Indians

Acta Goes Down, But Antonetti Should Have Gone With Him

Manny Acta Chris Antonetti

Full disclosure right off the bat: I am in the tank for Manny Acta.

Say what you want to say about Acta the manager, but the man himself is a true gem. Anyone who has covered him, seen him speak in public, or was lucky enough to cross paths with him can’t help but like him. He is the definition of the word “personable.”

In the end, personality can only get you so far. The results on the field are what matter most, and when you are 214-266 in almost three full years while overseeing back to back late season collapses, likability no longer matters.

Manny Acta lost his job yesterday to the surprise of nobody. The timing of it all was a little odd, but as GM Chris Antonetti explained it, it was done with the players exit interviews in mind. Acta tried everything he could with this year’s bunch, from coddling them to getting in their faces, which included a team meeting in Seattle where he tore into his sagging group. But as one unnamed player told Indians.com beat reporter Jordan Bastian “by that time, it was too late.”

I was always under the impression that the players all loved going to war with Manny. But reports yesterday were that his laid back demeanor was not favored by some in the clubhouse.

The most interesting quotes came from veterans Joe Smith and Jack Hannahan:

“Our team for whatever reason didn’t seem motivated to play,” Smith said. “It’s sad when you say that about a bunch of guys that get paid to play a game. You shouldn’t need somebody else to motivate you to play this game. At the end of the day, it’s on us, but when it came that time to motivate us, there wasn’t a whole lot of it there. He was always a good guy to us personally. You can’t say anything bad about him in that way.”

“I’ve respected the fact that Manny was a manager that let his veterans do the policing,” Hannahan said. “That’s something that I respected about him. This is the big leagues. You don’t need a babysitter in the big leagues. You need veterans to lead the way.”

No players would bash him on the record of course, but it won’t shock anyone of after the season Mr. quote himself Chris Perez has something to say on the topic.

Manny deserved much better than this, but he had to know this was coming. Even the most ardent Acta supporters1 knew that he wasn’t going to make it through. I can’t sit here and say he deserves another year after what I witnessed after the All-Star break. Going 21-50 is inexcusable, especially in the sad sack AL Central. There is no doubt a change needed to be made.

But this is far from Acta’s fault.

The thing that disturbed me the most in yesterday’s press conference discussing Acta’s dismissal, was Paul Dolan’s steadfast and ardent support of Antonetti, the guy who put this complete mess of a roster together. Team President Mark Shapiro told the media that he and the Dolan ownership are staying the course with the man who has set the organization back two to three years with his horrific 2012 performance.

“I feel he’s controlled the bulk of what he can control well,” Shapiro explained. “Paul (Dolan) and I still endorse strongly (Antonetti’s) vision for how we can be competitive and, ultimately, a championship team. We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.”

I say shame on you, Paul. Throwing Acta to the wolves was the easy thing to do. He is your ready-made scapegoat. But was he the guy who chose to have Grady Sizemore be your big free agent signing in October when NOBODY ELSE would have taken a chance on him until February? Was Acta the guy who thought Johnny Damon and Shelley Duncan as the left field platoon was a good idea? Was it Acta who decided to put together a lineup that was nothing but left-handed bats and featured two all-glove, no-hit corner men? Was it Acta who thought Ubaldo Jimenez was worth selling your two best pitching prospects?

I could go on and on. The guy who should be losing his job along with Acta is Antonetti. When unearthing Esmil Rogers is the move you hang your hat on, it’s probably not a good sign. There is no depth at AA or AAA to speak of. September was a 4-A convention. The team had chances to sell high on both Chris Perez and Shin-Soo Choo at the deadline and did nothing.

Antonetti’s record as a GM is as poor as Acta’s as a manager.

The Dolan’s are in full face saving mode, yet they can’t even get this right. Sure, promoting Sandy Alomar Jr. is the right move for now, but anyone who thinks he won’t get the job permanently is fooling them self. Save your Terry Francona pipe dreams. The guy isn’t coming here. He can sit back and wait for the right job and get paid in excess of $5 million to do so. Why would he come here to manage this train wreck under the current ownership?

