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Should Trembley crack the whip this season?

Interesting column on Dave Trembley by my buddy Peter Schmuck in today's Baltimore Sun, which you can read here.

The gist of it is that the Orioles manager had dropped hints in the off-season that he would be a tougher manager this year, a guy willing to "drop the hammer" on anyone not playing sound, fundamental baseball or otherwise failing to live up to expectations.

But according to various players Schmuck talked to in spring training camp, Trembley seems to be the same manager he always was, more passionate, enthusiastic nice guy than no-nonsense butt-kicker.

"Dave is Dave," Nick Markakis told Schmuck. "What you see is what you get."

Which brings us to today's question, bar-flies: do you think Trembley has to change his managerial style this year?

With Andy MacPhail's mandate that the club show definite improvement and that the manager and players be judged on wins and losses this season, does Trembley need to start kicking butt and taking names?

Me, I think a manager trying to be someone he's not is a recipe for disaster in a major league clubhouse -- witness how mild-mannered Sam Perlozzo lost the players a few years ago when he went from "good old Sammy" to a butt-chewer.

But let's hear what you think. Or maybe you think there's a middle ground Trembley could walk this season to show he's tough and no-nonsense, but still a guy who won't throw his players under the bus.

Get off that bar stool, hit the keyboard and let us know.

Daily Think Special: Should Trembley crack the whip this season?


Cracking the whip? I'd rather Trembley learned a bit about lineup construction and strategy. He's decades out of date! Batting Izturis second? Why? Because weak-hitting shortstops traditionally batted second? According to Baseball Prospectus. Trembley's teams have won four fewer games than they should have (based on runs scored vs. runs allowed) each of the last two years. Coincidence or bad managing?

Does it really matter if he cracks the whip or not?

I say nay-nay.

If a player makes a boneheaded mistake running the bases or throwing to the wrong base, then Trembley needs to take a hard stance with that player. He shouldn't take about it to the press, but rather take the player into his office and let him know that that type of play won't be tolerated. The player makes another stupid mistake, then he sits.

Trembley is obviously managing for his job this year and that ought to matter to the players. And the evidence of it mattering ought to show up in their play, not in their words.

That being said, mental mistakes are usually a result of lack of focus. Trembley can only go so far in forcing each player to focus. However it's his obligation to ensure that the nine players that take the field / step up to the plate are, in fact, the most focused option we have on the roster.

No matter whose name is on the back of the jersey, he needs to run out the ground balls, he needs to know how many outs there are, etc. If he doesn't, he needs to ride the pine while someone who is dialed-in does what Trembley expects.

While Trembley should not air dirty laundry to the media, getting the most out of the players will entail ensuring that they know what he expects and the consequences of not meeting those expectations, regardless of salary or status.

What Tremblet needs to do is to expect to win. That attitude must replace the expect to lose attitude that has characterized his tenure. He needs to stop making excuses for this teams poor play. Instead of kicking butt, and I agree that's just not his style, Trembley needs to take people out of the lineup if they make mistakes too often or display a losers attitude. This team has more talent than any team since the late 90s. He has more depth than ever both on the ML team and at Norfolk. Play hard, play smart and expect to win should be Trembley's mantra this year.

There's no middle ground. Trembley is a horrible manager. Didn't last year prove that, once and for all? Does anyone honestly think he can lead this team into the playoffs? His record speaks for itself. His in-game managing speaks for itself. His mismanagement of the pitching staff speaks for itself. I was really hoping MacPhail would dump him in the offseason. Maybe the bonehead owner stuck his nose in again where it doesn't belong and nixed it. I guess we'll just sacrifice another season before we get a manager in here who knows a little about the game and how to lead men. Trembley's a nice guy? Great. Put him in the P.R. department. Most of his players may have despised him, but Earl Weaver knew how to inspire and lead and, as an apparent afterthought judged on today's standard around here, win.

Trembley needs to win...period. Personally, I could care less whether he rubs their butts or kicks them...just play hard all season long & give us a reason to go to games in August & September.

DonM, lineup construction and strategy?

Seriously, what are you talking about?

MacPhail BUILT this louzy roster.

It has no cleanup hitter.

Therefore, every game, SOMEONE is going to be hitting out of place in this lineup - - - that is not Trembely's fault.

He should've cracked the whip his first season. That's what I thought we were getting---a whipcracker! Instead, we get a 'father figure'.

Wow, didn't Trembley look brilliant with that lineup he put together yesterday? Oh wait, it was just the first exhibition game and it doesn't mean anything. Still, it was better to win 12-2 than lose by that score.

Crack the whip? He can't, and shouldn't, change who he is. But he can, and should, hold all his players accountable. That doesn't have to mean screaming at them publicly or criticizing them in the press. But he needs to make it clear through his words and actions what his expectations are for his players in terms of attention and effort.

The players and manager are being judged on performance this year, as it should be. Trembley should act accordingly and expect the same from his players. Even if nobody is expecting them to compete for the playoffs this year, the players should be approaching every game with the expectation to play hard, play smart, and the belief that they are individually and collectively good enough to win every time they step on the field. They won't win all of them, but if they win over half of them most observers would consider that a successful season.

Dan, what the heck has DT been doing since he's been here? Maybe because he HASN'T cracked the whip so to speak, the Orioles keep losing.

Also, why isn't your comment section the same as the news comments section? How about the Sun putting ALL comment sections under one system instead of numerous ones I see throughout the website.

Scot -- Lineup construction, not roster construction. Earl Weaver said that the most important decision a manager makes day-to-day is when he fills out the lineup card. Trembley has batted Itzuris second. Why give up an out ahead of your 3-4 hitters? Trembley is not a good strategist and uses his bullpen too much.
It is no coincidence that the Orioles have won four fewer games than average (given their runs scored / runs allowed record) over the last two years.

