ANAHEIM - The next time the Toronto Blue Jays visit Angel Stadium,
longtime Angels coach Joe Maddon could be their manager.
The last-place Blue Jays, who fired Carlos Tosca last month, are
believed to have included Maddon on a list of potential managers for
The New York Mets and Seattle Mariners also might be interested in
Maddon, 50, whose resume includes a 33-26 record over three stints as
the Angels' interim manager.
General managers appear interested in Maddon because of his
willingness to blend 30 years of experience as a player, scout, coach
and minor league manager with newly popular number-crunching methods.
The Boston Red Sox, who rely heavily on statistical evaluation to
shape their roster and in-game strategy, interviewed Maddon last
winter before hiring Terry Francona. Red Sox general manager Theo
Epstein and Blue Jays GM J. P. Riccardi share similar New Age baseball
"The Boston thing was very big for me because it came out of nowhere,"
said Maddon, who had not interviewed for a managerial job outside the
Angels organization before then. "If there is speculation now, it's
probably because of that."
Maddon also has close ties to Seattle GM Bill Bavasi, who selected him
as the Angels' interim manager after Terry Collins resigned with 29
games remaining in 1999.
"I don't think his philosophy is en vogue or ever out of vogue,"
Manager Mike Scioscia said in endorsing Maddon. "He has a lot of
common sense in his philosophy, and he is a great communicator."
There should be some managerial jobs available this winter -- Toronto,
Seattle, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the New York Mets are among the
expected openings -- and Angel bench coach Joe Maddon is being
mentioned as a candidate in several cities.
Maddon, a finalist for the Boston job that went to Terry Francona last
winter, has close ties to Mariner General Manager Bill Bavasi, a
former Angel executive; he grew up in Pennsylvania, and he has the
strong backing of Angel Manager Mike Scioscia.
"I think he's going to be a heck of a manager," Scioscia said. "It's
such a jigsaw puzzle how everything falls into place -- it's a matter
of timing, what direction certain organizations are going in, some GMs
have strong philosophies on strategies that might impact what they're
"I don't think Joe's philosophy is in or out of vogue. His style is
very progressive, he has a lot of common sense, and he relates to
Maddon, 50, is in his 30th year in the Angel organization.
Jays put on big show for would-be boss
ANAHEIM, Calif.--A front row seat to another Blue Jays triumph wasn't
on the wish list of the man being touted in some circles as their
But there was little that Anaheim Angels bench coach Joe Maddon could
do last night as the Jays held on again against the league's top
Maddon is widely considered to be heading the A-list of baseball
coaches being sought out as managers for next season and Toronto is
strongly rumoured as his possible destination.
His future was looking a lot brighter than the present in this one as
Jays lefty Ted Lilly handcuffed an Angels squad expecting to do a
whole lot more against Toronto than they actually accomplished.
"I think they're an interesting group,'' Maddon said of the Jays
before they beat the Angels, 5-4, to capture this series and slow
Anaheim's charge towards the top of the AL West division. "They've got
a lot of interesting young players.''
Lilly finally secured his 10th win of the season by surpassing the
seven-inning mark for only the sixth time all season.
He allowed a pair of runs in a seventh-inning rally, highlighted by a
run-scoring double by Chone Figgins, that narrowed Toronto's lead to
just a run.
But Lilly held on and battled into the eighth, where Jason Frasor took
over with one out before handing off to Justin Speier in the ninth.
After Jays catcher Gregg Zaun kept things scoreless in the second
inning by blocking the plate on a throw home by right fielder Alex
Rios -- getting flattened in the process by baserunner Jose Guillen --
Toronto scored five times in the third inning off Angels starter
Vernon Wells launched Toronto's offensive surge with a bases-loaded
double off the left field wall. Washburn then wild-pitched a third run
in before Carlos Delgado slugged a two-run homer to right centre.
Anaheim snapped a 14-inning scoreless streak in the fourth inning when
Vladimir Guerrero tagged Lilly's first pitch over the wall in left.
Adam Kennedy hit another solo homer in the fifth inning, before the
two-run seventh drew Anaheim within one.
Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi has said that interim manager John
Gibbons will be considered for the post vacated by the fired Carlos
Tosca once the season ends. Ricciardi is on record as stating the next
manager would have to have teaching qualities to deal with the younger
players coming up to the Jays.
Maddon, 50, with 11 years of coaching in Anaheim behind him, is known
for his teaching skills. He admits he'd be interested in managing the
"Absolutely, I would,'' he said. "When you get your first opportunity
to do something, you don't want to say you'll go just anywhere. ...