Sandy is 100 percent going to get the job because A) He will come cheap, and B) He is a Tribe legend from the “Era of Champions.” He will bring in Kenny Lofton as one of his coaches and it will make many Tribe fans feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Nostalgia is the Dolan’s only card to play. What are they selling on the field?

Any credibility they had locally2 was lost when they announced yesterday that Antonetti would be back next year as GM. Tell me what he has done to warrant another year?

Things are only going to get worse over the next few years, no matter who the manager is. I feel sorry for Acta. He lost his job because Antonetti handed him a water pistol for a machine gun fight.

_____

Image Source: AP Photo

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Footnotes:

  1. I’m captain of that team []
  2. which was close to none anyways []
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  • boomhauertjs

    Shapiro must have some incriminating stuff on the Dolans. Or they are just really dumb.

  • SummitOmar

    Cosign in the biggest way!!! Antonetti made this mess and he deserves to be throw out the door too.

  • MrCleaveland

    Antonetti is a good guy and all, but it takes a heap of gall to say, “We’re disappointed that we were not able to win more consistently UNDER MANNY’S LEADERSHIP.”

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey
  • mgbode

    we don’t have to fire Antonetti, but we sure should “promote” him to sit in the same closet with Mirabelli while the rest of the FO has baseball discussions.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    The handwriting was on the wall and everyone including Manny (Acta) knew it was coming. I agree with the others who found many of Antonetti’s words empty but that’s how it goes. I won’t “go in the tank” for anyone associated with the Indians not anymore so you can say what you want about Acta he got a raw deal no doubt but at the same time he’ll never be confused with the Joe Torre’s of the world.

    Unfortunately for Cleveland you will still have one son in town running a professional franchise who clearly is in over his head for whatever reasons.

  • Clown Baby

    My favorite thing yesterday was Shapiro saying on Twitter, and I’m paraphrasing, that if the club wanted to make a wholesale change then pulling the new manager lever was the only option (end paraphrase). Really Mark? The Manager is the only person that can be held responsible? Joke.

  • Steve

    We’ve had this discussion many times over. But as long as TD is going to write the exact same thing over and over, so will I. The big problem with Antonetti was the Jimenez deal, and I’m not so sure that most of that shouldn’t be on the coaching staff.

    Despite all the moaning about the lineup, the team was still average offensively (adjust for the park, people!). And I would love to see your evidence that Sizemore wouldn’t have been signed until February.

    I buy mgbode’s criticism that the smaller deals have, by and large, not worked out under Antonetti more than anything TD says. I don’t think they’re worth harping on, but we do need more hits there.

    Maybe I’m too nice of a guy, but I don’t fire Antonetti because of the Jimenez deal. I give someone who is considered bright across the entire league a chance to redeem himself.

  • thepaledragon

    What does firing Antonetti solve? Who do you replace him with? He doesn’t have a history of bad moves as he does of making moves that look like good bets on paper, but have had a really bad run of luck in terms of actually delivering.

    Ubaldo? Front of the line starter who needed a change of scenery and was cheaper than any FA starter. Coaching staff failed to correct his mechanical issues.

    Sizemore? Cut him loose then re-signed him to a club-friendlier contract. Took a gamble that he could come back and play. Didn’t work out.

    Damon? Accomplished veteran signed to a very affordable deal. Didn’t work out, but didn’t cost the team much, either. It’s not like he was blocking a can’t miss prospect.

    Willingham? With as little revenue as the team brings in, it’s fair to question whether they could afford the extra year. If Willingham bombed here, it could have been another albatross contract.

