To me, some fans have misunderstood Andy MacPhail's comments from last October when he said Dave Trembley would be judged on wins and losses starting this year.
How many more wins does MacPhail expect from the O's this year?
Good luck getting an answer to that question. He is not ready to put a number on it and why would he? You don't want to aim too high or shoot too low. He said he wants "meaningful improvement."
First, let's go back to last October and here are some of MacPhail's comments from back then about Trembley and the team when he announced the skipper would return for this season.
"As I told Dave today, I think we're out of phase one. That's the most destructive and the toughest phase, where you are essentially tearing down and have dealt off some of your more attractive players to other clubs. You brought in a nucleus of young talent. We're out of phase one now.
"Where we are now in my estimation is we're going to move back to the more traditional criteria of evaluating managers. Wins and losses. It may not always be fair, things happen. But I'd like to think we're out of that first phase of what we hoped to do and did accomplish.
"To give him every chance going forward and show meaningful improvement in the standings in 2010, it's our job in the front office to augment and give him as much help as we possibly can going toward that goal.
"He accomplished what we wanted him to accomplish. Players got better, he's earned the oppurtunity to go forward. It was essential we went through this process as a franchise.
"Now, things shift a little. We've gone through the toughest part. Now it's important we show our fans some meaningful improvement in the standings."
"What that means we'll see in the context of the time. But something comparable to what we've endured for two years is not what I'm thinking. But I'm not going to give you a number."
"We still have a lot of young players, to use Dave's analogy, that are now sophomores. But we need to show meaningful improvement in the standings. How that transmits itself, we are just going to have to see over time."
To me, the skipper will be judged much more than on just wins and losses this season.
He will score points with fans and management if:
*The team routinely plays hard every night and cuts down on physical and mental mistakes, especially in the base running department.
*The pitchers in the starting rotation begin to pitch deeper in games, thereby saving the bullpen from eating so many innings. And his use of the bullpen is such that pitchers stay sharp yet get enough rest throughout the season.
*The O's improve their record vs. NY and Boston. Last year's mark of 7-29 is beyond terrible.
*The team improves in close games (29-43 last year in one and two-run games) and road games (25-56).
*The team avoids yet another late-season swoon.
*Young players continue to make progress and several establish themselves as solid every day players and pitchers.
*He, as promised, brings down the hammer on any player that fails to play hard on every play or makes consistent mental mistakes.
*Uses his bench well and keeps reserve players sharp when called upon.
How do you interpret MacPhail's "judged on wins and losses" comment about this season? What does Trembley need to do to improve the team and impress the fan base?