I’ve spent quite a bit of space on this site, and on various message boards defending Alan Trammell. I’ve probably been a little more vigorous in defending him because 1. I wanted him to succeed because of his playing career and the fact he is truly a “good guy” 2. I thought he received way more criticism than he deserved. While some of it was fair, a lot of it was nonsensical.
I found myself disagreeing with his managerial moves on a somewhat regular basis, but I didn’t think the moves were wrong. I could see the reasoning for making the decisions, even if I didn’t agree with them. Sure there were a couple times that I thought were really bad errors in judgement (the Chris Spurling/White Sox incident was probably the worst), but by and large I had a hard time finding instances where he outright cost the team games.
With that in mind, I had a hard time thinking he should be fired. Part of it is because I don’t think that managers in baseball really are that important. I think that in baseball more than other sports, the manager is more dependent on the talent that he is dealt. There is only so much scheming a manager can do to overcome a poor offense or poor pitching.
I don’t buy the argument that the record should be better because the payroll is so high – at least from the standpoint of holding that against Trammell. He didn’t allocate the payroll, and he didn’t put 27% of that payroll on the disabled list.
The second half of the season he was working with a bullpen that was depleted to say the least. I don’t blame the collapse on the Kyle Farnsworth deal because the Tigers traded away their closer. The lack of a closer down the stretch was far from the Tigers biggest problem – but it did significantly diminish the talent available in the late innings.
What was probably his final undoing was the reports out of the clubhouse. Some reports said the lockeroom was hell, while others said it was overblown. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
I think Trammell deserved one more year. I don’t think any manager could have accomplished much more than Trammell did. Dave Dombrowski spoke of “getting to the next level” but I’m not really sure what that means. Is he talking contention or a winning record? Both would have been a stretch given the circumstances this season. That being said, I understand the move. As a Tiger fan part of me is eager to move forward, but part of me is extemely saddened at the same time. Alan Trammell has endured a miserable final month wearing the Olde English D, and yet he’s done it as a true professional with tremendous class and dignity.
Jim Leyland is already in town being interviewed, and an annoucement this week wouldn’t surprise me. Dombrowski has already interviewed Bruce Fields and Juan Samuel for the position – despite stating that he’s looking for a veteran manager. That should alleviate Bud Selig’s concerns about interviewing minorities which should further expedite the process. Whoever the next manager is I wish them the best of luck.