MacPhail speaks - Part I

The press conference just concluded and I’ll pass along a few highlights if you missed MASN’s live broadcast.

“This is never an easy or pleasant task, making a managerial change, but in my experience, every time you go through one of these, it is a negative reflection of your entire baseball operations department, starting with me and going all the way down to our scouts and player development,” said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

“Obviously, we didn’t do as good a job as we could have or we wouldn’t be in the position of having to change managers. Nobody believes that the reason we have the record that we have is because it was somehow Dave Trembley’s fault or that making this change is going to magically solve all the problems and issues that we have. But we did reach the point where we felt this was the appropriate thing to do.

“If you really want to look for reasons why we have the record that we have, I think it’s a function of several things. It’s generally more than one thing.”

MacPhail proceeded to list them:
1. “We brought in several players this off-season really just to prevent this kind of calamity, and certainly we’re not getting production from a couple of those guys to this point.”
2. “The second issue is the entire backend of our bullpen has been on the DL for almost the entire season, and I’m not just talking about two or three guys, I’m talking about five guys, which has had an impact.”
3. “Our offense is last in the league in runs scored. We are going to play 72 of 162 games against the most prolific offenses in the game and we can’t afford to have the last run-scoring team in the American League.”
4. “Our production with runners in scoring position is, frankly abysmal. We are last among all 30 clubs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and RBIs. It’s difficult to run the entire table on that, but we’re last in all those categories.”
5. “Maybe the most disappointing to me, and the most distressing, is we’ve had some of our young players go backward from where they were a year before. They’re important to us and that certainly hasn’t helped things.”
6. “There are too many, in my opinion, unforced errors in different aspects of the game, whether it be baserunning or where we’re throwing the ball. We’re just not where we need to be.”

Otherwise, things are running smoothly here in Charm City.

“What you’re hoping to accomplish when you make a change like this is you’re hoping to ignite a spark, give everybody a clean slate, sort of get out of that drumbeat of what’s going to happen day to day and just give everybody a fresh start,” MacPhail said.

“It’s a goofy business. It’s a crazy game. I’ve spent my entire life in it and you don’t have to look back any further than Colorado a year ago that was 18-28 and they changed managers and the next thing you know, they’re in the postseason. It’s a goofy business. We just felt we had to give our team that opportunity to get a fresh start.”

MacPhail didn’t promise Juan Samuel the full-time job, but he also didn’t put a cap on the former third base coach’s tenure. It was basically the same speech he gave to Trembley: It could be a matter of days, weeks or months.

“Dave Trembley ended up managing three years. You just don’t know,” MacPhail said. “We will be talking to other people while Juan manages, and how that goes is going to be somewhat dependent on how the team goes and other factors, but I’m very delighted and excited to have somebody who commands the respect of the players the way Juan does.”

More to come.

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