I have been brainstorming this post in my head for quite some time now. Thinking of ways to write what I wanted to say, what tone to take, and what exactly I thought. Eventually I just decided to state my case in the simplest way I could. Bullets - and yes, some are fact based and some are opinion based.
Thesis: In no way should Davey Johnson be the Nationals Manager in 2012.
1 - Brought in to provide leadership for the younger players, he immediately pledged his faith in the veterans (Stairs and Ankiel) and promised them playing time.
2 - A "Players Manger" - like Johnson - is simply a coach that doesn't enforce rules/discipline because he wants to be liked. Not a good idea for a younger team.
3 - Immediately anointed Bernadina as the teams leadoff hitter and CF for the rest of the year - a month later he was back in Syracuse.
4 - One of the most talked about aspects of his coaching style was that he "showed faith in players" - unless it was Ross Detwiler and then its one hit and out.
5 - Doesn't fit the organizational philosophy of protecting pitchers - openly criticizing Strasburg's rehab and Zimmermann's innings limit.
6 - Seems to me that during his MASN post-game interview he takes credit for every win while openly blaming specific players for their struggles during losses. Once again, Davey Johnson is supposedly a players manager.
7 - Doesn't seem like he was familiar with the team when he took over. Not having managed in the big leagues since the Steroid Era, if he had been following the club he would've seen that it was built around pitching and defense, not his usual "offensively minded" ball club.
8 - If you follow me on twitter (@CraigMac) I tweeted this last night. Two nights ago, during the 2-0 loss, Davey said he "zoned" on not pinch hitting for JZimm in the 6th; once again this is a pitcher who is 3 innings away from his innings limit sent out there to throw his 100th+ pitches. Last night Davey said that he "balked" on sending Livan out for the 7th inning. Part of me is happy to finally see him own up to mistakes but I don't think a big league manager should be "zoned" while trying to win a ballgame.
9 - He has no idea how to use the pen. CSN's Mark Zuckerman wrote Saturday, after Tom Gorzelanny's stellar Friday night, that Gorzelanny went to Davey asking to be used. That's great the he is asking to be used, but the truth of the matter is that Gorzelanny asked on Sunday and still didn't get into the game until Friday, despite several games in between. All told it was 13 days between appearances for Gorzelanny. Now, how many times has Davey complained to the media about having an "overworked" bullpen?
10 - I don't want to hear Ray Knight talk about Davey Johnson as The Greatest Manager Ever for another 162 games...
11 - What is with his man-crush on Henry Rodriguez?? Not only does he have a 4.34 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP, he is 2nd in all of baseball with 12 Wild Pitches; the leader (17) has pitched 108.1 more innings than Rodriguez has... I'm not saying that HRod shouldn't be used, but Davey is throwing him out there in some serious 7th and 8th inning, high-pressure situations. Let's give the guy a chance to succeed.
12 - Collin Balester was recalled from Syracuse on August 2nd. Since then he has only pitched in 4 games. Overworked bullpen?
13 - Rick Ankiel, the lifetime .310 OBP hitter, hitting leadoff.
14 - One of his main talking-points upon his hiring was the need for a consistent lineup. I don't have the time to go through each of Davey's 50 games and figure out just how many lineups he has used, but venturing a guess that its closer to 50 than 1.
15 - Most importantly, he isn't winning. He inherited a team that had a 40-38 record, and now the Nats have a 62-66 record - Davey Johnson is 22-28 as manager.
These are some of the many reasons why I don't think the Nats should pick up Davey Johnson's option. I'm not sure that Rizzo or Johnson knew what they were getting into with this partnership, and I think that both would be happier if Davey returned to his position as special advisor and Rizzo brought in someone who thinks the way he does (pitching and defense).
There you have it, CapBallers. What are your thoughts on Davey Johnson? Do you think his 2012 option should be picked up? Do you trust him with our younger players? You know what to do!