The case for Manny Acta

The case for Manny Acta
Manny Acta

I've made no secret that my two favorites for the Cubs job are the first two candidates they've interviewed: Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch.  Both have gotten a lot of negative press and in both cases I think it's been unfair.  I made my case for Hinch here, but I haven't fully stated my case for Acta, who is widely considered one of the top baseball minds by both scouts and front office types around the league.

First off, he fits the Cubs in several ways:

  1. He is experienced.
  2. He is bilingual.
  3. He is analytics friendly.
  4. He is media savvy.
  5. He believes in developing young players, as per the quote from Acta below,

"You want to try and find the other pieces that are going to go along with (your core players), for the long ride here. You still have to try and develop those guys....It's tough because you want to win and I believe we can win, but you don't want to lose the focus of building a [winning] team that is going to be here for years to come. There is a very fine line between winning two or three more games at the end of the year by playing a guy who is probably not going to be here next year [or] playing a guy who is going to be part of the future."

By far, the biggest criticism of Acta is that he hasn't won in two stints with two different organizations.  Neither team was set up to win.  I've written about how many successful managers didn't win at first -- so the popular reason shifts to Manny Acta losing his clubhouse.  For that part of the equation, I'm going to focus on his stint with his 2010-2012 stint with the Cleveland Indians.

I think it's natural for people to look at failed results and then look for reasons afterward.  To me that's thinking backwards and it can sometimes lead to incorrect conclusions.

First off, look at the reasons stated why two different managers were fired...

Manager A: A players' manager with a laid-back approach, often was criticized for his failure to motivate the team. The (team) might want a fiery manager who can spark an underachieving club that has a solid core of young, talented players.

Now compare that to a similar criticism of a different manager...

Manager B: "He’s not a very confrontational person, and in this game – we’re men, we can handle it. Sometimes we need a kick in the butt. He did it this year but I think it was a couple of weeks too late. Last year we only had two speeches from him, one on opening day and one on the last day of the year."

Both teams lost plenty of games and both managers were fired.

Now read what is being said about Manager A today:

"Have fun, chill and just enjoy what you're doing. It's a kid's game. He's the biggest kid in here. That's the side we see. He likes to joke around. He likes to be relaxed. When you have a guy like that running the whole thing, it helps with team chemistry."

The difference?  Manager A had a winning record with basically the same style -- but better talent.   When you're winning, "chill and relaxed" is a good thing.

The irony?  Manager A now manages the team that complained that Manager B was too laid back.

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm talking about Terry Francona (Manager A) after getting fired from the Phillies and Manny Acta (Manager B) after getting fired from the Indians.  Winning and reputation can go a long way toward fueling perception about a manager's skills in the clubhouse.  The player quoted criticizing Acta in the first quote is Indians reliever Chris Perez.

But let's look at that Cleveland team, how bad were they really under Acta?

It's easy to look at Acta's overall record and get discouraged, but let's break it down a bit.

2010: Acta inherited a 65 win team from Eric Wedge and won 69 games.  The team finished strong, going 19-16 to end the season, so there was some improvement that continued the next season.

2011: The Indians were 2 games over .500 (80-78) with 4 games to play. The sentiment at the time was that the Indians had no business being that good and in fact they outperformed their Pythagorean record by 5 games despite losing those last 4 games with the team out of the race and looking at young players.

2012:  Acta's team started the season strong and was 47-44 on July 18th and just two games out of first place.  It was the second consecutive year the team was overachieving.  Nobody expected any team to challenge the Tigers. The team then lost 4 straight but righted the ship and was still 50-49 on July 26th, still just 3.5 games back.  Then disaster struck.  The Indians lost 10 in a row and suddenly were 10.5 games back and essentially out of the race.  The organization decided to switch into development mode.   Here's what Chris Perez said about the collapse that season,

Perez says it started with a pitching staff that simply tanked going into the month.

“The bad baseball started because of our pitching. Then we started overhauling everything, getting rid of Lowe and Tomlin went down. We started get to the new guys up from Triple-A. It was a vicious cycle,” Perez said.

“It was kind of like a cancer then kind of hit the team. Come to the ballpark expecting to lose. We’ve got a rookie going, great. We’re down four nothing in the first, we’re done. It’s a cancer. It’s hard to get out of that mind-set."

