Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Jim Tracy

There's your lead image on Pirates.com right now, Jim Tracy, the 37th manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. And everyone is thinking that we probably should've given him a uniform with some black sleeves because he looks goofy with white shirtsleeves under our white uni vest. I'll be the first to admit, I wanted Macha. Maybe it was for selfish reasons (my uncle knows Macha so I could've angled for a WHYGAVS exclusive interview), or maybe it was his record with cheap budgeted teams and young players in Oakland. Still, it's hard to be disappointed as it seems like Lloyd McClendon was fired because Dave Littlefield found out about a month ago Tracy was going to be available (remember how the Tracy rumor immediately surfaced?) And it's hard to be disappointed with a guy that's only a year removed from a division title and with such a good record in Los Angeles, no matter what the budget on those teams were (as the Yankees proved, money isn't everything in baseball). And it's hard to expect Dave Littlefield to hire anyone less than someone he already trusts with his job most likely on the line if next year doesn't work out like it should. Tracy's a solid baseball guy who almost ended up with this job 5 years ago (what does that say about the hiring process from five years ago, two of the guys that we interviewed then were the most desirable candidates on the market five years later, Lloyd is a bullpen coach with the Pittsburgh coalition in Detroit). He had butted heads repeatedly with DePodesta in LA, but I don't think that will happen here. DePo is in the process of trying to build an LA version of the Red Sox, Tracy is more of a smallball manager. Littlefield isn't building a team based on walks and three run homers here, instead one that's more based on pitching and defense. There's lots of talk of his bullheadedness and how stuck he is in his old ways (see Charlie's post for a good round-up). I won't try to completely disagree or refute that, all I'll say is that I'm completely willing to give Tracy a chance, but with the caveat that the young players be given fair chances next year, specifically Doumit and Eldred. They were both the type of player that Tracy was no big fan of in LA, big hitters, that don't offer much field, strike out a good deal, and don't hit for a great average (though Doumit has hit for pretty good average in the minors). I simply can't see Littlefield hiring a guy that he knows, knowing that he's so bullheaded that Humberto Cota will play over Ryan Doumit regularly and that Brad Eldred won't be given a fair shake at first base. I may not agree with everything DL does, but I don't think he's stupid.