I have to agree with Dallas Braden – it was a sign of disrespect, or an attempt at gamesmanship, for Alex Rodriguez to cut back to first across the mound in the afternoon in Oakland. And I have to agree with Rodriguez that Braden’s temper tantrum in the dugout was bush league. And I have to agree with whoever investigates Braden’s comments that they probably already constitute a threat, or certainly something to watch in future meetings.
MANAGERIAL HEIR APPARENTS?
Here in New York the Cubs just completed a somnambulant series loss to the Mets and the listlessness of the team makes one wonder if Lou Piniella has just had enough of his underachieving, poorly-designed team. The irony here is that Cub starting pitching may not have been this good in decades – good enough that I entirely buy the idea of moving Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen, at least unless and until Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny collapses.
But Piniella’s ennui and the unlikely fact that two other big league skippers are already official lame ducks has made me think, and put out a few calls, about who would be the likeliest successor to each of the current 30 big league skippers. There are some interesting facts to consider: none of the current managers were promoted to the big league job from having been manager of the team’s AAA affiliate, and only six (Gardenhire, Geren, Jerry Manuel, Riggleman, Trembley, Tracy) were promoted from their own team’s coaching staff (although Cox, Gaston, Girardi, Hinch, and Charlie Manuel were working in their organizations in other jobs when they became the boss).
Thus 19 of the current 30 big league managers are outside hires, making predicting successors a dicey business. Still we’ll try – and none of these names are meant to suggest I know anything about any imminent changes – I’ll start in the NL and try the AL over the weekend. Where I have no clue, I’ll say so:
ARIZONA: No clue and given the last hire, it could come from almost anywhere.
ATLANTA: Maybe Chico Cadahia or Eddie Perez, but I think the best bets are two former Cox lieutenants, Fredi Gonzalez of the Marlins, and ex-Brewers boss Ned Yost. If the latter were the obvious choice, he’d probably be back on the staff, not an advisor in KC.
CHICAGO: It’s Ryne Sandberg. If Lou walked away suddenly there’d be a good chance Alan Trammell would be an acting skipper, but in any kind of orderly transition, it’s Sandberg.
CINCINNATI: No obvious candidate. Possibly Mark Berry – it would be nice to see AAA skipper Rick Sweet given first shot, but he may be a victim of his own development ability.
COLORADO: No clue.
FLORIDA: It would be Carlos Tosca short term, but the Marlins would probably like a name if they made a change.
HOUSTON: Very unlikely that any change would take place. Dave Clark would probably get another chance if Brad Mills runs screaming into the street.
LOS ANGELES: Mattingly. How odd will that look?
MILWAUKEE: It was a surprise that given how well Dale Sveum handled what could have been a sinking ship, coming in weeks before the playoffs in 2008, that he didn’t keep the job. Even now when Ken Macha goes, it could easily be not Sveum but Willie Randolph.
NEW YORK: Bob Melvin, Major League Scout. His managerial track record is pretty good. Ironically, the man for whom he took over in Arizona after the briefest off-season tenure in managerial history, Wally Backman, is the top minor league possibility.
PHILADELPHIA: No clue.
PITTSBURGH: They like Carlos Garcia. How much, I don’t know. The Bucs (despite the 20-0 loss) have a serious conviction they are breaking through under John Russell.
SAN DIEGO: No clue.
SAN FRANCISCO: No clue. Last internal hire was Dusty Baker.
ST. LOUIS: Jose Oquendo, unless somebody else has grabbed him first.
WASHINGTON: Pat Listach. That may not be soon, but that may be the plan.