Monday, July 13, 2009

Acta Out as Manager

Last night the Nationals fired their Manager Manny Acta and replaced him with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Now plenty of people will talk about how Acta wasn't given a fair chance as manager, or that Nationals shouldn't have made this move. But personally as a Nats fan I think this move was long over due.

Manny Acta has a career record of 158 wins to 252 losses. That's a .385 winning percentage and his record has gotten worse each season. When Acta was first hired the Nats were a combination of retreads (Belliard, D. Young), AAAA players (N. Logan, B. Traber ect.) and a few quality pieces (C. Cordero, R. Zimmerman). They were expected to finish last in the N.L. East, and have the worst record in baseball. They were a team with no minor league talent, and a piecemeal roster. Acta led them to a 73-89 record and a 4th place finish in the N.L. East.

In year two Acta had Christian Guzman and Nick Johnson returning from injury, the resurgence of Belliard and Young, and two new athletic young outfielders with potential (Milledge and Dukes). He also had the emergence of some bright young players (J. Flores, J. Lannan ect.), and a bench made up of major league talent. Acta's Nationals went 59-102 to finish with the worse record in baseball. Now I will be the first to say that the injury bug hit the Nationals hard, every starter outside of Guzman spent some time on the D.L. Now no one thought the Nats were a playoff team last year, or that they could over come these injuries. But that doesn't excuse the worst record in baseball. Sure the Nats had to rely on a number of replacement players, but these guys were more talented than the AAAA players that won 73 games the year before.

Finally it brings us to year three of the Acta tenure. The Nationals are finally healthy and went out and brought in some actual talent. They added Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham to their lineup and Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel to their pitching staff. In addition the Nationals farm system began producing some talent this year with two young pitchers (J. Zimmerman and S. Martis) set to join the rotation. Willingham and Dunn have been major additions to the offensive output of the Nats. Each has an OPS north of .900 and have combined for 35 home runs (nearly half of the Nationals total). Again no one thought they Nats would be fighting in October for a playoff spot, but the expectation that they could be around .500 and fight for 3rd in the division wasn't unrealistic. Instead the Nationals have a 26-61 record, which is good for a .299 winning percentage and the worst record in baseball.

I think its time that Acta should be held accountable for his team's performance. I don't think he's a bad manager, but just not right for this ball club. His record has gotten worse as his team's talent level has risen. I don't know how you can spin that any other way than to blame the manager. Acta has not seemed able to handle the big league personalities or get the most out of his players. The Nationals with back to back years of futility need a change of face. This isn't a true "rebuilding" team. Every starter right now with the exception of Zimmerman (J. Flores is on the D.L.) is 29 or older. Their starting rotation has promise and a bright future, but they aren't there yet. The bullpen is in complete shambles and will need a complete overhaul after the season. Now I don't think this move will change much in Nats Town, but I think it was the right move. The Nats need to start rebuilding and hopefully can bring in a new manager to get the most out of the talent on the team.

No comments:

Post a Comment