By: Kurt Snyder
If I had to rank the 2 biggest disappointments of the season, you don’t have to go too far to find them. The winner by a landslide was the decision by Al Avila to retain Ausmus. And the second would be Brad’s decision to retain all of his coaches.
Now you have to really wonder. You have to ask some questions. Al Avila had a responsibility to evaluate the performance of his manager before he made the decision about Brad’s fate. But didn’t Brad have the same responsibility with his staff? Didn’t Brad consider a fresh start with some of his coaching positions? Does Brad think that the players were completely to blame for all the base running mistakes, all the outs made at the plate, a pitching staff ranked near the bottom all season?
Sure, the players certainly did not perform in a lot of areas. But you know what? Neither did some of the coaches. There are players who will not be back next season based on a number of reasons that probably include cost but will mostly be about poor performance.
You would expect a fair amount of turnover after a disappointing season. And shouldn’t Brad have taken the opportunity after the season to evaluate his coaching staff the same way he and Al will evaluate his players and areas for improvement?
Why on earth did Brad and Al make these coaching decisions so quickly? OK fine, Brad’s coming back. I’m over it. But if I am Avila, I ask Brad to take some time to evaluate his coaches and decide if he wants to make any changes. And you know what? I would expect that Avila did exactly that. I would expect that Brad, being the master of acting before thinking, obviously needed the time for evaluation.
But, apparently, the performance of his coaching staff was so stellar all year that there was really no need to spend time evaluating them. What was there to evaluate? No need to change things up by replacing Gene Lamont, a Leyland holdover, for maybe a manager-in-waiting for some team, some day, Omar Vizquel.
Omar would seem to be a tremendous upgrade and could be really valuable spending more time in the dugout with the players, mentoring them and being that much-needed conduit for communication. Omar has a communication skill set that could be utilized even more by having him in the dugout full-time.
Gene Lamont has served his purpose. He was the proper bridge from Leyland to Ausmus. But after 2 years, the bridge is no longer necessary, I would hope. Perfect opportunity for a change, but none taken.
Also, given the disaster that was the pitching staff this season, this was the perfect opportunity to make a change and let Jeff Jones pursue a position with another team. The pitching staff needs a different voice and a fresh start after a brutal season. Perfect opportunity for a change, but none taken.
I would send Dave Clark on his way given all the guys he sent (guys like VMart and Miggy) chugging around third to be sacrificed at the plate. Those were risks taken with our biggest and most important hitters. Perfect opportunity for a change, but none taken.
I would take Alan Trammell, also a good candidate for bench coach, and at the very least, let him coach first or third. Let’s expand his role with this team. He’s been a manager, he’s been a bench coach. Why not utilize him more?
These are all moves that should have been made. In fact, Brad’s coaches had to be surprised they were all coming back. They may have even laughed a little. I even laughed after I quit throwing things.
Come on Brad, there had to be something you weren’t happy with in your coaching ranks? Your team had a horrible season. Your team was supposed to contend.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, has to share the blame. You were blessed with an undeserved retention. But you can’t look anyone in the eye and say everything is all good with your entire coaching staff! Please!