So Perez pretty much admitted that the collapse of the pitching staff and then a front office switch to a more development-oriented outlook toward the end of the season was what led to the downward spiral and the pessimism that developed in the clubhouse-- but in the next breath he says this,

The easiest way is to get rid of the manager, to shake things up, to get a new voice.

The easiest way, indeed.  Certainly easier than pointing the finger at themselves and blaming the losses on not getting enough speeches.

The fact is that the Indians were improving, overachieving, and probably a few players away (which they obtained the offseason after he was fired) from being contenders under Acta.   After a slow start in 2010 with a team that finished last the previous season, Acta went 146-142 over a span of 288 games between late 2010 and 2012.  But then came that horrific losing streak in 2011 -- and a subsequently poor finish due to unfortunate circumstances and a change of direction from the front office.  It changed everything.

And just like that losing streak, the reputation of Acta's ineptitude in the clubhouse spread like a cancer.  Nobody in the local media has stood up and questioned it.  Thankfully, the Cubs front office (and a couple of industry sources I spoke with) have.

To the Cubs front office's credit, they want to find out for themselves about Acta's philosophy of leadership and whether he has learned from his experiences.  The word is his interview went very well.

I don't know if the Cubs will hire Manny Acta and perhaps the concerns about his clubhouse leadership are correct, but I'm glad they're taking their time to find out instead of relying on his won-loss record and a few sound bytes to draw that conclusion.



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  • John,
    Please list which of the guys on the list have ML managerial experience. I consider this vital. I'm very leery of risking all this young talent on a guy who hasn't done this before at this level.

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Wedge has the most (10 years), Acta has 6 years, Hinch has 2 partial seasons. None of the other guys have MLB experience. Martinez doesn't even have experience in the minors.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    As a first time manager Matt Williams is getting a golden opportunity, I am more concerned about reports of leadership issues and former players making statements about Acta, such as "lost the clubhouse" than his w/l record with 2 rebuilding efforts. Rarely does a first time manager achieve success in that situation. That said, if Theo thinks he's the man, I will give him 100% of my support, Go Cubs.

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    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    EXACTLY, Peoria cubfan!!! The list is long of players questioning Acta's leadership skills. There has no buzz about Acta at all. I think John scopes out the underdog and tries to create buzz where there is none.

  • In reply to Brian Peters:

    I work with much more info than you do Brian. I've talked to many people in the industry. He's well-respected. I know about what people really think about Acta in the industry, the good and the bad.

    And where do you get your info? Third hand from something you've read somewhere? Have the courage to challenge the narrative.

  • I'm buying your analysis on Acta. I was unaware of his ML experience..All bad teams fire the manager Sveum deserved it IMO. The FO never fires itself..

  • In reply to BLOOMIE1937:

    Thanks. And exactly right. And it's no coincidence front offices will improve the team after firing the manager and hiring a new one. They want to look like they made the right decision.

  • So, knowing everything that you know about the candidates without having interview them...would Acta be your hire?

  • In reply to jamespk:

    It would be either him or A.J. Hinch.

    John Farrell just said something interesting -- that nothing he has done has prepared him more to be a manager than being a farm director. Hinch has been a Director of Player Development and manager of minor league operations. Nobody's unique experience comes closer to Farrell -- a guy the Cubs really like -- more than Hinch.

  • John you make a great case for Acta. I really only have one issue and that's his reluctance to confront umpires after bad calls. I have heard this from more than one person and have even read a quote from Acta that he says that is not his personality. Mind you I don't want an Earl Weaver but a manager has to show a team he has their back. Again great article John.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Agreed. Sveum had that problem too and I think maybe that's something he can learn. Ryne Sandberg, after all, went from mild-mannered to a guy who will go out and get ejected every other week.

    I hope that's something Acta has learned and can improve. You can have their back, but sometimes it helps to show it on the field like that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For a good modern-day example, try Bruce Bochy. The umps seem to listen to his arguments, and he doesnt make life too difficult on them , but his players do know he will stick up for them. Havent seen Bochy getting thrown out of many games, and hes been a ML manager for over a decade now.

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    You've convinced me, Acta would not be a horrible hire. Have you been hired by the Cubs to change our perceptions of him? I wonder how much keeping McKay and Bosio is factoring into the next hire, any thoughts...

