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Kasten Won't Confirm or Deny Acta Firing Report

Manny Acta has always said a manager is hired to get fired. On the day a report surfaced suggesting his time on the job is now measured in days, the Washington Nationals' skipper was surrounded by the man who hired him and the man who, according to the report, will replace him.

Hours before Saturday's game against Tampa, a Fox Sports report, citing major league sources, suggested that Acta will be fired by week's end and replaced with bench coach Jim Riggleman. Team president Stan Kasten neither confirmed nor denied the report, saying, "I would never talk about personnel, because I don't. I've been asked a variation of that question (about Acta's job security) -- from some media outlet -- almost every day since the first week of the season. And if I had a policy to talk about personnel, I'd have to do that story every single day.

"Having said that, I can't tell you how perplexed I am by this season and this team and the things that are going on. And our record is, you know, very troubling for me every single day ..... So yeah, I'm troubled by everything. We continue to look for solutions. Have I thought about every possible recourse? I have. As has [acting general manager] Mike [Rizzo], as have our owners. We're certainly not satisfied with our record; far from it. We're distraught over it and we're going to consider everything we need to do to make it better."

At least for the day, Acta remained on the job, trying to restore some dignity to a ballclub with a 16-43 record. Acta, speaking before the game, said: "I haven't heard anything" about an impending firing. Riggleman, who was hired as bench coach before the start of the season, said he had no knowledge of any plans that would install him as this franchise's next manager. "I don't know where that started," Riggleman said. "But we lost a lot of ballgames, and people speculate. But what we would all would like to see happen here is for Manny to stick around."

Acta, 40, is in the middle of his third, and toughest, season. In spring training, he called this year's team the most talented during his tenure. But since then, the Nationals have shown only dysfunction. They lost their first seven games of the year. Their Opening Day center fielder was sent to the minors. Their starting rotation has four rookies. They lead the majors in errors. They haven't won consecutive games since May 8-9.

Even entering the season, Acta's contractual status put his tenure in doubt, as the front office had not picked up its option to extend Acta's contract through 2010.

As the season has fallen apart, Acta has continued to operate with his trademark principles -- steadiness and patience. During batting practice before Saturday's game, Acta spent several minutes on the field casually chatting, and laughing, with both Rizzo and Kasten. By coincidence, the man Acta replaced -- Frank Robinson, who is currently working in Major League Baseball's office -- was also at Tropicana Field. Acta and Robinson talked briefly before the game.

Acta (148-234) has a .387 winning percentage for his career.

Asked directly if the organization supports Acta, Kasten said, "We always support everyone here and always will. But, you know, we're all just together trying to win every day, trying to turn it around. And we're going to continue to try until we figure it out. We know the future is bright but we're not waiting for the future to get here. We're going to do everything we can to speed it up."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 13, 2009; 7:01 PM ET
 
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Next: The Trevor Holder Selection

Comments

I was at the game last night (very frustrating that the Rays should have scored no runs) and couldn't quite tell on Zimmerman's long drive but it sure looked like it curled inside of the foul pole. Did the repay show it was clearly a foul ball?

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | June 13, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

i maintain it's not Acta's fault. Casey Stengel couldn't manage this team to a .500 record.

it was constructed with no regard to defense or relief pitching. it's not hard to notice that once they brought in some veterans to the bullpen (all available on opening day) the pen stabilized.

but the defense? anyone with Baseball Prospectus or access to the internet, for that matter, could have told you that the Nats were going to be the worst defensive team in the NL.

Posted by: bottomfeeders10 | June 13, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I have questions pitch selection for the Nats pitchers earlier this year, and I question it again with that last batter who just singled to left (a left-hand batter). That hitter was not getting around on the fastball (1st 3 ptiches). Then JZim throws him a hanging curve and it gets hit to left. Why not keep throwing fastballs until the hitter proved he could get around on it!

Posted by: bigmook | June 13, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it is nothing but it just srikes me as incredibly odd that Frank is there today.

Posted by: amorris525 | June 13, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@ bottomfeeder: you're exactly right.

it's not acta's fault. but the front office doesn't want to accept responsibilty for the mess they've created. so they take it out on the manager.

if the nats have put together such a good team, why was bowden fired? the fact is, bowden never had a coherent plan and acta has been forced to deal with the result. give manny a chance.

Posted by: dharazdu | June 13, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

This Rosenthal/Foxsports story obviously was leaked by StanK. Thus, the StanK non-denial. Acta is Dead Man Walking. Riggleman purely a placeholder.

Clint Hurdle for 2010?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Why Hurdle? He had ONE winning season in Colorado.

Posted by: NFBLooser | June 13, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Zobrist 3-run homer makes it 4-2.

