Find Lots of Great Coverage Here


Friday, June 19, 2009

So what now?

Before anyone goes and declares Ken Rosenthal's report about Manny officially wrong, keep in mind he said he could happen after the New York series. Which is now. But I now suspect it isn't going to happen. If the Nats drop six on this homestand, maybe the talk gets renewed.

I don't think anyone - from the front office down to the lowest citizens of Nats Town - expects this club to turn into a contender overnight. All anyone asks at this point is for some signs of life. That's exactly what we got the past two nights. When you're flat-out dead and about to be covered by that sheet, all it really takes is a couple of faint heartbeats to have everyone smiling again. I'm gearing up for the long drive for tonight's game with a smile on my face, not a sense of dread. (and I hope I don't need to use my beach towel to dry off any rain. I've had enough of that stuff).

I know I wrote in my post to close May that I was on board with the idea that it was time for a change. I'm not going to back off on my conviction that it was the correct thinking at the time. I'm also not going to claim to be bothered that it didn't happen. As I've said many times, I like Manny. I like what he's all about and I want him to succeed as a manager. I'm willing to give it some more time, as long as we continue to see some signs of life.

Enough pieces are in place for this to be a .500 team but there's no margin for error.

Once you get on the other side of all his folksiness and golly gee manner, Ray Knight will deliver some decent analysis. He noted the same point the other night, that this team should be able to play .500 the rest of the season. "Anything else is a pipedream," he said. True. I'm not dreaming that big, not yet anyway. Playing .500 ball is a step in the right direction and I think I'm safe in saying that's all any of us need to see at this point - steps in the right direction.

So, let's keep this happy train a-rolling. Here are a few suggestions if anyone cares:

*Keep Manny for a while, at least through the all-star break.

*Name a GM. Rizzo? Fine. Someone else? Fine. But put someone in charge without an interim tag. Remove the air of uncertainty. And I hope the reports are wrong that this Hunsicker cat, late of the Astros, is a candidate. If you can't coax John Schuerholz out of retirement or get someone of that stature, give Rizzo a shot. A real shot.

*Get Strasburg signed. Whatever cash you have committed to this, add a smidge more and get it done. Your fan base will love you. My installment plan just finished for my second set of tickets. Take another month's worth and put it in the SS Fund.

*Someone on the FireJimBowden blog had an interesting comment about Manny only trusting four of his seven relievers (Beimel, Villone, Tavarez, MacDougal). Very valid point. If it is true, move out Hanrahan, Wells and Colome and get him more options. Hasn't Clippard earned at least a look? Just make sure one of the options isn't named Logan Kensing. I still believe the stuff is there with Hanrahan but if the manager doesn't trust him, he can't be clogging up a spot.

*Think hard when Willingham returns. I have about zero love for Corey Patterson but perhaps it is time to thank Austin Kearns for the memories and hope he finds success elsewhere. Maybe move Patterson and Kearns and give someone else a look.

*Keep the rotation intact for now. Lannan and the Rooks. Let Olsen pitch out of the bullpen or find a creative way to keep him on the DL or something. When shutdown time comes - and I'm not sure I agree with all that but that's a story for another day - let Olsen have a few more starts.

*Is Johnson for Delcarmen dead?


An Briosca Mor said...

I'm not sure it hurts anything for Rizzo to remain interim GM until the season is over. It basically gives them an extended look at him in the job, and if they tried to either make him official or bring someone else in at this point they would have to go through the MLB-mandated minority interview process. That would do nothing but create a media distraction which would detract from his ability to do the job and their ability to evaluate how he performs. Scott Boras isn't going to change his hard-ass negotiation tactics whether it's interim GM Mike Rizzo, permanent GM Mike Rizzo or some entirely different person he's dealing with. Let the guy who started the job of signing Strasburg finish the job. And if perchance he fails, then it's a lot easier to can the interim GM than it is to can the permanent GM. (Not that I think he will fail, mind you.)

As for Manny, same reasoning. He's the interim guy right now anyway, so let him play it out and learn from that whether there's any value at all in picking up his option for next year. Hopefully the way the Rosenthal sure-thing firing didn't happen will keep any more such media circuses from taking place the rest of this season and deflecting focus from where it needs to be, which is on the field. (And I bet Rosenthal's Rolodex is minus one name as of today. Wonder if he'll even make note anywhere that he was 100% wrong in his "Manny will be fired" declaration? I doubt it.)

Ryan said...

I disagree. I think Rizzo has proven himself as worthy of the full-time GM spot.

And, no chance I believe that Manny is the "interim guy right now" either. Stan and Co. need to get their heads out of their asses and say something definitive. Manny isn't at fault for this season. He's here when it's bad. He deserves to be here when it improves. And it will improve.

Ryan said...

Also, on the Rosenthal thing...

Anonymous said...

Is Dukes hurt? That is the only explanation for why Kearns was in the lineup.

An Briosca Mor said...

Hubris, thy name is Ken Rosenthal.

"If my story had "no basis," as Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo said, then the team should end the uncertainty over Acta's status and announce that he will remain manager for the rest of the season."

