Here’s hoping

DMZ · May 15, 2008 at 9:00 am · Filed Under Mariners 

A highly scientific study for your consideration

The probability a manager is fired increases with the number of times his managers express their confidence in them

Comments

76 Responses to “Here’s hoping”

  1. msb on May 15th, 2008 9:04 am

    would it sully the purity of the graph to include a picture of a happy little pony?

  2. bakomariner on May 15th, 2008 9:05 am

    wow…

  3. Kouvre on May 15th, 2008 9:12 am

    1

    It’s shaped like the mane of a pony.

    Although, obviously, as DMZ himself has stated, it will take an entire new front office to truly turn things around for the future.

  4. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 9:22 am

    I know this may sound ridiculous, but how big is this sample size? That is pretty incredible / funny.

  5. jro on May 15th, 2008 9:24 am

    DMZ, I noticed the directly inverse relationship of this graph to the daily w/l record of the team.

    By my calculations, if the M’s lose the next three series, ownership’s confidence in the manager should have reached emotional levels often frowned upon in professional and office-type situations.

  6. PositivePaul on May 15th, 2008 9:24 am

    citation needed

    So, where do managerial contract extensions fit into this?

  7. coasty141 on May 15th, 2008 9:27 am

    Is there a way to convey these outstanding statistics with a pie chart? I love pie charts!

  8. galaxieboi on May 15th, 2008 9:28 am

    I know this may sound ridiculous, but how big is this sample size? That is pretty incredible / funny.

    Derek told me that he went to the library of each city that’s housed a ‘major league’ team the last 108 years and recorded the exact amount supportive comments made by that particular team’s general manager and/or owner. It was, to put it mildly, an exhaustive study.

  9. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 9:33 am

    8 – I knew USSM was comprehensive. Dig it.

  10. Sklyansky on May 15th, 2008 9:39 am

    I hope they start giving Riggleman a vote of confidence as bench coach while they’re at it. I do not look forward to more brilliant moves like pinch hitting WFB for Clement in the late innings.

  11. galaxieboi on May 15th, 2008 9:42 am

    My guess is that if they sack Mac than his staff is either next or they leave.

  12. robbbbbb on May 15th, 2008 9:49 am

    I know I’m swimming against the tide, here, but I’d rather see Mac stay through the end of the year, as long as he isn’t blowing out young pitchers’ arms.

    No managerial change is going to affect the M’s fortunes this year. There is likely to be a front-office shakeup, at least, at the end of the year. Therefore, the M’s should stick with McLaren, and let the new GM bring in his own guy to be manager.

    Interim managers suck, and the M’s will feel the temptation to provide security for the poor schmuck who takes over for the rest of this year, thus saddling us with him for another 2-3 years.

    Resign yourself to Mac for the rest of the year.

  13. Steve Nelson on May 15th, 2008 10:06 am

    I don’t believe the team is as bad as their current record, and that no matter who the manager is the team’s record going forward will be better than the current record. When a managerial change is made in such circumstances, the new manager is then often lauded for “turning things around”, and rewarded with a contract extension. The perceived change in fortunes also can lull people into thinking that the original assessments of the team were accurate, but were simply marred by hiring the wrong people.

    Never underestimate the ability of motivated people to learn the wrong lessons from their mistakes.

  14. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 10:12 am

    11 – Unfortunately, although I think Mac makes some ridiculous decisions, I also think that the players in between the foul lines must perform.

    No matter what, Johnny Mac doesn’t swing the bat, field a ball or pitch the ball.

    Look to BoMel for example – I despised him when he was here … now I’m starting to believe the FO is responsible …

    If Mac gets canned … and does well in his next post I dont know if I can blame the manager anymore. Tricky situation all around.

  15. bakomariner on May 15th, 2008 10:14 am

    Mac will probably NEVER manage again…it took him this long to get his first gig, and he’s doing a terrible job…he’ll end up on the bench in Chicago or wherever Big Lou is…

  16. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 10:16 am

    15 – would you have said that about Bob Melvin? I laughed when the d-backs signed him.

  17. WTF_Ms on May 15th, 2008 10:21 am

    16 – Who’s laughing now? The D-Backs only picked up BoMel as a SECOND choice. And look where they have been, and are now?

