Boston evidence right manager can make a difference

Boston evidence right manager can make a difference

This dragged out Joe Girardi saga has made some of us a little weary.

The Yankees and Cubs are even reportedly getting antsy themselves waiting for a Girardi decision. For me, the longer it drags out the stranger some of the noise out there becomes.

I’ve heard many claim the manager doesn’t make that much of a difference. It’s all about the talent they say. Talent is paramount, that is a given. However, you say that metrics make it even less important to have a field general and more of a button pusher?

Try telling that to Boston GM Ben Cherington.

Cherington is quite familiar with how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do things. They all worked together for some time in Boston, and Cherington and Hoyer co-GM’d the team during Epstein’s sabbatical from the Red Sox.

This past offseason Cherington was honed in on his skipper of choice in John Farrell. He went after Farrell originally when he first became GM and finally got his man following the disastrous hiring of Bobby Valentine.

There are some who do not want the Cubs to hire Girardi.

He’s too big a name they claim, or they feel the hire would be a betrayal of process by Epstein and Hoyer. I say Girardi is their process. They want one of the game’s best for many reasons.

Yes Girardi knows the Chicago thing, knows the Cubs thing, knows how to win a World Series, knows analytics, but most importantly he knows how to lead.

The Cubs recently interviewed Manny Acta.

Many out there like Acta’s analytical and developmental background. The knock? He wasn’t a great leader in the clubhouse. He is stronger at managing numbers more so than players. That isn’t good enough. You need both. That is why Joe Maddon and Girardi are at the top of their craft.

Jeff Passan describes Maddon in his recent piece.

He is widely considered the best in baseball, a perfect blend of analytical acumen, intellectual curiosity, motivational know-how and empathetic humanity.

It is so important for the GM to be cold hearted, personally impartial towards his talent and roster. The same cannot be said for the manager. You need a personal touch in the dugout. Especially when dealing with a young core such as the Cubs will have coming fast.

"The players were still human," Cherington says. "You can run a military school and get everyone to do what you say for a while. But nobody's having fun and it peters out. Players were having fun. Even now, you go in our clubhouse in afternoons, there's a lot of happy faces. There's a freedom of expression alongside a lot of hard work. They win, and they grow beards. That balance is so important, and John fosters that.

"The wrong person can make a big difference. So can the right person."

That is why Theo and Jed want the right person.

Keep after him.


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  • Great article.

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    Nice one Tom, the longer this goes on The better for The Cubs that he's coming home... Bob nightengale and Jim Bowden saying he il remain in NY makes me believe hell be a Cub even moreso

  • Does Girardi have a rep as a good leader? I can totally see issues down the road (not nec major, but need to be dealt with by good people person) with Soler, Baez and whoever else. I think this young core is combustible under the wrong man, thoughts?

  • Thanks guys. Yes Girardi does have a good rep as leader and teacher reasons why FO wants him.

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    what happened? you made it sound like this was practically a done deal. Waiting for an article from you to explain yourself. It's been awfully quiet on here.

  • In reply to Gary Kueper:

    Huh? When and where did I intimate it would get done? I was one of the first to report their interest and it became pretty obvious they chased him. Just didn't get their man. Explain myself???

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    I'm surprised that you mentioned Manny Acta, but didn't compare the job he did with the Indians with the job that Terry Francona did.

    The Indians: 94 losses under Acta last year, 92 WINS under Francona this year with essentially the same team. Talk about a manager making a difference...

  • In reply to Dustin Woodrow:

    Yeah I wanted to focus more on the Farrell thing here but Francona for sure has made a difference. Yet In fairness Cle added quite a bit.

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    I wouldn't say CLE added quite a bit. They made a few nice acquisitions (Swisher, .246, 63 RBI) and Bourne (.263, 75 R), but combine that with the Mark Reynolds/Brett Myers gamble and losses and with the trade of Choo and they really didn't have that much of a talent upgrade...

    But your point is well-made -- the right manager is key.

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