So let me get this straight, Ken. No manager in baseball ever gets an announcement made that they will remain manager for the rest of a season. (And on the rare occasions when they do, they are invariably fired the next day.) Every manager in MLB is only as good as his last victory. They're all just day-to-day, and to steal a line from Bob Dole, they know it, you know it and the American people know it. The uncertainty over Acta's status exists largely due to your report, which Rizzo has publicly declared baseless. That would seem to end the uncertainty, wouldn't it?

"Meanwhile, Acta twists."

Not in his mind he doesn't. Or in Rizzo's or Kasten's mind either, based on public statements made by all of them. So he twists only because you say he does.

"Acta's job security remains as tenuous as it was last Saturday when I reported that the Nationals had decided him to replace him with bench coach Jim Riggleman."

Which is to say, Acta's job security is not tenuous at all. But your credibility as a reporter has taken a monster hit, hasn't it? Why not just admit that and move on? Are you going to spend the rest of the season writing more predictions and hoping you stumble into getting one right every time the Nats lose a couple of games?

Ryan said...

Dude. Relax on Rosenthal a little bit. He's one of the most respected baseball writers in the country -- by his peers and by people in baseball.

And if Acta's job was never in jeopardy, why the non-denial denials by the Nats? Why not just come out and say, "No truth to the report. Manny's our guy."?

If you think Stan and Co. never had discussions about firing Manny, you're crazy.

An Briosca Mor said...

Even the most respected reporter in the world can occasionally misread what one of his sources has told him, or be flat-out lied to by one of his sources. That's clearly what happened to Rosenthal, and Mike Rizzo and the Nats FO have publicly stated that. For Rosenthal to turn around now and expect them to answer what amounts to a "when did you stop beating your wife?" type of question just to verify his claim that he wasn't misled by a source is patently ridiculous. It's the height of hubris.

Ryan said...

So you're saying it's not possible for the source -- I'm guessing a HIGH ranking official with the team -- to say one thing to Rosenthal, then deny?

And even if the source lied, that's not on Rosenthal, especially if the source is as close to the decision-making process as most people would assume.

I'm not sure how you can trash Rosenthal for anything, actually.

MikeHarris said...

Yes, sometimes sources do lie - that's the chance you take when you use sources. That's why I tried to avoid that whenever possible.

Here's my current theory, most likely wrong like everything else I think: Rosenthal's source was dead on. But when the leak came, the braintrust redirected and decided to rethink this. They can't say that, of course. Yeah, we were going to can him but decided not to can him. So they use the ol' "nothing to it" dodge.

FireJimBowden has something from Boswell's chat that is interesting, if a major stretch. JimBow is involved!

Whatever, I'm heading north to get my beach towel and see win No. 3 in this streak. I'm fine that Manny will be managing tonight (won't he?).

MikeHarris said...

Ryan, I beg to differ on one point: If your source lied, you got some 'splaining to do. It IS on you for choosing to go the source route in the first place.

If you shrug and say, "Source was wrong, not on me," how can your readers take your "sources said" reports seriously ever again?

Anonymous sources are always, always, always best avoided. I still stick to my theory in my note above this one but when you write something that doesn't happen based on sources, it IS on you. Channeling Animal House: You F'ed up. You trusted us.

An Briosca Mor said...

I'm certainly not saying a source couldn't have flat-out lied to Rosenthal. (Did you even read my earlier comment where I basically said that could happen?) I'm just saying that if that happened he should be man enough to just come out and say "I was misled by one of my sources." Instead, though, he demands that the Nats either fire Acta or publicly admit that they were going to fire Acta but changed their mind, all just to cover his own ass. That's either hubris or cowardice. Take your pick.

An Briosca Mor said...

"Here's my current theory, most likely wrong like everything else I think: Rosenthal's source was dead on. But when the leak came, the braintrust redirected and decided to rethink this. They can't say that, of course. Yeah, we were going to can him but decided not to can him. So they use the ol' "nothing to it" dodge."

I believe I actually suggested this possibility right after Rosenthal's initial report. I still believe it might be the way it actually went down, except that most likely they were discussing the possibility, had not reached finality on the decision, and when Rosenthal popped off they just said "you know what, no compelling reason to decide this now" and tabled the discussion.

"FireJimBowden has something from Boswell's chat that is interesting, if a major stretch. JimBow is involved!"

I believe I also jokingly said early on that Rosenthal's "major league source" was really Bowden's Twitter feed. Boswell is stealing my material!

Ryan said... can a source lying be on you?

What's a reporter to do, reveal his source and say, "Hey, this is the guy who lied. Blame him, not me!!"?

It's not a reporter's fault if a reliable source decides to be a douche and lie.

As for what you think went down...I agree 100 percent.

MikeHarris said...

If you print something that isn't true, it is on you. I think Johnnie Cochran said that.

You are asking your readers to trust you. That means you better trust your sources. If they're lying, well, you have some bad judgment.

You write it, it's on you. You work for me and come in with "well, he lied," it isn't going to get you out of deep shit. You decide to source something, it better be right or your credibility takes a hit.

ABM, my bad for not giving you proper credit!

Off to the park, carry on without me and I'll add more later.

Sister Mary Virginia said...

Young man,
You have misspelled loser. Looser is not tight.

MikeHarris said...

Thank you sister.

MikeHarris said...

I meant for the "young" part because I'm a long way from young.

I'm good on looser. I am, after all, a looser.