You Think We Have It Bad?

Apparently over in Red Sox Nation things aren't so peachy. There seems to be some sort of front-office struggle bertween GM Theo Epstein and president John Henry, the result being a ton of roster moves that defy logic like the continual jerking back and forth of 3B Kevin Youkilis and the Millar-Petagine-Olerud three-headed monster at first. Now, apparently, some are suggesting that manager Terry Francona should be fired. Keep in mind this is the defending World Champs, who currently enjoy a four-game lead in the AL East. Our A-B compadre, Evan Brunell, takes a look at whether Francona has helped or hurt the Sox during his tenure. I think it's amazing that this discussion is even going on, but given that it is I think Evan takes a good look at it. Boston fans, if you're really clamoring for a change, I'm sure the Cubs would let Grady Little out of his contract...
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I'm pretty active on quite a few Red Sox boards and this is the first time I've ever heard anyone suggest anything about firing Terry Francona. That is just way off the radar.

Funny, Red Sox want Francona gone and Yankees want Torre gone and Cubs want Baker gone.

2005 might not go down as year of the steroid testing, but year of the manager as scapegoats.

Nutsy Baker is hardly a scapegoat. He's responsible for this mess. It's his mess. He made it.

I'd donate a lung to get Torre.

"When Boston fell out of first place for one night early this week ñ after 25 days atop the AL East ñ the talk shows were filled with ìFire Francona!î ìTrade everyone!î ìMix me a batch of Kool-Aid Æ.î And after they regained first the very next night, the bleating turned even more frantic: ìWeíll never hold on with this team. We need to make a ëmajorí deal.î ìWe were lucky last year; after all, we didnít even win the division,î ìTito couldnít manage a 7-Eleven Æ, never mind a baseball team.î"

Makes you wonder if we will ever be happy. I see Boston, and some of them still act as if they never won a thing. That's a shame that some people will never be happy.

With that said, who else saw the article that Leyland is "itching" to get back in game?

It mentions 'coming to a chat board near you', so here it is...I'll take him over Davey Johnson. I think he's also an upgrade over Baker.

yeah, baker made this mess.

he went straight to hendry, and this is a direct quote from my secret baseball ninja sources...

"hey man, how about we tell all our relievers, man, to you know, man, throw 4.50era and 1.50whip ball, man. then, man, i can go somewhere else cuz, man, i'm gonna cry if i have to stay in chicago, man."

so dusty went out and made sure that every reliever he had was awful except for 2 months of dempster and 3 weeks of kerry wood.

what a jerk.

from my same super-secret ninja baseball source i got this quote which PROVES a hendry/dusty connection to make this team fail...

"hey man, how about you get you 4-6 .300 ob% guys to fill in the bench. as soon as i injure garciappara's groin i can play them all, man. blanco/neifi/ that's a bench for a real competitive team, man."

once again...what a jerk.

how dare he make those studs ruin their careers.

its also a shame he held back dubois from being the .300 hitting 50 homer guy he truely is. dusty really shouldnt have told him to fail to cover his own selfish ass.

i really dont understand why all these great players even want to listen to a manager who's making them fail. i guess those bank accounts are confusing when you get enough digits in them and they wanted to lower the amount of pay they get a bit.

its absolutely 100% dusty's fault this team has had an awful bullpen and carried 1/3-1/2 of the bats with .300 ob%...

i say fire him, but keep these studs so some other mastermind can make them work to their full potential.

Great post!

Joe Torre is Dusty Baker with better PR abilities. And a few rings.

...and a shitty pitching coach.

Great post!

all humor really shocked at the bullpen.

there was a bit of question about it, but there were some vets, some injury reclaimation projects, and a ton of kids to back it up.

to have them all fail is just against the odds.

at least a couple of vets and kids should have come through...not just a couple months of dempster.

its practically illogical.

the bench issue i have a problem with though..hendry went through this in 04..he should have learned something last year and hopefull he learned something this year.

this team has had 1 bench player worth a damn all year and between walker's injury and cpat sucking, the cubs lost that option (hairston).

go figure...