  • In reply to Nick Johnson:

    Haha! Have not been hired :)

    McKay is a great coach and teacher and Bosio has done a wonderful job of transforming Cubs pitchers into a style that matches their philosophy. I hope they're retained but, of course, my info is always limited and ultimately it's up to the new manager.

  • I'm thinking I like Tim Bogar? He was born in Indy, high school in Buffalo Grove and college at Eastern Illinois University. My Alma Mater. I know that in itself means nothing but he'd highly thought of and a local guy who should understand what he's facing? At least he deserves an interview?

  • In reply to ddbennett34:

    I like Bogar, mentioned him the other day. Has worked under both Maddon and Francona.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Looks like Bogar has already been hired by the Rangers for their bench coach opening:

  • In reply to Michael Standaert:

    I missed that. Thanks. Certainly he'd rather be a manager but him taking that job indicates he hasn't been contacted by the Cubs or any other team for that position.

  • Great article as always John. I liked Acta from the beginning despite his W/L record. I remember when he got fired from CLE and Perez was making all his comments it seemed like they were more pointed towards the front office. If memory serves there was even talk that the Indians might non-tender him because of the comments. As for DC it just seemed like they took a similar path as the Cubs have been doing, if you can make the playoffs just go for a higher draft pick. You can't really judge a manager based on W/L record in that case.

  • In reply to Zippy2212:

    Thanks and agreed you can't judge on that record.

    Perez was critical but much of it was pointed toward the FO and I think a lot of it was just frustration about a season that slipped out of their grasp in a hurry. He was throwing around all kinds of blame.

  • What happened to Pena? I thought he was a serious candidate and seems like he would be perfect.

  • In reply to Bluekoolaidaholic:

    Pena has been eliminated from the search per Patrick Mooney.

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    With guys like Wedge and Girardi in consideration, I do wonder if quiet backroom negotiations with Francona started and went nowhere.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I thought the reason they didn't interview Francona before was that they didn't want to put him through a rebuilding situation.

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    The Eric Wedge news is just mind boggling. I honest am losing confidence in Theo now that it's confirmed to be true.

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    Dave Miley needs to be considered.

  • Great article, John. Either the guys make you famous or they don't.

    I'm all for good baseball guys getting second and third and fourth chances to manage. Guys like Acta and Wedge. I don't think either one of them is going to knock anybody's socks off as Cubs skipper over the next two or three years. If they're to have success in their third tries, I think they need to land in a spot with a better chance to win like Detroit, Cincinnati, or Washington (obviously those last two are now full). Tito for instance got a second chance but he came into a great spot. Now he's famous. These guys we have on the roster aren't likely to make one of these guys famous.

    My vote is for new blood at this point. I like Lovullo coming right out of a winning culture. I don't necessarily his fault but it is a ding for me that he hasn't been involved with a winning culture recently. Wedge, same thing. I like Joey Cora as a dark horse. I don't hate Ozzie either.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Ben, I do hate Ozzie and here's why:
    1 During the '94 work stoppage he said, "We (the players) don't owe the fans nothing.
    2. Much like umpire Jerry West, I feel Guillen doesn't respect the game and feels like he is bigger than the game and that he is the main show.
    3. He has never managed or played in the NL (although he did coach in the NL)
    4. I don't feel his antics set a good example for the young players new to the ,majors and possibly new to the US
    5. He was given a team built to win in Miami, lost them early, said stupid stuff and made an ass out himself, won just 69 games and was promptly fired.
    6. and finally, for all the Ryno lovers...It would be disrespectful to Sandberg because at an all star game once, Ozzie greeted Ryno as Jim, confusing him for catcher Jim Sundberg. lol

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I don't love the guy. The guys that play for him do, for the great majority. He's not going to get hired.

    1) I think you mean Joe West.
    2) Ozzie Guillen played for the Atlanta Braves of the National League in 1998 and 1999 and Managed the Miami Marlins of the National League in 2012. Come on, Man! Baseball is baseball anyway in this day and age.
    3) His antics deflect criticism from struggling players and they love him for it.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Yes, Joe West. Sorry. And you are right about Atl and Mia. It was late and I probably wasn't firing on all cylinders.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Just to throw gas on the fire, on the Venezuelan Winter League web site, there's an article in which Ozzie says he'd wants to manage but would be willing to be 3B coach for the Cubs.

