Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Torey Lovullo finally gets promoted...to Pawtucket
Torey Lovullo finally got his promotion out of Columbus, although it wasn't likely what he had in mind when the hot stove season began.
According to Paul Hoynes at the Plain Dealer, Lovullo will become the new manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox, taking over for Ron Johnson, who ironically was promoted to the Sox as their first base coach. Lovullo had 'promotion within the organization' written all over him in the early part of October, but the Indians stoved the triple A skipper not once, but twice.
First, in the correct move, Lovullo was passed over for the manager's job when the Indians hustled to hire former Nationals manager, Manny Acta. It was believed that Lovullo impressed the Tribe staff, and that he would get a position on Acta's staff, either the third or first base coaching jobs. When Steve Smith and Sandy Alomar were hired to fill those roles, Lovullo was left the odd man out.
I do feel bad for Lovullo, who paid his dues in the Indians organization. In 2002, Lovullo took the Columbus(Georgia) RedStixx to the second half championship in his first year of managing. He moved to the Kinston in 2003, and won the Carolina League title with the Indians in 2004, as well as the CL manager of the year. He was promoted to Akron the following season, and promptly won the Eastern League title and manager of the year.
He treaded water in four years at the Triple A level, going 271 and 297, with two third place finished, a fourth place finish and a fifth place finish. You could hardly blame him though with Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge launching players back and forth from the big club to Buffalo and Columbus seemingly daily. Lovullo is considered a good baseball mind, but I'm sure there were questions in the Indians organization about whether or not he could win.
Not so with the Red Sox, who snatched Lovullo up quickly to fill their triple A slot. Obviously, this isn't likely to be considered a lateral move for Lovullo, who couldn't get a big league job coaching for the Indians. Perhaps a more high-profile gig like the head slot for the Sox top-level minor league post will be the final step in his ascension. If I were Lovullo, I'd have done the same thing.
According to Hoynes, Joel Skinner is rumored to be the early front-runner for the job. Talk about a step back for Skinner. He previously managed the Indians triple A squad in 2000, winning the league title, the IL manager of the year crown, as well as several national minor league manager of the year awards.
Skinner has been the Indians' third base coach for most of the time since then, except for a brief period that saw Skinner take over as interim manager after the Indians fired Charlie Manuel in 2002. He also briefly took over as bench coach in 2006. Skinner's another one of those homegrown products that has been stepped over year after year after year.
I would have to imagine that Mike Sarbaugh, the AA manager for the Akron Aeros. Sarbaugh has won two titles in single A, and one in double A. Give Skinner a title, and move Sarbough up.
You really do have to wonder where all of these guys would be if Wedge hadn't been named manager in 2003. Guys like Lovullo and Sarbaugh have to live with the "Eric Wedge clone" title for as long as they remained with the Tribe.
Not a stretch to figure out why Lovullo left, is it.