Joe Sheehan at Baseball Prospectus has an article today (subscription) about the Orioles’ firing of Sam Perlozzo. Joe’s point is about how bad teams tend to fire managers in mid-season, and it’s typically a sign of poor management.

I had a whole post written about this article, set to be posted this evening. I agreed with Sheehan’s point, which is that unless you’re hiring Jack McKeon, there’s no advantage to firing a manager mid-season and picking from the other schmucks assembled in the same coaches’ office.

But then there was the ninth inning of today’s game. Jerry Narron pinch hit Juan Castro for Josh Hamilton.

Yes, he did.

As Trent Rosecrans live-blogged, “that’s like C. Montgomery Burns putting Homer in for Darryl Strawberry in Homer at the Bat.”

Narron “explained himself” after the game:

Two outs, nobody on, trying to get a right-handed hitter up there, Castro is 1-for-1 lifetime against him.

Good Lord. That 1-for-1, by the way, was a double in 2000. Yes, Jerry Narron is making decisions based on a 1-plate-appearance sample from the Clinton administration!

That just might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard a manager admit to (yes, perhaps dumber than this). He benches Hamilton, implicity commenting on the rookie’s ability, and voluntarily put his hopes in the hands of the guy with the .195 OBP.

Like I said, I had written a whole post about patience, reasoned decision-making, and waiting until the off-season to find a good manager. But for the first time, I’m just about to call for Narron’s firing.

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26 Responses

  1. Brian

    Gene Mauch rears his little head every day in the Reds dugout, today it was the Castro PH. Back in 1985 The Angels had a low slugging CF named Gary Pettis, Gary could get on base though and yet it was not uncommon for Jerry Narron to PH for Pettis, Jerry Narron who had a lifetime .270 OB%, and was .67 points lower than Pettis in that 85 season.

  2. Shawn

    Yes, but Narron had power! Power, I say!

    Well, he did have a career-high 5 homers in 1985.

  3. Cool Hand Puke

    Jerry Narron is the worst manager in baseball…hands down, no one is even close. He puts out a line-up like he draws it out of a cap, he runs his weak bullpen in the ground one guy at a time, he has no idea how to pinch hit or who, (for instance, today, or the times he has let a pitcher hit with guys on, then immediately taking him out), there is nothing he does well, except stand there, unemotional with a stupid look on his face.
    And maybe later I will tell you how I really feel.

  4. preach

    I’m through. Absolutely through. Castro for Hamilton? Based on Juan being 1 for 1 against Embree SEVEN YEARS AGO?!? and lefty-righty matchup? That’s just stupid. Well, now Castro is still hitting .500 against Embree so based on that logic, he’s a prime candidate to pinch hit for the potential rookie of the year yet again. That was absolutely the stupidest managing move I have ever seen. Hands down. And what if it had worked? Would Castro have remained in the game as DH and Griffey move to CF? What would the follow-up move had been? I’m through. I can’t stand it anymore. I quit.

  5. Chad

    It’s not overstating the case to say that Juan Castro is one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball. His career batting record is historically bad. He has survived this long because of an outstanding defensive reputation.

    There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for using Castro as a pinch-hitter for Josh Hamilton…or anyone, for that matter. The stupidity of that move is mind-boggling.

    I haven’t called for Narron’s firing, either. But this is getting frustrating.

  6. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    Of course, the person really at fault here is the guy who made sure Castro would be on the bench to begin with. The guy who couldn’t wait last offseason to extend Castro’s contract and guarantee not only this season but 2008 as well. And thought so highly of His Ex-Twinness that he included an option for Castro’s age 37 season in ’09.

    Worst management team in baseball. Period.

  7. preach

    I don’t think it was a mistake to extend Castro. I know that’s not a popular opinion, but for a guy who can give you 3 positions of good defense and pinch run, I think that having him is worse than not having him. We do need another bat from the right side, but I can’t blame Castro for the left handed glut we face. Narron has a usage problem. Period. You don’t use a defensive replacement for a power bat. That makes as much sense as allowing a pitcher to bat and then not letting him start the next inning or brining in relievers to guys like Berkman and turning them around to their strong sides of the plate. I mean, what kind of bonehead manager would make moves like that?….Oh, that’s right….I quit again.

  8. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan


    Castro is a fungible commodity that should be available in the farm system (Ray Olmedo, anyone?) or off the waiver wire for near the minimum. It’s also a commodity that comes in packages under 30 years of age.

    There is no sane reason a competent GM would extend the contract of an offensive sinkhole through possibly his age 37 season when you already had him under contract for 2007 in the first place. Did Wayne think there would be a run on 36-year-old Juan Castros this winter? For that to happen there would have to be other GMs as stupid as he is, and outside of Dave Littlefield, I can’t think of any.

  9. RagTag

    My opinion on Castro has softened a bit since the first time he was a Red. I try now not to get too worked up over the marginal players on the roster; after all, how much are they actually hurting the team.

    That said, I don’t mind having Castro on the roster as the 25th guy. Yeah, he’s replaceable, but is replacing him with Rey Olmedo really going to make a difference in wins and losses?

    The problem comes in locking these guys up long-term, or for anything much higher than the minimum. That’s a waste of resources, but that really doesn’t concern me as a fan. I’m not an accountant.

    Now, having rambled about all that, it is completely absurd to use someone like Castro, with his pathetic career numbers, to pinch-hit for a real major league player. If I owned this team, I would have fired Narron on the spot, just for that offense.

    Because of a move made by the manager, the Reds’ chances of winning that game were decreased markedly. That should be grounds for dismissal.

