WBC: Second guessing Buck Martinez

In my passionate appeal to the US World Baseball Classic team yesterday, I briefly touched upon some decisions made by manager Buck Martinez. Today, I want to revisit Martinez and second guess him into the ground.

Buck Martinez as a manager has had very limited success in Major League Baseball. He has managed for a total of 215 games, leading the Blue Jays to an overall record of 100-115. He was dismissed after just 53 games in 2002. The Blue Jays were 20-33.

Now, I can’t say why Major League Baseball picked Martinez to lead Team USA. As Brett Carow noted in a Baseball Musings discussion yesterday, the best managers are all in training camps, presiding over their teams. David Pinto threw out the name of Davey Johnson as the best manager not currently busy with a team. In my mind, Buck Martinez ranks fairly low on the list of available guys to manage a team in a tournament, and he’s living up to this assessment.

On Wednesday, Martinez’s biggest mistake was his lineup construction. From the get go, I wondered about Martinez’s thinking. Here was the lineup to start the game against Canada:

Micheal Young 2B
Derek Jeter SS
Ken Griffey CF
Derrick Lee DH
Chipper Jones 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Vernon Wells RF
Jason Varitek C
Matt Holliday LF

Without using any statistical analysis, it’s clear that this lineup is not the best, offensively or defensively, that Martinez could have put on the field. Without looking at the bench, Martinez did not even use his best centerfielder in centerfield. For some reason, he went with Ken Griffey, Jr., in center and Vernon Wells in right. While Griffey was once the best centerfielder in the game, those days are long behind him. It makes no sense to put him in center.

Adding to this oversight is the bench. On Team USA’s bench to start a key game in the World Baseball Classic tournament were Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez. Think what you will about A-Rod and Damon, but these two are the best at their respective positions on the USA team. It is inexcusable for Martinez to have these two players – one of them the reigning AL MVP – on the bench for most of the game.

While I understand that Martinez may have wanted to give Matt Holliday a start or allow Chipper Jones to ride his one home run hot streak from Tuesday, it is absurd to see these two players on the bench. Cuba doesn’t rest its best players during the tournament. David Ortiz isn’t sitting out a game for the Dominican. Martinez should manage this to win now. Had the US team won and secured a second round berth, then Martinez could have played the back-ups.

The next mistake Martinez made was bringing in Al Leiter in a key situation with two runners on and the game getting out of hand. As a Yankee fan, I saw my fair share of Al Leiter last season. Let me tell you: There is a reason why he announced he is retiring after the tournament is over. Leiter last year had a combined 6.12 ERA. As a reliever, he 21 hits in 16.1 innings. When he allowed the two inherited runners to score – two big runs in the game – I wondered if this was the best America had to offer.

So now Team USA has its back to the wall. While it is highly unlikely that the Republic of South Africa will be able to beat an energized Roger Clemens, I sure hope Buck Martinez doesn’t yank Clemens after 23 pitches as he did to Peavy in game 1. I hope Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon are in the lineup. I hope the US team, under guidance from its manager, can put its best face forward and win.

Buck Martinez ought to treat this tournament as an audition for a real managerial gig. He was tabbed by Major League brass to represent the nation. So far, he’s doing a poor job. Let’s hope we don’t have make the biggest second guess of all: MLB’s choice of Buck Martinez for manager.

Advertisements

8 Responses to “WBC: Second guessing Buck Martinez”


  1. 1 jackynjimy March 10, 2006 at 10:17 am

    Do you think it has something to do with the players egos, and trying to make sure they’re all happy campers? That’s why I don’t like events like this, or the pros playing basketball in the olympics. I would have rather seen them field a team of college all stars.

  2. 2 Rocket1124 March 10, 2006 at 1:25 pm

    Unfortunately, it’s probably about getting everyone some at-bats before the real season starts. If Holliday or Wells goes back to camps after sitting on USA’s bench, their clubs will be pissed. That’s what’s unforunate about the whole darn thing.

  3. 3 Fritz March 10, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    I think the reason Martinez was hired is pretty obvious–he’s an ESPN guy, and ESPN owns the rights to televise the WBC. Watching the Canada/Mexico game last night, Martinez was in the booth for about four innings.

    The reason he isn’t playing the A team every game is that he’s giving in to pressure from the managers of the MLB teams to make sure all of the players get enough ABs and pitches in during the period of spring traning. This isn’t as much of an issue for the managers of the other teams–none of the other teams have benches made up entirely of full-time players from major league rosters.

    All that being said, there’s no good reason on Earth for Al Leiter to even be on the roster.

  4. 4 T.J. Brown March 10, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    Davey Johnson would be far better than Buck Martinez, but even he isn’t the best manager available. Want a list?
    Sparky Anderson, Whitey Herzog, Jack McKeon, Tom Kelly, Cito Gaston, Lou Piniella, Tommy Lasorda, Earl Weaver. I know many of them are, ahem, aged, but you don’t think they’d turn down a chance to manage a team like this for a month or two? What do they have, 14 World titles and 20 pennants among them?