Whoops. Bergmann can't get it done.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | June 13, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for taking JZimm out, Manny. These moves are why you deserve what's coming your way.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Nice strategery, Manny, on yanking JZimm. Say goodnight, Manny. I hear Kinko's is open all night to help you update that resume.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Say, did you all hear?

Ken Rosenthal on Fox Sports says that Acta will be fired and replaced by Riggleman.

Just wanted to bring you up to speed. Nobody's posted this in the last five or six comments.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | June 13, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Frank Robinson is there on behalf of MLB, his current employer, to chew out the Rays for the slow pace of their games. I'm not kidding, that's what Charlie and Dave said. Kind of ironic though considering that Frank was never Mr. Speedy about anything when he was a manager.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 13, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Begrmann: first four runners reach, three have scored. Nobody out.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Haha that's hilarious thanks for informing me nunof1

Posted by: amorris525 | June 13, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, and I just found out that you can't trade draft picks. Who knew?

Posted by: shepdave2003 | June 13, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

AAAAARRRRHHHH!! 5 hitters so far this inning, any they all have scored. Bye Bye Manny!!!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Somebody wake up Manny. Bergy's got to go.

Manny, Bergy and Kearns all shuld be DFA'd.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Where are all the Bergmann lovers? He sure didn't have it today.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Great, it's Colome now. Manny must be throwing in the towel.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Right, BGinVA and jdschulz50, it would have been much better to leave your best pitching prospect in there when he's coming off elbow soreness and push him further, so we might win a game and go...17 and 43. Riiight.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It was either Colome, or Column B.

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Manny's last game?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to leak anything, why tell Rosenthal?
Best karmic moment I've ever seen at a baseball game, when Rosenthal was at the Sun and hammering Ripken for prolonging the streak, and Cal hit a foul into the press box that shattered KR's laptop. Great stuff.
I'll reserve judgement/comment on Manny until it happens, if it happens.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | June 13, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

All of the reports so far (well, all one of them) have Manny getting axed either on the off day on Monday or at the start of the next homestand on Friday. StanK's refusal to comment is a dead giveway. Earlier this season, Stan was quick to throw his support behind Manny, but not this time.

I say it happens Monday. Why wait any longer?

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Manny defender, but pulling JZimm after 5 for Bergmann makes me question whether he's getting rattled by all the rumors.
Anybody talking about Willie Randolph?

Posted by: JamesWebster | June 13, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey, jdschulz50, no fair making me laugh when I'm trying to criticize you!

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

I still say JZimm should have at least started the 6th - he'd mowed through the heart of Rays order tonight, something Bergmann certainly didn't do. I think still had some gas left in him.

And now? It's 8-2. Good night.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

No, JamesWebster. Nobody is talking about Willie Randolph. After all, he's the guy who taught Manny everything he knew while they were both with the Mets.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

If they're waiting until the offday to fire Manny, that is totally classless. Besides, this inning may never end...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"Did the repay show it was clearly a foul ball?"

NNF, yes, it was clearly foul; passed in front of the foul pole. No doubt.

baltova1: see 1a's comment early today about the futility of using reason in here.

Posted by: joebleux | June 13, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to get on the bandwagon early, so ...

Fire Riggleman!

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | June 13, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Can't argue with the call initially. With JZim at 92 pitches and elbow complaints it's time to take him out. Bergie had been pitching well and he does best starting an inning rather than coming later with someone else's baggage.

I would have taken him out after the 3 run dinger but then it all happened so fast they didn't have time to get someone up and ready. No choice but to let him go a few more ABs until they did.

I still think Manny has to go but this time I don't think it's his fault.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 13, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

BGinVA, let's be honest. The game doesn't matter. The rest of the games this season don't matter. JZimm's future is more important. Take him out and take your lumps.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

But then again of your choices out of the BP to relieve Bergie... Colome? Hmmm...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 13, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm with SilverSpring8! What the heck has Riggleman done right since he's been the manager-in-waiting? I bet he hasn't even held fielding practice...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

At the rate we've been scoring runs, we can score 6 runs by, say, Thursday.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Cllint Hurdle? Willie Randolph? FRobby? Please, people, we can do better than that. How about some creative choices for the new manager?

I still think Bob Melvin would get some real consideration given his D-Backs connection to Rizzo. What about Kirk Gibson? Supposedly, he was surprised to be passed over for the job when Arizona gave it to Hinch. He's like a young FRobby in intensity and is supposedly a good coach. I'd push for him.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

At the rate we've been scoring runs, we can score 6 runs by, say, Thursday.

Posted by: BGinVA

Did you count the offday?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

We really like making bad pitchers look like Cy Young winners. 15 straight retired by a pitcher - Sonnanstine - who came in with an ERA of 7.00 and a BAA of .319, both of which I believe are the highest among AL (maybe ML?) starters. Yikes!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm with SilverSpring 8 as well: Riggle is a joke. He's got to go.

