The Anti-Hargrove

Dave · February 27, 2007 at 3:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Folks, prepare yourselves, because the following quotes came from a major league manager, Manny Acta. I’m not excerpting Baseball Prospectus here – this is one of Mike Hargrove’s peers uttering these statements:

Defense: “A big part of defense is positioning. We are not going to be letting these guys do most of these things on their own. We are going to be controlling some part of the game from the bench. We will have enough charts and stuff to be able to see if he is in the right spot and, if not, control it. We would rather take that out of their hands, and between me and Pat Corrales, we will take care of that.”

Stealing: “We will run selectively. I think one of the things that doomed this club last year is that they were first in caught stealing. I am not going to be running all over the place just because 25,000 people in the stands are saying I am aggressive while people are getting thrown out on the bases. Not everybody will have a green light here. The guys who are going to run are the guys who are going to prove to me that they will be successful most of the time trying to steal a base.”

Bunting: “It’s been proven to me that a guy at first base with no outs has a better chance to score than a guy at second base with one out. That has been proven to me with millions of at-bats. I don’t like moving guys over from first to second unless the pitcher is up or it is real late in the game. “I am telling you right now you are not going to see me bunting guys from first to second in the middle of the game or early unless it is the pitcher. We will pick spots. If we have a slow guy on the mound, and we know Logan can lay it down, we will pick those times.”

Lineup: Acta said his preference for the second spot in the lineup ideally would be determined by on-base percentage — even though his plan is to bat Guzman, a low-percentage on-base guy, second.
“You can’t steal first base,” he said. “That is the main thing for me. You have to get on in order to score. I know Guzman is not a big high-percentage guy, but we don’t have all the choices that we want to have here right now. With Lopez on base, Guzman may be the ideal guy to get him over with a hit-and-run or a drag bunt to get the guy in the scoring position for the [Ryan] Zimmermans and [Austin] Kearnses of the world.
He said if everyone were healthy, Ryan Church would bat second.
“If Nick [Johnson] was here, that was one of the original ideas because of [Church’s] on-base percentage and his ability to hit a fastball,” Acta said. “But right now, without Nick here, we need some protection behind Kearns, and if you put him hitting second, our lineup is pretty thin in the middle.”

He’s not going to bunt needlessly, he’s going to use data to help him position his fielders, and he’s not going to run the bases aggressively just to appear to be proactive if it costs his team outs. Oh, and he wants a high OBP guy in the #2 slot in the order.

Now, he’s not perfect – he still believes in protection, he’s going to carry 12 pitchers, and he might not be able to make room for Doyle, but man, you read some of this stuff, and then you read Hargrove’s musings, and you just have to wonder why he’s not in a museum or something.


23 Responses to “The Anti-Hargrove”

  1. shortbus on February 27th, 2007 4:01 pm

    Is it fair to ask for bets on how long “Grover” lasts this season? My money is on a nice early firing allowing for a new manager to have a shot at rescuing the season: May 15th.

  2. oNeiRiC232 on February 27th, 2007 4:39 pm

    With Lincoln/Armstrong still around, does it really matter though? What are the odds of any sort of good GM/Manager getting hired as long as they’re around?

    My guess: 10%

  3. RaoulDuke37 on February 27th, 2007 4:58 pm

    As a young child in Everett I was confused by why I never heard much about the Washington Redskins. I would think to myself, “I live in Washington. Why don’t I know more about them?”

    Now I feel like regressing to to those simpler days, and adopting my home state Washington Nationals.

  4. Evan on February 27th, 2007 5:00 pm

    The division is winnable, and the team is better than last year. I don’t see us falling behind quickly enough to remove Grover early in the season.

    An early stumble, though… our first 23 games are against good to mediocre teams. We don’t get a weak opponent until KC on April 27.

  5. Rain Delay on February 27th, 2007 5:02 pm

    Yeah I read those quotes a couple days ago on one of the Nats blogs, (Nats320, I think) the author was granted full credentials for the day.

    Must be nice……..

