Mets' Jerry Manuel, Orioles' Dave Trembley could be in trouble
Slow starts by their teams could cost Mets manager Jerry Manuel, Orioles manager Dave Trembley their jobs.
Seattle Times staff reporter
As the season unfolds, two managers appear to already be on shaky ground — Jerry Manuel of the Mets and Dave Trembley of the Orioles.
Coming off a disastrous 92-loss season — on the heels of stretch-drive collapses by the Mets the previous two years — it was believed that a slow start would doom Manuel.
And a slow start is exactly what they've had, though there is sentiment within the organization that Manuel, to be fair, should be given a chance to manage with Carlos Beltran on the team. Beltran is expected to return from knee surgery in early May.
If Manuel does get canned, much of the speculation on a replacement has centered on former Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who is finally out of his managerial gig in Japan. But another strong candidate would be former Mariners manager Bob Melvin, hired this winter as a Mets scout, a position that some regard as a thinly veiled "manager in waiting."
As for Trembley, it doesn't bode well when your team is coming off 12 straight losing seasons, including 98 losses last year, and you get out of the gate 1-9. That's the Orioles' worst start since they wrote the book on putrid starts by going 0-21 in 1988.
What makes it worse for Trembley is that the Orioles sold this as the year they were through with rebuilding and were ready to be judged on wins and losses. Gulp. Especially with the Red Sox and Yankees in their near future (after a three-game series in Seattle beginning Monday).
Never mind that leadoff man Brian Roberts and closer Mike Gonzalez are on the disabled list, and the Orioles will have started April with 16 straight games without a day off. It's not a good sign that reporters were already asking team president Andy MacPhail about Trembley's job status.
"I don't even know how to begin to answer that. We are nine games into (the season)," MacPhail told The Baltimore Sun.
MacPhail is known to be patient with managers, which might be the best thing Trembley has going for him while the Orioles try to get back on track with a team that has definite upside potential.
"That's just not the way I operate," he said. "We are going to do everything we can to try and make personnel decisions to try and help the team and that is what we are going to focus on, making things better and not looking for scapegoats."
Notes and quotes
• Several Yankees players disparaged Tropicana Field after an Evan Longoria pop-up hit the catwalk, resulting in a single. Responded Rays manager Joe Maddon: "Tell them we're trying to get a new yard ourselves. If they want to contribute in any way, we'll take it. We're all for a new ballpark. We're not trying to hide that. ... We'll take all kinds of donations; any major-league team that wants to contribute to the new ballpark, we'd be happy to accept."
Maddon cracked that the site of a new stadium could be Derek Jeter's new mansion in the Tampa area.
• Padres utility man Jerry Hairston really, really wanted to collect his Yankees' World Series ring in person. So badly, he took a redeye flight to New York after the Padres home opener Monday in San Diego, made it to Yankee Stadium late Tuesday morning for the ring ceremony, and flew back to San Diego the same day.
"It was a quick turnaround but well worth it," Hairston told The North County Times. "I kind of questioned, 'should I go, should I not go?' But I just imagined myself being 65 years old, 70 years old, one day saying 'I wish I would have gone.' I'm glad I'm not going to be that guy."
• On Wednesday, new Giant Aubrey Huff hit an inside-the-park homer on a drive off the archway in right-center, more than 400 feet from home plate (reminiscent of Ichiro's inside-the-parker in San Francisco during the All-Star Game in 2007).
Huff also doubled off the right-field wall, and flied out to deep center, learning an important lesson in the process about how hard it is to hit a ball out of the San Francisco ballpark.
"You know what? I never had a three-home run game," he told reporters. "I'm going to go ahead and chalk this up as a three home run game in my mind. I just don't know if I can hit a ball any better. Right-center is just ridiculous."
• Here's how Torii Hunter described the Angels' slow start to reporters: "Sometimes you're the bug. Sometimes, you're the windshield. We've been the bug."
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com
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