Managerial Change?
Dr. D has finally gone 'round the bend


Q.  How do you know whether it's the manager's fault?

A.  We just spent the winter talking about it.  You can measure whether a team is Underperforming, Overperforming, or None Of The Above.  If there's a way to measure a manager's ability, that's how yer do it.  What a team would be doing with a "placeholder" manager, and what it's doing now.

Strike one.


Q.  What is the number one cause of underperformance?

A.  Lack of self-belief, lack of confidence, lack of conviction.  Overpressing.

Norman Vincent Peale (of all people) quoted Branch Rickey in The Power of Positive Thinking.  Rickey didn't care if you were talking about Stan Musial or Ty Cobb; once a player has the wrong mental attitude, that of trying too hard, he was going to be on the bench.  

Relaxed power is the name of the game.  You could look it up, or you could ax a scratch golfer.


Dr. D can't count the number of games in which the M's got down 4-1, managed to scramble back to tie it ... and then wilted to a 5-4 loss thereafter.  Or needed only a single run over the course of 8 innings, and couldn't get it.  Or got runners on 1B and 2B, 0 out, and did nothing with it.  It's a lack of conviction.

Strike two.


Q.  What's with the Lloyd quote, "We're shooting ourselves in the foot?"

A.  He shoulda taken the fifth on that one, boys ...  You couldn't invent a more self-incriminating statement.  Go ahead, try.  I'll wait.

He sez, today:

"I know I have got a good club," the manager asserted when asked what he sees in the Mariners after 40 games. "We haven't hit our stride, but I don't think there is anyone in that locker room that feels like this club is drowning. I like the attitude, I like the way they go about their business."


And that's stee-rike threeeee.

You could go back to 1981 ... what's that, 35 years now ... when Maury Wills started the season 6-16.  He was asked if he was in trouble.  Indignantly, he pointed out a hard slide that Tom Paciorek had made that night to break up a double play, in like a 7-3 loss.  "When you see guys stop doing that," Wills huffed, "Then you can say I'm not doing my job."  Wills was fired about three days later.

We been watchin' this same ol' same ol' for quite a few summers.  It's always the same:  a team is playing wayyyyy under its ability and the manager starts telling everybody that the club's attitude is great, that they're really going about their business the right way.  So if Jack Z gives him a "Vote of Confidence" we can start the office pool on Termination Day.


Q.  Wow.  Tough crowd.  Dr. D doesn't like Lloyd McClendon?

A.  I like him just fine, amigo.  Just saying.  We've seen this shtick before.  We report, you decide.  It looks from here like it looks when there's a manager problem.

Which is surprising, considering the overachieving we just got in 2014.  But how many good years did Don Wakamatsu have?  The one 87-win season, and then you went into the next year all psyched up, and ... he lost the clubhouse in May of the next year.

The worst part of it all, is that there's no one thing to fix, no one person to blame, just a vague feeling that we're snakebit.  Like we sez, Dr. D has seen this shtick before.


Q.  Bad day to talk about it.  The M's just won two, and on Sunday the MVP was --- > Lloyd.

A.  Yep.  McClendon put Bloomquist in there as a "matchup" against Buehrle, and Bloomie delivered the big blow.  Then he got Ackley in there as a defensive replacement, and that was the ballgame.  And the reliever matchups were perfect.

That's when you can assess your job objectively:  if you just had a great week, made the big sale, and now you want to quit, then ... quit.


Q.  How do you change managers so as to get a result?

A.  Dr. D hasn't the foggiest.  Calling Dr. Bombay!  Emergency!  Come right away!

Our impression is, that in a situation like this --- > if you make a change, you need to bring in a guy so old that he doesn't give a rat's patootie whether the players like him.

In 2003, Jeff Torborg managed the Marlins to a 16-22 record and they powerflushed him.  Brought in the age-72 (!!) Jack McKeon, who promptly managed them to a World Series.  The timing was exactly this timing:  Torborg had exactly one (decent) full year with the club in 2002, then stumbled out of the gate in 2003 despite having World Series talent.

In 2009, Clint Hurdle managed Colorado to an 18-28 start and the Rockies shed him for a grizzled, LA-battlescarred Jim Tracy who ripped off a 74-42 (!) record with the same lousy roster Hurdle couldn't win with.  (Not saying I like Tracy.  Just saying you don't swap out for a rookie manager.)

You could go on and on.  It's not just Dr. D's opinion.  Bill "Mr. History" James has written many times that --- > most "Cinderella" runs occur at the point of a managerial change.  That's why they do it, y'know.


Q.  Who would the candidates be?

A.  No clue.  Mayhaps you could take it from here.

No idea who the, um, Tony Larussas of 2015 would be.  But we do have a good idea that this is the kind of job ANY manager would gleefully accept.