Didn't you think Hendry was under at least some pressure by Dusty to bring in 'his guys' to put on the bench?

Of course it follows that it's Hendry's fault for enabling it anyway, but Dusty had to have his hands in Neifi or Tom Goodwin from the Giants days or even holdovers from last season that he grew to like (like Macias and 'Holly')

this is hendry's club...not dusty's...he hires, he runs, he brings and takes.

hendry and mcphail have been at this while dusty was still trying to figure out what's next for him after playing ball and being a 3rd base coach.

no...not even slightly do i think they go to dusty to ask him if who they sign is alright with him.

just like hendry wouldnt tell dusty how to run his roster, dusty dont tell hendry who to hire.

btw..of course there's a dialogue between the two..and yes they discuss players and their futures and concerns.

but this is hendry's show...dusty's just there to do what he can with it.

no, dusty isnt totally in the clear. no, dusty isnt a mastermind. but...not many managers are.

they have to deal with 25-40 individuals and the baggage that comes with dealing with human beings over 200 days of baseball.

If you're going to say Torre's no better than Baker, then what's the point of having a manager. A guy with that many rings isn't better than Baker?

Come on. That's like saying Michael Jordan is Tracy McGrady with a better shoe deal. And a few rings.

The Yankees were not the dysfunctional all-star squad they are now when they were winning in the 90s. Give Joe some cred.

I'll tell you one thing that has ticked me off. Patterson comes out and gives the "it's only a game" line, and nothing happens? Look at yesterday...they walked Barrett intentionally to get to Patterson, and he strikes out leaving the tying run at 3rd. An inning later, the camera is in the dugout showing Patterson laughing and talking. He doesn't give a sh**. If I were Hendry, he would've been given his walking papers 20 minutes after he made that comment.

for those of you who think the guys on the field are Hendry's decisions and not Dusty's....

This from yesterday's Sun Times

"Baker said he and Hendry this week will discuss who is likely to be recalled from the minors for next month's roster expansion. But don't plan on seeing Class AA West Tenn outfielder Felix Pie."

So it's very clear Baker and Hendry are partners in who they want on this club. Baker even admits it there. HE and HENDRY will discuss who is likely to be recalled from the minors...can't tell me Hendry introduces Dusty to his new players through a written press statement...and Dusty just takes what Jim gives him....

That isn't how business operates...

Patterson also spit and grabbed his crotch during the national anthem yesterday....classy act.

yeah...a manager and GM discuss things.

its hendry's show.

this isnt uncommon.

if anyone actually things hendry/dusty sit down with a pool of players and they cherry pick or discuss in great detail who should come up and what they need, that's shortsighted.

dusty doesnt know matt murton from matt is not dusty's job to know what AA OF'r is ready for what...its hendry's job to talk to his scouts and determine who's worthy of what and then inform dusty what the kid can and cannot do.

this is a very common practice and its how things get done.

you think bobby cox sat down with schuerholz and was naming off the 4-5 rookies he wants up? you think cox had any idea what these kids can do?


its not his job.

hey guys, not in the realm of this discussion at all, looking for some help though

i'm looking for the number by which you multiply OBA when you add it to SL in the SABR info stuff? i wanna say it's 1.8, but i don't have my copy of moneyball around to look it up. i'm trying to do some stats stuff regarding baseball playoffs.

also, i'm trying to find team OBA against and team SL against (that is, what the pitching allows) in baseball over the last 10 years or so.

i can't find it on or anywhere else. all i really need is Total Bases against, but i can't find that either. anyone? thanks for the help.

1.8 is the multiplier you're thinking of...

Harball Times does a stat called GPA that weighs OBP with SL appropriately stats goes back to 2002 and if you go to team pitching/Page 2/ it lists the OBP against and SL against

For all the other years, I don't know where to look.

thanks a ton rob.

also, if you want to be sick, watch ESPN in the next 20 minutes. illinois' turn on 50 states/50 days, and apparently the idiots are going to focus on jordan, the bears and bartman.

bleh. i hope there's at least one clip of the alex gonzalez play. that's the most we can hope for in the national media

being that it's ESPN, it'll be on sportscenter tonight, and tomorrow morning a million times.

