Blog Entry

Indians act: Acta new skipper

Posted on: October 25, 2009 4:09 pm

The Indians have hired Manny Acta as manager, which clearly means one of two things:

Either Cleveland knows something Washington didn't.

Or the Nationals were more of a bottomless pit than even they knew.

There isn't much middle ground, is there? Battling two seriously disappointing seasons in the past three years, a restless fan base and declining attendance, the Indians have hired a man with a .385 career winning percentage as a manager. Acta went 158-252 in just under three seasons as manager of the Nationals.

Acta always has been a respected baseball man, and many within the industry know that the Nationals' problems went far beyond the manager's chair the past couple of seasons.

Yet, the Nats showed enough improvement under interim manager Jim Riggleman after they fired Acta that they continue to view Riggleman as a legitimate candidate for their full-time manager's job.

Under Riggleman in 2009, the Nats played .440 ball, going 33-42.

Under Acta in '09, the Nats played .229 ball, going 26-61.

And yet ... Acta reportedly was among the three finalists in Houston as well, along with former Astros skipper Phil Garner and Boston bench coach Brad Mills.

Clearly, Acta, despite the Nationals' belly flop, immediately is a man in demand on the managerial circuit this winter.

The Indians signed him to a three-year deal after also interviewing Bobby Valentine and minor-league skipper Torey Lovullo last week. They had intended to interview Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly later this week.

So which is it?

Acta, 40, under-managed an already hopelessly over-matched team?

Or Acta has enough managerial chops to overcome even the Nationals' taint?

The Indians have committed themselves to finding out.

And one way or the other, I have a feeling, in the end, there won't be much middle ground here, either.


One other note on Acta: Even with a .385 career winning percentage, he's still the most winning major-league manager the Indians have hired since John McNamara in 1990.

That's because, as the legendary Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points out, since the Indians fired Alvin Dark in 1970, they've hired a manager with major-league experience only three other times: Dave Garcia (1979-1983), Pat Corrales (1983-1987) and McNamara (1990-1991).

Since McNamara, the Indians had hired three consecutive managers with no major-league managing experience in Mike Hargrove (1992), Charlie Manuel (2000) and Eric Wedge (2003).

Tigers Choke
Since: Aug 7, 2009
Posted on: October 26, 2009 11:53 am
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Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: October 26, 2009 10:55 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper, and now Clee-Pitt

Your kind of right -- maybe Cleveland and Pittsburgh should merge franchises (staying in the AL Central).  Jacobs Field and PNC Park (or just one) will be empty eyesores at this rate.  Movement is probably not an option with all the potential new cities suffering some share of the downturn.

Since: Nov 30, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 10:42 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper

You forgot to mention the Cavs... that is an owner that doesn't care about spending money. You bring up the crap teams but not the good one with the GOOD owner. Go figure

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 8:26 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper

Nice comment of the Cleveland Indians.  However, I would say, overall, Mark Shapiro is NOT bad at talent evaluation.  Here is why: talent evaluation is broken into two components: (1) drafting prospects and (2) current players in a baseball system.
I would completely agree with you that Mark Shapiro and his scouting are horrible at identifying major league talent via the draft.  They continually demonstrate t
his year and year out.  This is a big problem.  You cant continue to draft the wrong players and hope to be able to compete in the MLB against teams like the Boston and New York.  Some of those players HAVE TO become good/all-star MLB players.
Conversely, Mark Shapiro does an excellent job at identifying MLB talent with platers that are already in a baseball system (i.e. AAA, AA, A).  Not many GM's in the league have a trade track record like Shapiro.  Yes, everyone knows the great Bartolo Colon trade.  But what about the other trades, such as: Einar Diaz and Ryan Drese for Travis Hafner; Ben Broussard for Shin-Soo Choo; Eduardo Perez for Asdrubal Cabrera; et al
The Indians had a bad season, but they are not far away from being a good time.  Carlos Santana will be up at some point in 2010 and he will quickly make all Indians fans forget about Victor Martinez.  Matt LaPorta at 1B could be good, but still uncertain.  Micheal Brantley might be the lead-off hitter we have been searching for.  Rondon and Gomez are not far away from the MLB club.  Both look to be studs.
In 2010, the Indians will be better, but not able to make the playoffs.  However, 2011, the Indians will be the team to beat in the AL Central.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 7:29 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper

I'm sure that if Acta had been made manager of the Yankees, he would win many more games than he will with the ownership, budget and talent pool that the Indians have. I WANT to be wrong, I WANT him to succeed..........just call it a 44 year hunch (I started watching the Indians in 1967), I DON'T see things turning around due to this hire.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: October 26, 2009 4:59 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper

I think this is a bit unfair to Acta. Now, Im not saying he's the next great manager in MLB, but to pin much of the Natinals failings on him is short-sighted. In 07 and 08, over the last 30 games, when they were hopelessly out of contention and just playing out the string, Acta went 28-32 (13-17 in 08 and 15-15 in 07). These are certainly not earth-shaking numbers, but at a .467 clip, is certainly above the normal winning percentage of your run of the mill Nats season. (Actually if you take JUST September in 07, the Nats were 15-12, but I went 30 games to keep consistent). The Nats schedule was front-loaded with 26 games against playoff teams played while Acta was manager (7-19 .269) and only 16 with Riggelman (2-14 .125). Acta also got all the interleague games, which the NL routinely gets whipped in (see: swept by Tampa). Under Acta they played 15 games against this year's World Series particpants (2-10 vs the Phillies 2-1 vs the Yankees) under Riggelman, 6 (1-5 vs Philly). Almost half of Riggleman's wins came in 2 shots, the 8 game win streak to open August (2 against Pit, 3 game sweep of Fla, and 3 game sweep of Arizona) and 7 to close the season (3 game sweep of the Mets, 4 game sweep of Atlanta), he was 18-42 (.300) the rest of the time. OK. this has been way more time than I ever thought Id spend analyzing the Nats, but the point is, you cant really judge Acta based just on his record with a complete joke of a franchise. Joe Torre was a sub .500 manager before landing with the Yankees you know. Now some consider him one of the best ever. (He's not, but still...) Good luck Cleveland.

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: October 26, 2009 4:45 am

okay seriously...

Shouldn't it be noted as a disclaimer somewhere in any article about the BLIndians that they punted BOTH starting pitchers in this World Series? I know it's tough out there for small market teams, but c'mon...

Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: October 26, 2009 12:47 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper

You hit it on the nail.....other players see it & there not going want to come here(free agents). This organization should shut their door & sell it to an owner that will spend money. They will never win a World Series in that city, so why play?

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: October 26, 2009 12:03 am

Indians act: Acta new skipper


We COULD have had Bobby Valentine and we hire Manny Acta?

The Browns, Eric Wright's Car and Now the Indians have ALL ROLLED OVER IN CLEVELAND!!!

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: October 25, 2009 9:27 pm

Indians act: Acta new skipper

This is 100% accurate.
I live in Cleveland.
I go to games.
He Feels My Pain !!

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