More on the four
A quick look at the known finalists for the Indians’ managerial job:
Experience: Former Nationals manager
Hire him: His open-mindedness toward sabermetrics might mesh well with the Indians’ front office, his Dominican roots allow for an easy rapport with Latin players and he could be primed to succeed after learning from his experiences with the Nats.
Stay away: Yes, the Nats were an awful ballclub, so it’s best not to put too much stock into Acta’s managerial record, but the team was 26-61 with Acta this season and 33-42 after he was dismissed, so they showed improvement without him.
Experience: Triple-A Columbus manager
Hire him: As the Indians retool with their young talent, who better to take over that young talent than the guy who helped mold those players at the Triple-A level? Lovullo is smart, confident and a good communicator.
Stay away: Hiring Lovullo, who has no Major League coaching experience, would reek of the “same old, same old” atmosphere the Indians are trying to avoid. Fans might view him as a Wedge clone.
Experience: Current Dodgers hitting coach and former Yankees first baseman
Hire him: His credentials as a player would earn him instant respect with his players. He’s studied under Joe Torre and is even said to be in line to be Torre’s successor, if he doesn’t leave first. “Donnie Baseball” has been very successful as a hitting coach.
Stay away: The Yankees didn’t name him Torre’s successor in 2007 for a variety of reasons, including his mild-mannered nature, what they deem to be his unpreparedness for a big-league managing job and the simple reason that they felt he was too much like Torre. If Wedge didn’t appeal to fans, would the soft-spoken Mattingly have a better fate?
Experience: Current ESPN analyst, former Mets, Rangers and Chiba Lotte Marines (Japanese Pacific League) manager
Hire him: He is, by far, the most experienced of the remaining candidates, and his career managerial record in 15 big-league seasons is 1,117-1,072, including a World Series appearance with the Mets in 2000. He would bring a welcomed new opinion to an organization that has struggled with the evaluation of its own talent. And his personality might be a hit with fans.
Stay away: At this stage in his career, is Valentine a good fit for a team that figures to come out on the short side quite often next season and will be geared more toward player development? And considering he made about $4 million managing in Japan last year, is Valentine affordable for the cash-strapped Tribe?