Last night's handling of Jeremy Hermida, he of the oh-so-scintillating major league debut, was the latest example of Jack McKeon's inability to manage a baseball team. Sure, the Cards brought in a lefty, and Hermida is a lefty, so "the book" tells you that you should bring someone to hit for the rookie. But no one knows what Hermida's got (at least not at this level), and the game was pretty much decided by that point in the 8th anyway. Leave him in. Let's see what the kid's got. Let him work out a few more of the butterflies before we need him in a key spot in a game that might be winnable.
I was also disappointed to hear Jack say (after the game) that Hermida provides the team with a nice left-handed bat off the bench. While it's too late in the season to get Hermida too much playing time (barring injuries or slumps to other players), I would think that he should see some regular playing time (spot starts around the outfield to rest other guys, at least). But no - it seems that Hermida has been called up to assume the Chris Aguila role, which was a role that was too small even for Aguila and his abilities.
At this point, I wouldn't trust Jack to be my waiter at the IHOP. I'm sure that he'd turn my order for blueberry pancakes into a Denver omlette by the time it got to me. And the explanation that I would receive about the mixup would be something along the lines of "well, I told the cook to make pancakes, but sometimes he decides to make omlettes. You'll live a long life though - this sort of thing will even out; some days you'll want an omlette, and you'll get pancakes."
Jack must go. Jack doesn't get it anymore. Jack is cute. Jack can be funny. It's amusing to see him waddle out to the mound. It's funny to watch him chain smoke cigars.
But Jack isn't a capable manager anymore.
In last week's Sports Weekly (a USA Today publication), the rumor was that the Marlins are nearly sure to let McKeon go after the season - whether they reach the playoffs or not.
And the leading candidate (allegedly) to replace Jack? It's rumored to be Davey Johnson (sorry, but that's the closest I've found to a link to Nightengale's story, which I read in print last night).
I like, but do not love, the idea of bringing in Davey Johnson. Johnson has been a successful manager everywhere he has been. That's fair enough. I think I would prefer Jim Leyland to Johnson though.
What do you think? Who should manage the club in 2006? And, possibly more importantly, is there a bench coach (or other coach) - a la Ozzie Guillen - that this team has to have?