In four different places, four teams looking to better themselves next season are changing managers. The New York Mets fired Art Howe and the Mariners fired Bob Melvin. Likewise for the D-Backs and Wally Backman and the Phillies with Larry Bowa. The hiring of four managers in those respective cities has brightened the future for their clubs at least a little. This article will help to explain these four men a little better.
Mariners Fire Bob Melvin and hire Mike Hargrove
"We know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us," new Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said Wednesday in his press conference introduction.
That’s definitely a very true statement for the new skipper. The Seattle Mariners lost 99 games this season, their worst record since 1983, when that edition lost 102. The team figures to be going through a rebuilding phase in the very near future, so the front office brought in Hargrove for three years (through 2007) after firing Bob Melvin (more on him later) on October 10th.
"We want to build this the right way," Hargrove said. "We want to get back, obviously, to Seattle's tradition of winning as quickly as possible. But we want this thing to last a long time."
So why did the Mariners bring in Mike Hargrove?
"He has a tremendous résumé and is battle-tested in every facet of leading a major league club," Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi said.
So in 2005 the Mariners will probably be looking for Hargrove to win 75 games, which is entirely possible. In 2006, they will improve on that slightly more, and the year after should be fighting for second place with their ultra-good farm system.
Congratulations on the beginning of your career with the Seattle Mariners. You have been given a team with a brilliant farm system, like in Cleveland, and a great fan base. I hope you excel with your new club.
D-Backs fire Wally Backman and hire Bob Melvin
A Benton County judge has ordered a hearing on whether or not D-Backs former manager, Wally Backman violated terms of his probation. The team from the desert did not wait to hear the results, as they fired Backman only four days after signing him. The D-Backs then brought in former bench coach Bob Melvin to manage the club.
Melvin served as bench coach for the 2001 World Champion D-Backs and as well as their 2002 NL West championship team but he moved to Seattle after Lou Pinella left. He comes with a very strong expertise in baseball, as well as a strong ethic for “doing his homework.”
In his first season with the Mariners, Melvin won 93 games, but he lost 99 in his second year. This record can be attributed to the fact that the Mariners were rebuilding the past season and got absolutely nothing from their veterans.
So what can we expect from the new manager?
"The goal here is to get us back to our glory days," Melvin said. "There's a very rich history here, albeit short. ... We've accomplished some incredible things here."
The D-Backs don’t have much in their farm system, other than Scott Hairston and a few other guys, so not much help will come from there. If the Diamondbacks can’t be major players in this free agent market, they might want to look to rebuild. But if they are, Melvin can lead this team back to its glory days. Good luck, Mr. Melvin.
Phillies fire Larry Bowa and hire Charlie Manuel
General Manager Ed Wade removed Larry Bowa from the manager’s seat, much to the pleasure of the Phillies’ fans. He brought in Charlie Manuel, a former special assistant to him, someone that has been called the “anti-Bowa.”
“I want the players to be relaxed so they can get the most out of their abilities,” Manuel said at his introductory media conference. “I want them to come to the ballpark, play hard and have fun. And the way you have fun is by winning.”
The Phillies under Bowa’s reign have not had much winning or at least as much as expected. A manager that knows how to win, Manuel, kept the Indians’ dynasty together in 2000 and 2001 after the departure of Mike Hargrove, so there is some reason to believe. Another reason is Wade’s trust in his new manager.
"We want to get to the World Series and believe Charlie will help us get there," Wade said. "No one person can make that happen, but Charlie brings the ingredients that automatically make us better."
And that is what the Philadelphia Phillies need, a manager who knows how to win. Good luck with your new job, Mr. Manuel, you’ll need it.
Mets fire Art Howe and hire Willie Randolph
After three years of bad decisions, the New York Mets seem to be moving in a different direction. They hired Omar Minaya to be a General Manager, which should allow the club to regain some respect. Minaya’s most important first move was to bring in a new manager, namely Willie Randolph.
"Our goal is to get back to winning, and it starts with Willie Randolph," Minaya said at the introductory press conference. "So I'm proud to introduce him as the Mets' next manager."
Many people believed that Willie Randolph deserved a chance to manage. He has been the third base coach of the Yankees for ten years, while serving as Torre’s bench coach for one. During his time in pinstripes, the Yankees have won 4 World Championships and 6 pennants.
“When I first met Willie, he was similar to how I saw him as player,” Minaya said. “There was always a consistency about him. I don’t remember a ball going through Willie’s legs in a big game. Everything he has done, he has either done well or he has improved at doing. He’ll have bumps in the road, but he’ll get better.”
The Mets have to hope that there won’t be many bumps in the road and that Randolph will get over those bumps very quickly. Good luck!