    The article is in Spanish but if you have Google Chrome you can translate it, at least close enough to get the drift.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    I'd rather have 5 years of Quade than 1yr of Ozzie. That buffoon has no place in baseball.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:


  • 1. He is experienced. 2. He is bilingual. 3. He is analytics friendly. 4. He is media savvy. 5. He believes in developing young player. 6. He has won a World Series in Chicago. ?

  • John, excellent job of presenting the facts in an unbiased way. I like Acta slightly more as a result of this. I like the way you explained his actual record vs expected record. His losing record never bothered me. In fact, I view previous failure as a positive. Though given the facts now, it's hard to call that record a failure. The clubhouse rumors were a concern, but I wasn't present so it's difficult to form an opinion. I guess it's nice that we can finally have some confidence in a FO to discover the facts and make the best decision.

    I wish you wouldn't have completely ignored the 800lb gorilla in the room though. Has he ever, or will he ever have sex with Cindy Greenberg? Because that is very important information to some fans....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Sandberg not Greenberg.... lol Autocorrect ruined my punchline...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Hoosier, you make an excellent point. John does do an excellent job of presenting facts without bias and backs opinion up with fact, not conjecture. Perhaps more so than anyone one else who covers the Cubs, John is the steady, unbiased source. The other options, of course, are the homer Muskat, the hater Whittenmeyer and the uninformed and amateurish Gonzales.

    Unlike other writer who have to resort to controversy and outrageous statements to generate readership and conversation, fans read John's work for the accuracy of the information and the steady way it is presented.

    In addition, John is one of the very few writers willing to stick around once the story posts and interact with the fans. As a result, this site attracts far more intelligent and informed fans than any other.

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    John also does a good job of arguing more than one side and making you agree with him. LOL. I didn't like Manny Acta on the list until John gave his "for" argument. Of all the guys they have considered, he is the favorite for me. But I'm still not thrilled with the list of candidates. It seems like it has been done in a disorganized manner, like they put all their eggs into getting Girardi and now are unsure who to look for. That might not be true but it's how it appears. Eric Wedge to me should be in the same "no way ever in hell does he manage again" list Jim Riggleman should be on. Managers who quit on their teams deserve no place in baseball.

  • John... I don't think being fired twice for performance based results is considered being treated unfair. I get that managers may fail before they hit there stride or come into there own. How many of your examples have been fired twice? I think Acta would be very foolish to take the job. If he fails again, will he ever become manager again. I think he will find a spot that he has a chance to be .500.
    There are a lot of managers that speak two languages, have experience, want to develop young talent, and have media savvy. Is he the best one?

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Maybe this is simply wishful thinking, but he may indeed have that chance to go .500 with us in '14. His job would center around getting Rizzo and Castro off center to start with, IMO, and that alone would bear a lot of fruit. He's more than likely going to have a pretty decent rotation and much improved bullpen, too. If he's a young player developer as advertised, he'll be moving from Castro and Rizzo to the Bryants, Baezes, Olts, and Lakes in the very near future.

    To me, that's exactly the formula going forward. That is what he'll be hired to do and the FO will add talent for him going forward, as well. Players win games way more than managers do, so if our philosophy is true to itself, it would seem he would be an excellent choice. I would also think that he would view this job as a great opportunity.

  • In reply to cubs1969:

    That is extremely wishful thinking. We had the worse record in baseball and are in the toughest division in baseball too. .500 baseball in 14 isn't going to happen. I do agree with you that the bullpen is already improved. The starting pitching is ok, and has a lot of question marks still. Is jake finally ready to own a spot in the rotation? Will Hendricks be ready or need part of a year in minors?

    I like that list of up and comers, but not sure if the are ready in 14. Olt has the best chance to break with the club if he can see the ball. Those other guys will be September call ups at the earliest this year. Lake will be here tho. Also gotta hope that Wellington is healthy. I haven't heard a word on how his knee is.

