Friday, June 4, 2010

Trembely's Time?

Rise and shine, Fackers. According to the Baltimore Sun, Dave Trembley is going to be fired before today's game. Or perhaps he was already canned when the team return from New York last night. He was supposedly close to getting axed about a week ago, but that rumor proved to be false. Even if it isn't today, the writing is certainly on the wall.

Directly and indirectly, the Yankees led to Trembley's termination. Their sweep of the O's is likely the last straw and their presence in the AL East - the Yanks were 36-15 against Baltimore in his tenure - made their quest for a respectable season much more difficult.

The O's are obviously having a dismal 2010. Thanks to a couple of blown saves, they got off to a 1-11 start and have only improved upon that marginally since. They are now 15-39, which puts them a whopping 21 games behind the Rays one-third of the way through the season. In theory, they are playing roughly at the pace you would expect a team comprised solely of replacement level players to perform. And their run differential only says that they should be two games better than they are.

You have to imagine - for a marginal team in a division as tough as the AL East - the players knew their season was over before it had even really started. The fans knew it too, because they set a record for the fewest number of people at Camden Yards when the team was just 1-5 and came very close to topping bottoming that twice against the Royals in May.

These guys are professionals, but when it's obvious that your season is completely fucked and the only time people show up to see if is when the Yankees or Red Sox are in town, it's gotta be tough. Tough to grind out at bats as a hitter when you are down by right runs like they were on Wednesday. It has to be demoralizing for a starting pitcher like Brian Matusz who pitched a hell of a game on Tuesday only to get tagged with the loss because of an unforced throwing error. The YES cameras panned to him for a reaction but he had already vanished down the dugout steps.

Of course, only so much of this is Trembley's fault. I don't know how big his family is, but there isn't much he can do to fill the stands. He didn't injure Brian Roberts, Koji Uehara, Felix Pie, Jim Johnson or Mike Gonzalez. He definitely didn't blow all of those saves in the beginning of the year. Perhaps he bears some responsibility for the fact that the Orioles don't appear to be playing to the level they are capable of - that he "lost" the team - but I don't know if there is a manager out there who could have kept this team from spiraling out of control after those tough losses and subsequent brutal start.

While Trembley's 187-282 record during his time with the team isn't impressive, the fact that he got the job in the first place certainly is. When Sam Perlazzo got fired 69 games into the 2007 season, Trembley was promoted from bullpen coach to interim manager. He never played the game professionally and instead comes from a more academic background (he has a masters in Education and did graduate work in Sports Psychology), but Andy MacPhail, who had recently taken over as the president of baseball operations, gave him a chance anyway. The team started off 20-14 under the new skipper, he kept his job until the end of the year and finally lost the "interim" part of his title over the winter.

Trembley more than paid his dues, managing for 20 years in the minor leagues before joining the Big League club, so that was one of the reasons that Andy McPhail thought it would be good idea to allow him to oversee a couple of rebuilding seasons. It didn't quite go as planned and in a year when the O's were supposed to take a big step forward and possibly flirt with .500, they took an even bigger one backwards and are on pace for one of the worst seasons in a very long time.

Perhaps third base coach Juan Samuel - who did play in the Majors for 16 seasons - or whoever else takes over the team when Trembley is ultimately whacked will have better results. But it will probably be because some of those five guys on the DL come back from injuries, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Miguel Tejada start hitting and Matusz and Brad Bergensen start pitching to their potential.

Given how his tenure with the O's went, it's tough to see Trembley landing another Major League managerial gig, but at least he can say he got a shot and made the most out of it. From a distance, he seems like a stand up baseball man and hopefully he lands on his feet somewhere.


  1. If ever there was a franchise who was in need of an ownership change, it's the Orioles. A once proud team with a terrific stadium and great fans has been nothing short of a laughing stock for far too long.

  2. It's a real shame what's happened to baseball in Baltimore. Angelos doesn't need to spend all of his millions - look at what the Rays are doing with a small payroll - but he needs to make a commitment to winning. A beautiful ballpark and a great baseball town deserve better. I'm going up to see the Yanks next Tuesday and was able to get seats 2 rows off the field. That shouldn't happen.