    As for dealing Choo or Perez, at the deadline our losing streak was starting but we still didn’t know how far we would fall. Also, trading takes two. If Antonetti sold either of those guys for cents on the dollar, he’d never hear the end of it. It’s lose-lose.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    “Sandy is 100 percent going to get the job because A) He will come cheap,
    and B) He is a Tribe legend from the “Era of Champions.” He will bring
    in Kenny Lofton as one of his coaches and it will make many Tribe fans
    feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Nostalgia is the Dolan’s only card to
    play.”

    This! This times five trillion.

    These jokes at the top of our organization are willing to sell an “experience” built around fireworks and fun giggly things; all while trying to pull the wool over our eyes about how BAD the talent is by shoving CRAP like “what if” and past greats in our face. I’m not buying it anymore.

  • Steve

    So, I went back and looked at how TD felt about certain moves before they happened, because it is important to take out the hindsight.

    In regards to this team possibly collapsiing – “I don’t see happening”

    On what kind of roster that Antonetti fielded – “Just take a deep breath and know that the Indians still will field a
    quality young team in 2012, even if they keep their current roster and
    don’t add a first baseman. The rotation is solid. The bullpen is back
    and deep. The lineup top to bottom, if healthy, has a ton of potential.”

    On the LF situation – “Nobody doubts Damon’s bat”

    Does this sound like a guy who thought Acta was given a water pistol? Of course not. I’d think most of the consensus was that we’d be above .500 but short of the playoffs, so that we’re finishing with 90+ losses should mean we look at the guy firing the gun.

  • Steve

    Except that the fans have been demanding for years to bring the 90s players back. They sold out the place when Lofton and Thome came back for short stings. People still wanted to bring Omar back this year (and will next year). The Dolans didn’t really get into the nostalgia too much until last year, when the fans had long been making it obvious that they just wanted to relive the 90s.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    You know why fans have been demanding 90s players back? Because this team is garbage.

  • Steve

    So, that means we should want Omar’s.235/.266/.282 line around? For some reasons, fans in this town think the 90s would never end, and there was some magic in those players that we can just conjure back up.

  • JRS19

    Antonetti on the Tribe’s draft: “Its of the utmost
    importance that we get our drafts right.” I think this one was pretty
    obvious, but its good to hear our GM say it out loud. I’d rather have
    honesty at the top.

    More fun with quotes! This is taken from the June 2011 article that was linked above.

    Look, I’m not an apologist for the FO and think they’ve made their share of ill-advised and bone-headed decisions, but in our market what can you do? You have to reach and hope for the best. Sometimes the leaves just don’t turn. We would all have hedged our bets in April on the Tribe having a better record than BAL or OAK. On paper, their lineups looked far worse than the Tribe. But, things went those teams’ way and didn’t here. A big difference, though, is the on-field leadership. Melvin runs a different lineup out every night and along with his staff has juggled a rotation that lost 3 starters in-season and 2 in the off-season. Showalter works magic with the O’s relievers and has guys with some pretty average talent (save Jones, Wieters, and the injured Markakis) playing lights out. I’m not privy to the innerworkings of the these teams’ clubhouses, but I have to think Antonetti noticed Melvin and Showalter maximizing talent and Acta and Co. not. That’s why I’m not sold on Sandy. Unless he was underutilized this year, (doubtful with the support he got from Acta) he played a role in this blase attitude that seems to have invoke Antonetti’s ire. Antonetti’s job is to make changes and as long as Dolan grants him that power he can do it. Better than letting Acta coming back and then being pushed out in May.

  • EyesAbove

    “We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.”

    Umm….

  • Grif_E

    Despite what an opportunity it will be for him, and the job title he wants; I feel just as sorry for Alomar as Acta. Particularly because I’m lockstep with your (TD) opinion on the manager “search.”

  • JRS19

    Additionally, and I hesitate to speculate on matters I am not witness to, but I have a feeling Antonetti probably felt that Acta should have gotten in Perez’s face and dealt with him more in-house. Perhaps “Pure Rage” just cannot be caged, but strong managers come down hard on their players and prevent behavior like his from being a pattern. Part of the job of keeping things “in the clubhouse” as they say. Sure, Antonetti could have suspended Perez himself, but why suspend one of your best players when the manager might be looking the other way.

