Manny Acta still likes sabermetrics and cool hats

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Craig will be thrilled to know that new Indians manager Manny Acta wore another awesome hat while holding a “town hall meeting” for fans (and television cameras) last night.
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince reports that Acta won over the audience with his outgoing personality, but a) what else is an MLB.com writer going to say? and b) I’m more interested in the answer he gave when asked whether he’ll bunt more than predecessor Eric Wedge.
Here’s how Castrovince described the scene:

This would have been an opportunity for Acta to simply tell the fan what he wanted to hear, but instead he turned the tables on him, asking him if he would let one of his best hitters bunt with a man on first and none out in order to get the runner into scoring position. The fan answered in the affirmative, and Acta quickly told him he was wrong, before launching into his sabermetric-aided beliefs. He said unless the hitter in question is batting below .240, the stats suggest that you’re better off letting the hitter swing away.



“People think it’s the absolute right thing to bunt [in that situation],” Acta said, “but you need to check the stats. Back in the day, we didn’t have computers, we didn’t have Twitter, we didn’t have Facebook. They’ve come up with some things that make you open your eyes and not play like Casey Stengel used to play.”

While that’s probably not the most effective way to get the point across to a fan calling for more bunting, Acta is right and it’s good to see that his sabermetric leanings went with him from Washington to Cleveland. Of course, his 158-252 career record also made the trip, so charm and new-school beliefs will need to give way to winning soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the cool hats and lack of bunting.

Report: Tigers sign Jordy Mercer to one-year, $5.25 million deal

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Tigers agreed to a one-year, $5.25 million with shortstop Jordy Mercer, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Mercer, 32, hit .251/.315/.381 with six home runs and 39 RBI in 436 plate appearances for the Pirates last season. His triple-slash line from 2018 is pretty close to his career triple-slash line, so that’s about what the Tigers should expect from him.

Mercer will take over as the full-time shortstop for the Tigers, who lost José Iglesias to free agency. Mercer does have versatility, with the ability to play first, second, and third base as well as the corner outfield in a pinch.