Because your place is not just anywhere. Your place is beautiful. I
love the city, the Yorkville area. I like to do the bicycle thing, so
I rode a bicycle up and down the lake.''
Maddon led the Angels to a 19-10 record in 1999 after taking over as
interim manager when Terry Collins resigned.
But Maddon was beaten out by current field boss Mike Scioscia for the
job. The Red Sox also interviewed him last winter before awarding
their vacant manager's job to Terry Francona.
"Since 1981, this has always been a goal of mine,'' Maddon said. "To
get here as a coach first and understand how it works. Then, after I
understood how it works, I hoped to get a chance to manage.''
Although he likes statistics, Maddon said his management style
wouldn't be driven by them.
"I love on-base percentage and I love the walk, I think they're great.
But to just eschew the bunt or the sacrifice in a certain situation
because some statistical information indicates otherwise, I don't
believe in that.''
Lou can give Mets all Howe can't
The Mets held optional batting practice the other day, and on their
team of slumpers and slackers, four players showed. Don't be shocked.
If the games were optional, some Mets wouldn't attend them, either.
These guys don't need a talking-to, as Art Howe occasionally gives
them (when he's told to). These guys need the sort of wake-up call few
managers can provide. One is Lou Piniella, whose increasing
disenchantment working for the Buffoon Brothers in Tampa Bay, aka
Vince Naimoli and Chuck LaMar, is being closely monitored by Mets
Maybe Piniella's a reach or a dream. Whatever, it's a dream worth
pondering. He's feeling victimized by the D-Rays' toddler movement and
steadfast intention to keep the payroll in the poverty ranks (about
$29 million) next year, and according to someone close to him, he
recently griped, "What do they need me there for?"
While stopping short of begging to leave when asked how he's doing,
Piniella offered a fairly dire prediction for Tampa.
"Unless you spend some money, you're going to be growing it for a
while," Piniella said. He guessed 2007 as a target year for potential
contention. Coincidentally, that's the year after his contract ends.
"It can happen here," he said, "but we have to get after it a lot more
than we have."
If Piniella feels wasted in that baseball cesspool, that's no
surprise. Nor would it shock anyone if he'd eagerly accept a trade to
the Mets, where he'd at least feel like he's back in the ballgame. And
yet, there are considerable hang-ups. No surprise, the biggest would
be over loot: 1) How badly do the D-Rays need it? And 2) How badly
does Fred Wilpon want to avoid paying two high-priced managerial
"Money is the big question," one Mets observer said, no surprise
considering the Mets' recent history of passing up stars for
second-tier plodders. That Piniella's four-year, $13-million contract
is seriously backloaded could be an impetus to a trade. Or it could be
a deterrent, from the Wilpons' perspective.
That the Mets would even consider keeping Howe and hiring Larry Bowa
as bench coach, which they are, shows their reticence to spend what it
takes. That plan is, of course, a transparent attempt to hire a new
manager (who's incidentally also the antithesis of Howe) at the
Word is, the 2005 budget won't allow the Mets to engage in bidding
wars for marquee free agents, notably Carlos Beltran or J.D. Drew.
Regardless, Piniella brings the biggest bang for their buck of all, if
they can pull it off. Besides Bobby Valentine (whom Jeff Wilpon likely
wouldn't approve), he's maybe the perfect manager for New York:
enthusiastic, energetic, entertaining. He's also not above offering a
kick in the pants, as needed.
Piniella engineered his trade out of Seattle two years ago under the
pretense of going home and probably isn't inclined to publicly get the
ball rolling again. It's a delicate situation for Tampa, too, which
has written its advertising campaign around its lone star (its
manager) and would surely insist on a haul. In keeping with Tampa's
desire to employ the teen-aged, we suggest offering pitcher Yusmeiro
Petit and outfielder Lastings Milledge, both 19.
If Tampa prefers, Howe could go, too, with the Mets picking up the $5
mil left on his deal. Don't laugh. Someone was gullible enough to take
Howe two years ago.
Although Howe might prefer laid-back Tampa, Piniella has to think his
chances to win are better in Flushing, no matter what shenanigans are
going on now. By himself, he makes the Mets 10 games better.
"I'm 61 years old," Piniella said. "Before I take this uniform off,
I'd like to win one more time. Or have a good chance to win one more
time. I'm home and I enjoy that aspect of it. I came home to be home.
But I came home to be home and win. I didn't come home just to buy a
fishing boat and go fishing."
Piniella would bring the type of energy and urgency the Mets lack
under Howe, whose time must be up by now. If Valentine got canned for
a bad ending (14-14 in September 2002), how do the Wilpons justify
retaining Howe after consecutive tank jobs? They're 1-7 this September
after breaking an 11-game losing streak yesterday.