  10. preach

    That’s my point RagTag. I like Castro, don’t love him; because love or hate would be too much emotion to spend on the 25th roster spot. If it’s too the point that we have that to complain about, we would be in first. Too many other important things to be concerned about. Like pinch-hitting for the Natural with your 25th man defensive specialist. I have always agreed with the school of thought that replacing your manager mid-season with an interim who you must consider for the following season (Dave Miley, anyone?) was a bad idea. Until now. Can Jerry. Do it now. Either he gets fired before we return home or I will fire myself as a fan and poster for the rest of the year. It’s nothing more than plain stupid to leave this man in your dugout. If these moves had been made when Pete was managing you would have pointed to them as proof he was fixing games and he would have been arrested. I’ve enjoyed myself here, but I cannot withstand this garbage for an entire season. Castro for Hamilton…please.

  11. David

    I’m in Milwaukee and all I hear on the radio is that the Brewers should fire Ned Yost due to his 26 different lineups and general poor management decisions. I cannot help but think how similar Narron and Yost are. So why are the teams so far apart, especially when there are so many other similarities? I would say closer, ball park, and age and exuberance are the three keys. How much control does a manager have on those issues? The worst thing that can happen is a firing, bench coach promotion, followed by a winning streak and subsequent extension all over again.

  12. Twill815

    As bad as Castro pinch hitting for Hamilton is, Narron’s horrible managing goes way beyond that. The man is completely clueless when it comes to setting a line-up and properly utilizing his bench and bullpen.

    How about the bottom of the 7th. I have no problem bringing McBeth there (even though Belisle said he could have easily gone 7). The 2 hits McBeth surrenders had nothing to do with poor pitching, they were slow bloop singles. Why not let him work out of his own mess. Give the guy some confidence. I understand you want the lefty in to face the lefty but there’s only one out. we all know what Coutlangus then preceded to do. Walk the guy he was brought in to get out. WELL DONE!!! So now you leave the wild lefty in to face the best right handed bat in the A’s lineup in Nick Swisher???? If you leave McBeth in there’s still a good chance he gets out of the inning unscathed. But no, Narron leaves himself the decision to leave the lefty in to face the middle of the lineup right handed bats or use 3 relievers in one half inning. PATHETIC!!!

  13. ChicagoRedsFan

    Narron probably learned how to manage from reading Managing for Dummies.

  14. preach

    No, he learned how to manage baseball by reading Programming in FORTRAN for Dummies. If he read the other book he might have learned something about baseball.

  15. ChicagoRedsFan

    What about bringing back Davey Johnson? I know he bombed with the Dodgers, but he was great on the Reds the first time and I know he’s a candidate in Baltimore.

  16. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    So why are the teams so far apart, especially when there are so many other similarities?

    Two words – Doug Melvin. Melvin took over as GM in 2003 and brought a plan with him. He sat down with Yost and got his buy-in and then told the Brewers’ fans that it would take some time but he was going to bring the franchise back. And the fans accepted Melvin’s approach.

    That season the Reds lost 93 games; the Brewers 94. Since then he’s built a competitive core around guys like JJ hardy, Prince Fielder, Reds-killer Bill Hall, Rickie Weeks and Ben Sheets. This year he’s added Ryan Braun at 3B and Yovani Gallardo on the mound. I believe everyone of these guys is a product of the farm system. The Brewers will be competitive in the NL Central for many season to come. All these guys are young.

    Have you ever heard Krivsky articulate a plan? Has he ever sat down with the fans and told us how he plans to bring the Reds back to the top? No, instead we get “win now” platitudes and our questions brushed off with arrogant comments that we wouldn’t understand because it’s baseball insider stuff.

  17. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    People who should be on Krivsky’s short list to replace Jerry:

    Davey Johnson
    Larry Dierker
    Buck Showalter.

    People who won’t be on Krivsky’s short list to replace Jerry becasue they are smarter than he is and he’s too insecure:

    Davey Johnson
    Larry Dierker
    Buck Showalter.

  18. John

    Bob Brenly
    Ron Oester

    Just adding some names…

  19. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    If you watched the 2001 World Series, you wouldn’t want Brenly anywhere near a team you cared about. Oester’s a red ass – just what a young club doesn’t need.

    You have to face facts – managing the Reds isn’t exactly a desirable job at the moment. So if Jerry goes, it’s unlikely that “name” will replace him unless Castellini makes someone an offer they can’t refuse.

    Krivsky has to take some blame here. It’s Krivsky who put Castro and Moeller on the bench. It’s Krivsky who assembled this bullpen. Frankly, unless Krivsky is replaced, it doesn’t matter who the manager is.

  20. ChicagoRedsFan

    Seriously , what was Krivsky thinking when he signed Moeller??? At the time I was thinking that he must know something that I don’t. And signing Castro for 2 years + 1 year option??? Did Krivsky anticipate a bidding war for Castro after ’07??? It’s ridiculous.

  21. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    Seriously , what was Krivsky thinking when he signed Moeller??? At the time I was thinking that he must know something that I don’t.

    CRF, that’s baseball insider stuff. You wouldn’t understand. 😉

    Imagine how thrilled you’re gonna be when he sends Dunn to the Pads for two relievers and Junior to the Cubs for Jacque Jones and a bag of BP balls.


    Does anyone remember when “Mental” Doug Hahn pinch hit for “Moosenuckle” Jeff Barrett?

  23. John

    Why would watching the D-Backs beat the Yankees make me want Brenley nowhere near the Reds?

    And how is this team young?

    Agreed on the rest…

  24. Phil Rizzuto Parmesan

    Why would watching the D-Backs beat the Yankees make me want Brenley nowhere near the Reds?

    Because you would see Brenly make a series of stupid, “small ball” moves (for which he was roundly criticized at the time) that cost the Diamond backs outs and runs. If he hadn’t had the two studs at the top of the rotation, NY would have won that series.

    This team isn’t young, but if it’s going to compete again, it better get young quickly.