Modern baseball managers are wimps. They treat their players like prized hams, and make decisions that defy all common sense and logic. But it’s all in the name of keeping their job. Because job security is non-existent, managers are never allowed to truly relax. They make decisions that they can explain away in job interviews the following winter. It’s time for an overhaul. I would be the greatest manager that major league baseball has ever seen.
Most of a manager’s failures are the result of doing too much. That’s why I call MLB managers ‘micromanagers.’ Panic sets in when job insecurity is realized, but let’s use our brains rather than our nerves and manage a team the right way.
4 Pitcher Starting Rotation
Let’s face it. The only person who likes a 5th starter is his mother. But I get it. We live in an era of pitch counts. Hurlers are micromanaged from breakfast to bedtime. The experts say it’s for safety reasons, but come on now…
In 2012, the Washington Nationals “shutdown” pitcher Stephen Strasburg for the entire postseason. He was 24 years old, wasn’t injured, and his team was a huge favorite to win the World Series title. After finishing the regular season with the best record in baseball, they lasted only 5 games before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Although heavily criticized for the presumptuous decision, the organization stood by it, claiming that Strasburg had exceeded his pitch count, and they were worried about his health in the coming seasons. Remember what I said about micromanaging?
Not only is it ridiculous to adhere to a strict pitch count formula, but it’s detrimental to the competitive spirit of the game. In every other sport you have your best players on the field, or on the court, to try to win EVERY game. Wouldn’t it be fun if the Golden State Warriors sat Steph Curry for playing too many minutes?
Am I being harsh and unrealistic? I don’t think so…
After a century long sample size of analysis, one can plainly see that some pitchers have a much higher propensity for injury than others, regardless of pitch count. Back in the good ole days, starters would routinely have 150+ pitch outings. Some had shorter careers but many went on to play 15-20 years. Genetics are the biggest indicator for an athlete’s longevity, and unfortunately, this is largely immeasurable (despite every team’s desire to micromanage every stat and bowel movement of their players).
So if it was me, what would I do? Well, let’s start by having 4 solid major league starters in the rotation, rather than crowbarring a subpar 5th into the mix. The point is to win games, after all. And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a time when teams relied on 3 starters to get them through a whole season? Let’s stop babying our beasts. Let the pitchers throw the ball, and let’s rake in the victories. Championship windows are small, and can’t be treated loosely (cough cough, Washington).
On my team, moves to the bullpen would only be made for performance reasons, not pitch count. If a pitcher is struggling, he will come out. But I won’t have a set schedule for WHEN to take him out. So what if it’s the 7th inning? He’s only allowed 3 hits? He stays. Managers need to start managing for the game in front of them.
When To Shift
This is becoming the baseball equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Although defensive shifts have existed for decades, they were once reserved only for the mightiest and most dead pull of hitters. Nowadays, they are implemented for nearly every at bat. Even hitters with fewer than 50 big league appearances are prompting managers to call for a dramatic repositioning of their fielders. And for what? To have an excuse for why your team lost the game? Seems counter-intuitive. I’m playing my guys in normal positions, which I know is an edgy thing to do as of 2015, but it’s the way to go. Why not trust them to make a play?
What To Do Against A Shift
Bunt. If an opponent leaves half of the infield open then freakin’ PUT A BUNT DOWN! Why this isn’t happening more often is baffling. My players would be instilled with a massive dose of common sense in this area of the game.
And Finally… OPS Is Everything
Time for my Moneyball moment. We want players who get on base. End of story. An added bonus would be to hit the ball hard. Thus, on base + slugging pct. = MONEY. Let’s preach this sentiment to our GMs, scouts, and owners, so they can help us assemble the most efficient product possible.
Thanks For Listening, I’m Available For Interviews
Any team who is looking for a new manager, please contact me via Twitter @BrianWrayMedia. Let’s bring some common sense into the sport, and win some trophies along the way.