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Edwin Rodriguez is confident

Feb 22, 2011, 2:41 PM EDT

edwin-rodriguez-marlins

Today Edwin Rodriguez addressed his team for the first time this season. And since is the first time he’s been the manager at the outset of spring training, it’s the first time he’s ever gotten to do that whole set-the-tone thing.  And according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald,  the tone he set was optimistic:

“I can feel it. We’re going to be the last team standing come October.”

They’re actually probably not going to be the last team standing in October. The odds simply don’t favor most teams over “the field” when it comes to such matters.  But I don’t say that criticize Rodriguez for unwarranted optimism. I merely offer it to ask what, given what we know about any one team’s chances, is a manager is supposed to say in such instances?

Does the rah-rah thing work in baseball?  I’m skeptical. But is it any worse than soberly saying “I want us to play hard and, if we get the breaks, we could possibly win”?  That may have the benefit of being true, but it’s also not the way to kick off a season.

I guess what I’m saying is that managing looks hard. How you get your team ready, especially when you don’t have years of experience behind you or on your roster, has to be one of the more difficult things in the business.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 22, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Optimism can go a long way.

  2. hnirobert3 - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    The Marlins have a good core. Third base will be a major flaw if Easy E (Emilio Bonifacio) gets significant playing time there.

    • Old Gator - Feb 22, 2011 at 6:18 PM

      They do have a good core. I feel better overall about this team this year than I did last year. But Emilio isn’t the only flaw when it really looks like, going into spring training, it will actually be Kindly Uncle Wes (Wes Helms) who will get most of the playing time at third base. Now that’s a partial upgrade in fielding terms over hit-the-fan-in-the-fourth-fieldbox-back-of-first Can’tDu and his wondrous throwing arm, but he hasn’t got a lot of range to his left and he doesn’t seem to hit as well when he plays full time as when he comes off the bench.

      I’m not counting heavily on Javier Vasquez to solidify the rotation; I think it’s just as likely that Alex Sanabia will find his groove this season, though. I don’t think John Buck will be worth eighteen million inexplicable dollars either, but until John Baker is fully healed he was a better option than anyone else available.

      It’s going to hinge on whether Coghlan can bounce back from knee surgery and the sophomore slump that predated it, whether Logan Morrison follows up his rookie season with further development, and most of all, whether the Iron Giant learns some discipline at the plate or becomes this generation’s Kong Kingman. I look for Hanley Ramirez to bounce back at the plate but to remain a brat. That’s fine with me as long as I don’t need to receive him as a dinner guest.

      • cur68 - Feb 22, 2011 at 9:05 PM

        Buck’s a good catcher. Watched him all last season with the Jays. He’s huge and nothing much gets past him. Plus he’s been watching Bautista hit. He put up good solid numbers (his best to date, I think) last season. He’ll be a good backstop. Worry about Hanley; I think he’s either gonna implode or explode, but whatever way he goes it wont be quiet when it happens.

      • Old Gator - Feb 22, 2011 at 11:36 PM

        We shall see about Buck. He’s definitely going to be good for 10-12 more home runs and better run production than Paulino was, so that’s an upgrade. Baker is a solid .275-280 hitter when healthy so they should make a good platoon when Baker is healed up.

        I don’t see Hanley imploding. He had a lousy year and batted .300. Exploding? Yeah, he could channel Manny a bit. It wouldn’t be pretty but he really ought to have a Santera exorcise all the evil spirits from that demonic talisman Scrooge McLoria gave him last season. Just to be on the safe side. I keep seeing Scrooge channeling Robert DiNiro when he handed him that hideous thing and sniggering, “Only the soul is immortal, Hanley. And yours belongs to me.”

  3. Brian Murphy - Feb 22, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Isn’t league-wide unbridled optimism what spring is all about in baseball? I love it.

  4. fishfan46 - Feb 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Can you blame him? I hear he is in the best shape of his life.

  5. ta192 - Feb 23, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I guess, come October, the rest of the teams in baseball will still be “ROTFLTAO” at that comment…

  6. macjacmccoy - Feb 24, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    I agree with u Managing probably is hard. That is why there are so few good ones. But it is probably the easiest head coaching type job in major league sports. Basketball you gotta constantly call plays to run and counter what the the other team is doing and constantly bring players in and out depending on a 1000 things. Football head coaches for the most part call either the offensive or defensive plays which is ridicolously hard plus u gotta do all the subing and adjustments while worrying abou challenges n clock mangement while still over seeing the other side of the balll plus special teams and injuries and such. Hockey you have to send in a new line every 1:30 secs and u gotta switch up those lines to counter the other team and call the plays and alignments. While in baseball a manager before the game sets his lineup which is usually the same depending on if a lefty or righty is pitching. on a good day for 6 innings all he does is tell a guy to hustle or nice catch and every once in a while he tells his assistant coach to tell his batter to bunt or something or tells his 1st base coach to tell the runner he can run if he wants too. After that he finally starts to work he tells the bullpen coach to warm the guys up depending on whos up to bat on the other team. He subs in his relievers for the next few innings and the game is over. On a bad day he has to sub pitchers the entire game but even when that happens its about a max of 12 crucial decisions. MLB managers probably have the least amount of effect there teams outcome then any other head coach
    If I had to rank which sports head coaches/managers had the biggest role in its team success I would probably go Football – Basketball – Hockey – Baseball.

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