    I agree this is a nice opportunity for the right guy. I disagree with you on your thinking on a manager. A manager has to pull out the right tricks. Has to make the right moves at the right time. Yes it is up to the players to execute the strategy but it has to be in place to do so. Curious of acta's list of player development in Cleveland and Washington? Nothing separates him from the others on the list.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    I can see both sides to this. The cubs fan in me wants to be the optimist. But if I was Acta, my angle would align very closely with yours. He really can't afford to swing and miss. If he takes the job and fails, he may never get another chance to manage. If he takes the job and succeeds, he'll be on par with Girardi & Maddon..... Nothing I've read about the guy indicates he's got a gamblers mentality though....

  • I've been on the Acta train since it left the station and defended him my best to my friends who are cubs fans following the search. I think there is a ton to love about the guy, and his philosophy fits right in place in our timeline. Guys like Michael Brantley and Ryan Zimmerman came up under Acta and improved tremendously each year. I would trust him with all of our young players being brought up, and believe that he will be great in the clubhouse after learning his mistakes elsewhere. If I was the GM, sign him up.

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    I believe in this front office in a way I haven't believed in a Cubs front office since the 1980's. You just knew Dallas Green knew what he was doing.

    I never thought the firing of Sveum was over losses. The FO has been very up front all along that he wasn't being held responsible for the record. He was fired because it was apparent that he was a detriment to the rebuild. The young players, namely Rizzo and Castro, were regressing. That said, had they progressed in 2013, the record would've been better.

    It's hard for people to admit they made mistakes, but this FO saw they'd made one in Sveum. I suspect they'll learn from it and won't repeat it.

    It's hard to like Acta, Hinch or Wedge because of their track records, but at the same time, you have to look at the whole picture.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Dallas Green certainly knew what he was doing.

    In his first press conference he said that one of the biggest problems with the Cubs had been that they discounted pitching, and instead brought in slow footed sluggers without a defensive position.

    He hit the nail on the head.

    The next day he traded Mike Krukow, his best pitcher, for Kieth Moreland, a slow footed slugger without a position.

    He then threw the dice and traded his best prospect, for a pitcher in an attempt to win it all.

    He didn't win it all, while the prospect went on to have a dominant career.

    The much maligned Hendry produced a better team for a longer period of time, and he is universally hated.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Dave, while Moreland had no true position with the Cubs (because of Jody Davis at catcher), he wasn't a bum with the glove in RF. He wasn't a gold glove caliber RF but he wasn't George Bell or many of the other guys we've had patrol Wrigley's OF. And that awful trade of Krukow for Moreland was a soon to be 30 year old SP on a team that won 38 games and needed a complete rebuild, for a 28 yr old slugger, a 27 yr old SP, and a 25 yr old SP. I agree on the slow footed sluggers who are bad fielders. Hendry made a living stocking the team with those players, just like almost every GM we've had for decades.

  • The thing with Francona though is that he had Farrell as one of his coaches, who provided some of that discipline. He says as much in "The Red Sox Years." When he lost Farrell to Toronto, he lost control and a whole crapstack of games down the stretch in 2011. Not saying you can't have a laid back manager like a Francona or Acta, just saying you better balance that out with the right coaches.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Agree! Teams need strong leadership at the top for consistent success.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Very true, you do need some balance. A recent local example is that ass tough as Ozzie Guillen was with the press he was a players manager all the way. Joey Cora was supposedly the tough guy with the players.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    If you think of the clubhouse as a family, makes sense you'd need that nurturing "mom" and disciplinarian "dad." My gut is that the FO is all about Acta, and that it's Acta who's not so sure he wants to take the Cubs gig with him having publicly stated he'd rather wait and go to a winner than a rebuilder next time. That would make sense with the field expanding despite reports that the Acta interview went really well. Maybe with the reports that the Nationals gig is going to Matt Williams, Acta will come around.

  • I have to say, this post actually makes me more and more anti-Acta. Mental development has to be part of player development. Motivating players and keeping their heads up and believing they can win is, to me, an integral part of being a manager. That winning attitude is a must. You see it and hear it in the Cubs minor league system. Need a manager who'll make sure it is preached and believed on the big club. Doesn't seem like Acta is that guy. I have no problem with him on the coaching staff as long as he isn't the man in charge. I hope the Cubs can find a candidate who can handle the physical AND mental development part of the game and can motivate. I just don't see Acta as possessing those qualities.

