By Jason Wojciechowski on October 15, 2005 at 3:10 AM
The world has gone absolutely looney with the hiring (after all) of Ken Macha to be the A's manager. It's an uninspiring, uninspire choice. The A's like a guy who'll take their marching orders, though I see no reason why they couldn't get a guy with a willingness to work with the front office but who also has actual tactical strengths. They do exist, I'm certain. Larry Dierker, Davey Johnson? Hell, as us statheads get excited about every time a managerial job opens up, Earl Weaver's still alive, ain't he?
Maybe Ken Macha keeps a good clubhouse and the guys are prepared to play every day. That is, I guess, the main job as manager. There are other things, though, even aside from the tactical considerations: injury management, for one. I'd guess some managers are better than others at keeping their benches loose and their frontline starters from breaking down (which breakdowns can lead to actual injury sometimes). In addition, on a related front, a manager, in concert with the philosophy of the team as a whole, has to promote open communications. The last thing you want is players hiding injuries.
It's almost impossible to grade Macha in any of these categories, though it can be said that his bullpen management is (as seems to be the theme) unimaginative. Macha doesn't appear to be the guy who's going to implement the 21st century bullpen.
On the other hand, Larry Dierker claims in his autobiography that he tried to implement something of the sort early in his managerial career, but the players didn't really like it, preferring to know when they were going to be called on to enter the game most often (by inning, that is). To which criticism I wish Dierker had said, "Suck it up," so we could have had a pre-Boston indication of how this might work out in the modern game.