    The FO is responsible. Fire them.

  18. Jeff Nye on May 15th, 2008 10:23 am

    The Diamondbacks are a good team because of their awesome young talent, not because of Bob Melvin.

    When he was here, he hovered between nothing special and mildly damaging as a manager.

  19. Tek Jansen on May 15th, 2008 10:24 am

    BoMel was bad in 2004. He made awful decisions, and the FO was correct in replacing him. Maybe he improved at managing after taking over the D-Backs. It’s possible. That doesn’t mean the M’s were wrong to get rid of him when they did.

  20. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 10:27 am

    18 -

    I agree, I really don’t think the Manager of a team has that much to do with the performance.

    However, Johnny Mac Doesn’t swing the bat, field or pitch.

    If the FO fires him I think it is potentially a step in the right direction but I’d rather keep Mac and get rid of Bavasi, and get rid of the players.

  21. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 10:28 am

    Please do not think I am saying the Manager doesn’t mean anything … that is not what I meant and that post could have sounded like that.

    Bottom line, in terms of problems I think Mac is very low on that totem poll.

  22. Sklyansky on May 15th, 2008 10:36 am

    I think with some of his moves, Mac is trying to prove managers can indeed make a difference. What bizarro world does he live in where playing Cairo at 1B and having him hit 2nd in the order are legitimate options?

    The M’s aren’t particularly good, but the fact the manager goes out of his way to hinder their success isn’t helping matters.

  23. Jason Maxwell on May 15th, 2008 10:39 am

    Heh, the Championship Manager/Football Manager series of games (Think European football) has you controlling a soccer team. If you ever get the “expression of confidence” message from your board it means you have at least a 90% chance of being sacked after your next win.

  24. Andy Stallings on May 15th, 2008 10:46 am

    I don’t understand the general fascination with the whole “Manager X doesn’t swing the bat” formulation, which I’ve seen about ten times on Mariner-related sites in the past week. I mean, yeah, so? Neither does Bavasi. Does that exempt him from criticism as well?

    I’m not sure I believe the manager is good for anything specific, but at the least, can we dispense with this crap that his not swinging the bat is any justification for anything at all?

  25. Jeff Nye on May 15th, 2008 10:52 am

    I think what people are trying to get across is that Mac doesn’t determine the team that’s put on the field, Bavasi and the rest of the front office do.

    While he does have some (arguably small) effect on how that team performs once it’s ON the field, he’s not the one who determines what he has to work with.

    So I’d place a lot more blame on Bavasi’s shoulders than Mac’s, and I think firing Mac would be an atttempt at a panacea with no real effects.

  26. mkd on May 15th, 2008 10:55 am

    I think the question of McLaren leaving is moot at this point, so let’s fire up the wildly speculative hope machine.

    To everyone out there: Who ought to be manager of the Seattle Mariners?

    I have a really complex fantasy that involves bringing in Sadaharu Oh.

  27. Jeff Nye on May 15th, 2008 10:56 am

    I think they should give the Moose a shot at it.

  28. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 11:02 am

    25 – It’s also tough because Jonny Mac was one of Lou’s favorite coaches during his career.

    Mel as a pitching coach isnt too shabby either. Yes, alot more of the blame should be on Bavasi’s shoulders.

    I just feel bad b/c usually when a GM is in hot water they will do anything they can aka fire the manager on the way out…

    Moose is a good candidate … maybe angie mentink would be a good fit.

    Ty Willingham?

  29. Sklyansky on May 15th, 2008 11:04 am

    Didn’t the Astros hire their announcer to become manager several years ago? I advocate Niehaus as manager and Rick Rizzs as bench coach.

  30. msb on May 15th, 2008 11:04 am

    I hope they start giving Riggleman a vote of confidence as bench coach while they’re at it. I do not look forward to more brilliant moves like pinch hitting WFB for Clement in the late innings.

    trusting this is irony, as it was Riggleman who chose to pinch-hit?

  31. Sklyansky on May 15th, 2008 11:10 am

    MSB-Yes, I’m thinking Riggleman might be even worse than McClaren. I’m assuming people who receive a “vote of confidence” will inevitably be let go.