Given the way this game has melted down, I say Manny gets a call into StanK's hotel suite tonight. Does StanK always travel with the team? Or just to play the Turk?

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I just want to pipe in that I don't criticize Manny for taking out JZimm. He had thrown 92 very stressful pitches against a demanding lineup. He had men on base. He had a lot of throws to first. The only thing you can make a case for is that maybe he deserved to start the inning since it was an American League game.

Don't know if I'd have given Bergie that long a rope, though. What's been the use of the bullpen the last couple of games?

Nick's error early in the game was costly for the pitch count.

Why are we playing around with Colome, though?

Free Tyler Clippard!

Posted by: souldrummer | June 13, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Uncle...time to watch UVA....

Posted by: souldrummer | June 13, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Given the way this game has melted down, I say Manny gets a call into StanK's hotel suite tonight.

**************************************

StanK has a suite? Do the Lerners reimburse him for it? Based on the comments here, they're pretty cheap folks and I hear they have had problems with reimbursements for travel expenses.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

baltova1 asks: How about some creative choices for the new manager?

OK, I withdraw Willie Randolph. Let's think about Brian O'Connor. His Wahoos are making a showing at CWS in Omaha.

Posted by: JamesWebster | June 13, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

StanK takes care of StanK first. He's got to rate a suite on the road. At least Steinbrenner did in "Bronx is Burning."
If StanK only has a double bed, this franchise is in worse shape than I thought.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Not to go off subject, but I'm not sure you can call a firstbasemen with seven errors through the first third of the season a good fielder.

I remember Nick's previous campaigns with great appreciation, but he is NOT fielding well in 2009. Missing fly balls, short hops, being out of position, not covering, and not making good throws. His range is reduced from befoer as well.

I'm not saying that he does not have good fielding skills, I'm saying he has had poor execution of those skills this year. The results are undeniable. In both statistical and observed measures, he has been a poor fielder this year.

That said, I'll continue to root for him.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 13, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

It's not Acta's fault friends, this ie baseball's thing... You know This team have a lot of problems but it's not Acta's fault.

Posted by: squeeze_play | June 13, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

The season is toast so there isn't much left except to work through some guys in the organisation and see who is fitting into "the plan". Aside from that it's really down to respect and profit.

So do you get a caretaker now and look for the right hire at the end of the season or try someone now you think might be the guy for next season and beyond?

With the Rigster it's a definitely a caretaker thing. He can't do any worse. Maybe you do enough better to get a little more respect and put a few more butts on seats.

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 13, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

SI.com's Jon Heyman is piling on the Manny's going to get fired bandwagon

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/06/13/acta.to.be.fired/index.html

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 13, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman:
Chc 794 374 419 .472
SD 291 112 179 .385
Sea 90 36 54 .400

Total 1175 522 652 .445

I'm interested to see what he can do with the Nats.

But who becomes the bench coach? Corrales, Foli, Knight?

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 13, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Just for a bit of levity... I like watching JZim pitch. He's got such a great delivery. It highlights how strange some other guys are.

Did you see Wheeler pitching last night for the Ray's? He looks like he's trying to make some spiritual connection with the ball every time he pitches.

Was pretty funny...

Posted by: SaveOurTeam | June 13, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone explain why Manny brought in Bergmann, an extreme flyballer, into a game at the bandbox that is Tropicana Field?

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 13, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"Can anyone explain why Manny brought in Bergmann, an extreme flyballer, into a game at the bandbox that is Tropicana Field? "

Tekulve and Sutter weren't available tonight.

Posted by: joebleux | June 13, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

I like Manny. At Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day, he signed my five-year old’s jersey by putting a “14” and an “ACTA” on the back of it. Wonderfully cute moment.

If we went .500 the rest of the way (assuming no miracle comeback tonight), we’d still be a 94 loss team. If that happened, would you renew Manny’s contract? Not likely. I struggle to find a reason to continue on as is when we aren't showing any signs of being a .500 team the rest of the way. May as well make the change now and see if we can get even nominal improvement with someone else at the helm.

I like Manny, and I will miss him. He’ll get another shot, and he’ll probably do much better. I’ll be pulling for him as along as he’s not playing us.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | June 13, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is up: strikeout or game-ending DP?

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Yes, good one, fire Riggleman, fire Rizzo, fire whoever the pitching coach is, but please keep the Lerners!

Posted by: EdDC | June 13, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Strikeout it is. You stink, Kearns.