Crunch, two questions:

Do you think a manager is ever responsible for anything?

Particulalry regarding the bullpen, what should Hendry have done differently last offseason?

If Francona and Torre are on the market and the Cubs were to let Baker go do you think the Cubs would persue one of them? Who do you think Hendry would hire of the two?

"Do you think a manager is ever responsible for anything?"

yes. but i dont think theyre responsible for everything.

"Particulalry regarding the bullpen, what should Hendry have done differently last offseason?"

the pen isnt my main beef with hendry, i think everyone is a bit amazed everyone failed.

Ok, follow-up Crunch.

What exactly do you think a manager is responsible for?


Is it possible that misusing players can lead to their failure?

well...who's being misused? i dont understand where you're going with this besides trying to back me in a corner in an attempt to prove im a dusty appologist.

ive made a lotta comments about dusty, but only the stuff defending him seems to get through.

and for some reason the fact that ive said 12847293847 times i think he's ordinary and could care less who's at the helm until real tallent issues are taken care of is passed by a lot.

seriously, exactly who is dusty misusing? and what failure is being caused by it.

i tackled my take on this in a previous and recent post...including the fact he caught a lotta hell for bringing a lefty in to face a lefty, when he's brought in to face an inning of work...not a lefty.

i dont see dusty doing anything that most other managers do on a regular basis. i see nothing extrodinary about this manager.

the only thing ive had a major issue with was the 2 week cpat/neifi 1/2 experiment.

now that i've humored you...tell me who's dusty's been misuing in your opinion.

"i tackled my take on this in a previous and recent post...including the fact he caught a lotta hell for bringing a lefty in to face a lefty, when he's brought in to face an inning of work...not a lefty."

that's referring to remlinger...sorry for omitting it.

I think Hendry likes to keep Dusty happy by giving him his guys. Neifi, Macias, Holly, Goodwin, Martinez. He also had no choice but to get rid of Sosa, Farns & Mercker because the player's manager couldn't keep them in line. I think it's obvious that Hendry makes decisions with Baker in mind. Dusty certainly has his "guys"... he didn't even want to play Hairston until it looked like pink slips were ready to be handed out.

i think you're giving dusty a lot more power than he really has on that one.

Nice try crunch, but you didn't answer my questions. I know you say a manager doesn't matter much and you've made dozens of posts saying what isn't Dusty's fault. I honestly want to know what you think a manager actually is responsible for.

You also didn't answer my question as to if you think misusing a player can lead to their failure. I'm not asking if you think someone has been misused, I'm asking if you think misuse can lead to failure.

nice try? you wanna talk about me or the cubs...i answered your questions...

yes misuse can lead to failure...happy?

now...what's been misused? gonna tell me dempster should have been closer all along? gonna tell me murton's 50ab's are worth of him starting over lawton? gonna tell me about remlinger or borowski or chad fox? gonna tell me anything?

and as far as what a manager's responsible for..ive answered it not only in a previous post directly concerning dusty, but in THIS post when it comes to GM/manager relationships.

i may repeat myself sometimes, but im not gonna rehash everything ive already said in 1 tidy package.

When I said Dusty = Torre I'm talking about managerial (is that a word) styles. They both have their little pet no-talents and won't impress anybody with their bullpen management etc.

Tidy? You? Tidy?

ya know...

when i post my mouth...whatever...

i dont think im very vauge.

i think i come with substance and i think i make myself pretty clear.

i make myself open to question and i try to make clear what's opinion and what's fact.

But not necessarily tidy.

tidy...not here! heh...

"i think you're giving dusty a lot more power than he really has on that one."

I don't think so, Hendry has done plenty to make Dusty happy.

Crunch, you can say you've explained yourself, but I guess I missed it in your dozens of posts telling us why things aren't Dusty's fault. I agree with some of your points, I disagree with others, but I don't remember ever reading you saying what he's actually responsible for (other than making out a lineup).