  32. Some Dude on May 15th, 2008 11:11 am

    Kim Ng. Then they can really appeal to the women fans.

  33. Colm on May 15th, 2008 11:12 am

    I doubt very much if there is anything to be gained in canning either Mac or Bill Bavasi before October.

  34. TomC on May 15th, 2008 11:14 am

    #26 mkd – “To everyone out there: Who ought to be manager of the Seattle Mariners?”

    This season is toast anyway, how about a daily celebrity manager?

    Get Tom Hanks to manage the team one day, then Drew Carey the next, and so on. They would probably do it for the novelty and/or publicity. It might sell a few tickets if people knew that Matt Hasselback or Michelle Kwan, for example, might come out and argue with the home plate umpire.

    You could turn it into a reality TV show. Kind of like “Managing with the Stars.” You would have rotating celebrity managers with one voted out by the fans each week. Make them get dressed up in uniform and everything.

  35. et_blankenship on May 15th, 2008 11:17 am

    I have a really complex fantasy that involves bringing in Sadaharu Oh.

    On a similar note, how about Bobby Valentine?

    I doubt very much if there is anything to be gained in canning either Mac or Bill Bavasi before October.

    Bavasi, no. Mac, yes. Because not penciling Cairo into the 2-hole would be a move in the right direction.

  36. Colm on May 15th, 2008 11:17 am

    I’d LOVE to see Angie Mentink as a manager. She’d be GREAT!
    We’ve suffered through marginally talented, hang-dog managers like Melvin, and Hargrove and now Mac. Angie would be a big improvement.

  37. Tek Jansen on May 15th, 2008 11:17 am

    #25, Jeff — I do think that the managers do have some input about which players make the roster. I do not think that Bavasi stuck Mac or Grover with players they did not want. In general, I think that Bavasi and his managers share a general agreement about the players. I find it hard to believe that Bavasi would say “You are going to put Cairo on your bench, and you are going to like it!” to Mac or any manager.

    While the overarching problem still resides with the FO, I have little reason to believe that Mac would be better at evaluating talent in constructing a 25-man roster. Mac is not at fault for the roster, but I believe that he, much like Bavasi, honestly thinks that the group he has is talented.

  38. jspektor on May 15th, 2008 11:21 am

    37 – Actually Tek I don’t think you are right.

    Sweet Lou left because Gillick and the FO would not get him the players he needed.

    The interview with Mac on KJR proved such a thing … Mac was forced to keep Cairo and WFB because of Bavasi. Mac can’t do anything about it.

    The manager I really don’t think has much if anything to do with the FO decisions.

    Documented well throughout Baseball history are managers and GM’s fighting.

    35 – Cairo in the 2 hole is not the problem, but a result of a lack of talent or good decisions made by Bavasi.

  39. Tek Jansen on May 15th, 2008 11:22 am

    #36, Colm — Would you hire Nicole Zaloumis(sp?) as the bench coach in that scenario?

  40. Steve Nelson on May 15th, 2008 11:23 am

    Through the years of baseball, managerial game strategies have been honed pretty well. By and large, truly bad decisions have been tested and largely discarded. While we may argue about whether specific decisions are truly optimal, the reality is that managing “by the book” really isn’t that far below truly optimal strategies. IOW – the incremental difference in win expectancy due to game strategy between an “enlightened” manager and an “average” manager isn’t really very much. But while the upside above and “average” manager is limited, the potential downside from bad strategy is much larger. Here I’m thinking of decisions such as brining in Julio Mateo to pitch in hopes of generating an inning-ending double play.

    Thus, unless a manager is truly screwing up game strategy, in-game decision making and overall team record are really not appropriate bases for firing the manager. IMHO, the more important issues involved in evaluating a manager are his capabilities and performance in:

    1. Evaluating talent. This involves both the players on the roster and the manager’s recommendations for completing the 25-man roster.

    2. Protecting team investments in talent. The biggest aspect of this is managing the health of pitchers, but it also involves time off for position players and effectively staying on top of the health status of all players on the 25-man roster.