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

See how savvy Kearns was there, BGinVA, to avoid that game-ending DP by just standing there and taking a strike? Smart.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

strike out

Posted by: PattyinSJ | June 13, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

So, if they're going to fire Manny, can we just get started on the rest? Dump Kearns, Belliard, some of the other old relievers. Trade Johnson, Guzman, Dukes. Bring up Clippard, figure out a way to get Balester and Martin some time here as well. Get some young guys in the trades and throw them into the mix. Maintaining any semblance of trying to field a competitive team is pointless. Turn the rest of the season into extended spring training.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Bring on Ludacris!

Posted by: BGinVA | June 13, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Bring on Ludacris!

Posted by: BGinVA

No offense, but I don't think he's a very good choice as manager...

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

And the post of the night goes to baltova1 for:

Bring on Ludacris!

Posted by: BGinVA

No offense, but I don't think he's a very good choice as manager...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Man, these MASN guys are such homers. They won't even touch the Manny-is-fired reports. You would think that the post-game guys (Holliday, Knight et al) would at least address the topic obliquely. What homers. Small-market all the way.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 9:26 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz50, thank you for the honor. I'm touched.

And you're right, lousy journalism by MASN not to discuss the rumors and for the interviewer not to ask Manny directly (maybe he did and they didn't show that part of the interview but still...).

Posted by: baltova1 | June 13, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I think the whole Nats franchise is pretty ludicrous.

Posted by: ExFan1 | June 13, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I love The "Plan Man's line:

"And our record is, you know, very troubling for me every single day"

You think so Doctor? How do you think the fans feel, especially the one's who pay money to see this crappolla.

How about you and the Lerner's spend some Friggin' money on some players for the ML roster. When you're bottom 5 in payroll every year and don't sign first round picks your going to be doo doo brown.

What a dumbass.

I personally would like to see them give Tim Foli a chance if they fire Acta. Riggleman is just another re-tread who's just good enough to lose with.


Posted by: Section505203 | June 13, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

The most dysfunctional operation in baseball can't even fire its manager without turning it into a another I can't confirm or deny act. Hmmm, were have we heard that tune before.

To all the Kool Aiders out there, here's the deal, StanK and the Lerners could really care less about all of this. As long as people keep showing up on South Capitol the cash register will continue to go cha-ching, that means they are happy. There is no quick fix here forget about all of the garbage Boz or anyone else says, as long as these people are in chareg your looking at a 10 year wandering thru the desert and your only in year 3.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 13, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you, Section505203. Foli is a firebrand. So is Clint Hurdle, for that matter. This team needs a swift kick. But I totally agree that Saint, Acta et al are just symptoms. The problem are the Lerners and StanK. Lerners aren't going anywhere. StanK probably can't get another job. Letting Manny hang like this is bush. Fire the guy, and let's move on. Preferably without Rigster, but I think he's the placeholder.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

"Man, these MASN guys are such homers. They won't even touch the Manny-is-fired reports."

Carpenter and Dibble brought it up as pretty much the first thing on the broadcast, with Carpenter saying that Rosenthal's a good reporter and usually has trustworthy sources and Dibble echoing that.

Posted by: joebleux | June 13, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

If I showed up for work on Monday morning and one of the guys came up to me and said "hey, I hear your getting a pink slip on Friday", I'd walk down the passage way, knock on the Dept Heads door and tell him don't bother with the formalities, I'm outta here. Manny, Manny do it, do it tomorrow, just do it. Have you no pride man?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 13, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Well even if it isn't official, I can't see Acta keeping his job any longer. Too bad, it really isn't his fault, it's the players, he isn't the one throwing pitches or playing defense, but someone's gotta take the blame, and it's him. Make the change now, you've got nothing to lose. This team is horrible.

Posted by: rachel216 | June 13, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz50,

We are on the same page here, Tim Foli is a no nonsense, firebrand (as you said) kind of a guy. Foli and Phil Garner were a big part of that '79 Pirate team. They played the right way, hard every day and were solid up the middle at 2nd and SS.

The Nats could use a different appoarch at this point.

Hey, who said Liberals and Conservatives could agree on anything? I think we just did.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 13, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

@TippyCanoe: Yeah, but if Manny did that he would be showing some spine, which he has not done all season. Instead he's hiding behind the 'We're young' excuse, which is patently false. They have young starting pitchers; the rest of the roster is actually too old, except for Zimm. But mostly why Manny won't quit is baseball's law that he take it like a man. He's looking for his next employer. Trust me, MLB bench coach is as high as this guy will ever rise. Anybody see a need for a .380 lifetime win percentage manager with no imagination, fewer guts and a four-Valium personality? I don't. This was just another mistake by StanK as part of the Plan, which is now in shreds. There's no Plan except to milk $48 million in operating profits last year, second-highest in baseball. It's a small market, small mind mentality that's the real culprit here.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, we've got the old bipartisan spirit working for us here, Section505203. Conservatives and liberals alike, we can see the problem and craft a response. This team is old, slow and too set in its ways. Time to clean house. Phil Garner would be tremendous as well. From what I see, Foli has gotten SYR playing way above its head, even getting over that devastating injury to Thrilledge. Was it just me, or did the team start winning games after Thrilledge broke his finger?

