Friday, August 21, 2009

Trembley or Not Trembley? That Is The Question...

I've been seeing a few posts speculating on Dave Trembley's future as manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Or to be clear, they have been calling for Trembley's head after yet another losing season of Oriole baseball.

What strikes me as odd though is that most people are focusing strictly on the team's record. If you had a problem with Trembey's affection for the hit and run or aggressiveness on the basepaths with players who are ill-suited for the task, I could understand that a bit. Maybe even if you blamed him for the baserunning and fielding lapses, I would be with you. Maybe.

The bottom line is this: With the team Baltimore fielded in 2009, I'm not sure that anyone else could have done a better job.

The starting rotation we fielded on Opening Day included Mark Hendrickson, Adam Eaton and Alfredo Simon. We bolstered it with the likes of Rich Hill and an array of rookies who were, for the most part, rushed to fill the holes. Koji Uehara got hurt. Jeremy Guthrie is having his worst season in the majors.

The bullpen was a relative strength until the rotation fell apart. Guys were overused, fresh (and lesser arms) were brought up from the minors to help.

There was no offense to be had from the corner infield positions. Offense from the catching spot has been erratic. Overall, the lineup has had many solid performers but no stars. That kind of lineup will have trouble scoring when you are getting nothing from shortstop, third base or first base at the plate.

So this was/is a team with promise but a lot of flaws. The fatal flaw, of course, is that you compete in the AL East without a real pitching staff.

What could Trembley have done? Yelled really loud at Adam Eaton to make him pitch better? Gave a really nifty pep talk to Rich Hill and turn his season around? Shake Melvin Mora until he starts hitting like it's 2003? I don't think there's anything that Trembley could have done that would make any difference in the standings.

The truth is that Dave Trembley is not going to be judged by anything that happened on the field this year, not in a tangible way. Andy MacPhail is going to talk to his players, especially Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts and get their take on it. Has Trembley lost them or does he have their support? He's going to talk to Trembley's staff. He's going to talk to his people in the front office. He's going to talk to other coaches around the league. And then he's going to look at the record.

If Andy feels that the team could use a new voice, he'll make a change. If he feels that Trembley's philosophy of play no longer jibes with his, he'll make a change. But I really don't think Trembley has done anything wrong. I had a ton of reasons that Sam Perlozzo needed to go. Not so much with Trembley. There's nothing obvious (in my opinion) to point to since the record is a reflection of the whole organization, not just the manager.

I don't know if Trembley will be back in 2010 but that decision will be made by MacPhail and internal discussions not due to the record.

All this said, I'm OK with either scenario. Until he proves otherwise, in Andy I trust.


math_geek said...

Cesar Izturis batting 2nd
Melvin Mora batting 5th after the longest cold streak ever.
The Hit and Run and Dave Trembley's love affair with the worst play in baseball

These are decisions that are absolutely Trembley's and they are pretty awful.

FrostKing said...

Nothing to add - just wanted to say well written and that I agree

DempseysArmy said...

math_geek: I'm certainly no fan of Mora even getting at bats at this point but he's barely sniffed the 5 hole since the end of June.

The Izturis/Andino in the 2-hole thing is a recent development and an ugly trend. I can understand batting young guys lower in the order but I don't see the harm in Pie hitting the 2-spot. Fair point.

The hit-and-runs seem to have tailed off the second half of the season too...don't like that much either. But I'm still not sure that play has cost them a bunch of victories.