At least Howe has curtailed his annoying practice of telling us his
team "battled." Even Mr. Pollyanna has to know the fight has long ago
left these loafers. But Howe still has no idea what to say to them, or
He must know this is the wrong team and town for him. Perhaps that's
why he told friends in May he wouldn't mind going to Houston to
manage. Houston fits Howe. Just like New York fits Piniella.
The Wilpons need to make this happen.
Piniella's Alternative May Be Same Sad Story
By MURRAY CHASS
Published: September 10, 2004
HAVING played, coached, managed, general managed and broadcast in New
York for 15 years, Lou Piniella cannot be accused of naïveté. So when
he raised a question in the form of a statement yesterday, he really
knew the answer.
"I don't understand why my name comes up," Piniella said. "I'm signed
for two years."
Piniella has two years remaining on his contract as manager of the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but his name keeps coming up in speculation that
he will replace Art Howe next season as manager of the Mets.
"Yeah, that's all it is: speculation," Piniella said before his team's
doubleheader with the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Given the increasing
speculation, however, was he prepared to dismiss it and state he would
not ask out of his Devil Rays contract?
"They might not want me back," Piniella said, avoiding a direct
answer. Then he paused and chose his words carefully. He did that a
lot during the conversation with a reporter he has known for 30 years.
"I know what you're asking," he said. "I have intentions of making
this a go here. I come to the ballpark every day with that in mind."
But he added, referring to his future employment, "I can't get into
that." And he also said, referring to a possible switch, "Stranger
things have happened."
The Mets have not said anything about the status of Howe, who also has
two years left on his contract. But others have said plenty, calling
for the Mets to fire him, as if their poor play has been a result of
his managing and not the players' ineptitude and the Wilpons'
operation of the club.
"Art Howe is not the problem," the general manager of another club
said, choosing to remain anonymous so he would not be perceived as
intruding in the Mets' business. "Everyone knows what the problem is."
Piniella spoke positively of Howe.
"Art Howe's a good manager," Piniella said. "I managed against him in
the western division of the American League for quite a few years.
He's a good manager. I had a lot of respect and still do for his
managing abilities. I don't know why the Mets are struggling. I don't
When Piniella persuaded the Seattle Mariners to let him out of his
contract after the 2002 season so he could work closer to home, the
Mets wanted him, but the Mariners held them up for stiff compensation,
and he wound up really going home to Tampa.
"Every aspect of going back home has been good except that we haven't
won the way I'd like to see us," Piniella said. "I knew it was going
to be a project, and I knew it was going to take some time."
What he didn't know, perhaps naïvely, was that the Devil Rays' owner,
Vincent J. Naimoli, would not spend any money on improving the team. A
$23 million payroll, lowest in the major leagues, and questionable
management does not bode well for improvement.
"I've enjoyed being home," Piniella said. "It's a different challenge
than I've had other places. I knew it would be difficult; I didn't
think it would be quite this difficult, to be honest. For two years in
a row we're going to wind up with the youngest team in the league."
Piniella doesn't mind young players, but he would like a couple of
established hitters to produce in the middle of the lineup and take
some of the pressure off the younger hitters.
The team's 12-game winning streak and 15 victories in 16 games in June
didn't fool him. "We were playing good baseball," Piniella said, "but
I knew we weren't as good as that spurt. I knew we needed hitting at
the midpoint to soften the fall a little bit. Now we've fallen back to
where it's a struggle."
Since July 4, the Devil Rays (59-79) have gone 19-41, including their
two losses yesterday, plunging into peril their quest to eclipse the
franchise record of 69 victories.
"It's frustrating, no question about it," Piniella said. Then he
addressed the question of whether he had any assurances of future
expenditures that would ensure his continued presence as manager.
"Do I have assurances?" he said. "I don't have any assurances that
I'll be here tomorrow. I think our payroll will grow moderately over
time. I don't think you'll see a huge increase, but I think you'll see
over a period of three, four years some increments upward."
Piniella said he didn't go to the Devil Rays for a golden parachute.
"I came here to basically duplicate what we did in Seattle - to win,"
But now that it has become obvious that he won't achieve his goal
under Naimoli, Piniella could ask out of the contract and Naimoli
could excuse him, hire a manager who wouldn't cost $3 million a year
and let Piniella go to the Mets for compensation.
If that chain of events was to unfold, however, Piniella might find
himself in the same position he's in now.
The Mets seem to have overrated their players, perhaps letting the
team's overachieving play in the first half of the season fool them.
They could finish in last place for the third successive season, and
it wouldn't be through Howe's efforts. They would have earned it the
old-fashioned way: through a lack of ability.
