River Cats Hire Dave Brundage as New Manager

by
Greek Giant

The Giants AAA team, the Sacramento River Cats, announce the new hiring of Dave Brundage as their manager. Brundage replaces Jose Alguacil who was promoted to the Giants to be their first base coach. With nearly twenty years of managerial experience, Brundage represents an important piece of the Giants development mosaic. Last season Brundage was the manager of the International League’s Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Triple-A team. For an interesting take on his dismissal by those very same Iron Pigs, read the Phillies Blog article about Brundage.

Evidently Brundage, who led Lehigh Valley to their best season ever, was an old-school “My way or the highway” type of leader that rubbed some players the wrong way… It will be interesting to see how he translates into a new system with different expectations. The Phillies have been in rebuilding mode for more than three seasons now. The Giants are in “win now” mode.

Brundage has a career record of 1,371-1,315 in nineteen minor league seasons.

The Giants have some key parts of their future in AAA and AA baseball right now. Brundage will be expected to shepherd them into Major League players with his skill set. I have always believed the biggest difficulty old school managers face is staying relevant in the face of cultural changes among new and younger players. Attitudes, dispositions and expectations are often in flux. Some old-school disciplinarian moves may not be viewed with the same respect by younger players.

I once heard Ron Darling say the reason he would never manage in the Major Leagues was because of the income disparity between managers and players. When a manager makes 1/15th of his star players’ annual salaries, it is difficult to maintain credibility and respect in the clubhouse… Just watch the NBA or the NFL for some examples of the tails wagging the dogs….

 

  • Mr. Sarcastic
  • DrLefty

    I’m on a search committee for a new professor, and part of the job involves directing a program within our department. So we had a question on the interview protocol: “How would other people describe your management style? How would you yourself describe it?”

    After a few of these (lots of Skype interviews over a grueling couple of days), I found myself really wishing someone would answer this: “I’m an authoritarian. My way or the highway.” As you might guess, they DIDN’T say that, rather: “Collaborative.” “Good listener.” Etc.

    I also found myself wondering how I’d answer this question, and I realized that it’s still evolving. I came into my own position thinking I’d be a collaborative consensus-builder. I’ve directed two different programs in my department, and both times I’ve moved toward being MORE top-down and LESS collaborative. The reasons why are complicated and I won’t bore you with them, but the short version is that the “collaborative” approach just wasn’t working.

    Sometimes you have to make the decisions because someone has to and you can’t operate via town hall meeting. And sometimes you have to tell people “No” because what they want is something they shouldn’t get to have–and that makes them not like you and think you’re a tyrant.

    Those are my reflections today on leadership style, and I’ll leave it to the rest of you to determine whether it’s wisdom or the post-surgery pain pills talking.

    • Alvise Contarini

      It’s this simple: who has the accountability MUST decide. In any kind of organization. Democracy is essential only in politics.

      • DrLefty

        Yep. Refusing to take responsibility for decision-making is bad leadership. Or non-leadership.

        • Alvise Contarini

          Well, now I’m ready to be hired.

          • paul in p.v.

            I like this hypothetical interview anecdote:

            Interviewer: “What would you say is your biggest fault?”
            Interviewee: “Honesty.”
            Interviewer: “I don’t think honesty is a fault.”
            Interviewee: “I don’t give a f**k what you think.”

          • Alvise Contarini

            LMAO

    • 610nm

      How would one categorize “Oh, you’re a Dodgers fan, so you’re fired!”?

    • Go ahead with the bore part …

    • Bleacher Bob

      I would interview surprisingly well.

    • Bochy makes those kinds of decisions most of the time based on most teams winning 60 and losing 60 and seeing what happens in the other 42. We all ripped him a new one but I still thought his interview with Pavs was revealing and way over our pay grade.
      http://www.csnbayarea.com/video/1-1-bruce-bochy-sense-relief-getting-melancon

      • DrLefty

        Thanks for the link. I watched the video, but I didn’t really see anything revealing.

