While contemplating a post on Reggie Bush being banned from the Playboy Mansion, I came across this Richard Justice blog report stating that "removing Brad Lidge from the closer's role would be one notch above Garner's pay grade. That's an organizational call."
I give Justice lots of grief. But the guy is wired into the Astros organization. And into baseball as a whole. So I'm willing to believe him on this matter.
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But this all leads to an important question: isn't Phil Garner the manager? Isn't Phil Garner supposed to be the one who makes the call on how to best utilize the talent at his disposal? I've always had questions about Garner's abilities as a manager, and this just confirms that I was right to ask those questions.
Does anyone think that Jim Leyland would allow some front office idiot, or owner, to dictate to him who his closer should be? And as much as George Steinbrenner's been known to meddle in the daily operations of the New York Yankees, does anyone really think that Joe Torre bows to The Boss's decisions about who to play? The same with Tony La Russa. Or Ozzie Guillen, or Ron Gardenhire? Hell, we know that Joe Girardi didn't bow down to his bosses. And does anyone really think that Mark Prior would be opening the season at Triple A Iowa if Lou Piniella let the Tribune Company make roster decisions?
If Garner just wants to sit in the dugout and wear the uniform, then ship him off to Oakland. At least Billy Beane's got a decent track record. But Garner shouldn't be leaving these decisions to Tim Purpura or Drayton McLane. This is a decision that is supposed to be made by the manager. And if Phil Garner's not going to have the balls to do it, then he needs to quit and this team seriously needs to look into hiring a manager who'll tell Drayton to shove it because he's the one making the decisions. -- John Royal