July 29, 2014

Comparing Manny Acta to Colt McCoy

Manny Acta is a great guy, but is he good enough to not consider his replacement?

The Cleveland Indians are a disaster. Whenever a team im/explodes this much it is difficult to figure out who to blame other than everyone. That seems to be the case. Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti are getting plenty of the blame for names like Ubaldo, Hafner, and Sizemore. The sale of the Cleveland Browns has made the despising of the Dolans a sexier pass-time than it has been since the Eric Wedge days. Of course the manager hasn’t escaped criticism either. Fans’ pet peeves about Manny Acta’s unwillingness to argue calls have become amplified with each subsequent loss. Manny Acta is just a part of the problem, but he also hasn’t made the best of a bad situation and is game to be fired just like everyone else. It got me thinking last night that in many ways, Manny Acta is just like Colt McCoy.

Manny Acta was given Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon. Colt McCoy was given a still-injured Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya. Manny Acta has Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore while Colt McCoy had Tony Pashos and Peyton Hillis. Colt McCoy broke camp a year ago with Brian Robiskie as a big part of his offensive game-plan. Manny Acta has been given Aaron Cunningham and Brent Lillibridge. To say that Colt McCoy got a fair shake would be like saying Manny Acta should have been able to win the division with this bunch of guys.

Just like Colt McCoy though, Manny Acta’s future in Cleveland needs to be considered this off-season. While he was handed a raw deal of sorts, it still stands to reason that he isn’t good enough to bet on going forward. Could he do better with more bullets in his gun? Sure, but so could anyone.

That’s what the Browns decided this off-season when they drafted Brandon Weeden. I believed Mike Holmgren when he said that he didn’t think Colt McCoy got a great shot a year ago. I believe him when he says that he thinks Colt McCoy can be a better player and maybe even a legit NFL starter. The problem comes when calculating probabilities. Obviously the Browns felt like the probability of Colt McCoy becoming a guy they could win with was too remote for them to bet on, so they went and drafted Brandon Weeden.

Just like Holmgren and Heckert with McCoy, I have no doubt that Manny Acta can do better with a better team. Much like with Brandon Weeden, I’m not willing to bet the future of the club on it. McCoy wasn’t good enough to not go out and draft Brandon Weeden, and Manny Acta isn’t good enough to not to keep looking for the future manager for the Cleveland Indians. I’m sure you know know where this is going now.

Sandy Alomar is going to get a job managing somewhere in baseball. It would be a shame if Manny Acta’s presence in Cleveland kept the Indians from being the ones who find out just how good Alomar can be as a manager. Sure, there’s some sentimentality surrounding the presence of Sandy Alomar, but that isn’t even close to the heart of it. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t projecting Sandy Alomar to be a Major League manager back in the 90s when he was crouching behind the dish for the Tribe. This isn’t a case of making Bernie Kosar the GM for the Browns because we all love Bernie. This is a guy who is qualified for the job, and someone else is actually going to hire him to do it sooner rather than later.

All those pet peeves about Manny Acta are just enough proof that the Indians should consider making a change. Acta may not be “the problem,” but he also hasn’t done enough with this decidedly bad hand. He certainly hasn’t done enough to stop serious consideration of replacing him.

  • TD

    Spot on comparison…and a great looking kid in that photo!

  • AMC

    Whether it’s a player or a coach/manager the only question is – can this person help lead us to a championship?

    Given some of Colt’s physical limitations (that are out of his control) I was fairly comfortable with the Browns coming to the conclusion that it was unlikely that Colt could lead the Browns to the Super Bowl. (Whether Weeden can or not is fairly irrelevant – if Colt can’t then you need to get a new QB. Even if Weeden flames out, it doesn’t necessarily mean Hecket and Holmgren were wrong about McCoy in the first instance.)

    The jury’s out to me on Acta. The fact that the team has imploded 2 years straight is certainly not on the helpful side of the ledger. He’s never had a winning record in any season as a manger but he’s also been unquestionably burdened by lousy rosters in Washington and Cleveland.

    Regardless of the verdict on Acta, the bigger problem to me is Antonetti (and possibly Shapiro). If the Dolans aren’t going to spend they need to find the right front office types to make them playoff contenders. The Rays have managed to be relevant despite spending constraints and the A’s are doing it this year again too. Antonetti has conclusively proven he cannot make the Dolans’ model work. Now granted, the Dolans’ model stinks, but the Rays are proving it’s possible to execute if the right moves are made. Time to cut the cord on Antonetti. If Acta is also ousted as a result of that move because the new GM wants his own guy, I’m not going to be too upset about it.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Please for Sandy Alomar’s sake I hope they don’t fire Acta. I don’t want Sandy’s first managerial job to be with this team he deserves better. Hire Jim Thome let him be a player manager that way they can build him another statue!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The kid wasn’t old enough or have red hair to be Weeden though.