Now, Section505203, about Sarah Palin...

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, "couldn't agree agree on anything" not could. Mental slip, I guess.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 13, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Frankie R could knock a little sense into this joke of a team. BTW what the freak was Dukes doing in LF? Does Acta think the entire OF is just one big position on a spinning wheel? I guess he never heard of peeps playin one position and sticking there. What a goofball.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 13, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

jdschulz50,

I'll tell you what, and I'm feeling bipartisan tonight, you can make fun of Palin, if I can do the same with Nancy Pelosi.

Deal?

Posted by: Section505203 | June 13, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Section505203: Deal! LMAO! Touche! DFA both of 'em! And they can take Kearns with them!

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Who can we get to comment on Kasten being replaced?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 13, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

How did we end up with the worst FO in all of baseball. Stanky must be terrified of axing Manny. Because as long as Acta's there, he can deflect all criticism. Once he's gone, along with St. Clair, well then all eyes start to wander upstairs. And who is sittin on the top step? Old Stanky himself. What a job he's done!

Posted by: dovelevine | June 13, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Manny Acta should not be fired. From everything I read about the team it sounds like he is doing a great job. I don't think hiring a new manager will do anything. Look what firing Eddie Jordan did for the Wizards. Manny is a great guy and I hope the team keeps him.

Posted by: moshemaizels | June 13, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

>>Manny Acta should not be fired. From everything I read about the team it sounds like he is doing a great job.Posted by: moshemaizels


There ya go. Fire him? No way. Give him a raise and an extension. Yea that's the ticket.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 13, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Rename the 14th Street Bridge after Manny. Then throw him off it.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 13, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Im the love child of a Nigerian Prince.

Posted by: BigCarter28 | June 13, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Negative, negative, negative. I partially agree with moshemaizels that Manny shouldn't be axed. Ya really think a stopgap replacement will do much better?? The other part of the time, as much as I do like Manny, I think this team could use someone to bark a little and to bear down a lot on enforcing basic stuff like fundamentals and keeping focus during games. I'll be very sorry to see Manny go, will hope he has better owners wherever he winds up, and won't expect much from the Nationals group given the people at the top.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 13, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Riggleman would merely be a caretaker for the rest of the season, just as he was in Seattle last year. When the season ends, either Rizzo will be made the permanent GM or someone from outside the organization will be hired.

Either way, they will hire a new manager for 2010, as this organization tries to clean up the mess created by Jeffrey Loria (who ravaged the montreal organization in '01-'02 when he took over Florida), MLB's low-budget ownership and then the ineptness of Jiim Bowden.

Posted by: VPaterno | June 14, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

I find it utterly astonishing that people are still defending Manny here. I've said before that I don't believe managers win or lose many ball games, but the Nats are on the way to the historically worst season of all time. Please! He just lead his team to 102 losses last year. If this doesn't get a manager fired, just how bad do things have to get?

And on another matter: Patterson?!! Another re-tread. Give Padilla a chance, for goodness sake. He's hitting .350, even if he is pushing 30. What exactly do we have to lose at this point?

Posted by: nats24 | June 14, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

The way I think of it is, the club wants to make a change in direction, and they think the bus won't turn unless they throw somebody under it.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 14, 2009 1:47 AM | Report abuse

If the FO fires Acta, whatever shred of good morale that team ever had is out the window.

Manny's gotta play the hand he's dealt. He's not the one who constructed this team. BOWDEN did.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 14, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Who can we get to comment on Kasten being replaced?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 13, 2009 10:39 PM

I'm not sure where people are getting the notion that Kasten can or will be involuntarily replaced.

Kasten is Ownership. He's the Team President, yes. But he's also part of the Ownership Group.

He'll only be replaced when he feels like leaving, and when he sells his share of the team. Kasten won't ever be "fired".

Posted by: MrMadison | June 14, 2009 1:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Juan-John. I like Manny and I will be sad to see him go if the rumors are true. I'm also skeptical that it will make a big difference in the W-L record. I also think that it's totally bush of the FO to let it play out this way, as they did with Frank, by leaking it to the media, if that's indeed what's happening. Have some class and show some respect for your employees. #$%^@!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 14, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Letting Manny swing and twist in the wind is cruel why not get it over with bring in Tim Foli now and let him get a head start on next season that way the players(those who are going to remain with the club) know what to expect,what's the sense in allowing Riggleman to play out the string let Foli come in now and get acclemated i'm not in favor of a retread unless it's somebody with a winning history.Tim Foli was a better than average player and knows the game give him a shot. I've not heard anything on how Flores is doing anybody heard anymore on his rehab and what the future holds concerning his long term prognosis?

