Do managers matter?

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There has been a lot of heated talk about whether Wally Backman will be the bestest choice for Mets manager ever or whether he’ll sink the entire Mets franchise.  I mean, I imagine it’s possible some people have taken the middle ground on this, but this is the Internet, so that’s practically impossible.

Enter J.C. Bradbury, who used all of that fancy book-learnin’ he picked up while becoming an economics professor to study the impact of major league managers. He has a new paper on it.  Here’s a link to the whole thing.  Here’s the abstract:

Sports teams frequently fire and hire managers when they experience losing. However, determining managerial responsibility for player performance is difficult to measure. This study examines how major-league baseball players perform under different managers and estimates that managers have little effect on performance. The study further investigates whether or not replacing managers serves as a signal to fans that the team is improving, which boosts attendance. The results indicate that new managers were associated with increased attendance in the 2000s; however, such effects were not present in the 1980s and 1990s.

Upshot: Wally Backman could put some extra butts in the seats at Citi Field. As for winning, however, Backman — if chosen — will do so if he’s given good players who stay healthy. He won’t if he’s given a bad or injury-riddled team.

And when it happens, either the Disciples of Wally or the foul mouthed Backman Bashers will claim that their view of the matter was vindicated.

Report: Mark McGwire won’t return to Padres

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MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell reports that earlier this month, Mark McGwire informed the Padres he would be stepping down from his role as the club’s bench coach. McGwire took the job in December 2015. McGwire stepped down because he wanted to spend more time with his family.

The Padres now have three coaching vacancies. Along with McGwire, manager Andy Green will have to replace hitting coach Matt Stairs and infielders coach Josh Jonson as well.

Though no fault of McGwire’s, the Padres have gone 205-281 (.422) over the last three years, peaking at 71 wins in 2017. The Padres, in fact, haven’t had a winning season since 2010 when they went 90-72.