  • markn95

    Ubaldo? “Cheaper than any FA starter.”

    Sizemore? “Re-signed him to a club-friendlier contract.”

    Damon? “Signed to a very affordable deal.”

    Willingham? “It’s fair to question whether they could afford another year.”

    No offense, but it sounds like you’re defending Antonetti to the Dolans and not to the fans. Yes, all of those moves, above, saved the team money. None of them made the team any better on the field. The ownership cares much more about the former than the latter. I hope they’re happy when 2013 season ticket renewals fall to the bottom of Lake Erie.

  • Steve

    There is a large difference between being unwilling to spend and being unable to.

  • mgbode

    i don’t care about Damon. $1mil/year vet’s are run-of-the-mill.

    but, Sizemore was considered bidding against ourselves at the time, Ubaldo is certainly on our scouts/FO, and Willingham is understandable (he had injury history and never hit like this year). Lowe was a bust (though understandable at the time).

    but, why didn’t we go after Kubel, Cuddyer, or another LF? there were guys out there (we were also out-bid on Cespedes by the A`s and he’s been good).

    honestly, the problem is over the past 2 offseasons/seasons Antonetti has been in control, I do not see 1 good FA signing. not 1 good trade. the draft is Bud Grant’s baby. so, what is he doing well that makes him ‘uniquely qualified’ ?

  • nj0

    Fouquier-Tinville would be proud.

  • mgbode

    i agree. we have limits. it’s why it makes deals for an injured Sizemore, Kerry Wood, etc. hurt that much more. We are not only wasting money, but we don’t have any to waste.

  • mgbode

    it worked in 2007 with Kenny Lofton :)

    (cmon, you knew that was coming)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Willingham hit a year ago too so that’s now two straight years. No clue on Kubel, Cuddyer or Cespedes.

  • mgbode

    Nope. Willingham had an OPS+ of 121 last year. That is okay, but people are really mad because he had an OPS+ of 144 this year.

    And, that’s not all going from Oakland to Minny either because he had similar splits in Washington and Florida (and h/r splits weren’t massive most years).

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yea you are right they shouldn’t have signed him he clearly didn’t have the OPS to warrant being on the Indians.

  • mgbode

    sure, try to switch the argument around. look, last offseason, he was a guy with around a 120OPS+ who played an average of 120 games per season due to injuries and wanted a long-term deal.
    seeing that we already had a 120OPS+ player who played around 100games per season due to injuries, we passed when he asked for too many years.
    now, why didn’t we go after the next tier of OFers is beyond me.

  • SDA

    If you are unable to spend then sell. This is our old argument, If you buy a team to make a profit then I don’t want you as an owner! The best owners are those that want to win first.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I didn’t switch anyting you obviously agreed with Antonetti and I didn’t this isn’t the first time we have disagreed and it most certainly won;t be the last. Not with the pathetic baseball team. And for the record I believe Willingham asked for an additional year not years. I know how alot of you look to be precise in discussions so I felt the need to make that correction.

  • saggy

    you mean he HAD an OPS of +144. he’s done for the year.

    and his injury could be shoulder-related, which could mean he will miss next year, too. So, all of the sudden, 30 homers over 2 years don’t look that good.

    IMO, you can blame Ant and Acta, but we all know who really is to blame with this team.

  • mgbode

    we offered 2 years, he wanted 3 years. so, yes he asked for too many years. semantics :)

  • mgbode

    yeah, bud selig and the conglomeration of owners (including our own) who refuse to stick a stake in the ground and allow the difference between the haves and have-nots grow deeper.

  • Steve

    I wish we all lived in your fantasyland. Unfortunately we do not. Even Illitch made sure he made money on the Tigers, until the NHL salary cap was established.

  • Kennethbert

    Dolanmustsell.com

  • kennethbert

    dolansmustsell.com sign this to make change start happening