Cooper is Not the Only One to Blame

September 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Cecil Cooper

Houston Astros GM Ed Wade, owner Drayton McLane, and president of baseball operations Tal Smith met with Cecil Cooper in his office on Monday to inform him that his time as Houston’s manager was over. They decided to point the finger at the manager at the bottom of the totem pole with only 13 games left in the season. Was the firing just? It may have been, but, he is not the only one to blame.

Cecil Cooper, since taking over for Phil Garner, had a 171-170 record. Not too bad, at least not bad enough to warrant a firing on it’s own. The reason he was fired was becuase upper management needed a scapegoat and Cooper lost the respect of his players.

Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle notes that “Cooper burned some bridges last year when his veterans became convinced he lied to them during a team meeting.” He also mentions that “[Cooper] lost a few players that day. Two veterans say that on the day Aaron Boone tearfully told his teammates he was to undergo heart surgery, Cooper used the moment to get on his guys for not playing harder. To say his timing was bad would be an understatement.”

You obviously can’t win with a manager your players don’t trust and have little respect for. Soft spoken and nice guy Lance Berkaman said “I do think something has to change. The environment is not good.”

Cooper is not the only one to blame. 

Owner Drayton McLane is the number one guy to blame.  Sure he approved a budget that crossed the $100M plateau but he has the money for it.  He also has money to approve at least a league average budget in the draft but decides to go under slot and never over it.  David Coleman has a great article on McLane and how he spends his money.  In his article he notes that “[2003, 2006-2009] the Astros have spent the least amount of money on draft picks of any team”  This has lead to the Astros having a bottom-of-the-barrel farm system the last 5-7 years.

And don’t go blaming GM Ed Wade.  He has done a decent job.  Blame McLane for hiring other bum GMs that have this team eating bad contracts.

Sure, there were problems at the bottom with manager Cecil Cooper, sure some of the players are having poor seasons, but the problem is, and has always been at the top with owner Drayton McLane.  He can point the finger all he wants but his team will never win as long as he is pointing it.

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