Posted by: dargregmag | June 14, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure where people are getting the notion that Kasten can or will be involuntarily replaced.

Kasten is Ownership. He's the Team President, yes. But he's also part of the Ownership Group.

He'll only be replaced when he feels like leaving, and when he sells his share of the team. Kasten won't ever be 'fired'."

The Lerners are majority owners. All they need do is remove Kasten as President. Whether he divests his stock would be up to him. (Although knowing Bud Selig, he may have included a "no fire" clause in the Nats' ML contract to protect Stan the Plan. For some reason, Selig likes Kasten.)

Posted by: JohnRDC | June 14, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't much matter what is said in here as far as the fire Acta verbage goes. But, if and when it happens, how about Tony Gwynn?

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 14, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Just waiting for the final edict from King Lerners: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

If Acta had been able to manage this team consistently to a .500 record, he would hold the title "Miracleworker" not "Manager".

The organization gave him a team of minor leaguers and Jim Bowden's Collection of Castoffs to work with.

You can change the city, stadium and manager, but this team is still the Expos...

Posted by: p1funk | June 14, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

If/when Acta gets fired, let's call it what it is: scapegoating. There is little reason to believe that the team's problems are a result of anything he has or hasn't done.

We all should have known that rebuilding a franchise as bad as the Nationals takes many years. To do it right, there's no getting around short-term pain.

Acta is a classy and competent guy who has the patience and persistence needed for such a long-term project. If the reports are right, the same can't be said of Rizzo or Kasten. I'll have little sympathy when, predictably, other scapegoaters next focus their anger on them.

Posted by: Dynatic | June 14, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

It all starts with the little tiny budgets.

Don't sign your #1 in 2008. In 2009 draft guys who will sign for UNDER slot! Sign only ONE expensive free agent in the whole time under the Lerners. And even then (Dunn), sign him for just two years. Can you imagine a $20 million guy as YOUR MOST EXPENSIVE ACQUISITION EVER in your years of ownership? Don't pay for offense and defense--that's too expensive. So let's save money by going for just for offense, since that attracts the fans. Sign international players for $100,000 or more? No, let's have none of those (since Smiley). Trade for guys with expensive contracts? NO!!!! The last one was Soriano, who was pre-Lerners (and when he signed elsewhere, he brought in Jordan Zimmermann as compensation).

So what's the answer to this incredible cheapness? Fire Manny of course!

The Lerners think DC is the smallest market in baseball. KC makes a better commitment to the on-field product than the Lerners do.

This is not just a missed baseball opportunity. The DC government built the team a new stadium, gambling that the new excitement would revitalize a part of DC. Yes, the recession hurts. But no excitement from a big-league club in that area also hurts. And what about the investors who put condos and offices down there? Where is any sense of responsibility to your community? (Lerners: if you don't know what that means, call up Abe Pollin and ask him about that. He will be glad to teach you.)

What a waste.

Posted by: EdDC | June 14, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

This team needs a complete cleansing from top to bottom. There's no way Boras is gonna let Strasburg sign with the Nats. Not in a million years. Has anyone even heard one positive word from Stasburg--no make that ONE word --PERIOD--from Strasburg on the Nats at all? Didn't think so.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The Expos were never this bad!

And Acta should get fired. I've coached for 20 years now (basketball) and I agree that a calm, consistent approach is the best, especially with a young team.

But every once in a while, you've got to show some fire or your players come down to that level of intensity.

And if you don't defend your team against the umps/refs on occasion, they will start to question you.

Everyone is right, he doesn't throw pitches or hit the ball but he does set a level of expectations for both levels of intensity and for accountability; two things I don't think he's done this year.

Until this year, I would've defended Acta tooth and nail. Not now.

Posted by: derwink | June 14, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

BUCK SHOWALTER.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Cokedispatch: I've always admired Gwynn but not sure he's ready for the majors,i think he's need more seasoning(minor league apprenticeship) like i said in an earlier post,they should bring in Tim Foli. The Lerners would send a clear message by hiring from within plus Foli would have a familiarity with triple A call ups and with Foli i think this team gets back to baseball fundamentals.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 14, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

If the rumors are true, and if life were like the movies, here's how the Rizzo call to Tire World will go down:

Rizzo: How would you like to manage the Nationals this year?
MTBNL: Gee, I don't know...
Rizzo: What do you mean, you don't know? This is your chance to manage in the big leagues.
MTBNL: Let me get back to you, will ya, Mike? I got a guy on the other line asking about some white walls.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 14, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Manny Acta is such a great mgr? Then please explain to me what Mr Dukes was doing in LF last night??
Thanks.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/2159613746

