If it is broke, you fix it. Right now, the Indians must decide whether the parent club in Cleveland is broken, or if the system as a whole is flawed. For a while, I thought the latter. I thought the development of players was slow and unfulfilling compared to clubs we aspired to be like. I thought the club lacked those big name coaches. Even while attending games for the Bisons (at the time, Cleveland’s Triple-A affiliate), I noticed something lacking…aside from offense.
However, after talking with people closer to Torey Lovullo and the way he works, I am thinking he could be the guy for the job. Notice, I said COULD be. I was always high on Bobby Valentine. The same cannot be said for Manny Acta. Ron Roenicke? There are too many question marks surrounding him for my liking.
Enter, Torey Lovullo. Here is a guy who has been within the system since 2001 and started managing in 2002. He has been at every level of baseball for the Indians, stockpiling awards and championships along the way.
With the Kinston Indians, Lovullo led the team to the playoffs in both seasons as manager, ultimately winning the Carolina League Championship in 2004 after the club went 88-50 in the regular season. Lovullo was named Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2004 for these accomplishments.
In just one season with the Akron Aeros, Lovullo was named Eastern League Manager of the Year after winning the league championship. The Aeros sported an 84-58 record for the year in 2004.
Lovullo went to Buffalo, his former stomping grounds as a player, to lead the Bisons of the Triple-A International League for three seasons. Buffalo had two winning records during that time, before sliding into 5th place with a 66-77 record in 2008. He finished the previous season in Columbus with the Clippers, new Triple-A affiliate of the Indians.
Lovullo is like a son for the organization. I feel fortunate he wasn’t nabbed by the Dodgers during their managerial search a few seasons ago.
Sure, he is young. Sure, he needs more seasoning. But if he can surround himself with a capable coaching staff, I am thinking Torey might be the right hire for this job.