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Without a Trace
The Los Angeles Dodgers have made it official, mutually "parting ways" with manager Jim Tracy. We've addressed the Jim Tracy situation several times, most recently in our season wrap-up of the Dodgers. Ultimately, it came down to philosophy. Jim Tracy is a good manager, but it's not like he's Casey Stengel. It is essential for a GM and a manager to be on the same page. If they aren't, then a change needs to be made. Paul DePodesta probably wanted to jettison Tracy last year, but couldn't do so in good faith after the team made the playoffs. He might have been fine letting Tracy finish out his contract, but Tracy's demand for an extension coupled with his uncharacteristic criticisms of team management served as the catalyst for his ouster.
Tracy's legacy in LA will be that of a manager who could weather a crisis, exude a positive attitude in the clubhouse, but whose teams also seemed to fall apart at the end of seasons.
As we look forward, we're uncertain as to who the Dodgers will want to hire in Tracy's place. Two names that have surfaced are Bobby Valentine and Terry Collins. Those are two names we like a lot, mainly because they were trained by Tommy Lasorda. It would be great if DePodesta could stay within the Dodger family. Valentine has a reputation for arrogance, but he did a good job with the Mets, and if he can buy into the philosophy, we're all for his hire. Collins' teams in Houston and Anaheim always seemed to collapse down the stretch, but his teams almost always had a winning record, and he knows the Dodgers organization very well, having overseen much of its farm system for the past few years.
The name Ron Washington has surfaced. He has been highly regarded third base coach in Oakland, and that's the same job Terry Francona had in Oakland before taking over in Boston. We'd be OK with Washington, but he doesn't quite make our heart go pitter-patter. We'd like the Dodgers to consider Angels Bench Coach Joe Maddon, who is highly regarded, and also loves to use computer analysis for scouting purposes.
There are rumors that Kirk Gibson or Orel Hershiser might be considered, harkening us back to the 1988 days. Gibson has a fiery personality, which helped the team win the World Series 17 years ago. But his only coaching experience to this point has been in Detroit, and we'd like someone with a few more credentials. Hershiser is the Texas Rangers pitching coach, and while he doesn't have a lot to work with there, it's not like he has a whole host of success stories to brag about either. The name Bud Black has also surfaced, but historically, pitching coaches haven't made great managers.
At one point this season, there were rumors that Dusty Baker wanted to come back to LA and manage the Dodgers. We can't imagine Baker and DePodesta agreeing on much of anything though. There's a chance Ken Macha might leave Oakland, and he'd probably be a good fit with the Dodgers, given his familiarity with DePodesta.
There are a lot of different directions the Dodgers can go. Who would you like to see manage the team?