April 7, 2009

All the Right Moves?

OK, so how do we blame this on Jim Bowden? If last winter was Jim Bowden's crucible, this summer is shaping up to be Manny Acta's trial by fire. There's no question that this is the most talent ever assembled on Acta's watch. But, to misquote the late Ben Parker, with great talent comes great responsibility.

This is exactly what we as fans should want. This is Manny's team, win or lose. He picked Kearns over Dukes. He went with three lefties in the 'pen and left Bergmann out. He installed Lastings Milledge in center field and the leadoff spot. He indicated that there won't be a true outfield rotation to get Dukes and Willingham at-bats. If it works, he's a genius. If every day is like yesterday...

For what it's worth, I agree with most of Manny's moves. I think playing Austin is the only possible way to give him any trade value. I think stockpiling relievers with options in the minors is the best way to construct a capable bullpen over a long season. I think batting Milledge leadoff is at least a defensible move, though I'd prefer at little less GUZMANIA! in his approach.

Dukes isn't going anywhere unless he has a blow up. And if he blows up over being benched after the hacktastic spring he had, he's probably not a stable long-term building block anyway. It's not like he being passed over for Mike Vento, for goodness sake.

This is what managers get paid to do. Over the last few seasons Manny Acta hasn't been managing, he's been surviving. Lurching from game-to-game with a cobbled together lineup and the AAAA pitcher of the month is a fine test of intestinal fortitude, but no real measure of managerial skill. 2009 is a different story and the results will speak for themselves.

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