    Want more candidates? Art Howe, Bob Brenly, Jimy Williams, Jeff Torborg, Dallas Green, Jim Fregosi, Lloyd McLendon, Don Zimmer…

  5. 5 Billy Bob Tweed March 10, 2006 at 3:12 pm

    CITO GASTON had teams stuffed to the gills with talent and so-called ego-monsters and malcontents, ball all his teams did was get down to business, let his best players play ball and win championships. And yet — there’s this preconception that Gaston is himself a malcontent and any manager would have won with that All Star talent. If he’s white, they call him Joe Torre and a genius. But Cito Gaston isn’t white, he’s unemployed.

  6. 6 Benjamin Kabak March 10, 2006 at 3:16 pm

    So it’s 2-0 US with one out in the top of the first. A-Rod just hit a two-run double. I guess Martinez figured he was done benching his best players today. Although DHing Chipper Jones instead of Teixeira is a questionable move in my book.

  7. 7 Scotty Mac March 10, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    I was at the first two games, and Teixeira looked TERRIBLE at the plate andin the field. He doesn’t have a hit yet, I believe, and in a short tournament you’ve got to ride the hot hitters. But I was absolutely appalled both days that Griffey was in CF.

    Looks like they’re gonna advance now, so it shouldn’t be a problem until next wekend.


  1. 1 Most Valuable Network - Statistically Speaking » WBC: A costly call in the Japan/USA game Trackback on March 13, 2006 at 12:31 am
Comments are currently closed.



RSS River Ave. Blues

  • Two comebacks aren’t enough, Yankees fall 6-5 to Mariners July 23, 2017
    Source: FanGraphs Well that was a rough one. The Yankees showed some Fighting Spirit and rallied to tie Saturday night’s game against the Mariners twice — twice! — but ultimately, the bullpen took yet another loss. The final score was 6-5 in ten innings. The bullpen has been pretty great since the All-Star break, but […] The post Two comebacks aren’t enough, […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 96: Make it Three in a Row July 23, 2017
    The Yankees have won the last two games in convincing fashion, with strong performances from the starting pitching, the bullpen, and the lineup (for the most part, at least). A win tonight would give them their first three-game winning streak since they won six in a row from June 7 through 12, and their first […] The post Game 96: Make it Three in a Row appe […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Trade Deadline Rumors: Darvish, Gray, First Base, Betances July 22, 2017
    The July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is only nine days away now, and already the Yankees have made their most significant midseason trade in several years. Since … the Bobby Abreu deal? Nothing else comes to mind. Anyway, here are the latest rumors and rumblings. Rangers gauging interest in Darvish According to Jeff Passan, the […] The post Trade Deadline […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Judge’s monster homer leads Yanks to 5-1 win over Mariners July 22, 2017
    Your browser does not support iframes.I don’t want to alarm anyone, but the Yankees have won two straight games and are 5-4 since the All-Star break. Crazy, I know. They might actually win a series this weekend. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. The Yankees took the second game of this four-game set against […] The post Judge’s monster homer leads Yan […]
    Mike Axisa
  • DotF: Robinson hits two homers in Staten Island’s win July 22, 2017
    Here are the day’s notes: Two roster clearing moves, per Matt Kardos: RHP Branden Pinder has been released and RHP Dillon McNamara has been traded to the Giants for … something. Not sure what. Probably cash. Pinder had allowed just one run (unearned) in 11.2 innings back from Tommy John surgery. 3B Miguel Andujar is […] The post DotF: Robinson hits two homer […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Game 95: CC’s Birthday July 22, 2017
    The Yankees opened this four-game series with the Mariners with a nice win last night. Luis Severino outpitched Felix Hernandez and the offense put just enough runs on the board. The Yankees are 4-4 so far on this eleven-game road trip, so they still need two more wins to clinch a winning trip. That would […] The post Game 95: CC’s Birthday appeared first on […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Friday Night Open Thread July 21, 2017
    The Yankees are still out on the West Coast, which means another 10pm ET start tonight. One more of these tomorrow — that’s actually a 9pm ET start, but close enough — and then that’s it. No more West Coast night games this season. After this series the Yankees will play 62 of their final […] The post Friday Night Open Thread appeared first on River Avenue B […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: July 2012 July 21, 2017
    The calendar has turned over to July and it’s time once again to revisit the MLB Trade Rumors archives. Better late than never this month, right? Right. We’re now into July 2012 and, as always, July was chock full of trade rumors. The Yankees went into July 2012 with a 47-30 record and a five-game […] The post Revisiting the MLBTR Archives: July 2012 appeare […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Scouting the Trade Market: Trevor Cahill July 21, 2017
    After Tuesday’s seven-player trade, the Yankees loudly announced they were buyers. The trade solved many of their issues, but they still have a hole in the back of their rotation with Michael Pineda lost for the season after Tommy John surgery. A veteran innings eater who can more reliably provide solid innings than Bryan Mitchell […] The post Scouting the T […]
    Steven Tydings
  • Mailbag: Judge, Mateo, Hamels, Nola, Girardi, Taillon, Betances July 21, 2017
    We’ve got ten questions in the mailbag this week. RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com is where you can send us any questions. More than a few were rendered moot by the trade with the White Sox. A few people asked: What could the Yankees get for Judge? Several masochists emailed in asking what sort of […] The post Mailbag: Judge, Mateo, Hamels, Nola, Girardi, Tai […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,492 hits

%d bloggers like this: