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Jimy Ranked #1 - on Mgr Firing Line!

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by xiki, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    I am diefinitely not a Jimy-man, but if her were canned it would imply the season was failing. I'd rather have W's, so Jimy, stay...

    http://www.foxsports.com/content/view?contentId=2095362

    Ranking the managers likely to get fired
    Dayn Perry / Special to FOXSports.com
    Posted: 14 hours ago
    With pitchers and catchers less than a month from reporting, it's time to turn our focus to the true national past time: schadenfreude.

    In this case, it's all about the pink slips. OK, maybe we don't actually take joy in wondering which managers might get canned in any given season, but we certainly like talking about it. In keeping with that sentiment, here's my list of the top 10 managers most likely to be escorted off the premises in 2004:

    1. Jimy Williams, Astros
    Seasons at the helm: Two
    Record: 171-153 (.528)
    2003 Finish: Second, NL Central

    Given the active off-season we've seen in Houston, Astro partisans definitely expect a playoff berth in 2004. The 'Stros have posted two winning seasons under Williams, but they've yet make the postseason. His predecessor, Larry Dierker, was a notably better manager and led the Astros to four division titles in five seasons. This is a win-now team if ever there were one, and if they stumble out of the gate, team brass will waste little time in getting rid of ol' one-M.

    2. Larry Bowa, Phillies
    Seasons at the helm: Three
    Record: 252-233 (.520)
    2003 Finish: Third, NL East

    It will no doubt please Jimmy the Weasel to learn of the pending turmoil in his favorite city. Like the Astros, the Phillies are in full-bore contention mode in 2004, and the brunt of the pressure will fall on Bowa. He's managed two winning seasons in the three years at the switch, but the fans and the organization expect a division title this year. Contract extension aside, Bowa will be in trouble if, at the All-Star break, the Phillies aren't within hailing distance of the division lead.

    3. Lloyd McClendon, Pirates
    Seasons at the helm: Three
    Record: 209-276 (.431)
    2003 Finish: Fourth, NL Central

    The Buccos have been strangers to success throughout Mac's tenure, but, then again, he's had little to work with. He wasn't GM Dave Littlefield's hire, which has led to speculation that Littlefield would show him the door as soon as he had ample justification to do so. Well, 2004 may be the year of ample justification in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are barreling toward a fourth straight losing season under McClendon, and that will likely spell the end of his tenure. The only question is whether he'll remain in clover for the entire season.

    4. Jim Tracy, Dodgers
    Seasons at the helm: Three
    Record: 263-223 (.541)
    2003 Finish: Second, NL West

    The fact Jim Tracy has managed three winning campaigns in three seasons at Chavez Ravine is borderline amazing. He's wrenched out wins despite a woefully understaffed offense, and the esprit de corps has remained high. Even so, it's the Dodgers, and they operate with a sense of entitlement. If the team's personnel shortcomings finally catch up to them, well, as they say: you can't fire the players. Tracy's days in L.A. may be numbered, but he certainly deserves to manage again.

    5. Bob Brenly, D-Backs
    Seasons at the helm: Three
    Record: 274-212 (.564)
    2003 Finish: Third, NL West

    How quickly we fall from grace. It was only 2001 that Brenly guided the Snakes to a World Series win over the Yankees (forgetting for the moment that they won mostly in spite of Brenly's lever-pulling). Despite two division titles and three winning seasons in three years, Brenly's derriere is on the hot seat. We know this because he witnessed the great managerial harbinger of doom this off-season: his coaching staff was restructured for him. That's a sure sign that patience is running thin in the front office. The Snakes expect to contend in the lackluster NL West. And if they don't, Brenly's gone.

    6. Bob Melvin, Mariners
    Seasons at the helm: One
    Record: 93-69 (.574)
    2003 Finish: Second, AL West

    Although the M's missed the postseason in Melvin's first season, he certainly doesn't warrant being fired. However, he's got a couple of things working against him. Those two things are Bill and Bavasi. The Mariners' new GM, like a lot of new GMs, will be tempted to install his own man as manager and, ergo, may be looking for justification to fire Melvin. Oh, and Bavasi has also done his level best this winter to make the Mariners a worse team. With the A's and Angels both looking better for 2004, Melvin's second season in Seattle could be his last. Thanks a lot, Bill.

    7. Bruce Bochy, Padres
    Seasons at the helm: Nine
    Record: 694-746 (.482)
    2003 Finish: Fifth, NL West

    Bochy, who's the second-longest tenured manager in baseball, probably isn't in any immediate danger. But on his watch the Pads have reeled off five straight losing campaigns since winning the pennant in 1998. That the club has been slow in extending his contract is also telling. He and GM Kevin Towers are very close, so Bochy will be given every chance to prove he's the guy to lead the Padres in their return to relevance. He doesn't need to make the playoffs this season, but he also doesn't need to wind up in fifth place again.