You could go down the managerial W leaders who don't have a job right now... Dusty Baker, Jim Leyland, Ron Gardenhire, Woody Woodward ... there are always a dozen Jack McKeon's floating around the game.  I'm warming to the idea of giving Bill James a baseball cap and a set of Pings.

Needless to say, I haven't heard a single whisper about a change, any more than you have.  Obviously McClendon is popular with the sportswriters.  No snark intended, but if he had an Erik Bedard personality you'd have been hearing the drumbeat a while ago.


Q.  Is SSI recommending a managerial change?

A.  Lemme go all sportswriter here and cop out of any personal responsibility, right after arguing vehemently in my own slanted direction ....  SSI is, for once, not volunteering an opinion.  Just "reporting" on the common circumstances.

Dr. D likes Lloyd McClendon.  But the M's spent a lot of dinero to try to get a couple of good years going here.

My $0.02,




GLS's picture

I don't expect to see a managerial change unless there's a GM change as well. I think the biggest thing that's happened in the Jack Z. era has been the failure of Dustin Ackley. As the number 2 pick, there was an expectation that he would become a franchise cornerstone, a perennial .300 hitter and on-base machine with moderate power. Instead, they had to go out and pay $250 million for that player, who is now pressing and probably making people wonder if they're stuck with the worst contract in the history of baseball. But more broadly, I don't think Zduriencik understands how to build a competitive roster. I will allow that this could be a case where the GM has been constrained by ownership. 2009 and 2010 were years where there should have been some wheeling and dealing from the Major League roster, with Ichiro as our number one chip. But we all know that Ichiro was untouchable.
I think any GM that has to work under this ownership group has to get some mulligans. Even in the best circumstances, it's tough to build a winner, and these aren't the best circumstances. But this is year 7 of the Zduriencik regime and if the answer at this point is to fire the manager, it just strikes me as grasping at straws.


but if he has to go then that should be concomitant with Jack's departure. If there isn't a three manager limit in seven seasons then there should be. There does seem to be the possibility of a systemic weakness in developing prospects, although I don't claim to be able to point out just what it is.


What HE said (points in opposite directions).
On the one hand, this team has shown clear evidence that what ails it is NOT just bad luck. It's consistent bad, sloppy, play. It's not executing fundamentals. And, like you say, it's pressing. How much of this is Lloyd's fault, or how much is the psych profile of the players drafted, traded or recruited onto this team by the current GM, or how much is the more general and extended failure of the owners' custodial leadership led by Howard Lincoln, I can't distinguish with any degree of confidence.
The Mariners franchise has put itself in the position requiring existential justification of it's baseball existence (as opposed to it's business existence), and the pressures of that expectation have fallen squarely on the shoulders of this team. There is no longer any room for maneuver. Apparently even Robinson Cano is feeling the pressure despite hitting in front of Harmon Killebrew (loved that analogy in the shout box).
The M's have had a revolving door of managers since Lou; it hasn't helped. Multiple GM's. It hasn't helped. We all pretty much signed off on McClendon (despite some frustrations with particular aspects of his approach), and on Zduriencik's offseason moves. But here we are AGAIN as we near the end of May and many like me simply can't consistently enjoy the prospect of sitting down and watching an entire nine innings of M's baseball. I've got to the point where as often as possible I fast forward through action, especially when the M's are pitching, even more especially when Rodney is pitching. I can't bear to watch the M's throw away another game, the kind of game that winning
I suppose it's correct that we need something like a managerial change to shake this team out of it's funk. Clearly it is a funk.
By the way, we shouldn't get too excited about a couple of wins against Toronto, or a win against Baltimore. Good teams put out a number of games where they win decisively. This team almost NEVER wins decisively. IF it wins, WHEN it wins, it usually escapes by the skin of it's teeth.


