Scout’s Eye: Off With The Manager’s Head

What is the deal with managers being fired when their team has been winning game> Does it really have any correlation to a manager’s ability to run a ballclub from the dugout? With the firing of John Farrell in Boston the other day, we see a practice in baseball that seems bizarre to say the least. Terry Collins got dumped by the Mets because his team broke down physically and in some cases mentally. It happens, but I guess in this world today, someone has to be blamed and you can’t fire the team or the front office. Collins’ team fails to win, he gets replaced, Farrell’s team wins, he gets fired. It’s almost as if the rich owners get tired of their Bentley and want to move on to a Rolls Royce.

How do you explain it? Do they go bad like milk left out in the sun? Players break down, thus they can’t hit the slider or 95 MPH heaters anymore. Pitchers lose velocity. Heck even bat boys grow into men and have to be replaced. But Managers?

Dusty Baker has been managing for 22 years and has an overall winning percentage of .532, yet he’s only won a single pennant. His first year as a big league manager was in 1993 with the San Francisco Giants. He had 103 wins but came in second to the Atlanta Braves that year who had 104 wins. There was no Wild Card game back then. Baker was with the Giants for ten years and never won a championship. Will he be fired because he could not get the cursed Nationals to a World Series? Pardon me but neither could the other 17 managers they have had since 1969 when they were the Expos in Montreal.
Meanwhile Farrell, who piloted Boston for the past five years, has a World Series championshipand three divisional titles. , If then GM Ben Cherington didn’t trade away the entire pitching staff in 2015, Farrell may have won even more.

When a team, that has high expectations, it’s more like an order from medieval times, “Off With His Head.” Winning games in the long 162 game season and the expanded playoffs of today, means nothing if you can’t take home the ultimate prize. There will be all kinds of reasons given like: “We wanted to make a change and move in another direction, or “He was losing the clubhouse” or even “we want a manager who has more discipline.” That’s all baloney. It’s all about not being able to deliver the trophy and the ring.

Following his infamous gaffe in game 2 of the ALDS against Cleveland, Yankee manager Joe Girardi appeared to be on the “hot seat.” The Yankees staged an improbable rally and everything is right with the world.
This current edition of the Yankees is just beginning to gel and if they foolishly decided to make a change and bring in someone who the young players are not familiar with, it could be a disaster. When Joe Torre arrived in 1996, he inherited a team that seems to be quite similar to this group of potential champs. The Yankees got lucky in that it was a perfect fit and even though he was labeled “Clueless Joe” the moment he arrived, Torre became one of only five skippers to win at least four World Series titles. But guess what? When he was still at the helm and that team stopped winning trophies, he was sent packing. The manager who Torre replaced was Buck Showalter who was only given four years to bring another championship to “The Boss.” If given the chance, maybe Buck would have won four or five World Series trophies with that team.

Is Girardi the best manager? Not in the least. Does he make mistakes? Yes. Does he win games? Yes, Has he won divisions and a World series? Yes. Can he continue to win here in New York? Absolutely! Look at how his team responded to his leadership in coming back to eliminate the Indians this week.

All I’m saying is that the Yankees better be darn sure about who they will bring in to replace Girardi before they release him. Will the front office big shots be clueless about this Joe? I truly believe he will be back with the same one year deal the Yankees offered Torre before he left for the Dodgers in 2008.
If he is terminated or doesn’t accept a new deal, will he end up in Queens? Please say it ain’t so Joe! I want him to continue as the Yankee manager so we can get to hammer him in the press next year over every little thing he gets wrong in a winning season in the Bronx. And if he can’t win a World Series next year, its “Off With His Head!”
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