It's still possible that somehow DDT will retain his job and continue to manage this team through the end of the 2009 season, but I'll be shocked if he hasn't been let go by Monday, October 4. (Truth be told, I'll be surprised if he survives into next week.)
So, let's have a serious debate: Who should be the next manager for this team? (And I don't mean the Interim Manager, I mean the offseason hire).
I see a lot of random names thrown out, from John Gibbons (ha! HA!) to Rick Demspey (granted, the latter only shows up on message boards populated by idiots). As though sticking anyone in will work for us.
This is a crucial hire. For the last decade, the O's have had minimal talent, so it didn't matter so much who was running what was essentially a AAAA team. But now, for the first time in a long time, there are legitimate players at the major league level, and more in the pipeline. Although we are weak on position players, we could concievably compete in the next few years if money is spent in the right places and some things break our way. If that happens, and we actually have a semi-decent ballclub, it would be nice to have a talented person running it on the field every night.
SO: What are you looking for in a manager?
I have some conflicting thoughts:
- Previous MLB Managerial Experience The last three managers the O's hired had never managed in the bigs before. I understand that's not always a prerequisite, but this organization is in such pitiful shape, it has to be a major consideration. I don't want someone learning this job "on the job". I want him to have learned it already somewhere else. I want someone who has been through the crucible of being hired, managing, and being fired at the major league level. Someone who has learned from his past and has a definite plan in place from Day One.
- Modern Sensibility At the same time, I want someone who is in tune with baseball in 2010. I'm not as saber-converted as most on these boards, but even I can see the importance of not giving up outs and paying attention to certain statistics. Heck, even Earl Weaver knew this in the 1970s. I don't feel a person has to worship at the alter of Bill James to have a modern sense of the game—but they also can't spout crap like, "well, you have to go lefty-lefty there". You don't 'hafta' do anything; if you did, then we would manage with a MacBook Pro on the bench hooked up to a megaphone.
- Not A Geezer I'm somewhat ageist. We are becoming a very young team (what a nice change!) and I want a guy the kidz can relate to, but also one who can kick their asses into shape. So not as old as Jim Fregosi, but not as young as Don Mattingly either (who I'd eliminate anyway, because of Thought #1)
When people bring up Bobby Valentine and Davey Johnson, I like the fact that these guys both have won over 1,000 games at the major league level. But I worry about whether they'll do the same bunting crap I've been seeing for the past two five years. They are more in line with Thought #1 above than Thought #2. That said, Thought #1 is definitely more important to me.
I'd love to see a list of former MLB managers and dissect them. Not sure if that's available at B-R or not.
Last point: I don't think it's that hard to get someone to come to Baltimore. There are a finite number of these jobs every year, we definitely have some up-and-coming talent, and we play in the most beautiful park in baseball. What's not to like?
That's me. You? (And don't just describe the perfect characteristics.—give us actual names of people who fit those characteristics too.)