    8. Alan Trammell, Tigers
    Seasons at the helm: One
    Record: 43-119 (.265)
    2003 Finish: Fifth, AL Central

    What could he have done, really? Even so, Tigers brass would like to see at least some modest improvement this season. Trammell can probably afford to lose 100 games again, but without something positive to cling to GM Dave Dombrowski might be looking to deflect blame. Most often, that means pointing the finger at the manager. Trammell's icon status will help, and it's likely he'll be given a third season no matter how '04 unfolds.

    9. Art Howe, Mets
    Seasons at the helm: One
    Record: 66-95 (.410)
    2003 Finish: Fifth, NL East

    Howe is another skipper whose beheading likely isn't in the immediate offing. However, Jim Duquette is the new GM, and, like Bavasi, he may be looking to put his own imprimatur on the organization. That may involve showing Howe the door. The Mets aren't contenders, but they have made some quality additions this off-season. That's to say, losing 95 games again won't do. If Howe can win, say, 75 games in 2004, he's probably safe for the following winter. Anything shy of that, however, and his stay in Queens may be a brief one.

    10. Joe Torre, Yankees
    Seasons at the helm: Eight
    Record: 786-506 (.608)
    2003 Finish: First, AL East

    Four World Series wins, six pennants and seven division titles in eight seasons land you on the hot seat? Such are the wilder shores of the Boogie-Down. Torre's likely going to retire after 2004, and even the Boss has the decorum and common sense to let the Gotham icon go out on his on terms. Well, maybe. The Yanks will be good again, but in the event that they do struggle, firing Torre, as silly as that would be, isn't out of the question. Don't look for it to happen by any means, but you'll go broke betting on when and George Steinbrenner will next come unhinged.

    And here's how the others grade out:

    Definitely safe for '04: Dusty Baker, Cubs; Bobby Cox, Braves; Terry Francona, Red Sox; Ron Gardenhire, Twins; Ozzie Guillen, White Sox; Lee Mazzilli, Orioles; Jack McKeon, Marlins; Dave Miley, Reds; Tony Pena, Royals; Carlos Tosca, Blue Jays.

    Probably safe for '04: Felipe Alou, Giants; Clint Hurdle, Rockies; Tony La Russa, Cardinals; Ken Macha, A's; Lou Piniella, Devil Rays; Frank Robinson, Expos, Mike Scioscia, Angels; Buck Showalter, Rangers; Eric Wedge, Indians; Ned Yost, Brewers.
     
  2. rrj_gamz

    rrj_gamz Contributing Member

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    I like Jimy's knowledge of the game, etc., however I believe if he isn't getting it done early on, he's gone...This team has too much talent to not get off to a great start and the WS's...

    Go Stros'!!!
     
  3. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Has McLane ever fired a manager during the season? Off the top of my head I think not.
     
  4. franchise?..NOT

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    If they start like last year, inspite of the bad starts from key players, it has to be very tempting to look to Dierker to come back and right the ship. His handling of SP's is superior to Williams and so are his credibility and results. Even The Godfather would have to give thought to bringing back Dierk for a shot at the playoffs in his last year. It would be no lose for Dierker, even though the 'Stros have 3 vets and one SP on last legs.
     
  5. Buck Turgidson

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    Dierker has repeatedly said he has zero desire to manage again.
     
  6. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Uh, no. Dierk wanted to be considered for a few open jobs last October.
     
  7. Joshfast

    Joshfast "We're all gonna die" - Billy Sole
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    xiki - wasn't one of the reasons Dierker left was because Biggio and Baggs didn't think highly off him?

    Billy Spiers for manager!! ;)
     
  8. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    LD was looking at openings elsewhere thru his agent, as I understood it.

    Spiers? What is he doing? He was a terrific utility/PH/all around rosteree.
     
  9. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    dierker said yesterday on sportsradio that he was briefly considered for the red sox job and wished he would have been more considered for the cubs job last year...says he'd really like to coach for a team in the AL, since he never saw those cities..and/or a team with roots back to the beginning of the last century.

    but this season he's exploring becoming a part of the astros broadcast team again.
     
  10. Uprising

    Uprising Contributing Member

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    I have never been a big Jimy fan, but I have supported him since I am a huge Astro fan.


    I have to agree with the thought that Jimy might be history if the Astros do not have a good start. This season is a "win now" season for the team, we have the tools to be a noisy team in the postseason.

    It would be great to see our team go the distance, a location they have never been to. Having Roger Clemens on the squad makes it that much sweeter, and pads the idea that our team should be bada** this season.
     
