Mike Scioscia‘s job with the Angels is in jeopardy due to their slow start, much like people seem to think Don Mattingly‘s job is. Ken Rosenthal throws gas on both fires by suggesting that the Angels deal Scioscia to the Dodgers.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com believes Angels manager Mike Scioscia needs a fresh start and proposes the Dodgers as the most obvious possibility. Rosenthal notes owner Artie Moreno would recoil at the idea of Scioscia managing the crosstown rivals, but the Angels would be better for it if they could obtain a significant player or two in a John Farrell-style trade.
As a standalone rumor, this wouldn’t bother me that much, but this idea of somehow getting Scioscia to the Dodgers is gaining momentum for whatever reason, and I can’t express enough how much I hate the idea.
Why? I think he’s a downgrade.
My thoughts on this are certainly not out of any fanboyism over Mattingly, either.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I frequently critique Mattingly’s game management style. His frequency of bunting, the odd personnel choices, and poor bullpen management are all things that I recognize as problematic from time to time.
That is to say that I’m not exactly calling him the best manager in the MLB, far from it. But as I’ve said before, I watch a lot of baseball around the league and follow a lot of other team’s bloggers, and I see similar issues/complaints about almost every manager, sans a few.
So while Don might not be ideal, I certainly think he’s average.
Furthermore, game management is a small part of what managers exist for. As this article points out, the universal standard for what comprises a quality manager is basically a jumble of intangibles. Therefore, their true value is keeping players happy, getting out of their way, and letting them play, which, hate him or not, Mattingly and his staff have been able to do with the core of the Dodgers team, unlike his predecessors Joe Torre and Grady Little.
That’s why, despite all my complaints, I still defend Mattingly’s position.
But besides that, why don’t I like Scioscia, right? Former Dodgers catcher, supposedly the future Dodgers manager before he was passed over, and supported by Dodger fans.
Well, for starters, all of those things Dodger fans bash Mattingly for? Scioscia does them more often … much more often.
Credit to Jay Jaffe for both that chart and for coining #BuntFucked.
So do you hate when the Dodgers get #BuntFucked by Mattingly? Well, boy oh boy, are you in for a treat if Scioscia strolls into town.
Scioscia is the biggest proponent of small-ball in the MLB, and it’s not only bunting, as this extends to leading the league in hit-and-run attempts and placing in the top five in stolen base attempt rate. So if giving up free outs aren’t your thing, then Scioscia is a downgrade*.
*And we all remember the Mike Napoli/Jeff Mathis debate, yes? Yes.
Furthermore, at the start of his career, Scioscia seemed to have this aura surrounding his teams — primarily built through the media — because they seemed to outperform their expected wins year after year. Yet, without Joe Maddon on his bench, his teams have increasingly become less and less adept at outperforming their expectancies, which I doubt is a coincidence given what we now know about Maddon’s defensive shifts and managerial aptitude.
So by all indications, trading for Scioscia over Mattingly would:
1) Put question marks in a clubhouse without them.
2) Exacerbate all of the game management flaws people already dislike in Mattingly.
3) Expose fans to a manager with a longer history of questionable personnel decisions.
But most importantly, the team would have to apparently give up “one or two” valuable assets for the joy of all of the above.
Nightmares, this scenario gives me them.