Heyman is confirming Rosenthal's story.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | June 14, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I cannot imagine why anyone would defend Manny after his performance this season. The team is horrible defensively. He had the team taking defensive drills for one day and a big deal was made of it. Did he have them out there early at the Trop (a place they've never played before) taking defensive drills to get used to the place? Nick Johnson's performance there says no. His handling of the pitching staff is beyond frustrating -- his insistence on using Joel Hanrahan as a closer despite his constant blowing of ballgames was downright cruel to fans. His culture of 'its okay to lose' has created a monster here -- players like Guzman and Anderson Hernandez look lazy and half asleep much of the time. This is all on the manager's watch, I'm sorry. No one is saying this team has the talent to beat the Phillies, but there is enough talent on this team to be at least a competitive ballclub, and right now Manny has them playing at the pace of the 1962 Mets.

However, I am troubled at how this is being handled after Rosenthal's report. Either deny the report and keep Manny in place or just fire him. Its cruel to have him twisting in the wind of public speculation like this. Whether you like Manny's managing style or not, he's a decent man and should be allowed to depart with some respect.

Posted by: raymitten | June 14, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

sigh... The nats can't even fire a manager properly. Why wait a week?

Posted by: Tom8 | June 14, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Again I ask--anyone- Why was Dukes in LF last night?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

We've replaced the pitching coach. Is it improving the performance of the pitchers?

Posted by: miseaujeu | June 14, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Since we're sharing Ken Rosenthal links, here's one where he criticizes Jerry Manuel for throwing his team under the bus publicly.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9671984/Finger-pointing-may-hurt-Manuel-in-long-run

Kind of a funny coincidence that his rumor about an Acta firing should pop up at about the same time, eh? Did he happen to say which MLB team his Acta rumor source worked for? hmmm...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 14, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

On what other club in MLB does Willie Harris get to be the starting CF?

Posted by: EdDC | June 14, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Just wondering how many times has the mighty Austin Kearns played CF or LF? Exactly. And he aint long for this team. But god forbid they move him around. They'll put everyone else everywhere but the untouchable awful Kearns stays planted in RF while everyone else has to learn a new field daily. And you think this guy can manage? He is the worst.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

You guys bring up some legitimate OF personnel problems. Putting faith in Milledge in 2008 has really cost this team and the Bernadina injury and Justin Maxwell offensive drain has left this team really shorthanded in an Outfield that looked stacked with healthy Outfielders in Spring Training.

Where is any of this Manny Acta's fault. I think Manny is doing a great job with the players he has.

The bullpen and starting pitching is doing well.

Eckstein better get his offense back to clicking like it was in April and most of May.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 14, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dukes was in LF because Willinghams brother died. Manny Acta is a jerk for playing Dukes in left, where he has played before, and Austin Kearns is better in right.

The problem with the Nats is the players. The bullpen couldnt get anyone out for about 2 months. Plus, the defense is terrible, which only compounds the pitching problem. When the front office didnt bring in at least one veteran starting pitcher, they sealed Manny's fate.

I was watching the Mets Yankees game yesterday and it showed Arod at the yard at 3pm taking ground balls, working on his game, because he didnt get enough work in in spring training. If the Nats had any pride they'd take it on themselves to get the yard early and take ground balls. This isn't tee ball, the coach shouldn't have to force these guys to do drills. Maybe some of them show up early, but people need to stop complaining that Manny isnt forcing grown men to take more ground balls.

Posted by: BillyBeane | June 14, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

>>Dukes was in LF because Willinghams brother died.

Not. Willingham's absence doesn't force ANY moves. He's a part-time player. Dukes is supposedly your everyday CF. Period. EIther stick Harris in left where he plays all the time or let Kearns play left. Who really cares about Kearns anymore. Obviously Harris though shoulda been in left.
The point is Dukes is your CF now and for the future.
You wanna know how many times Adam Jones has played LF this season? Or how bout Markakis?
The answer to both is ZERO> Because they have a position.
Acta doesn't seem to understand that except for the untouchable Mr Kearns.
The guy is the worst manager in baseball.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Did the Post reporters tie one on last night in Tampa? Perhaps they took Manny out?

I agree that hiring Riggleman is incredibly uninspirational. Foli is the guy; perhaps they will hire him this winter so as not to disrupt all the farm teams--domino effect with replacing managers.

Posted by: paulkp | June 14, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Billy Beane you are right about the culture of the team being a no care attitude for most of the players, but tell me why you don't think this is doing of the manager? If players booting routine ground balls are forgiven because 'the grass is cut funny', what is their motivation to improve? The manager is telling them its okay -- and they continue to play that way. If a player continuing to boot routine ground balls is held accountable, he either plays better or is replaced. If this isn't the manager's responsibility, what is the manager's job?