        Alex: Now that you’ve had some time, do you have any regrets, things you might have done differently?

        Bochy: [long, rambly answer, basically “No.”]

        I’ll leave it at this. Near the end of the season, Joe Girardi, whom I view as one of the best managers currently in the game, told the press about a meeting he’d had with his team. He told all of them–highly paid All-Stars like Texeira and McCann, rookies–that all of them had to keep earning their playing time every single day. Nothing guaranteed. The players helping the team most will play, regardless of contract or seniority status.

        I like and respect that kind of leadership.

        • I don’t disagree. I’ve always like Girardi and MyGuy has always been Hurdle. I really think some of the best managers have not won it all recently. Luck, swagger and talent trumps everything. Jason Giambi use to say to hit sexy you have to look sexy.
          https://espn.go.com/page2/s/murphy/010813.html

          The Giants have had a big bullseye on their back since 2011 because the 2010 thing does not happen if SD doesn’t fold – OR – the Giants don’t produce and take advantage of what they did.

          I almost stopped going to games after that last SD series because it took everything we had to get to that last game with “Durty’s” pitching and hitting and Freddy and Huff daddy. Luck or “fortuitous happenings” had just as much to do with winning the West until they got to post season and they became studly.

          The managers that we all love – find away to look back to see who they played for and you may see 90% carbon copy.

          • channelclemente

            Hurdle and Sandberg.

      • The Oracle

        I can’t seem to remember the time you “ripped him a new one.”

        • channelclemente

          If you focus on the post, and not dissing the poster, it’s a lot more interesting.

          • The Oracle

            We each have our own ideas about what’s interesting.

          • channelclemente

            Apparently.

      • The Oracle

        There wasn’t one thing he said that was surprising or enlightening. He didn’t reveal anything that wasn’t already known. I will, however, give him credit for consistency. He remains completely unwilling to accept any responsibility for his decision making.

    • The Oracle

      But what about everyone else’s self-esteem?

      • DrLefty

        You know, I’m finding that if the collective effort sucks because of lack of strong leadership, no one has good self-esteem. Funny how that works.

    • channelclemente

      The favorites are intellectually ruthless and focused. But I hear Richard Feynman said, no BS, and stoned.

    • paul in p.v.

      I like the way you relate your experiences to baseball.

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    Brundage should have a nice collection of players to manage at Sacramento. I don’t think he’ll have any of those top prospect prima donnas to clash with.

    He should have some good pitching to work that may include Ty Blach in addition to Clayton Blackburn, Tyler Beede, Chris Stratton, Joan Gregorio, and eventually Sam Coonrod and Andrew Suarez.

    The offense may have some get up and go with Austin Slater, Hunter Cole, and Christian Arroyo. Williamson or Parker may make some cameos as might Tomlinson or Adrianza.

    The Rivercats just might be on a show and win some games for Mr. & Mrs. Lefty.

    • DrLefty

      Suarez spent the whole year in Richmond–don’t you think he earned a promotion? There’s lefty Matt Gage, too. Coonrod and Duggar only spent half the year in AA, so I could see them both starting back there.

      It would be awful if Ty Blach got demoted to AAA again after two full years there and his very successful time with the Giants. I mean, unless he’s so terrible in Arizona or in April that he deserves/needs demotion, of course. But otherwise, what about Bobby Evans’ pronouncements about needing to give young guys from the organization opportunities (i.e., Williamson/Parker)? Blach is 26 already. He has nothing else to prove in the minors.

      I get that they’re in a very awkward situation with Matt Cain, but at some point they have to do what’s best for the team, not Cain’s well-paid ego, and they have to be fair to other guys who have earned a shot on merit. I’d be very disappointed if the Giants “Hestoned” Ty Blach next year.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        For Suarez I guess it depends on if there is an open rotation slot for him. 6 man rotation, right?
        And there’s always some Ricky Romero or Albert Suarez guy taking up a spot. Technically, Suarez spent the first month plus with San Jose (about 30 IP).

