Posted by: Asher Roth | December 10, 2009

Poor Cito… as the Doc plot thickens

Exam time really takes its wear and tear on you. Most mornings, you wake up, have a coffee, pick up a newspaper, and muse about your upcoming day. When studying, it’s far more common to sleep in from staying up far too late (studying), then doing time-consuming things to halt the inevitable (studying).

More specifically, in this case, waking up and reading the entire written transcript of Cito Gaston’s press conference yesterday.

Boy oh boy, what a depressing outlook. Throughout the time, Cito essentially revealed that he has no clue what his rotation will look like, that he wants to stick Adam Lind in a spot in the batting order that he is notoriously uncomfortable with (and what better a move is there than to stick a 35-home run-hitter into a spot he dislikes?), that JOSE BAUTISTA is his projected lead-off man, and, best of all, he appears to have answered some questions about Vernon Wells.

Oh, and he apparently does not like going on cruises. “I promised some people I’d do some things for them, so I went and did that. It’s not like it was pleasure because it was a cruise, but it was about three days too long.”

In Cito’s world, a boat cruise is not pleasure. I suppose it must be business. Or in his case, it’s fulfilling an obligation. God forbid, vacation with some friends. Unless the cruise was with people he dislikes…

But back to the relevant matters at hand! A reporter asked Cito if he had spoken to Vernon Wells about whether his wrist injury affected his performance.

Cito: “I don’t know. I haven’t spoke to him though, so I don’t know.”

Can you say developing drama? Let’s not forget that when the whole locker room unrest story came out at the end of the season, one of the main faces of the “rebellion” was our old, underachieving pal, V-Dub. Recall, in my post a while ago about Vernon, that I questioned the communication between him and his manager (or lack there of), saying that if a guy is injured all year, it’s likely his job to tell the manager that he can’t perform at his best.

So, a good idea would be for these two guys to get on the same page. Two and a half months into the off-season, they have not spoken at all. Fantastic.

Cito also mentioned that he anticipates that his locker room is likely still not going to fully get along with him. He said that commonly, not everyone in the room is going to like you, but he doesn’t think that 50% of the room DISlikes him. Well, at least he has half of them on his side…

A particularly telling quote was this:

“As far as starting over, this is my last year here as far as managing. I’ll stick around another four years if they don’t kick me out before then just to be an advisor. But it’s going to take a while, so that’s one reason I think that it’s good for me to step down after next year, and maybe they can get somebody younger in there and get us back to where we used to be.”

So let me get this straight.. the organization is GOING TO BE starting over, but as long as Cito is managing, they’re in stand-still? Or that the team has no hope as long as he is managing? Now, we know that Cito is not going to have too much talent to work with, but I continue to beg the question, why the heck is he wasting his time?? What is the point of him managing this year? How does the team benefit? Who would want to look back at their storied legacy and fondly remember their final season in charge as the season that didn’t mean shit?

And a couple other parts really struck me as unfortunate for Cito. One is the uncertainty for his team this year. He doesn’t know who is rotation will be, he doesn’t know his lineup, he doesn’t know his set-up man or closer, and worst of all, he clearly does not want Doc to go. And who would? From a manager’s standpoint, of course everyone dreams of having an innings-eater in their rotation, a guy who stops losing streaks, as Cito put it. Who could be more negatively affected by all the Doc-trade-talk than the guy who faces one of the most uncertain starting rotations in baseball this coming season?

And finally, Cito mused about his career. He was asked what he thinks of his second tenure as manager.

“Well, I think that if I could go back and do it all over again, I would probably wish that I got a job somewhere else before I came back here, or either I probably wouldn’t have come back here, or I would have probably been somewhere else.”

Is that not kind of a statement of regret? I would go somewhere else before coming back here, or maybe I wouldn’t come back here at all..

He mentioned that he would have liked the job in Anaheim, but he didn’t do the interview and Mike Scioscia got that job (and won the World Series in 2002). And he would have liked a “dream job” in Chicago, but Ozzie Guillen got that job (and won the World Series in 2005).

Call me crazy, but this truly sounds like a man that has some regret, that is musing more than anything. I mean think about it. The man won back-to-back championships as a manager. He was fired less than four years later, and did not manage again until eleven years later. Upon his return, he grabs the reigns of a team that has been poorly run for years by an arrogant and incompetent general manager, and now, stands to finish his storied career as the skipper of a bottom-feeding team filled with uncertainty.

And Jose Bautista as lead-off man.

On a team of youth, this does not sound like the kind of mentality you want in charge of your locker room. Perhaps that’s just my opinion, but I think Cito really needs to make sure that he imparts the right kind of attitude to these kids. Sure, he says he loves to teach, but he can’t love the kind of team he’s going to have this year. Sure, the team is headed in the right direction, but he won’t be in charge when they are reaping the benefits.

Poor Cito.

Meanwhile, in Doc Rumourland, Fox Sports reports that the Angels and Phillies appear to be front runners now, with the Phils offering J.A. Happ and one of two outfield prospects, while the Angels are offering Saunders, Aybar, and Bourjos. In addition, it appears Saunders would be acquired to then flip off to another team to fill other needs. Thank goodness.

A separate report from the New York Daily News also says the Phillies might give up Cole Hamels.

It appears the competitive market is strengthening for Doc’s services. Here’s to hoping the Jays get the best return for their ace that they can.

If they don’t do it for the fans, they should at least do it for Cito…



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