    In all these posts I've noticed one thing that rubs me the wrong way:
    it is always pointed out that most fans are down on managers who've actually managed and lost, and your assertion is that they've learned from their experiences. Then you seem to imply the opposite: that candidates without experience cannot be a good manager for this team because they've never managed, and thus, have not had an opportunity to fail and learn from their mistakes. With all due respect, but some of us have the ability to be analytical AND learn from the mistakes of others. Not only that, but some people never learn from their mistakes! Do not assume people have to experience mistakes personally to learn from them, and do not assume that people who make mistakes learn from them!

    I would never discount Acta solely because he's had two losing stints as manager. I wouldn't clamor for an unknown simply because he hasn't had a chance to lose. But I also wouldn't make the assumption that Acta has and will learn from his mistakes. Sometimes you're too close to the trees to see the forest. Likewise, I wouldn't discount any of these other inexperienced or under-experienced guys just because they haven't "had a chance to make mistakes".

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Good points. My son has a small plaque on the wall of his college apartment: "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself."

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Then you also would have been anti-Francona and anti-Maddon too because they received the same criticisms. You can say you would with hindsight but the questions were very similar about those two candidates before they finally found success.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Maybe. Maybe not. there's absolutely no way of knowing Acta will or won't be the next Francona or Maddon. How many other managers have had similar things said about them and then went on to fail and never got another job? It goes both ways. Francona and Maddon's success doesn't really confirm your point or mine. It just confirms that there is no strict formula for success. As I said, some people learn from their mistakes, some people learn from others' mistakes, and some people don't learn from withers' mistakes.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    That's why you find out and interview them instead of dismissing them out of hand. The Cubs are going to rack up much more info than I or any other writer or fan will. They'll be qualified to make that judgement. All I am saying is you can't jump to conclusions based on sound bytes and limited info, which the media and many fans are doing.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For me it is just a gut thing. He could end up being the greatest manager ever. I understand the point of the post, and I don't disagree with what you're saying. But again, as I originally said, it seems that likewise other candidates are pretty much getting dismissed solely because of their lack of managerial experience. Seems like each side is going to the polar opposite out of reaction to the other. Experience is important, no doubt. In this case, maybe it's my argumentative grandfather dissipating my thoughts, but when it comes to Acta, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

    I trust the FO. I really trust Tom and your opinion greatly. That's why I come here everyday. And why I usually shut my mouth on this blog and just read and read and read. If Acta is the guy, I won't be rooting for him to fail. And for what it is worth, I had my doubts about Girardi before he re-signed. Maybe I've just been a Cubs fan too long to be optimistic about this hire.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    I think the protesting against Acta was too much, a knee-jerk reaction by media and fans to his losing record. I think I was able to show it was an overreaction.

    I like Hinch too and Renteria, Lovullo. I haven't said anything too negative about any of the candidates, just that Acta and Hinch are my favorites based on the conversations I've had. And I've had to speak up for them because they've been slammed in the media. With a few exceptions like Patrick Mooney, I don't think Acta or Hinch have gotten a fair shake in the media, so I'm giving them one.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And I respect that. I get it. And I appreciate your propensity towards objectivity. I don't take in media reaction, especially the Chicago media as I'm currently displaced outside of the midwest. It is basically this site that I come to. As I said, it's just a gut feeling about Acta. At the same time, you're much more informed than my gut. Just saying that for me, I'm not actively rooting for him or excited for him. Of course, I could say that about most of the candidates. My inclination is to want someone with past success. Someone I can clearly look at players that developed under their watch, and to which I can visibly point to said person as a/the cause of the players' growth. Of course, I'm sure everybody else would like that too.

    Anyway, I hope this headache comes to a close soon. FWIW, my "gut" does like Lovullo and Hinch.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    There's the nagging question about leadership with me too. I'm glad they interviewed him. He did well, but not well enough apparently. Onwards. And thanks for the kind words.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Leadership is something that you have not something that you learn. One can make Sammy Sosa a captain, but it won't make him a leader of men. Catching doesn't make one a good leader, leaders make good catchers. Look at Carhardt interviewed by John a while back. He is not even a catcher, but he's a leader so the coaches can teach him how to be a catcher. Catchers make good managers because leaders make good catchers. It's a gift and good managers are good from day one.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I have to disagree with your definition of leader. I will concede the point of Sosa, however. Being a leader can be taught. It might be more natural to some than to others. But mostly what you're talking about here is being teachable. That doesn't make one a good leader. That makes them a good follower. And quite frankly, a good concise definition of a leader is simply one who can get others to follow. One can get people to follow and yet not make them better people or even inspire them to greatness.