        If Cain starts year as 5th starter and they prefer someone like Suarez as the long man, then that leaves Blach at Sacramento, waiting for Cain to implode.

      • Keep’n It Real

        I’m with you on Cain. He’s been well paid and the organization has been quite patient.

      • channelclemente

        He pitched a Perfect Game, the Giants only one. He gets the full run of his contract. How can you be an HOF worshipper on one hand, and on the other, not get that?

        • DrLefty

          That was in 2012. This will be 2017. Do you want Tim Lincecum pitching Opening Day, too, like he did in 2012?

          Yes, Cain “gets” his contract, meaning he’ll get every cent he’s been promised. That doesn’t mean he “gets” to damage the Giants’ rotation for the fifth season in a row. Or it shouldn’t.

          • channelclemente

            It doesn’t make a bit of difference. This is a business, not a tribal charity. They make more of Cain’s mystique as a Perfecto pitcher than the two-three wins replacing Cain gets you. This has nothing to do with right, this has to do with branding I’d say. Remember ‘We Are Giants’, he’ is more than you and I.

          • Sgbssfg

            I would be the world’s worst GM. I get so attached to the players. But I have come to the realization that, as much as I love Timmy, he couldn’t be a starter and did not want to be a reliever, and he had to move on or change his goals. Same goes for Cain, aka in Bochyeese, Matty. He will be given the opportunity to prove he should start, but 2 starts into the season , he’ll have to win or pull a hammy. This team is too good to worry aboyt $22 million and an ego.

          • channelclemente

            Linthecum pitches a Perfect Game and still has contract to play out, yep.

  • The Craig Sager news seemed to effect the over all level of play for the Dubs last night.

    Pre game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zai_FrIlC_Y
    Post game https://soundcloud.com/warriors/steve-kerr-postgame-121516

    • The Oracle

      Are you serious?

      • Matthew

        You do a fantastic McEnroe impression.

        • He needs a spanking from all of his Ex’s.

      • Sometimes you are pathetically disingenuous as well as condescending.

        Yes, Kerr mentioned that to me true via implication in his post game interview. But then you look almost at everything from a COP’s POV.

  • Scout Finch Baseball

    The Marlins to sign Brad Ziegler for 2/16. That’s the big (BOOM) news of the day. Watch out for the Marlins, they might win 82 or 83 games.

    Prices on the cattle weren’t too great, but they had some healthy weight, so we still got paid. At least my wife got paid, we’ll see if I see my share of the check…

    • Kramerica

      RP contracts are insane. A 37 year old sidewinder making $8M per year through age 38. That’s the same money Andrew Miller is making (when counting in Ziegler’s $2M in incentives). That’s how quickly the RP market has escalated.

      • Scout Finch Baseball

        The Yankees sure won the market when they signed Miller to 4/36 and then dealt him for a couple of major prospects. Indians did good by their trade too.

        Giants signing Melancon to 15.5 mil per year is nuts, but almost necessary. ‘Almost’ being the operative word here.

        What’re Romo and Casilla gonna sign for? If they sign for 6 mil like Uehara then their market hasn’t changed much in the past couple of years – although they be longer in the tooth.

        • Kramerica

          If they sign for the same salaries they were making then their market has increased because they are substantially less effective now. Uehara, while generally less healthy, was better than both of them. Still it’s amazing what guys are getting who throw 60-70 innings. It’s going to substantially increase the value of drafting RPs, particularly college RPs.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Take out the HRs, and Uehara has some amazing numbers. Always sub-1 WHIP.

            Always trying to draft guy that they think can get hitters out. Giants have some dudes with incredible fastballs on the farm that may never be cut out for the bigs. I think that, like Miller, draft great live arms that could be starters and if bullpen works out better, then so be it. This is true for Wade Davis, and probably for Zach Britton as well. Not sure of the Mark Melancon story, but Jansen was once a catcher.

          • Moooooooooose

            Take out all the blown saves, and Casilla was NAILS!

