I know there are a lot of things that go into building a manager’s reputation that none of us see: friendships, conversations on the field before games and all manner of things that go on when baseball isn’t actually being played. But I still have a hard time seeing why Juan Samuel would, as Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports, be up for at least three open managers’ jobs this winter. Zrebiec calls Samuel a candidate for the Seattle, Pittsburgh and maybe even the Toronto jobs.
He may be highly respected, but this season gave us the closest thing we usually get to managerial acumen being tested via the scientific method. The Orioles lost a lot of games under Dave Trembley. Samuel came in and the team performed no better. Then Buck Showalter came in and the team improved dramatically. This all occurred with basically the same roster.
I don’t really think we can perfectly quantify managing like that — and as I’ve said, a guy who keeps the clubhouse happy and retains the respect of his players is what teams should really be looking for — but how do you not look at what happened in Baltimore this year and, at the very least, ask yourself if there aren’t better options than Samuel?