As we move closer to the resolution of the 2009 MLB season, Washington fans don't have much rooting interest. After all, the defending World Champion Phillies are back in the World Series again, awaiting to face the winner of the Yankees/Angels ALCS series. Interestingly enough though, the Nationals search for a 2010 manager may be moving closer to finalization after today's hiring of Manny Acta as the new manager of the Cleveland Indians.
Acta, who was dismissed by the Nationals earlier this year, signed a three-year deal today to become the manager of the Indians, and was also apparently offered the managerial job with the Astros earlier in the week. Apparently the Indians are willing to look past Acta's dismal record with the Nats, and give him a second chance. As I have said in previous posts, we don't know yet how great of a manager Manny Acta is (or could be). With the dismal assemblance of talent he was forced to work with as the Nats' skipper, it is very hard to tell whether Acta will become a long-term talent at the big league level. With the Indians, he inherits a team with more talent than the Nationals, yet which is arguably still in the rebuilding phase. Based on reports from a number of published sources, it appears that Acta's ability to communicate with Latino players was a key trait that made him attractive to the Indians.
Acta's hiring also may make the Nationals' 2010 managerial picture a bit more clear. While interim Jim Riggleman will apparently be considered for the full-time managerial gig, the Nationals have also been apparently considering Dodgers bench coach and former Yankees star Don Mattingly, as well as veteran manger and current ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine. I'm not so sure that Mattingly would be a good fit for the Nats, who I think need a more seasoned managerial presence who knows how to manage a bullpen. Time will tell though, which direction the Nats will go, as both Mattingly and Valentine were apparently strong candidates for the Cleveland job. More to come as info becomes available.