Monday, July 13, 2009
The Washington Nationals finally, after weeks of speculation, fired manager Manny Acta today. On the surface, the reasons appear obvious. The Nationals enter the All-Star break in terrible shape, with a 26-61 record, worst in the majors. However, if you watch the Nationals as much as I have (which is only about 15 games this year) you will quickly notice that the combined spirits of Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, and Leo Durocher could not wring much more than 60 wins a year out of this club. They have plenty of fine hitters, but the rotation and relief corps are beyond meh.
For this reason, I feel sorry for Manny. Because the Nats front office failed to put together even a moderately below-average pitching staff, Acta may never get a chance to manage again. Sure, he'll probably catch on as a bench coach or base coach somewhere down the line, but that's just not the same (both in terms of prestige and salary). Is it Manny's fault the Nats bullpen found new ways to implode against the Marlins so many times this year? No. In fact, if I were Manny, I would be blaming one person in particular.
Jim Bowden became GM of the Nats in November 2004. He resigned earlier this year on the heels of an FBI investigation into the alleged skimming of signing bonuses from Dominican prospects. During his tenure, he assembled what is clearly the worst collection of talent on the big-league level. He is the reason Manny is out of a job, and potentially out of managing for life. Manny, I know a good lawyer who has done tons of labor-relations work. If you want his contact info, drop the blog an e-mail, and I will be happy to help. You shouldn't suffer because Gob Bluth can't run a front office.