He is interviewed on the Angel pregame radio show pretty much on a nightly
basis, to discuss the opposing team and its starting pitcher as well as to
offer an insider's view on various aspects of the Angel organization.
Maddon never fails to come across as bright, personable and extremely
well-informed. Of course I'm not too thrilled at the prospect of losing him
as our bench coach, but he definitely deserves a shot to manage somewhere,
and it looks like the time has arrived.
Eric (aka Rick)
"M. S. Burton" <fro...@earthlinkNO.net> wrote in message
I'm no fan of Melvin and obviously the team has been horrible this year, but
since when is it a done deal that he'll be fired? Is the general consensus
that he will indeed be let go after this season?
well, it seems to be among the press.... Management isn't saying.
IIRC... thus far the Times' Larry Stone, Bob Finnegan & Steve Kelley, the
TNT's Larry LaRue (under his columnist hat) & King County Journal's Greg
Johns have all chimed in that it is likelier than not, the PI's Dave
Andriesen & John Hickey haven't addressed it yet (although the 'sports'
columnist John Levesque did). Various national columnists seem to assume it
is a fait accompli. I am just more entertained by the rumoring than anything
(btw, Greg Johns wins the Dead Horse Beating award, for his column today,
where he daringly asserts the Ms need to get better players in the
If the M's do dump Melvin, what does that say about their decision to sign
him to an extension earlier this year?
You can't have a manager who isn't willing to fly in an airplane. Oh, wait,
Then it won't be Jimy Williams.
I'd love to take Peter Gammons to Reno. One night at the craps
table betting the opposite of Gammons would make me a rich man.
>But these guys are paid to entertain
>the masses with predictions, not necessarily to be correct with them.
I wonder if Gammons actually believes the things he says.
>If the M's do dump Melvin, what does that say about their decision to sign
>him to an extension earlier this year?
Otoh, it might be even more stupid to keep him, unless the M's
management think fans will flock to Safeco Field in 2005 to see
second-inning sacrifice bunts.
Quote Of The Week: "We are here to affirm that when Americans stand up
and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not a
challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism."
-- John Kerry
esp. Gammons :)
> If the M's do dump Melvin, what does that say about their decision to sign
> him to an extension earlier this year?
that it was a vote of confidence at the time when they knew it was bad, but
not that it would be THAT bad-- and now it is even worse that anticipated
and the fans are demanding sweeping changes so they have to make a ritual
Could be. In the end, it's often easier to control perception than reality,
and dumping Melvin probably would create the perception of constructive
change. Last week, the P-I ran a letter from a reader who claimed that the
M's success in the beginning of 2003 was merely a carryover from Piniella,
and that Melvin was responsible for the decline since. Nevermind that Lou
was unable to prevent a nearly identical collapse in 2002. If that's the
kind of reasoning fans apply to sports, Melvin is a goner. Not that I mind,
actually. I'm a lot more interested in who's going to play third next year.
And first. And be the closer. And be the setup man. And, and...
Last week, the P-I ran a letter from a reader who claimed that the
>M's success in the beginning of 2003 was merely a carryover from Piniella,
>and that Melvin was responsible for the decline since. Nevermind that Lou
>was unable to prevent a nearly identical collapse in 2002. If that's the
>kind of reasoning fans apply to sports, Melvin is a goner.
>Not that I mind,
>actually. I'm a lot more interested in who's going to play third next year.
>And first. And be the closer. And be the setup man. And, and...
He's probably a goner, with some reasoning behind it. The team
hasn't done an about face since the disastrous first half of the season;
the winning percetange is still pretty bad.
On the other hand, I don't think the team has given up, and it's
not nearly as lifeless as it was before (a fair amount of comebacks that
don't make it and whatnot).
It's still pretty much the quality of players that determine the
performance of the team, and they need some power and some OBP
-Roger Tang, gwan...@u.washington.edu, Artistic Director PC Theatre
- Editor, Asian American Theatre Revue [NEW URL][Yes, it IS new]
After two years of failure, the Art Howe era has drawn its final breath.
He'll either be fired today or on Oct. 4 - depending if Howe can live with
the irreversible verdict that the Mets will have a new manager in 2005.
That was made clear to Howe in a meeting with Fred Wilpon and GM Jim
Duquette on Tuesday.
So now it's Howe's choice: he either goes out with a quiet dignity (and
the $5 million he'll be drawing through 2006). Or, if Howe feels too
victimized to face his players and his public, the Mets will name Don
Baylor as his replacement for the final 17 games.