    3. Enhancing continuing development of young talent.

    4. Maintaining effective working relationships and atmosphere among team members, coaches, and other clubhouse staff. This includes keeping players motivated and sharp, and dealing with potential clubhouse conflicts quickly and effectively.

    5. Working effectively with other people in the organization (GM, player development personnel, scouting staff, etc.)

  41. Tek Jansen on May 15th, 2008 11:28 am

    #38 — I don’t disagree that many FOs and managers have had disagreements. But Bavasi strikes me as one who wants to work with his managers, and hires managers based on how well they agree with his general assessment of players. Bavasi and his manager won’t always agree, but I believe that is how he tries to operate.

    As far as the KJR interview, maybe I interpretted it differently. Mac seemed to want to have two pinch-running options. I got the sense that Vidro was the one he would remove from the roster.

  42. mkd on May 15th, 2008 11:29 am

    Another complex fantasy involves buying Deep Blue and reprogramming it to spit out sabermetricly sound moves.

    Deep Teal and Blue we’d call it…

  43. abender20 on May 15th, 2008 11:35 am

    Edgar Martinez for manager, John Olerud for bench coach. I like Mel.

  44. jro on May 15th, 2008 11:37 am

    #36 – why not give Jimmy Dugan a shot?

    While we’re at it, I’d also sign:

    - Dottie Hinson (replaces joh)
    - Marla Hooch (replaces lopez)
    - Betty Spaghetti Horn (replaces ibanez)
    - All-the-way Mae (pinch runner, she’s got wheels)

    (For those thinking “wtf”, here’s some help)

  45. msb on May 15th, 2008 11:39 am

    I’d LOVE to see Angie Mentink as a manager. She’d be GREAT!

    well, she would be that fiery kind of manager that everyone says they want … she has given up chaw, so she’s not as colorful as she used to be.

  46. et_blankenship on May 15th, 2008 11:39 am

    35 – Cairo in the 2 hole is not the problem, but a result of a lack of talent or good decisions made by Bavasi.

    Hey, I completely agree that this flaming turd of a roster is the problem, Mac has no control over this, and replacing him won’t solve anything in that regard. But it is Mac’s job to make proper decisions with the resources at his disposal and he is not doing that. It would take no time or effort to make that change.

    Replacing Bavasi, et al, on the other hand will take time and the best time to do that during the off-season when it is possible to interview and negotiate with people currently employed by other clubs.

  47. bergamot on May 15th, 2008 11:55 am

    Didn’t the Astros hire their announcer to become manager several years ago? I advocate Niehaus as manager and Rick Rizzs as bench coach.

    Add Ron Fairly as pitching coach. He could remind young hurlers that batters like the ball over the plate.

  48. eponymous coward on May 15th, 2008 12:00 pm

    If people think that Bavasi is forcing Cairo on the roster over the objections of Mac, I would suggest that’s mistaken.

    Field managers generally DO have control over a lot of the roster. See our acquisitions of “veterans who’ve been through wars” for good examples of that in the bullpen.

    I heard Mac’s explanation for Cairo over Norton on KJR yesterday, and it revolved around not having enough pinch-runners because this was a slow team… which fits in line perfectly with his “I want to put the team in motion” philosophy.

    Now, I suspect that Wlad/Clement wasn’t his idea (since, well, they haven’t been through wars)- but having an important voice in the composition of the roster (which Mac has) =! complete control over it and ability to veto moves by the front office (which Mac doesn’t have).

  49. galaxieboi on May 15th, 2008 12:01 pm

    (For those thinking “wtf”, here’s some help)

    Dude, if someone on here doesn’t know who ‘All the Way’ Mae is than…wow. Of course, that might explain why no laughed at my advice for whoever was graduating from college in the last week or so that I canned from Jimmy Dugan.

  50. LewLegend on May 15th, 2008 12:03 pm

    Bottom of the 9th, pinch hitters available: Cairo, Bloomquist, Vidro, Burke. Yep, this is pretty much a flaming turd of a roster.

