Existence of a manager’s job comes down to wins and losses.
It’s that simple.
This is not based on a long-running personality contest, and certainly not a referendum on previous performance. Ultimately, the accomplishment of a team dictates the life and length of the manager, and the guy ultimately responsible for pushing buttons on the field.
When the Diamondbacks’ Kirk Gibson took over for the fired A. J. Hinch July 1, the change reflected not so much the players affinity for Gibson. Sure, Gibson is quite popular with his players and players clearly relate to Gibson as his stature as a former player and kinds of things he wants to implement.
Had Hinch perhaps been a better commentator, and with a productive past as a player, he may have survived. The again, all the experience and charm can not certainly save a manager’s job.
“We are the guys in the field and ultimately responsible for the outcome of the game,” said Dan Uggla, Marlins second baseman. “The manager doesn’t go out and pitch, and does not hit. Yes, we were shocked when it happened, and you’re never prepared “
In fact, the Marlins experienced the same trauma which hit Hinch and Diamondbacks a week before. On June 23, Florida management showed manager Fredi Gonzalez to the guillotine, and promoted Edwin Rodriguez, who managed the Marlins’ AAA New Orleans, to manage at major level.
Like Gibson, this is Rodriguez’s debut as a major league manager, and, like Gibson, he is careful not to disrupt what players can accomplish on the field of play.
“There was no change in the club really, it’s still the same,” he said during the Marlins’ recent series with the D-Backs at Chase Field. “When I took over, we had a meeting, and we talked about creating a sense of urgency. The goal right now is to win series, and help raise their level of confidence.”
Hinch and Gonzalez are two of four managers who have been axed, so far in 2010, at the major level. Joining this pair, the Royals said good-bye to Trey Hillman, and Juan Samuel replaced Dave Trembly in Baltimore.
For Gibson, as with the others, the task to turn a losing team into a credible band of performers remains daunting. After the first week on the job, Gibson admits to getting vital help in the quest to turn the D-Backs’ season into something salvageable.
“The staff here has been tremendous, and have worked hard,” Gibson said. “(Pitching coach Mel Stottlemeyer, Jr.) has worked extra sessions with pitchers, and everyone has valuable input. Look, the bottom line now is how to make us better. We need to get out of his crap and it’s just been plain miserable.”
Since taking over July 2, Gibson has failed to move the D-Backs forward. The team continues to lose and dropped seven of the 10 games they have played under Gibson.
To understand their dilemma, the Diamondbacks have not won two games in a row since June 30-July 2 (July 1 was an off day), and only once this season, have they managed their longest winning streak. That was four games between May 19 and 22 with two wins over the Giants and two over the Blue Jays.
The D-Backs begin the second half in last place in National League West with a record of 34-55, 17 1/2 games behind the division-leading Padres. The climb back to respectability remains long and arduous, and begins Friday night in San Diego with Dan Haren going against the Padres’ Jon Garland.