Waffling to the very end, the Mets are allowing Howe to choose his own
exit strategy. Considering how little he contributed and how large his
cash windfall, the Mets had every right to ask - no, demand - that Howe
finish his do-nothing tenure without further whining.
Still, a crossroads decision awaits the Wilpon family: Who can lift the
Mets out of their cesspool? One baseball executive said the other day that
the Mets are staring at a blank page. As he put it, "If Fred Wilpon thinks
there's some white knight out there, he's in for a rude surprise."
The problem is that the game's best managers (Joe Torre, Tony La Russa,
Buck Showalter, Lou Piniella) are unavailable or not interested. It's hard
to blame them, considering the Mets are, despite their wealth, the major
leagues' most confused franchise.
But that's not to say the situation is hopeless. There are a few
interesting candidates, such as Willie Randolph, a vaguely attractive
hothead like Larry Bowa, and even a time-tunnel possibility of bringing
back Bobby Valentine. If the Mets are really feeling courageously
counter-intuitive, why not take a run at Lenny Dykstra, an old-school
tough guy who wouldn't have let Cliff Floyd walk all over him the way Howe
With the countdown just days - or even hours - away, here's the tip-sheet
on next year's manager.
Lou Piniella: He teased the Mets (and infuriated the Devil Rays) last week
by suggesting he'd had enough of owner Vince Naimoli's cheapskate
franchise. Piniella would have loved to come to New York, if for no other
reason than to puncture George Steinbrenner's remaining sanity.
Only problem is, Sweet Lou has two more years on his contract, and the
Rays aren't letting him out of it. So says Naimoli, who told the St.
Petersburg Times, "a contract is a contract. We honor contracts and we
expect them to be honored."
Piniella told friends on Tuesday that Naimoli is serious. In other words,
he's stuck. Odds: 50-1.
Tony La Russa: The Cardinals have morphed into the National League's best
team, and are dead-on favorites to make it to the World Series. So why is
their manager not under contract for 2005? It'll make for an interesting
negotiation between the two parties this winter. The Mets could,
theoretically, court LaYRussa, but there's no chance he'd leave St. Louis
for a team on its way to another 90-loss season. Odds: 100-1
Larry Bowa: Unless the Phillies somehow land a miracle wild-card berth,
he'll soon be out of a job. The Wilpons thought highly enough of Bowa to
have considered hiring him as Howe's bench coach in 2005 - before the Mets
finally realized it was best to fire Howe outright.
In fact, Bowa might be the best candidate among the pool of experienced,
available managers. But there are red flags here, including Bowa's temper
and his inability to relate to young players, having practically run Scott
Rolen out of the Vet.
Still, Bowa's intensity is exactly what the Mets need after two years of
Howe's indifference. Odds: 4-1
Willie Randolph: The Mets' front office wasn't overly impressed with
Randolph's interview two years ago, but his profile has increased
considerably since the Yankees promoted him to bench coach. He's learning
the game first-hand from Torre, and has enough New York smarts to handle
the press, the Mets' troubled clubhouse, and the fans. With a strong bench
coach, Randolph's candidacy makes sense. Odds: 8-1
Buck Showalter: Has the right managerial background in New York, works
hard, is obsessed with winning, and is better prepared than any manager in
baseball on a game-by-game basis. There are two problems here, however:
Buck is a control freak and would have no appetite for engaging the
Wilpons in a turf war. Second, he's been too successful in Texas to walk
away, even though friends say he still misses New York. Odds 75-1
Bobby Valentine: Perhaps now Fred Wilpon will realize he made a mistake
replacing Valentine with Howe, but it's a stretch to think the owner will
revisit the manager who helped choreograph the mini golden era between
1996-2000. Actually, it's Wilpon's son, Jeff, who would likely veto
Valentine's return. Still, the Mets should at least discuss it.
Valentine's contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines allows him to leave at
any time. Odds: 15-1
Don Baylor: Even if he finishes out the season, Baylor probably is too
close of a friend of Howe to take his job outright. Odds: 40-1.
Lenny Dykstra: This isn't as crazy as it looks or sounds. The former
center fielder is highly thought of by both Wilpons and GM Jim Duquette,
and regularly consults with them on personnel moves. Dykstra is tough and
baseball smart, and comes from an era when the Mets had that irresistible
swagger. Friends say Dykstra has given up his famed nightlife to become a
successful businessman, but still has the Mets in his DNA coding.
The sole blemish is that Dykstra has no managerial experience in the big
leagues. But, then again, neither does Randolph. And Dykstra's candidacy
would stir the disillusioned fan base, considering he was voted one of the
nine most popular players in franchise history. The Mets could do worse
than persuading Dykstra to return to Shea. Odds: 25-1