Monday, October 20, 2008

Interviewing to be the Brewers manager...

OK, so Dale Sveum won't be back as manager.

Over at Al's Ramblings (Octobr 18, 2008, 10:24 AM), some interview questions have been placed.

I'll put down my answers here.

1. Coaching-wise, what do you think can be done to get Rickie Weeks to fulfill his potential? And I'd extend the question to the likes of Hart, Parra, etc.

In Parra's case, I think the big issue was hitting the wall due to a lrge increase in innings pitched. For Weeks, Hart, and Hall, I would probably want to compare their hot streaks to their cold streaks as a start, and try to get a baseline. In the case of Hall, I'd try to see if he's done anything different in 2007-2008 than he did in 2005-2006.

2. What's your theory on bullpen management? What's the strengths and weaknesses of the current group and what would you want the GM to do?
Strengths: The current bullpen tends to be reasonable strong in terms of getting the job done. Some relievers have ugly end-of-season stats (like Riske), but that is arguably distorted by 10% of outings where they got pounded. There are plenty of guys (Torres, Villanueva, Shouse, McClung) who can handle the middle innings. There is young talent (Dillard, Stetter, Pena). Mark DiFelice might also be able to contribute.

Weaknesses: Lack of a dominant closer. Gagne didn't do the job, and while Torres was a fill-in, he was kind of miscast. Also, some pitchers (Torres in particular) got overworked,and that dropoff will be a major concern if the rotation loses Sheets and Sabathia. The best thing the GM can do for the Brewers bullpen, if he entrusts me to be manager, is to keep one or both of those starters in the fold.

3. How do you evaluate Tony Gwynn Jr.? (And the candidate that thinks he should be handed the centerfield job and made the leadoff hitter is going to set off all kinds of alarms in my head.)
Ideally, Tony Gwynn Jr, is the 5th outfielder, the team's top pinch-runner, and a defensive replacement in the late innings of some games (usually a blowout when I would want to give a starter a rest). If he ends up in the lineup (and hopefully he is NOT starting games), he bats eighth.

4. What are your beliefs in bench construction? What's the role of the backup catcher?
I believe that the bench's primary purpose is to provide a manager with the tools to win a game despite unforeseen events. Ideally, the players are to be versatile, able to play more than one position, and able to hold their own at the plate. On the present 40-man roster, my 2009 bench would consist of Mike Rivera, Alicides Escobar, Joe Dillon, Vinny Rottino, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Gabe Kapler. The backup catcher's role is to be ready to fill in - ideally so that he and the team's pitchers do not miss a beat - should the starter be injured or need a day off.

5. Lineup construction, what's your general ideas?
Leadoff slot: High OBP, lots of speed. Power is a bonus. #2 spot: Someone who hits a lot of doubles, draws walks, and who gets on base. #3 and #4 hitters: The two players who will likely have highest OPS totals. Braun and Fielder. The #5 hitter will be someone who racks up a high SLG, OBP less relevant. #6 and #7 hitters will be a lot like the #2 hitter, although I am flexible on the #6 hitter - someone with a lot of power may take that spot. The #8 hitter needs to be an OBP/speed guy - if for no other reason than to get to the pitcher's spot, so the next inning starts with the leadoff man.

This is a team that is built around the long ball. While "small ball" is not this team's forte, I will at least try to get the team to be competent at it, if only to have greater flexibility.


Well, we get to see if I get the job. :)

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