  • mgbode

    the Rays, Royals, and Pirates model of competing includes being a bottom 5 in MLB team long enough to acrue a ton of elite-level prospects through the rule 4 draft.

    As, Reds, and Diamondbacks are the examples to follow. Each of these teams has home-grown elite players and couple them with finding pitching wherever possible. Each has done it one a tight budget and more in trades than FA. And, they have done it without a huge dropoff for more than a decade to get there.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Very true except the Rays continue to develop players especially pitching so I think they’ve distinguished themselves from the other two. But don’t sleep on the Pirates they’ve had a few nice drafts here lately as well so they may not be a one and done as far as good seasons go.

    I think I’ll pull for the Reds I mean they seem to do pretty well for that large market in Ohio, wait, huh? ;-)

  • Mike E

    what does this even mean?

  • dwhit110

    If they fire Acta and keep Antonetti… I won’t even know what to say. Complete cluster F of talent acquisition this year.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Acta was compared to McCoy since Acta is hugging the kid in the photo the kid could be construed as being Weeden. Ok so it was a reach, a weak grounder back to the pitcher – call me Casey Kotchman!

  • Mike E

    ahhhhh i gotcha now…….thanks!

  • mgbode

    the Rays do a phenomenal job with young pitching in the minors. i am not sure if that is more scouting, development, but likely it is some combination of both. we need more of that here, yes.

    the Reds are such a great example to follow. their payroll hasn’t been much higher than ours (until this year) and they utilized good drafting to build their team.

    i never said the Pirates were a 1yr thing. it just took them 21 years to build up this thing they currently have (the past 8 years is where they really turned around their farm system). i’d like to avoid that if possible.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea I know wasn’t one of my better ones what can I say,lol.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I had to check the standings I didn’t realize TB was that far up and to think that was without Longoria too. The Mad Scientist Madden continues to earn his respect. The Rays develop pitching the way the Indians developed hitters in the late ’90s. One after another after another. I don’t know if we’ll ever see something like that on the pitching side. Never really did I mean they developed CC then traded for Lee but that’s all I can remember really.

    I’m pulling for the Rays and A’s although I must admit I’m hoping the Angels get in so I can see more of Mike Trout. He’s an absolute beast reminds me of a young but much better Grady Sizemore.

    That contract they gave Chapman was insane you ever think you’ll see the day the Indians do something like that? Yea me either, lol. The Reds have actually been playing better without Votto which is scary.

    The NL has alot of good stories – Reds, Pirates and Nationals. Hope all three make it. Time for some new playoff blood.

  • Steve

    “Manny Acta was given Shelley Duncan and Johnny Damon. Colt McCoy was
    given a still-injured Montario Hardesty and Chris Ogbonnaya. Manny Acta
    has Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore while Colt McCoy had Tony Pashos
    and Peyton Hillis. Colt McCoy broke camp a year ago with Brian Robiskie
    as a big part of his offensive game-plan. Manny Acta has been given
    Aaron Cunningham and Brent Lillibridge”

    Acta was also give Choo, Santana, Kipnis, Cabrera, Brantley, Chisenhall, Masterson, Jimenez (there’s still talent to work with there), and that bullpen. Let’s not pretend that Cunningham, a defensive replacement was expected to do as much as Robiskie was or that Duncan/Damon were expected to do the heavy lifting like a RB has to do. The only guy you mention for the Indians that was given a role or contract that expected significant contribution was Hafner. Meanwhile everyone but Ogbonnaya was for the Browns. There is a vast gulf between those two sets of names.

  • Harv 21

    Like Manny a lot, and put the brunt of this on the Antonetti-Dolan combination. But still, one thing a manager can do is keep the players from going into a trance-like state and keep them playing hard. A passionless stretch like this, an 11 game losing streak followed immediately by a 6+ game streak and general lifelessness is a sign of a manager who’s been tuned out. And it’s pretty hard to get the same players to tune back in, even next season.

    Usually it’s an imploding bullpen that sucks the fight out of a team. This team isn’t fighting back in the innings it has after the starter’s nightly breakdown. Manny has to do something to make them at least fight and not join in the pity party.

  • Anne

    Try comparing the manager to the coach. There are p,layers and managers in baseball and players and coaches in football. Comparing ca coach to a player is like comparing apples and oranges — a false comparison.

    Try comparing Shurmur and Acta. That works..