Managing Our Manager

I like Don Wakamatsu. He comes off as an intelligent and level-headed guy with a good feel for people. Those are certainly useful traits when you are in charge of handling 25 people of various backgrounds and degrees of sanity. However, I believe he can use some help. Whether directly or indirectly, some of Wakamatsu's decisions are going to cost the team several wins over the course of the season. To get the best out of our team, our front office should be determining the construction of the roster so as to allow Wakamatsu to handle only what he should be responsible for: managing. 


Let's start with the DH/LF situation*

CHONE projects Griffey for a wOBA of .304. He has no defensive value. CHONE projects Langerhans for a wOBA of .311. We can reasonably project Ryan to put up a LF UZR beween 7.5 and 12.5  runs per 150 innings. Milton Bradley should be about average defensively in left, somewhere between -5 and 5 runs per 150. 

Let's assume that Bradley's PA don't change from the current situation. Langerhans now gets around 425 as the platoon partner for Byrnes in left, and Griffey is limited to pinch hitting or going away or whatever. It isn't quite clear how many PA Griffey will get this year, but for simplicity let's assume he is the primary DH against righties, also amassing 425 PA. Over the course of a season, that slight difference will be about 2.5 runs. Okay, no big deal. But what about defensively? The difference between Langerhans and Bradley should net something like 10 runs over a full season. By keeping Griffey at DH and leaving Bradley in the field, we're losing about 12.5 runs, and that's also ignoring the potential for injury to Bradley by making him play in the field. 

How about catcher?

Rob Johnson  projects for a .289 wOBA. Adam Moore projects for a .304. Josh Bard? .295. If we assume Johnson is the starting catcher this year, he'll likely amass about 400 PA, leaving ~250 for Moore. If we make Rob Johnson go away and bring up Bard, Moore would get those 400PA and Bard would pick up the remaining ~250. Even if you believe that fairly pessimistic projection for Moore, that's 3 more runs over the course of the season. We're up to a running total of 15.5 runs lost. I'd be pretty surprised if Moore wOBAs as poorly as .304. Really, we should bump this up another several runs.

Now comes the foggy part of this. Rob Johnson also is poor at his defensive duties, what with his plethora of past balls, drops, and bad throws. He also has been calling an absurd quantity of fastballs. I won't try to quantify this, but it is reasonable that the combination of the low projection for Moore and Johnson's gamecalling/defense should yield a significant number of runs. 

Pen management

Again, we're in the hazy region where trying to fix numbers will only lend false credibility. We saw on Opening Day that Wak went to Sean White in a high leverage situation, a decision that Jeff and Dave both bemoaned. Poor bullpen management over the course of a full season will cost the team a non-negligible number of runs. 

Garko and totals

Both LL and USSM have covered the capping of Garko in favor of Sweeney. Both generally agreed that the difference would be a few runs. Again, nothing major, but we're looking at a total of nearly 20 runs of fairly conservative difference before even factoring in the more nebulous factors like the bullpen, the low Moore projection, and the possible impact of Johnson's gamecalling and defense. Two wins at the least with the potential for more. Don Wakamatsu should not be given the chance to cost the team wins. The bullpen management part is tricky as that's in-game and would require asking him to change his thinking. The rest can be handled by the front office in creating the roster for Wakamatsu to manage. We need those wins. 

*Also of note, apparently Langerhans has been demoted while I've been writing this. Not Sweeney. Someone doesn't like winning. 

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