  51. DMZ on May 15th, 2008 12:07 pm

    “Mac, we need to throw someone off the 25-man. What’s your preference?”
    “Vidro.”
    “Not, say, Cairo?”
    “Heck no. I need two pinch-runners on the roster.”
    “Even though Cairo’s not particularly fast.”
    “He’s okay.”
    “And you’ve only used him… ten times this season as an in-game replacement. You pinch-ran with him what, five times?”
    “Way more than that.”
    “April 11th? The 24th, 25th? The 29th? What am I missing?”
    “Uhhhh…”
    “Yeah, you’re fired.”

  52. jro on May 15th, 2008 12:11 pm

    #49 – yeah, I’m kinda new around here so avoiding presumptiveness by over-communicating.

  53. Jeff Nye on May 15th, 2008 12:11 pm

    Yeah, if that’s how the conversations actually go, it definitely strengthens the case for tossing Johnny Mac.

    The idea of having someone to pinch run so that Willie doesn’t have to be “wasted” in that role still makes me collapse into laughter every time I think about it, too.

  54. IdahoInvader on May 15th, 2008 12:13 pm

    36
    Angie would be a big improvement

    Well…she’d be big at least.

    34
    I loved the celebrity manager idea fwiw.

  55. eponymous coward on May 15th, 2008 12:13 pm

    It makes about as much sense as Parrish and White did last year.

  56. IdahoInvader on May 15th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Maybe the novel idea of multiple pinch runners when you’re down by 4-5 in the ninth is merely an underrated and unexplored concept to date.

    (Eyes rolling)

  57. galaxieboi on May 15th, 2008 12:19 pm

    #49 – yeah, I’m kinda new around here so avoiding presumptiveness by over-communicating.

    Not your fault. I wasn’t trying to be snarky, I promise. I’ve seen most of the baseball movies dozens of times (Sandlot is my favorite) so I always assume everyone else has too. That’s my bad.

  58. mkd on May 15th, 2008 12:23 pm

    two words: Billy Heywood

  59. galaxieboi on May 15th, 2008 12:27 pm

    I think Derek hits upon an important part of this discussion with his (we can only hope) fictional conversation between the FO and Mac. Yes, Bavasi deserves the blame for poor roster construction, but McLaren continues to show poor judgement in working with what he’s got. And I agree that there’s almost no way Bavasi makes roster moves willy-nilly without at least consulting his field manager.

  60. fret_24 on May 15th, 2008 12:49 pm

    30 – It was one of the games where Mac had been tossed. Riggleman was managing the team at that point.

    I’d rather see Mel interim manage for the rest of the year.

  61. msb on May 15th, 2008 12:58 pm

    Field managers generally DO have control over a lot of the roster.

    Lou and Cirillo & Martin (though thwarted by Boston when he asked for Everett back in ’01)

  62. Steve Nelson on May 15th, 2008 1:26 pm

    Rather than assuming that otherwise intelligent people are behaving completely irrationally, I suggest there is a rationale for the roster decisions made. From that perspective, I see the following logic.

    The team knows that many key players have offensive limitations Рthey were particularly aware of that with Iba̱ez and Wilkerson, and probably Sexson as well. Because they also believed the team was a contender (and perhaps still believe that), the most important role for the bend would be to protect leads late in the game, i.e. defensive substitution was more important than offensive support. Accordingly, the key bench requirement was players who could serve as late-inning substitutes; these players did not necessarily need to be offensive threats because the team would more often be needing to protect leads. They also saw those players coming into the game as pinchrunners after one of the offensive players completed an at bat. Bloomquist and Cairo fit those roles.

    Following this logic, Cairo and Bloomquist have seen limited usage simply because the team has so seldom had leads to protect late in the game. Or the team has too often been too far behind in late innings to use a pinchrunner for one of the other guys. Furthermore the players for whom pinchrunners would be inserted have not been on base consistently in late innings. Thus, although Cairo has not seen much playing time, that isn’t because Cairo doesn’t belong; it’s a simple consequence of the team’s funk.

    I suggest the team still sees themselves as contenders and still believes that original roster construction strategy is appropriate for this club. Alternatively, even if they have doubts about the initial roster construction, they are stuck with those assessments since the entire roster can’t be overturned. Either way, following this logic the only chance for this club to make a splash is for the regulars to begin playing as envisioned at the start of the season. When (if) the team rights itself and begins playing as the FO believes it is capable of playing, McLaren will be able to deploy Bloomquist and Cairo as envisioned and the parts will mesh appropriately.

