July 17, 2015

Managers and Impact

The Manager

In 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers suddenly fired their manager with 12 games left in the season on September 15. The thought was at the time that the manager wasn't going to take the team far in the post season, and he had "lost" the team. Ned Yost had many times looked like he was overmatched as the manager. And just like that, he was gone.

After a year or so off, he was named the manager of the Kansas City Royals. I wondered about it because of how he had faded and suddenly was out back in Milwaukee. I was one of the observers who thought the Royals might have made a mistake.

Last year, the Royals rocked and rolled in the second half, made the wild card, and ended up in the World Series. They have continued to play well this season. Moreover, Yost continues to manage in a unique manner and make interesting decisions. But he led his team to the World Series. And they're in first place, running away with things this year.

When you look at the history of managers for many teams, you have to roll your eyes. Baseball has really changed in the last 20 years (in many ways) but one way is the management structure and who gets selected as managers. If you get bored, look at the history of the managers in Seattle or Kansas City or even the Cubs.

I think the manager has a solid impact on the outcomes of games. I'd be curious what the role of the manager is in the modern game of baseball. I have my opinion but maybe I'm wrong. I've been incredibly hard on Brad Ausmus but when you look at the big picture, we have to acknowledge that the Tigers were without Justin Verlander for three months, basically without Victor Martinez for much of the first half, now they're without Miguel Cabrera for a long period of time. The other thing is that the bullpen has continued to suffer, despite the great efforts of the GM to right that ship. As hard as I've been on Ausmus, he could change a lot of opinions if the Tigers come out of the gates like gang-busters in the second half and sweep this seven–game home stand.

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