Let’s get this out of the way. If I had to choose between pitchers for the 2011 season…
- Roy Halladay over Tim Lincecum, though it would be close.
- Cliff Lee over Matt Cain, and it wouldn’t be especially close.
- Roy Oswalt over Jonathan Sanchez, and it wouldn’t be especially close.
- Cole Hamels over Madison Bumgarner, and it wouldn’t be especially close.
- Barry Zito and Joe Blanton are a total coin flip, though I would probably take Zito. A cop-buddy drama, "Flaky and Fluffy," would probably do wonders for the careers of both.
There’s no shame in writing that. Now if we’re talking beyond 2011, Oswalt might leave as a free agent or retire, Halladay has a lot of miles on his arm, and Lee has already been dealing with nagging back problems to go with his $120M contract, so there’s an argument to be made that the Giants’ rotation is better set up for the future. For 2011, I don’t think it’s a big deal to acknowledge that the Phillies should have a better starting rotation than the Giants.
Bruce Bochy said as much yesterday. There’s some rabble rabble rabbling on KNBR about it, and some folks seem to be really offended. I just can’t imagine a world in which this is a problem. All five of those pitchers have something common: they all watched the Giants win from their lonely, sad dugout while Bochy did a little jig. Is it really a big deal that Bochy would -- with the luxury of being the title-winning manager, mind you -- take Devastator in a fight with Predaking? If there’s nothing to be angry with after a World Series win, I guess there has to be something to be angry with.
The larger point is, then, what do people want out of a manager? The two extremes:
- One who holds his cards close to his vest, denies that he’s even playing cards, and tells you that his vest is at the cleaners.
- A brash, yappy sort who was born without the filter that most normal humans have. Ozzie Guillen would be an example.
Bruce Bochy is far, far more like the first example, and maybe that’s why his proclamation stirred things up a little. It’s not like him to give an apolitical answer – you’d expect something like, "Hey, we know they have a good staff over there, but our staff here with Matty, Timmy, Sanchy, Bummy, and Zeety isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with them, so that’s why we play the games and I’m looking forward to…[several dozens of words describing the confidence he has in his guys.]"
But he didn’t. He said, hey, those guys are pretty freaking good. So are our guys, but, man, did you see those guys? It was actually kind of refreshing. I’m pretty sure Guillen would drive me up the wall after two weeks, so it’s not as if I’m pining for a yapper, but I had no problem with Bochy being frank. I kind of welcome it. And he was right, dang it. It’s not even that close if you’re looking at 2011 only without regard to salaries.
So the comment starter: What do you want from your manager? Do you want a quiet, unnoticeable presence, or do you want to be entertained?