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Valentine a finalist for the Indians' job

Oct 19, 2009, 10:31 AM EDT

Bobby Valentine is getting a callback interview for the Cleveland Indians’ vacancy.  So too are Manny Acta and former Tigers and Indians third baseman and current Indians single-A manager Travis Fryman.

Interesting list of finalists in that it suggests that, rather than merely trying to find the right man for the job, the Indians don’t yet know exactly which direction the team is really heading.

Given his age and experience, you’d think that Valentine would be better suited to a win-now situation.  Despite his firing in DC, Acta is well-regarded and many believe he’d do much better on a team that was actually on the upswing as opposed to the hopeless situation he faced in Washington.  Fryman is totally green by comparison.  If you go with him, aren’t you saying that the team is totally at the bottom and is starting from scratch?

I actually like all three of those guys, but if Shapiro and Dolan think that the team is rebuilding, Valentine — a man with money, a high price tage, TV prospects and presumably a lot of options —  is probably not the best man for the job.  If, on the other hand, ownership thinks that the team is poised to compete in 2010, they’re probably not well-advised to install Fryman in the manager’s office.  Indeed, if he does have managerial talent, you’d probably want to wait until the team is better positioned in order to give him the best chance to succeed.

A lot can happen in the offseason, but my personal view is that the Indians will be better in 2010 than they were in 2009, but won’t truly contend.  I think that DQs Valentine as a serious choice, leaving Acta and Fryman as the better alternatives.

  1. Doracle - Oct 19, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    I, for one, am leaning towards Manny Acta, just based on his apparent saber-friendly philosophy. I believe that FJM linked favorably to an interview of his, and I’ve seen others.
    The strange thing about Wedge’s tenure was just how badly the team underperformed. Looking at Pythagorean Records, the Indians pretty consistently underperformed by several games each season. Ditto with second-order records. Add that to a lengthy list of promising young players who have never really reached their full potential (Barfield, Marte, Peralta, for starters), and you have to wonder if the problem was indeed the coaching staff.
    Of course, as an Indians fan I have a vested interest in believing that much of the team’s woes were the fault of Wedge and his staff. It makes contention seem that much closer, a much quicker fix. The real question remains, just what the heck has been wrong with the Indians?? Each year they are the saber-darlings of the universe, and each year their bullpen implodes and they get off to awful starts and perform far beneath their Pythagorean records. Shapiro has his faults (drafting and low-level free agent signings), but it’s hard to argue that the team hasn’t had talent. Heck, we missed the playoffs with Sabathia, Lee, Westbrook, and a resurgent Kevin Milwood leading one of the best Indians staffs in recent memory.
    As an Indians fan, the past seven years have left me completely baffled. It seems that, with the talent, we should have accomplished far more than we did. Where we went wrong, whose fault it is, and whether it can be fixed with Manny Acta or whoever at the helm — I am eager to see what happens.

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