    *****

    I’m not saying I agree with this, but I offer it as a rationale for decisions that have been made. And whether or not you agree with these thoughts, you should consider that it’s far more likely the team is following a roster construction strategy they believe makes sense than it is to assume they are acting totally irrationally.

  63. DMZ on May 15th, 2008 1:40 pm

    That’s an outstanding comment, Steve.

  64. Steve Nelson on May 15th, 2008 1:50 pm

    #62: Proofreading is not one my skills. First sentence of the second paragraph obviously should be: “The team knows that many key players have offensive defensive limitations.” Also in the same paragraph: …the most important role for the bend bench would be to protect leads late in the game…

    #63: Tx, Derek.

  65. msb on May 15th, 2008 2:31 pm

    speaking of “here’s hoping”

  66. sealclubber253 on May 15th, 2008 2:57 pm

    I would like to see Mac go, but I have to agree with everyone who thinks he is not going to make that much of a diffrence. I can think of a few instances where he did a lousy job managing Felix and some of the other starters, and his batting order is laughable most of the time, but Bavasi must go. I can’t see this team winning with Lou or Sparky Anderson or Bucky Dent. I would vote for Angie if it was a democracy though. I can see some spark there.

    The problem is that the team Bavasi has paid $110 million for isn’t very good. We all know that. Him going is the one that will make the biggest change. We need a change in the “theory of good baseball” in Seattle.

    Come to think of it though, I wouldn’t mind seeing Mac go though, because I don’t think I am all that aware of him being there in the first place. I can’t remeber another M’s manager with so little personality. Maybe Melvin, but he was always scared for his job at least.

  67. scott19 on May 15th, 2008 3:56 pm

    Ty Willingham?

    And how ’bout Ty Pennington for GM? Sure, he’s never run a baseball team before…but at the rate that he and his crew build houses, he could completely rebuild this team in about a week! :)

  68. sealclubber253 on May 15th, 2008 4:06 pm

    If Ty Pennington got the job, we would have the coolest clubhouse ever!

  69. scott19 on May 15th, 2008 4:14 pm

    she would be that fiery kind of manager that everyone says they want

    Damn…I watched a couple of Silver Bullet games when they were on ESPN years ago, but totally missed Angie’s “Tonya Harding” moment!

    BTW…am I the only one who thought it was pretty f’in sad that the Silver Bullets wound up being made to look like a promotional gimmick rather than the flagship team for a women’s professional baseball league like they should have been?

  70. scott19 on May 15th, 2008 4:21 pm

    68: How true — only Greyhound would have to loan him a convoy of buses to line the streets around “the Safe” for when he welcomes the fans back to meet their “new” team! :)

  71. sealclubber253 on May 15th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Maybe he could build us a big pirate ship for center field with canons. And a Motor cross track for the moose and his quad, and a retirement home for all the vetrans that come here to die. Oh Ty, you make fantasy fun….

  72. SeattleDan on May 15th, 2008 4:50 pm

    I always thought Mark McLemore would make a good manager one day. What is he doing now? (I know he’s in Texas but don’t know what he does)

  73. jlc on May 15th, 2008 5:42 pm

    As far as the original graph, I though of McGovern’s “1000%” support of Eagleton before he dumped him off the ticket in 1972. I’m assuming most people aren’t old enough/weren’t born yet/aren’t political junkies enough to remember that.

  74. msb on May 15th, 2008 6:08 pm

    I always thought Mark McLemore would make a good manager one day. What is he doing now?

    I know he does some broadcast work — and coincidently this just popped up today ….

  75. Typical Idiot Fan on May 15th, 2008 7:51 pm

    lol… c’mon now you made that up.

  76. NBarnes on May 15th, 2008 10:01 pm

    Even recognizing the abomination that Cairo on the roster is, and Cairo batting second, I’m not convinced that Cairo, en masse, represents a more serious error than Sexson, the Bedard trade, or the Soriano/Ramirez trade. The problem with Bavasi isn’t his inexplicable mismanagement of the #24 and #25 spots on the roster, but his terrible management of spots on the roster much higher up than that.

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