In terms of misusing people, Hawkins as closer (which he proved he couldn't do last year) is clearly the biggest example - which snowballed into other problems in the bullpen. Should Dempster have been the closer all along, maybe-maybe not, but he certainly should have been considered over a guy who proved he couldn't get the job done.
Certainly, using Remmy as a loogy is another example of misuse, using Rusch in the pen because he wanted a 3rd bullpen southpaw, even though he was one of the best lefty starters in the NL last year is another.
He turned to Rich Hill as a starter, even though he really only has one pitch and might have been effective in the pen, and while Leicester and Welle are not great pitchers, making them sit in the pen for more than a week without pitching, isn't going to help their effectiveness.
I think you can make a strong case that being shuffled all around the line-up has hurt Corey Patterson, although there are clearly other problems there.

Is that enough, or would you like more?

the only problem with the hawkins arguement is the whole damn pen sucks.

there's been 2 months of dempster and a few weeks of wood as the only bright spots besides a few streaks of wuertz early. there's no one really worth going to that hawkins was blocking...

and you talk about using remmy as a loogy even though he wasnt. i dunno where this is coming from...remmy worked innings most of the time, not loogy situations.

and out of patterson's problems, i dont think moving him around in the lineup is one of them.

and if that's all you can come up with i dunno where to go from there...ive seen other managers pull way wilder crap. this is pretty ordinary stuff.

you also missed the #1 target of dusty screwing up...patterson/neifi 1/2 experiment.

!!!! Fuck you ESPN and Charter cable for blacking out another Cubs game. Fuck you to hell and back.

I hate ESPN.

Could someone explain to me when the fuck southern Indiana merged with Chicago?? Anyone? This is news to me... I'm sick of this.

Oooh TBS I love you


i live in blackout area is Balt+Wash...and my local cable only carries *1* of the 3+ channels these games are on and its only a minor affilate.

i have mlb EI and basically, im missing 4 out of 26 teams most any gameday.

One more good arm goes a long way in the pen. If Hawk had been used as a setup guy all season, he might have been useful. (after the closer experiment failed again, he was clearly useless to the Cubs) Combine that with a decent closer in Dempster, and a combination of Wuertz, Ohman, Novoa, Wood, who've all been useful at various times, you'd have 3 solid guys most of the year, which really is all a good pen needs.

You're right LOOGY isn't the best description of Remmy, but Dusty frequently Dusty brought him in when there was one or more lefties coming to the plate.

I don't think lineup position was Corey's biggest problem, but I think his bouncing up and down did contribute to the other problems which caused his dramatic falloff this year.

And Yes, you established that you think making out a lineup is Dusty's responsbility and something he should be blamed or given credit for. I'm still not sure what else, if anything, you think falls on a manager's shoulders.

XM radio helps me quite a bit. Nothing compares to live TV but to get MLB:EI I'd have to upgrade to digital cable plus pay for EI and I can't afford all that.

I've got to wonder how MLB or the broadcast guys come up with these wacky ass blackout rules though...

"One more good arm goes a long way in the pen. If Hawk had been used as a setup guy all season, he might have been useful."

huh? you're kidding right? you're not, i know.

you seriously think a move to the 8th and dempster closing would prevent 23 losses and 4.50era/1.50whip from this pen?

i cant even fathom that.

so far youre telling me "closer mentality" and "moving patteson around" has ruined this team.

how about blaming the players?

dempster the closer is getting way too much credit for what he's actually done, btw.

he's a 1.50whip closer who had 2 hot months...

i would be horrified to see him return to this club in the closer role...i'd be more horrified if they payed him more than 1-2m for any kind of work.

that said, besides wood he's about the best thing going in the pen...which is sad.

Would it have prevented all 23 losses, no of course not. Would it have prevented a lot of them, certainly.

Hawkins alone blew what, 4 games as closer? If he pitched like he has as a setup guy throughout his career, you'd not only get those games back, you'd have one more inning where you had a guy you can count on.