Posted by: raymitten | June 14, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Wherever Acta goes, please take Kearns with you. Those 2 are joined at the hip.
And Stan the Plan Kasten, Atlanta on Line 1.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 14, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"The Lerners are majority owners. All they need do is remove Kasten as President."

You're suggesting that the Lerners do to Kasten what Jack Kent Cooke did to Edward Bennett Williams back in the day. Kasten does bear a lot of similarity to EBW, but the Lerners are absolutely nothing like JKC. There is absolutely no way what you're suggesting will ever happen. Kasten is President of the Nationals for as long as he wants to be.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I think Eckstein has been exalted a bit prematurely. The difference between what he has had to work with and what Lenny Harris had is night and day. The entire top half of the lineup was either hurt or not there last year. Adding Dunn and the protection afforded by having everyone healthy, not to mention the play of people like Hernandez, makes comparing Eckstein and Harris a joke.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Sure, let's have JZimm pitch through elbow soreness. This organization has a stellar track record with injured pitchers (all sarcasm intended).

Posted by: miseaujeu | June 14, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

New post, on Holder.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 14, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

"And what about the investors who put condos and offices down there? Where is any sense of responsibility to your community? (Lerners: if you don't know what that means, call up Abe Pollin and ask him about that. He will be glad to teach you.)"

Your argument might have some merit to it, except for the fact that the Lerners themselves own one of those empty buildings down there close to the ballpark. But hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good rant, right?

Oh, and you want the Lerners to emulate Abe Pollin? When's the last time one of Abe's teams won anything?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 14, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

In Tampa, we have to play with the DH, which makes Willingham an everyday player.

Maybe we just disagree, but I dont think you can kill Manny over playing his best defensive lineup.

If Elijah was as good as Adam Jones in center, I would have a problem with moving him around the outfield, but Dukes isnt close to Jones. Dukes played CF in Tampa when he came up and his fielding statistics show he's a minus centerfielder. In rightfield, in DC, he's a plus defender. Kearn's is even better in right statistically. I know Manny loves statistics, so that's probably his reasoning.

Posted by: BillyBeane | June 14, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Who knows how good or awful a manager Manny is, given the hand he was dealt? Maybe it is time to fold, but let's get a new dealer while we are at it.

I don't mean Rizzo, who seems steady, although not nearly as creative and active as Jimbo. I don't mean Kasten, who knows how to build a team and has an enviable track record. The ownership team needs to shake itself up. It can be done. The old-timers need to turn the reigns over to some more energetic people within their ranks, and make the financial commitment to achieve success.

Even Peter Angelos is learning and improving. It is not out of the question that the Lerners can reform themselves. This is the only answer, since they won't sell the team.

Posted by: EdDC | June 14, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Manny is a great guy, OK. But he's not what this team needs. Maybe another team but not the Nats.

Even he said this is the best team he's had in 3 years --- and I think it is. It's certainly not a 120-loss train wreck. 20 to 25 times this year, mistakes on the field or in the management of games have caused us to lose.

1. Manny can't manage the bullpen. He doesn't choose the right guy at the right time. He pulls em too fast or waits too long to pull. Man, some times, he doesn't even know what pitches they're throwing.

2. Over and over again, he allows boneheaded base-running and fielding. He should be all over the team when stupid mistakes are made. Mistakes are allowed, but management's jobs is to put a stop to them.

3. He has lost the ability to motivate and get that extra bit of performance that wins games. We haven't won any of 8 extra-inning games, and we're horrible at 1 run games.

4. He refuses to take the losses upon himself. His attitude is uninspired and lackluster. No fire, nothing to show that he cares about winning.

Its sad that its come to this. But it's time. It won't salvage a crap season.

But it's a fire. We need fire. Please, more fire.

Posted by: nattydread1 | June 14, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ed - You always want to pile up on the Lerners.

You are so predictable. When they own the team for 15+ years then compare them to that loser Angelos!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 14, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

nunof1

I was referring to Abe Pollin's commitment to DC, building the Verizon Center with his own money and stimulating the development of Gallery Place. It worked! Plus, Abe spends: $110 million to Gilbert? Abe is a huge improvement over the Lerners, you have to admit. Ted Leonsis will eventually be the rebuilder of the Wiz, like he built the Caps, and it was Abe who brought Ted in.

Even Danny is much better than the Lerners.

Posted by: EdDC | June 14, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't think "Danny" is much better than the Lerners. He opens his wallet, yes, and definitely wants his team to win, but he, like the Lerners, micromanages. That's the kiss of death to any kind of organization.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 14, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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