CSB Jack, obviously, I agree with you. But I'm seeking an opinion. Suppose the Trembley does what we ask and the Os win say 87 games this year. Further, suppose they go out and make a blockbuster trade for someone to bat fourth. The trade would cost some prospects but there are others ready at Norfolk to fill in the holes. The situation looks rosey going into '11. Woould the Os dump Trembley to hire a proved winner? If they decided to stick with Trembley would he be able to lead this talented team to the playoffs?

With many players have mutli-year big money contracts, and most teams constructed so that there is very little real competition for playing time, no manager can crack the whip today the way managers did say 40 years ago. A star player always trumped a manager, and that's even more certain now. Managers can talk tough, but they don't have the teeth any more to back themselves up the way a Billy Martin or Earl Weaver could. How much could DT "punish" any starter without hurting the team and his own chances of being re-hired? Take a star out of the line up for more than a day, or make a star feel discontent, and the field manager is going to hear it from the general manager. Not the way it should be, but the way it is.

Yeah, Trembley should crack the whip...just as long as he's wearing a black leather bustier, fishnet stockings and spiked heels.

Oh wow - I got asked a direct question! That means I can use that as an excuse to put up more than one post on this topic. And once I get started, knowing me, I'll just address any other points I find meriting. Thanks, Tom! But Rob K may say you owe him one for getting me started.

Tom - good question, and a fair one to ask. Unfortunately, my opinion doesn't matter. The only one that does is Andy MacPhail's, or possibly Peter Angelos if he strongly disagrees. But I would submit that if Trembley wins 87 games with this team that he's done a pretty good job. Under that circumstance it would hard to say he can't be a "winner" with the addition of a legitimate cleanup hitter and lead that team to the playoffs. Not to mention, who is this "proved winner" that they would be able to hire that would be more of a sure thing? Most of the guys available are unemployed for a reason. I think a more likely scenario, and the more difficult decision, is if the Orioles win 78 games. Then what? I don't think the decision on Trembley for 2011 and beyond is going to be based on a magic number of wins but on how the team performs over the full season.

Rob - thanks for explaining clearly to the Dookies in the other thread. "UVA is Duke's rival." WTF?? And they wonder why so many people dislike them. Kevin - put his next Dos Equis on my tab.

CNC Fan - the blog comments sections are just different from the news comments section. That's more a Sun decision than individual bloggers. That the individual posts are on some blogs reviewed by the blogger or his designated representative helps cut down on really bad stuff - but the posts are not censored for editorial content, only for inappropriate language or comments. The regular news comments sections are loaded with spam posts, or at least were the last time I bothered to look. The only downside is when Dan or his guest bartenders are too busy doing their regular jobs or shopping online to review our witty and insightful comments and they are delayed in being shown to the rest of the world. FWIW, I have complained about the Captcha(TM) system specifically, but it apparently adds value in the minds of the owners, which in this case is the Sun. Dan's just a tennant trying to run a business in this space.

Attila - that's a visual image I don't need.

DonM - I guess I was too subtle in my original post. Q: How do you know it's only spring training and not real games? A: Izturis is batting second instead of ninth. During the regular season Izzy won't be hitting anyplace but ninth except in NL ballparks. At least not when Roberts is healthy. Putting the rookie (Turner) at the bottom of the order and the veteran (Izturis) near the top is not that big a deal in the first exhibition game. Oh wait - I get what you are doing. You are using ST to get ready for the season, same as the players, and are practicing your criticism of Dave's lineup decisions. Never mind.

I wish the players would 'crack the whip'. Games I've gone to have seen disinterested players milling about in the bullpen or the dugout with body language that says they can't wait to get outta there. I point it out to my kids. You watch that stuff and realize you've wasted a lot of money to see guys who don't give a darn. I'll come back when the players themselves want to play, not when the manager is barking at them.

We are talking about the same guy that just batted maybe the worst hitter on the team, Izturis, 2nd in the lineup? Not only does he make a mess of the bullpen and in game pitching decisions, he really has a penchant for screwing the pooch w the lineup. It doesn't really matter what he does, he's a lame duck. He knows it, and unfortunately his players know it. Witness Markakis getting caught heading for home on a ground ball to 1st w no outs Wednesday. Nothing has changed in the base running execution. Nothing has changed w good ole lovable Trembley except that his major league clock is about to run out. Thanks Dave, you're a really nice guy, but as the saying goes... Nice Guys Always Finish Last!

CSBJACK: Good point about the 78 wins. Tough decision but by "proven winner" I was referring to an experienced manager with a winning record and a reputation for getting players to believe and expect they can win.

This raises an interesting thought. Such a manger is currently working as an advisor to the Washington Nationals. Yes, that Davey Johnson. Just for kicks, is Angelos enough of a man to hire Davey back? Is Davey eniugh of a man to come back? Befoe you leap at the obvious answer let me tell you that at my age and in my experience I can tell you for certain that one rethinks one's earlier stated "there's no way I'll ever..." position. It comes with maturity...and motivation.

I think there's a good way to drop the hammer . You drop the hammer with respect to the player . You show him that you mean what you say , you need to play the right way or someone will be in your place out there , and you do this in your office not on the field .

Trembley has always talked about fundamentals and his teams have always been among the worst fundamental teams in MLB. I think the issue may be that he just doesn't have a very high baseball IQ himself. He can yell or not, but whatever he does isn't going to make a difference because he doesn't have a clear enough idea of what it is he's trying to get them to do.

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