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

  • Tuesday Night Open Thread January 24, 2018
    ?Want to work for the Yankees? They’re looking for a Player Development Quantitative Analyst. You have to be extremely qualified and willing to both travel a lot and not make much money. That’s usually how these baseball jobs go. Front office staffer is not the most financially rewarding position. But, it is a job in […] The post Tuesday Night Open Thread ap […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Masahiro Tanaka won the slow 2017-18 offseason by avoiding it entirely January 23, 2018
    Defining the winners of the 2017-18 MLB offseason is a difficult task. Free agent signings have been sparse and few blockbuster trades have reshaped the competitive landscape. There hasn’t been one team, perhaps outside the Angels, that has clearly gone from pretender to contender in the past few months. Surely, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna […] The po […]
    Steven Tydings
  • Prospect Profile: Thairo Estrada January 23, 2018
    Thairo Estrada | IF Background Thairo Estrada signed out of Bejuma, Venezuela for the bargain price of $49,000 way back in November of 2012. He was relatively unheralded, as evidenced by both the price tag and how late he signed, and was something of an afterthought in a class in which the Yankees jumped all […] The post Prospect Profile: Thairo Estrada appe […]
    Domenic Lanza
  • Thoughts three weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training January 23, 2018
    We are exactly three weeks away from the biggest non-news day of the year. Pitchers and catchers reporting marks the beginning of Spring Training and the beginning of the long marathon that is the new baseball season, but nothing really happens that day. Still exciting though. Anyway, I have some thoughts, so let’s get to […] The post Thoughts three weeks be […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Monday Night Open Thread January 23, 2018
    ?Four years ago today, the Yankees got their man and signed Masahiro Tanaka to a seven-year contract. For a while that offseason it appeared he wouldn’t be posted, but MLB and NPB worked things out, and Tanaka has been a Yankee ever since. Even after the elbow injury and his rough 2017 regular season, Tanaka […] The post Monday Night Open Thread appeared fir […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Yankees land six on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list January 22, 2018
    Spring Training is three weeks away and that means it is top 100 prospect season. All the usual publications will be updating their lists in the coming days and weeks. Earlier today the gang at Baseball America released their 2018 top 100 prospects list, which is topped by Braves OF Ronald Acuna. Angels RHP/DH Shohei […] The post Yankees land six on Baseball […]
    Mike Axisa
  • The case for trading Brett Gardner to make room for Darvish January 22, 2018
    The other day, Steven wrote about the rationale of trading David Robertson to clear some salary room to fit Yu Darvish’s hypothetical contract under the $197 million luxury tax threshold. Today, I’m here to make a case for trading away another established veteran player with a +$10M salary: Brett Gardner. We’ve talked about the Yankees’ […] The post The case […]
    Sung-Min Kim
  • Sorting out the Yankees’ potential non-roster Spring Training invitees for 2018 January 22, 2018
    Pitchers and catchers report to Tampa three weeks from tomorrow, and at some point soon, likely within the next two weeks, the Yankees will announce their 2018 Spring Training invitees. These are non-40-man roster players who get a chance to come to big league camp to strut their stuff. Some non-roster invitees are top prospects, […] The post Sorting out the […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Fan Confidence Poll: January 22nd, 2018 January 22, 2018
    2017 Regular Season Record: 91-71 (858 RS, 660 RA, 100-62 pythag. record), second in ALE 2017 Postseason Record: 7-6 (51 RS, 42 RA), won AL WC Game, won ALDS, lost ALCS Top stories from last week: There continue to be rumors connecting the Yankees to Yu Darvish. Unless he signs dirt cheap, there’s no way […] The post Fan Confidence Poll: January 22nd, 2018 a […]
    Mike Axisa
  • Weekend Open Thread January 21, 2018
    ?I finally had a chance to read Kiley McDaniel’s piece on the stats vs. scouts debate, which really isn’t a debate anymore. Every team uses both. There are a few clubs that lean analytical — from what I understand, the Rays use algorithms for basically everything, including the draft — but the very best organizations […] The post Weekend Open Thread appeared […]
    Mike Axisa

Blog Stats

  • 62,643 hits

%d bloggers like this: