Buddy Bell, Juan Gonzalez, and Ryan Ludwick

When I heard that the Royals were interviewing bench coach Buddy Bell, I didn’t give it much thought. “After all,” I thought, why would the Royals hire a guy who was a complete bust during both of his coaching stints?”

It appears that I gave Royals management a bit too much credit; they have hired Bell as their new full-time manager, giving him a contract through 2007. Now don’t get me wrong, Bell is probably a great guy to have around a team. But you can’t tell me that he was the best option available. Grady Little, Bobby Valentine, or Davey Johnson would have been much better choices in my opinion. Ken Rosenthal summed things up nicely in regards to Bell:

Buddy Bell is a curious choice to manage the Royals.

Curious, because Bell was fired by the Tigers after growing frustrated in a low-payroll situation and engaging in a personality conflict with general manager Randy Smith.

Curious, because Bell reacted in similar fashion when his next team, the Rockies, went backwards, leading to a breakdown in communication with G.M. Dan O’Dowd and another dismissal.

In the article, Mark Shapiro said some nice things about Bell, but really, was he going to rip on him? For the role Bell played with the Indians, I didn’t have problem with him. Would I want him as the manager of the team? Hell no. I’d rather go with an organizational guy like Wedge or someone with a good record somewhere else.

In other, more predictable, news:

Reinstated OF Juan Gonzalez from the 15-day Disabled List
Designated OF Ryan Ludwick for Assignment

I understand why this move was made; however, I don’t like it. Ludwick, who probably isn’t a starting outfielder at this point, is a great player to have on a roster to play against left-handers or pinch-hit late in the game. Ryan wasn’t going to get a real opportunity anymore with the Indians, not with the current outfield situation, but that didn’t make him a bad guy to have on your bench. Instead, the Indians will probably make Casey Blake the fourth outfielder, and continue to trot out Aaron Boone everyday. Yes, Boone may be gone when Coco Crisp comes back, but the timing on the two moves should have been reversed; Boone should have gone first, and then Ludwick.

Will the Indians get anything for Ludwick? Probably yes, given what Ludwick can do. USS Mariner and Lone Star Ball both want their respective teams to claim Ludwick on waivers, and there’s a bunch of other clubs who could use Ludwick.

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