Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dave Trembley, 2009 Topps #407

So here we are on the cusp of the Orioles’ first managerial firing in the two-and-a-half year history of this blog. I don’t usually agree with change for the sake of change, and I certainly feel for Dave Trembley, who toiled in obscurity in the minors for decades before landing his dream job as a major league manager. He had an uphill climb, inheriting an absolute mess of a team. Even as the rebuilding process began, he was hamstrung by a lack of major league-ready depth and trades that removed the most productive veterans from the roster in exchange for prospects. The abomination that has been the 2010 season certainly can’t be put on him, either; Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara, and Jim Johnson amount to one-fifth of the Opening Day roster that has been waylaid by major injuries.

With all that said, there wasn’t much else to do. This team is awful to watch, as the hitters go quietly through the motions and put up a run or two a game and the bullpen implodes at the worst possible times and the defenders make careless and crushing mistakes and the talented starting pitchers have lapses in concentration and “off nights” and the base runners take themselves right out of innings…

You can’t get rid of all 25 of them, nor would I want to in most cases. So if anyone goes, it’s the man directly in charge. Dave has never endeared himself to this fan with his questionable personal tastes (Diet Coke and Notre Dame? Ugh!) and his droning, cliché-filled interviews. But he was a generally inoffensive manager whose greatest flaws – bullpen mismanagement and subpar batting order construction – were not uncommon. Of course, these are the primary strategic duties of a manager, so that doesn’t exactly reflect well upon him. And as the O’s spiraled out of control this year, his gaffes were more glaring. Brian Roberts’ absence left a gaping hole in the leadoff spot, but almost ANYONE would have been a better replacement than Julio Lugo. Same goes for Corey Patterson, who has reliably regressed to his usual level of performance. As far as the bullpen, Diamond Dave plays hot potato with his relievers, especially on those rare occasions when the team has a late lead. Overly obsessed with lefty-lefty and righty-righty matchups, he increases the wear and tear on his relief arms and flirts with disaster. He often removes pitchers regardless of their effectiveness in order to “play by the book” and use his guys in their designated “roles”. It just stands to reason that if you use five or six pitchers in a game, the odds of one or more of those guys having a bad night are going to be pretty high. Witness last Wednesday’s eighth-inning meltdown against Oakland (in which he brought young Jason Berken in with two on and none out, allowed him to retire a single batter, and then removed him for the less-effective Mark Hendrickson because ‘you have to have the lefty’ and ‘he’s a veteran who has been in those situations’ – never mind the fact that the righty Berken has much better numbers against lefties this year and that the ‘situation’ was actually more favorable then than when Berken was called upon…but I ramble).

Ultimately, Trembley’s supposed selling points were an emphasis on fundamentals and a knack for working with developing young players. All of the up-and-coming players on this team have taken a big step backwards this year, and the team has consistently been plagued by mental and physical blunders in the four seasons with Dave at the reins. That’s pretty damning.

Look, I hate the fact that the O’s are about to appoint their 13th manager in the 28 years since Earl Weaver retired for the first time. Stability breeds success in baseball. But Dave Trembley wasn’t working out, and if nothing else, the new guy will provide a fresh voice and possibly a better approach. So who’s going to take over?


I need to lay down for a minute.


Ryan said...

*dripping wet with sarcasm* We should sign Juan Samuel to a 5 year contract as soon ASAP!

night owl said...

My view is skewed, both by the fact that I'm not an O's fan and by the fact that I know Trembley and what kind of guy he is.

That said, it's easy to find the faults of any manager charged with leading a team in such disarray. The O's failed Trembley, not vice versa. But I agree, as a team, what else are you going to do?

I do know that this will not crush Trembley. He'll probably return to the minors somewhere, or even retire (he was talking retirement before he even got the Orioles job). He's a level-headed guy confident in his abilities and beliefs.

FreeTheBirds said...

I'd like to see them fire Trembley and release Garrett Atkins all in the same press conference. That would be bold and would send a strong message to the players that they are responsible for this and need to play better/harder. You can't fire all 25, sure, but you can cut the weakest underperformer out of the bunch. They did it by sending Reimold down, they can do it by releasing Atkins (who can't be sent down).

The players like to take responsibility in press conferences. That sentiment just needs to make it onto the field.

But Atkins will remain with the team for the time being, I know. The Orioles and MacPhail are going to get as many at-bats out of that 4.5 mil as they possibly can before letting go.

Kevin said...

Ryan - According to Wikipedia (big grains of salt), he has a son named Samuel. I am not optimistic about Juan's decision-making skills if this is actually true.

Greg - Obviously, Trembley talk filled the sports radio airwaves last night. One Orioles reporter remarked about how respectful Dave has been to the media throughout the season, even as they kept asking him the same unpleasant (and sometimes obvious/stupid) questions and the noose around his neck grew tighter. I have no doubts that he's a good guy. Maybe Leo Durocher was right.

FTB - Atkins feels like the first major blunder of the MacPhail Era. Sure, Adam Eaton was a horrorshow, but at least the Phillies picked up his tab. It's astounding to me that the O's are paying Atkins multiple millions to flail.

beardy said...

Just say NO to Juan Samuel.

Have you been watching how many runners get waived home that shouldn't? It's been going on for years now. Having a son named Samuel Samuel is the least of it.

Commish said...

Around and around we go. The manager makes not one iota of difference in our case. Nothing will change until they begin making more sound player personnel decisions and put people in place in the minors that can develop the young guys we have coming along. My endless supply of goodwill towards the O's (my 1st O's game was in 1960) is beginning to run out.

Spiff said...

8-0 Boston in the bottom of the 5th. Guess maybe the manager wasn't the problem? I have always felt that firing a manager just because is one of the worst aspects of baseball.