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            This is no joking matter! (channelingpeter)

            Casilla did not have a sub-1 WHIP. Uehara hasn’t had a WHIP over 1 since his rookie year. Maybe hangers that went over the monster in Boston, stay in the yard in Chicago and the HR rate gets back below 1 per 9.

            http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/u/ueharko01.shtml

          • DrLefty

            This made me curious, so I looked up Melancon. He was a three-sport guy in high school and a closer in college (Arizona). Had TJ surgery after 2006, the year he was drafted. One of the few set-up men to make an All-Star team (2013, for the Pirates)–also a two-time All-Star as a closer (’15-16). Looks like his career really took off when he was traded to the Pirates and became the set-up man for Jason Grilli; got his chance to close when Grilli was injured and later traded.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            I think Melancon landed on my radar in ’13. So he was always a bullpen prospect.

          • PerSpeier35

            I’ve always felt that the way the concept of “closer” evolved dramatically escalated the over compensation of relief pitchers. You have some guy as the vloser, maybe he’s just a bit better than other relief pitchers but you end up paying him three times as much as the next guy. Crazy market that’s for sure.

            I feel like I pay attention most of the time so it’s embarrassing to admit; this guy Uehara being discussed, I’ve never heard of him, can’t place him at all without taking the time to look him up.

          • DrLefty

            He was the closer for the Red Sox when they won the 2013 World Series.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Throws about as hard as some of the guys in your league! And he’s just as old!

            Well, 87-88 on the fastball, or Romo speed. But he strikes out close to 12 batters per 9. Romo does well with K’s too.

            http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Koji+Uehara+New+York+Yankees+v+Boston+Red+8jsdv9A4vNOl.jpg

        • paul in p.v.

          I hope they get it – just because they were Giants.

  • channelclemente

    I’m not as optimisticabout the Cubs bullpen as Fangraphs appears to be.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/cubs-remake-risky-bullpen-by-adding-more-risk/

    • Scout Finch Baseball

      I’d say even if Davis isn’t right, they will be solid. If he’s on top of his game, they will have a great pen. I like the Carl Edwards Jr. kid. Great arm. Maybe something between a Strickland and a Law, which a nice place to pitch from. It’s fun watching the old guy Uehara pitch. They got a better deal on him than the Fish on Ziegler.

      • Matthew

        What empirical data (I’m on a roll) do you have that Carl Edwards Jr. falls there????

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          Somewhere on the velocity, movement, deception continuum, Einstein.

          • Matthew

            What about “too small sample size”, and “blown save in the series” movement, Darwin?

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Faith in the scouting process, Lamarck.

          • Matthew

            The barren field is littered with the carcasses picked apart by the vultures of real games, these young fallen heroes of the scouts, Disraeli.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            Ahhh yeah, Peres, I think I told you that that Edwards Jr. would close the WS when Chapman was unavailable. He almost did. Maddon demonstrated some faith in the kid, but had Montgomery as his savior. Montgomery is apparently in line to be the 5th starter for the Cubs. Now you’ve got some hot fodder for the Chi-town co-workers.

          • Matthew

            Casilla led the league in almost dids.

          • paul in p.v.

            You should TM “almost-dids.”

        • Scout Finch Baseball

          Sorry for getting snarky with you last night. Here’s some empirical data and a proper introduction to Mr. Edwards Jr.

          http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=13607&position=P

          Going by K-rate (over 12K/9IP), FIP, and batting average against, Edwards is actually better than both Law and Strickland. He used to be a top prospect, poised to be a starter, but there may be a great niche for him in the late innings and possibly as the closer post-Wade Davis.

          • Scout Finch Baseball

            change FIP to WHIP above, then it becomes a true statement. Law kept ball in yard and did not give out free passes.

  • cynic

    Living in the Northeast I don’t know why I ever fly in the winter. All kinds of flight cancellations today and I’m stuck in an airport all day. Guess I’ll catch up on my Giants offseason reports.

    • Scout Finch Baseball

      Any good books at the newsstand?

    • Scout Finch Baseball

      Okay, here we go!