  11. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    I'd be happy to have the 'stros managed by most anyone besides Jimy, but I can't think of a time McLane canned a manager in season.

    But, if he were canned, then who? Lamont? Cheo would be cool.
     
  12. Deji McGever

    Deji McGever יליד טקסני

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  13. DanHiggsBeard

    DanHiggsBeard Member

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    Ha. We all love Cruz, but let's be honest. He's not even competent enough to coach 3rd.
     
  14. Buck Turgidson

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    Max, thanks for the Dirk update, I had completely misread (or misremembered, if that's a word) a few passages in his book.

    On the Jimy side, thought this was a great article. Takes some air out of the sails of the "manages on hunches" criticism we've heard on so many fronts. Just because he doesn't like to explain why he makes decisions, doesn't mean he's pulling them out of thin air.

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/bb/2381321
    By RICHARD JUSTICE
    Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

    Jimy Williams will be the first manager fired this season.

    At least, that's the conventional wisdom.

    He's the most likely to be dismissed, the guy on the hot seat or one of those other catchphrases some of the less sophisticated baseball writers use around this time every year.

    What do you call a guy who can't cut it as a baseball writer?

    A football writer.

    Hah-hah-hah.

    Just kidding, guys.

    Put down the paper and go see if the NFL will spring for another free meal before kickoff.

    Where were we?

    Oh, right, we were firing Jimy Williams.

    Why?

    Because he's too uptight. Because he won't be able to adjust to a rotation that might not need his quick-hook style. Because he simply won't be able to cope with the pressure that comes with having the team favored by many to win the National League.

    He behaved badly when his team collapsed on the final weekend of the 2003 season, so what will he be like when the heat is on from the first day of spring training?

    Guess what.

    They're wrong.

    Jimy will be fine.

    The people who are writing otherwise don't know the man or the support he has inside the organization.

    What they see mostly is the bad Jimy.

    They see him scowling and jumpy in the dugout. They see him offering reporters nonsensical answers. They see him growling at everyone with a microphone and a talk show.

    Jimy has made some mistakes in this area. Unlike the guys who write for the local newspaper, those talk-show guys can be awfully sensitive, and they don't like the man.

    Yet the idea that Williams begins this season on probation is dead wrong. For one thing, he has deep support throughout the organization.

    Owner Drayton McLane admires Williams for his decency, work ethic and professionalism. General manager Gerry Hunsicker said he never has had a better relationship with a manager.

    The biggest stars, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, are huge Jimy guys.

    "He's a professional," Biggio said. "I don't know if there's a better word than that. He's always prepared. He's always got your back."

    And it's not just those people.

    The player development people are effusive in their praise of his work with young players. The medical personnel say he's the best they've ever worked with.

    The people who prepare the advance scouting reports on opponents admire the way he goes over their work line by line, how he enters each game with a legal pad filled with notes.

    Other managers would advertise their preparation. He doesn't care.

    Other managers would spend 10 minutes explaining their reasoning behind every pitching move. He does not waste his time with such stuff.

    This isn't to defend Jimy. Dealing with reporters is part of being a major-league manager. We're not talking quantum physics.

    If he wanted a certain matchup, he could occasionally say something like: "I didn't like that matchup."

    Say this for Jimy: He warned the Astros ahead of time what they were getting.

    In his first interview with McLane and Hunsicker, he told them straight out that if they were looking for someone to stand around the batting cage and entertain reporters, he was the wrong man for the job.

    If they wanted someone who would thoroughly prepare a team and run a game tightly and expertly, he was their guy. He has been just what he advertised himself to be.

    Approach him three hours before a game and ask: "What's Larry Walker hitting when he swings at a first-pitch fastball?" "Four eighty-five," he'll say quietly.

    Give Texas Rangers manager Buck Showalter a player, and he'll need about three days to name all the things the guy can't do. Give Williams the same player, and he'll need three days to come up with all the things the guy can do.

    Either that, or he'll have the kid on the field four hours before game time taking ground balls at third and second, practicing throws from the outfield and the like.

    He did that about a dozen times with kids last summer, telling them that learning to play other positions might open up a big-league roster spot next spring. If Eric Bruntlett makes the club as a utility player, he can thank Williams for the hours he spent with him last summer.

    Maybe this will be a difficult year for Williams. Maybe he won't have that revolving-door bullpen he seems to love. Maybe there will be more reporters around than he's comfortable with. Maybe there will be high expectations. And maybe, just maybe, he'll do fine.
     
  15. Svpernaut

    Svpernaut Contributing Member

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    Jimy is a good coach, but he's no Dirk that's for sure. In a team with this many superstars it is definately going to be interesting to see how Jimy's short fuse works out. If he stumbles with this team, he deserves to get the axe, and if they fail to make the playoffs or with 95+ games he should get the boot too.
     

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