Monday, September 24, 2012

Acta's future

With 10 days left in the season, the biggest question surrounding the Indians is the future of Manny Acta. Will he or won't he be fired?

I could see it going either way, but with a stronger possibility that he is fired than he is not. It's not unusual for teams to fire managers after seasons like this. For one thing, it's a way to deflect the blame away from the front office. I don't think Acta deserves to be fired, because the roster he was given this year was a flawed roster from day one of the season, and has remained so all year.

It's actually amazing that Acta had the Indians in first place for over a month in the first half of the season. That was due mostly to a favorable schedule. As the schedule got tougher in the second half of the season, the Indians collapse began.

Acta won't have to wait long to learn of his fate. He'll likely meet with General Manager Chris Antonetti within a day or two of the last game of the season Oct. 3. I would not be surprised if Acta is fired. I WOULD be surprised if he's fired and the Indians didn't hire his bench coach, Sandy Alomar Jr., to replace him. Alomar is viewed as a manager-in-waiting either in Cleveland or for another big leaague team. He's already interviewed for a couple of big league jobs in the last couple of years, and could get interviewed again this winter.

I'm sure Indians officials are worried they could lose Alomar to another team as a manager. So there's that, and there's also the fact that Tribe officials know they are going to absorb a lot of bad PR in the off-season. Naming the popular Alomar as Acta's successor would be one obvious way to get some much-needed good PR.

However, the problem for Alomar, who has never managed at any level of professional baseball _ which doesn't necessarily mean he can't be successful at it in the major leagues _ is that he'll be facing the same problems that got Acta fired: The minor league system has no major league-ready impact players to promote to the big league club, and ownership won't spend any money to sign free agents to fill holes on the roster.

So in all likelihood, even if the Indians change managers after this year. The roster next year is going to look a lot like the roster this year. And that's not a roster that is going to win many games or sell many tickets.