    Um, did we get anybody *to* third base this year?

  26. Aaron on September 26th, 2006 3:35 pm

    Coaches should be just like umpires. If they do thier job right, you never even know they’re there.

  27. JoeM on September 26th, 2006 3:35 pm

    I just can’t believe folks are letting DMZ’s spelling error slide. “manger” Derek?

    I do agree however that Garcia seems to operate a bit more cleanly, though it would be nice to know how many opportunities and what his ‘waived in’ percentage was versus league average. Maybe factoring in team speed ratings somehow, not sure if there’s good data on that.

    Look at it this way, guys on this team either have speed or don’t so there’s less borderline calls available. Richie: stop. Ichiro: go. Reed: who am I kidding, Reed hardly ever made it to 3rd base.

    Good to have DMZ back, more fun topics. No offense Dave.

  28. pinball1973 on September 26th, 2006 3:41 pm

    With the gigantic, looming impediment of Margrove blotting out all other incompetence, how could we ever notice! A third-base coach’s errors would be as difficult to notice as a flashlight from a mile off in the desert at noon.

  29. Coach Owens on September 26th, 2006 3:41 pm

    I personally liked Meyers a lot (I like Garcia too.) I thought he was really good so I don’t care if no one else likes him

  30. David J. Corcoran I on September 26th, 2006 3:52 pm

    Chad Meyers? He was horrible.

  31. David J. Corcoran I on September 26th, 2006 3:54 pm

    Although we don’t know how he would have been as a third base coach. But he wasn’t much of a 2nd baseman or outfielder.

  32. Livengood on September 26th, 2006 3:59 pm

    JoeM: “waived” in?


  33. Tom on September 26th, 2006 4:02 pm

    #30-I think he means Dave Myers

  34. Coach Owens on September 26th, 2006 4:16 pm

    33. Yeah I do. I just thought you spelled Myers that way. Sorry Corco.

  35. G-Man on September 26th, 2006 4:25 pm

    What about “in tact” twice in “The Cost of This Team” a day or two back?

  36. Evan on September 26th, 2006 4:38 pm

    in tact

    I hadn’t even noticed that one. Good catch.

  37. Dave on September 26th, 2006 4:47 pm

    Good to have DMZ back, more fun topics. No offense Dave.

    No worries. After the last feed, someone told me that I “was a lot more fun than they expected.” So, I’m used to you all thinking I’m the blogging equivalent of paint drying.

  38. VaBeachMarinersFan on September 26th, 2006 5:09 pm


    You are way more exciting than this Watching Paint Dry – Youtube

  39. kcw2 on September 26th, 2006 5:59 pm

    The game with the Garcia/Ichiro controversy was September 14 in Kansas City. Here is the game story link from the Seattle Times.
    Garcia and Ichiro

  40. argh on September 26th, 2006 6:03 pm

    I don’t want to show up like Scrooge at Christmas Dinner but how would we know if the guy was bad? Doesn’t the number of Mariner runners he’s been able to wave in this year create some small sample size problems?


  41. G-Man on September 26th, 2006 6:19 pm

    Good link in #39. I’m a little surprised that they let the controversy get out in public.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.