  6. David J. Corcoran I on February 27th, 2007 5:26 pm

    The unfortunate part is that the Nats are going to suck for a couple years because they have no pitching, and he’s going to get fired.

  7. Hornets Attack Victor Zambrano! on February 27th, 2007 5:35 pm

    An early stumble, though… our first 23 games are against good to mediocre teams. We don’t get a weak opponent until KC on April 27.

    Wait until Gil Meche pitches a no-hitter against us.

  8. Trev on February 27th, 2007 5:45 pm

    Can we give Acta the undercard of the Antonetti in 2008 ticket?

  9. Celadus on February 27th, 2007 6:24 pm

    Actually, it could be argued that the Mariner team plus organization is “a museum without walls.”

  10. TomC on February 27th, 2007 7:00 pm

    This is bad news for the Mariners. Other teams are getting smarter and we still have Grover. As closely matched as the division is, the first team in the AL West to try this approach will probably win the division. Given Grover’s history (and Bavasi’s support of him) I have little hope we will be the team to figure it out.

    The sad thing is we don’t need any more player talent to win this division – we just need Manny Acta.

  11. TomC on February 27th, 2007 7:01 pm

    By the way, any *realistic* chance that if they cut Doyle we would pick him up from the waiver wire?

  12. imfinkspa on February 27th, 2007 7:09 pm

    What’s particularly distressing is that we now have to give Bowden credit not only for his recent trades for Kearns, Lopez, Doyle, et. al., but we now have to give him credit for making a savvy coaching hire. Is this a real transformation we are seeing? Has Bowden proven himself capable of profound change and growth, such that he now has an appreciation for a statistically minded manager and a value based approach to building his franchise? As I recall, Bowden was widely derided as a very poor gm as recently as 2 or 3 years ago and now it is hard to remember his last clearly bad move.

  13. msb on February 27th, 2007 7:15 pm

    speaking of anti-things, it is only 5 minutes into the spring training Hot Stove show and I am already tired of Rizzs.

    but, according to Willie, unlike previous years when they talked a good line, this year they have ‘a quiet confidence’…

  14. David J. Corcoran I on February 27th, 2007 7:30 pm

    No way he makes it to us.

  15. Dave on February 27th, 2007 7:41 pm

    Bowden’s always been open to statistical analysis – his problem is his raging ego and that he’s a first rate jackass.

  16. John D. on February 27th, 2007 7:47 pm

    BTW, any “realistic” chance that if they cut Doyle, we will pick him up off the waiver wire?

    I think not. If any of the teams claiming before us think he’s as good as we think he is, we’ll never see him.
    Besides he may not be waived; he may be a beneficiary of the numbers game, and get a spot on the National’s opening day roster.

  17. Steve T on February 27th, 2007 8:06 pm

    So, is there any chance we can get Manny Acta after he gets fired by the Nats? Those quotes made me want to cry.

  18. msb on February 27th, 2007 8:19 pm

    #16– man, I didn’t realize how well (relatively) the Ms did last year. TB, KC & Baltimore all finished worse in the AL, and the Cubs, Bucs, Nats, SF, Airz, and Colorado all finished worse in the NL.

  19. mln on February 28th, 2007 1:15 am

    Oh sure, those are insightful quotes from Manny Acta, but how can you compare them to Hargrove’s even more brilliant baseball analogies about “cake baking”? Come on now.

  20. phil333 on February 28th, 2007 8:00 am

    Quotes like that make the Hargrove era even more painful.

  21. Ralph Malph on February 28th, 2007 10:02 am

    If the Nats don’t have room for Snelling they’ll surely DFA him and work out a trade. I can’t imagine he’d just get waived.

  22. Evan on February 28th, 2007 10:44 am

    And if he did get waived he’d get snagged by the Rays or Royals.

  23. BLYKMYK44 on March 1st, 2007 11:19 am

    Wouldn’t Bowden’s last bad move have to be considered the fact he didn’t trade Soriano last year at the trade deadline??

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