Some is slighly amiss, surely.  Doc's vague feeling that we're snakebit probably describes it spot on.  This was supposed to be "the" team, wasn't it?  
I've been patient, as I think the M's have a 15-5 streak in them, or would with a bit of tweaking.  But my frustration will begin soon if we don't make some moves to bring that streak along.
Jackson's arrival will drive me nuts.....but I know he's one of The Skip's guys.  I think it was McClendon who wanted him.  If so, then his dismal-ity is on Lloyd.  I want Weeks gone because he is absolutely a black hole (SSS, agreed) against RHP and has no position with us.
I want Cano in the #2 spot.  He's a man,  He'll understand.  Lloyd needs to man up and make that move.  
I want somebody in to bring some RHB 1B help for LoMo, who has fallen to the cringe-worthy LoMo for the last two weeks (.189-.333-.324) and is mashing lefties to a .486 clip on the year.  If a manager can't recognize THAT weakness and also recognize that he has 3 RHB options in Tacoma who play 1B then he's missing something large.  2 of those Tacoma guys bring multi-positional gloves, as well.
I want Lloyd pushing Jack Z. to make those decisions.  If HE's not doing that, I want Z to pull the Billy Beane move and get rid of dead weight, now.
In 2002 Carlos Pena got 39 games in at 1B, before BB moved him out (he was actually sent down before being traded) and gave the job to Hatteberg.  Let's make such a move.
But I digress:  I'm not sure that McClendon is losing us any games.....but I'm not seeing him winning us any either. That is, afterall, his job.  Happ, Cruz, Weeks, Ruggiano:  Z made those decisions, off season, and had supposedly stacked the team.  It wasn't so.  Now somebody....anybody....make the next set of decisions that end this purgatory in which we exist.  
Is the big decision to be made one that brings in Joe Torre or Jim Leyland (Wouldn't that be wild?  Two days ago he was rumored to be in consideration by the Marlins, btw)? wouldn't hurt, if you know what I mean.
But we're floating on the lazy river right now.  Clearly we should have an idea of personnel.  If Lloyd likes these guys...we'll know it when the M's return mid-week.  That would be the point to make a roster change.  
A few days and we'll know....something.


But this is the season he has to produce. He has his team. He has a bevy of superstars (does three constitute a "bevy"? I think so). If he doesn't win something this year, he need to be fired. So, if his team is underperforming, yeah, he better go out and get Bob Lemon.


Ackley back in CF today.  I hope The Skip got it right and Ackley ropes the ball all over the park.  He better, I suppose....if Lloyd has one of those "feelings."  I'm not buying into his "day game" abilities, btw,  It is fueld by two homers he hit more than 40 days ago!
But he has a .550 OPS vR in '15 and he's hitting .167-.208-.229 over the last 28 days.  
Canno at DH and Miller at 2B.


Clear his mind. He's completely out of sorts, despite his 5 hit series against Baltimore. He's almost unrecognizable in his plate approach. It's not just results, it's approach. Even in previous slumps he looked like he had a uniform, craftsman's approach to his battle with the pitcher. These days he looks lost.


I don't know. Really what has killed the start has been the initial ineffectiveness of Paxton, the (very surprising) ongoing ineffectiveness of Walker, Cano playing like a utility MI, A. Jackson playing like old Jack Wilson and Ackley completely bombing out. We could have played around any two of those disasters. This is a stars and scrubs team and the Stars are not getting it done (other than Cruz but he can only bat 4 times a game).


We remember a baseball insider who gushed about that right when the M's glommed onto Gillick.  "You're not going to believe this guy's feel for a roster that wins 90 games.  It's almost supernatural."
Right now you've got an outfield of 3, 4 different "minus" gloves, no Gold Glover out there to glue it together.  You've got firepower but no OBP.  The roster just feels kludgy, doesn't it?
Of course, the M's rip off a winning streak and we'll all be eating our words...


We remember when Steinbrenner brought in Billy Martin like five times.  And Billy Beane seems to have no limit.  But as a general rule you're probly right Maq.  :: daps ::


Eeyup -- you get to late May, and nobody's job in safe.  Not on the 25-man.  Well, not on the bottom 15 slots of the 25-man.  
Purgatory :- )  ... well, thanks for walkin' thru it wif me there Moe.


Doc, I've felt this for a long long time:  That the M's structure rosters terribly.
Weeks and Ruggiano were attempts to address a lack of RH pop vs. lefties.  Cruz, of course, was sort of like this....but more just an "affordable" mashing bat.  He's no specialist.  
So we added 3 OF RH bats and nobody to help Morrison.  We were bamboozled by his outlier vL performance last year (and astronomically high vL BABIP).  
Weeks and Ruggiano are generally unable to help vs. RHP, btw.  Weeks is completely broken i that regard, right now.
And we're unwilling to add the Tacoma RH bats who might help as 1B (vs. lefties) or in the OF (actuall hitting RHP, too).
We hinted at giving Miller OF time in the spring....but didn't.   And we're unwilling to get off the Ackley train wreck.  
We started the year with zippo help for Zunino and then added another RH hitting catcher, marginally better than Zunino (which we haven't quuite seen) who may not do the little things behind the plate.  He did catch a good Felix game the other day.
I know Bloomquist's presence is a bother to some, but you basically need a guy who plays everywhere on your squad.  They usually don't hit well, unless they are named Zobrist.  
We are asymetrical.


Felix's awesomeness is basically just understood and taken for granted, the water we fish swim in. In fact we should probably rename the strategy from "Stars and Scrubs" to "Felix and Scrubs" to remind us.

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