This pen has had stretches where they've been dependable, not surprisingly, its been when they've had 2 guys get hot at the same time, providing go-to guys in the 7th and 8th innings. If you had a dependable 8th inning guy all year, you've gone a long way to fixing the bullpen.

so far youre telling me "closer mentality" and "moving patteson around" has ruined this team.

At this point, you're just going out of your way to miss my point.

But since it appears you think a manager has no responsibilities other than setting the line-up, it shouldn't come as a shock.

i dunno what makes you think hawkins throws any differently in inning 8 than inning 9..he throws the same stuff no matter the inning...1 or 8 or're being lured by numbers.

no, i dont believe in closer's mentality unless the pitcher is physically falling apart...hawkins is one of the most stoic pitchers in the game...he could give up 10 runs and probally not show an inch of emotion. his lack of emotion is actually pretty legendary. he's a very weird dude.

i also dont believe in clutch.

i dont see how mixing up any of the pitching this organization has had this year could produce anything more than what we've had.

at the time of hawkins closing there was only 1 pitcher worth a damn in the pen...wuertz...

dempster is not good.

my point, in case its not clear is i see players doing this, not dusty manipulating them into doing this.

"since it appears you think a manager has no responsibilities other than setting the line-up"

the only thing keeping that from being untrue is the word "appears"

like i said earlier, ive commented on dusty/manager roles in this post and recent posts...go dig em up if youre interested in my views...maybe if im bored later i'll do it for you.

Crunch, I said it appears that way because I've asked a simple straightforward question that you've still refused to answer.

And I'm sorry, if you think Hawkins isn't affected by pressure, you've simply not been paying any attention.

He failed as the closer in Minnesota, but he did well as a set-up man. With the Cubs in 2004, he did well as a set-up man, but failed as a closer. In 2005, he failed with the Cubs, but has done quite well as a set-up man in San Fran, except for 3 days when he came back to Chicago and had to face the pressure of Wrigley again. That's not being lured by numbers, that's facing reality.

i answered your question...and i told you im not gonna go through the trouble of summing up a year+ worth of posts do it yourself if youre interested...cuz im not.

i told you where to find out.

and i still dont buy the hawkins arguements at all.

my opinion on this matter is no more valid than yours...its not "the way it is"...its your opinion.

if youre interested, go find out...if not, well...whatever.

Sorry, Crunch, but you've been posting about 60 times a thread lately, each time explaining what ISN'T the managers fault. If somewhere in there you explained what he is responsible for, I didn't catch it. The fact that you keep hiding from what should be a very simple question, makes me doubt I'd find the answer if I spend hours going though all of your recent posts.

As far as Hawkins goes, he consistantly succeeds in non-pressure situations and consistantly fails in pressure situations. If you don't want to call it a fact, fine, technically, its a theory with an overwhelming amount of evidence to back it up, and almost no evidence to contradict it.

fine blue...

you shouldnt have to be told what a manager is responsible for, but here's a primer...

1- keeping 25-40 players understanding their roles for 200+ days

2- making a lineup

3- dealing with players in a way they can understand...that means chewing out a guy or handling him with kid's gloves...whatever gets your best result

4- having the respect of your players

5- knowing the ability of your players

now...there's more to it, ive said it before, but if you're so curious yet dont wanna do the work and just blah blah at me...whatever...this is all you get.

you want more, go get it...i have a "paper trail" on this site a mile long.

this is stuff ALL managers should be able to do and its not in order of importance...

now...if youre gonna continue to treat me like a child, you can stop now.

if you REALLY wanna know what i think, you do the sure people are sick of reading this. this is something ive hashed over plenty and if youre interested, you'll go find out.

now that ive said some very elementary things we ALL should know, what in the hell are you gonna do with it now? i dont know why, out of all the things ive said on this board, that this is so important to you besides to take what i say and try to bitch about it.

this is stuff that dont even need to be said.

if its my baseball knowlege you're calling into question, fine...i dont need your props to know what i see and what i know.

a manager cannot turn crap into gold.

you cant polish a turd.

a major league manager isnt a little league coach.

