I'm not sure which of these is more of a head scratcher: the Cleveland Indians hiring Manny Acta or the Astros being upset with not hiring Acta.
All this over a manager with a career 158-252 record, a .385 winning percentage and a 26-61 record before being fired by the Washington Nationals. Meanwhile, the Indians just came off a season in which they fired Eric Wedge, a manager who posted a 561-573 record and a .495 winning percentage.
Tell me how hiring a guy with a .385 career winning percentage to replace a guy with a career .495 winning percentage is an improvement? Sure, Acta received the Washington job and didn't get much support from baseball's version of the Detroit Lions. But don't be too sure the Tribe won't be too far off from the Nasty Nats.
Cleveland's 2009 bunch was a shell of its former self, which was up 3-1 in the 2007 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox before suffering a classic Cleveland collapse.
CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee, the last to AL Cy Young award winners will square off in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, with reserve outfielder Ben Francisco watching from the dugout. Victor Martinez was shipped off to Boston and helped push the Red Sox into a Wild Card berth. While former Indian role players Mark DeRosa, Casey Blake, Rafael Betancourt and Carl Pavano each enjoyed postseason runs in cities not named Cleveland.
Grady Sizemore must feel like Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez from "The Sandlot" because he's the only legit star among a rag-tag group of kids. What is there to be excited about in Cleveland? Crazy Fausto Carmona? Jeremy Sowers? Aaron Laffey? Chris Perez? Heck, the team's big-ticket free agent signee from a season ago, the much-beloved Kerry Wood, struggled in his first season with the Indians.
I can name five things I would like about managing the Nationals (Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Nyjer Morgan, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan) before I could name five I liked about Cleveland. After naming Grady Sizemore, the only things that could have been used to entice me to be the leader of the Tribe would have been courtside seats to Cavs home games, free admission for my friends and me to Cedar Point, Ohio State-Michigan football tickets and a studio session with Bone Thugs & Harmony.
Then there's the Astros, who low-balled Acta by only offering him a two-year deal, as reported by the Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice. And by his account, the 'Stros really screwed the pooch as they turned away a long-time fan and someone who worked 16 years in the organization.
And if you look at it objectively, the gig in Houston looks more appealing than the one in Cleveland. There are heart-of-the-order thumpers in Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee, speed at the top with Michael Bourn and a budding star in Hunter Pence. Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez anchor the rotation, and the back of the bullpen has the potential to be nasty if the Astros would be willing to re-up with Jose Valverde.
A change at the top step of the dugout might be worth something for the Indians. But not it won't bring the kind of change Tribe fans are looking for, especially when considering they will be watching two of their former aces square off in the World Series.
Unless the Cleveland LeBrons are on.