The Cleveland Indians announced today that Manny Acta will be their new manager and have signed him to a three year contract with a club option for 2013.
I am surprised they made this announcement now. Usually these things wait until after the World Series. But the Indians acted on Acta because apparently Acta was being pursued by the Houston Astros, where Acta spent his minor league playing and managerial career.
The Tribe also interviewed former Rangers and Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who has been managing in Japan for a number of years as well as Torey Lovullo, who currently manages the Columbus Clippers - the Indians' Triple A affiliate. I remember Lovullo when he was a top prospect with the Detroit Tigers twenty plus years ago. The Indians were apparently supposed to interview Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly but were eager to sign Acta on.
After being a third base coach for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets, Acta was named the manager of the Washington Nationals prior to the 2007 season. In 2½ seasons at the helm of the Nationals, Acta's record was 158-252. Acta was fired by the Nationals at the All Star Break with the worst record in MLB at 26-61.
The Tribe is in the midst of rebuilding having dispensed with most of their star players. Will the likes of Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta be shipped off? Acta will guide a young Indians team through the growing pains of a 100 loss season in 2010. The question is can he turn them into winners by 2012. Valentine has a proven record of turning losers into winners while Lovullo already has an established relationship with many of the young Indians players who have come through the ranks. Whatever their enthusiasm for Acta the jury is very much out on him.