Why do we always outhit the other team, yet lose-

Umm, fundementals anyone?

05 cubs...putting the duh in fundamentals.

Crunch, honestly, I was just curious what your thoughts were on what a managers job is, because over the past several days/weeks I've see you go on at great lengths to tell us what things are not Dusty's responsibility. You even followed up your message with two more things that a manager isn't!

Since you could explain to great lengths what a manager isn't, I just thought it would be refreshing to hear your thoughts on what he actually should be doing.

Believe it or not, I wasn't trying to prove any great points, at least not until you tryed to get 2 steps in front of me and got me going on other topics.

05 cubs...putting the duh in fundamentals.

Well said

blue..that's cool..when its all said and done we're cubs fans even if we look at the team and what's important to it in different ways.

im not trying to gloss all this over, but that truely is the way it is.

anyone who posts more than a few times a week is gonna attract some static automatically...that's just the way it is.

no matter what's said and etc. i realize everything i say is pretty much a permanent record leaving a "paper trail" for me here.

i think a lotta people expect too much from a manager and what his role is on a team.

the sad thing is above all the crap i dont even care who runs the club, i just think dusty is pretty damn ordinary compared to the rest of the league and his impact is a lotta nothing compared to other issues we've had the past couple years.

just like i dont believe there's such a thing as a closer/reliever who's worth 8+ million bucks, i sure as hell dont believe there's a manager in the game worth 3-4+ million a year.

that alone says a lot about what i think of dusty's worth.

"Why do we always outhit the other team, yet lose-

Umm, fundementals anyone?"

Ummm, timely hitting maybe....

Crunch is basically right. The talent, particularly in the outfield is not there. When you have guys with a low OBP and not much speed, you are going to an offense that looks pretty much like this, with lots of runners left on base. Listen, in Baseballprospectus Nate Silver has a system called PECOTA for projecting performance. Except for Corey Patterson, who has collapsed, most the Cubs players, including NEFI! have produced at or above the mean of their expected performance objectives. So they are doing as well as one can expect, its just they are not good enough offensively.

The Cubs pitching has underperformed. That is why they have a losing record, instead of being in the wild card chase with a mediocre but winning record. The variablity of pitching makes it always a crap shoot. For both Prior and Maddux this year, when they make a mistake the hitters always seem to hit it on the noise and out of the park. I read in the N.Y. Times about how Randy Johnson was shaking his head about Widger's home run. Some of this is just pure bad luck, and when folks have looked at it, luck does not even out over a season. Wood being hurt really exposed our second line pitching and a lack of depth noted by McPhail (to bad he did not think of that when he told Hendry there was no money in the budget for Clement).

Things Dusty can blamed for: starting Nefi/Corey 1 and 2 in the line-up for June and early July.

Switching the plan at the beginning of the season and making Hawkins the closer and Dempster a starter. Besides putting Hawkins in a role in which Hawkins had already failed in twice, it left the Cubs without a reliable set up pitcher in the 7th and 8th innings.

Things to blame Hendry for: Not picking up a left fielder, preferably left handed hitting, before the beginning of the season and not releasing Remlinger if he could not be traded and picking up veteran lefty only one out guy, a role Rem can't perform. This is an example of being pennywise (not wanting to eat a contract) and pound foolish (all those homers Remmy gave up and the general weakness of the bullpen).

Just to be clear, I don't think either Hendry or Dusty should be fired. No one's perfect (except for John Schuerholz). At least Hendry did not give $16 million to Christian Guzman (now that's a firing offense Jim Bowden!).

Regarding fundamentals and execution, this group of players, both in 2004 and 2005, really does seem to have a problem. It has been noted by observers who are pretty objective such as Dave Campbell of ESPN. I think if you check with the fans of any club, most will recall nights where their team's players made some terrible boners on the bases and in the field and left runners on third. But I will say this about the Cubs, if you collect a team with heady players (say Dave Eckstein), you will get heady play. If you collect a team that emphasizes tools, you will get at toolsy team that may not be very heady (say Corey).

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