    As it pertains to baseball, I want a manger who can get the players to follow him in his preparation, dedication, passion, grittiness, perseverance, swagger (if that's what you want to call it), etc. I said it when the discussion was about Girardi, and I'll say it again. I want a Girardi-type leader (I think), and a player development-type on the coaching staff. Let one worry about one area and the other worry about the other (but be able to work together). It takes both. We need a player development/communicator type and a leader/inspirer/strategizer/preparer type as well. JMHO.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Maybe, but I don't know. Leadership seems like something in your 'make-up'. If you have it then 'it' can be honed, but not taught. It's like songwriters. Anybody can pen a song, but only a gifted one can produce one that people want sing and hear over and over. Sometimes managers lose their gift to lead, but they didn't forget how. It's just no longer part of them.

  • I especially liked the last sentence of Acta's quote :

    "There is a very fine line between winning two or three more games at the end of the year by playing a guy who is probably not going to be here next year [or] playing a guy who is going to be part of the future."

    As a result of September's "strategy" of continuing to run Barney and Gregg out there, we go into 2014 with absolutely no idea who our 2B and closer are going to be.

  • John

    Do you think the Cubs will address the lack of veteran clubhouse leadership during the offseason?

    Reading comments and watching WS interviews, I see that
    - Ryan Dempster believes the loss of ALL veteran leaders (himself, Garza, Soriano, and DeJesus) is a major shortcoming
    - Matt Carpenter is given much of the credit for providing a veteran leadership perspective to the many young StL pitchers, especially Mike Wacha and Shelby Miller.

    Any names you can think of that could provide some respected, stable, winning leadership to the clubhouse?

  • In reply to DropThePuck:

    I do think they'll bring in some veterans. Not sure if they can reel in a high level guy, but I think they'll definitely look to do that if it makes sense.

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    off topic, but can the cubs take a flier on dan uggla. supposedly all you would have to give up is cash. why not take a flier and hope he figures it out again and give urself a good trade candidate. we need more offense no matter when your timetable is to legitly compete picking up uggla wouldn't hurt it since its just cash. good gamble in my opinion.

  • Has anybody sent this article to Kap yet? Seems like dude might actually start a riot if it's Acta. I'm fine with him.

    I don't get the whole "Ozzie deflects attention" argument. We're not children. You can't just jiggle some keys over our heads. Nobody ever said that about Zambrano's antics. We still know when they win. We're still upset when they lose, whether the manager is too chill or too... Ozzie.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Ha:) Well, Acta appears to be out, but my other favorite -- Hinch, got a 2nd interview.

    As for Ozzie, Sox players loved him and praised him for doing exactly that. For all of Ozzie's profanity laced rants, none were against his players, they were to protect them. That's the difference between Z and Ozzie. I'm not saying hiring Ozzie and his style is too old school and too abrasive to be a fit with the Cubs, but I think there was some method to his madness.

  • Not an Acta fan, fans hated him in DC and Cleveland (I have coworkers from Cleveland). From what I've heard, he really didn't learn from his mistakes when he went to Cleveland. Also, Chicago fans will hate his personality. I'll always be a Cub fan, but hiring Acta would be Theo's and Jed's biggest mistake.

  • This is so ridiculous. How is Acta an upgrade over Sveum? He hasn't distinguished himself with 2 opportunities. I firmly believe if Theo wasn't convinced Girardi was coming, Sveum would still be the manager. There was no plan B judging from the lackluster candidates. How about thinking outside the box and consider someone like Cal Ripken, Paul Molitor or Mark McGwire? Even Ozzie Guillen would make better candidate than the likes of Wedge, Acta or Hinch. This doesn't bode well that Theo botched his 1st managerial hire and is struggling with his 2nd. If his top 4 candidates were so strong, there would be no need for these 'surprise' candidates.

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