According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Manny Acta will be fired in the next couple of days. Manny hasn’t had much to work with, he mentioned in spring training that the bullpen was gonna be an issue, so it’s hard to blame him for the Nats being bad. But they are truly awful, and there is some thought that someone else could light a little bit of a fire so that this team would be a bit better. Not just me, but others like Tom Boswell, have noticed that with mediocre pitching this team could be close to .500. It hasn’t worked out that way, and maybe Acta is at least partly to blame. I am not so sure. I’m not afraid to stick my neck out with an opinion, the problem for me is, I’m really not sure. Could Joe McCarthy, John McGraw, Cornelius McGillicudy (Connie Mack), or Ronald McDonald have managed this team any better? Yeah it’s possible I guess. I’m just not sure that Acta has had a chance to prove anything other than he isn’t going to win if he’s not given any pieces.
Not that I fault the team for changing direction, it may have some effect and frankly, if they didn’t want him to be there in the future, making a change now isn’t a bad idea. My only real problem is that this info is out there now. No need to leave a guy hanging out to dry like that. If he’s going to be fired, do it now, don’t wait until Monday or Tuesday. Acta has been nothing but a classy representative of this team for the last 3 seasons, he deserves to be treated as such. That doesn’t mean he can’t get fired, he just should be treated with respect. Of course, all of this is hearsay, he may not be gone, it’s only being reported by Fox Sports at the moment. If it wasn’t being reported by Ken Rosenthal, I’d probably just chalk it up to rumors, but he knows his stuff.
Acta is supposed to be replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman. Riggleman has a better record than Acta, but he had more to work with. His overall record, after managing the Padres (’92-’94), the Cubs (’95-’99) and the Mariners (’08), is 562-652. That’s a winning percentage of .445. No doubt that’s going to get worse before it gets better. His best finish was in 1998 with the Cubs when they finished 90-73. Yes that adds up to 163, they had to play the Giants in a one game playoff. They won that game, so they won the Wild Card. They didn’t win another game, as they went 0-3 vs the Braves in the NLDS series. But still, he did make the playoffs once.
Assuming this happens, I’m also going to assume that this won’t be the last big shakeup in this organization. Another guy who I trust when rumors are being thrown out, Peter Gammons of ESPN, said that the Nats are going to be making trades soon (it’s about 45 seconds in to this video). Obviously Nick Johnson is trade bait, but he says some of the younger players like Milledge and Dukes are on the block. And he mentiones Dunn may be there as well. In other words, anything that’s not nailed down, a rookie starter or named Ryan Zimmerman is available. I would be surprised if they traded Flores, but other than those 2 guys, position players better watch out… We’ll see what changes are to come, but I have a feeling the next 7 weeks or so will be very interesting. The Nats may finally be having a fire sale – something that is exciting for fans only in the Bowden was always too reluctant to admit it and just pull the trigger.