Re: The Value of Good Coaching
Coaching obviously is important, but you probably get generally good coaching across the league (kind of like CF defense, everybody's got it). And you don't get a lot of great, difference-making coaches unless you've got a pack of incompetents balancing them out on the other side.
Occasionally some standouts emerge. LaRussa and Duncan were incredible. They had a Midas touch when it came to getting the most out of the players on their roster. Bochy might fit into that category. Certainly he seems to be able to reinvigorate and milk extra out of his players (maybe it's French mysticism).
Managers like Joe Torre and Terry Francona were proclaimed flops before they became revered for their Yoda-like team leading abilities.
As much complaint as we collectively may have lodged against Bob Boone, Dave Miley and Jerry Narron when they ran the Reds, all three managed to put really horrible rosters into contention for portions of various seasons. Ultimately they weren't able to sustain those flourishes (almost no one could have) and they weren't the guys to lead the franchise forward, but their teams came to play for the most part.
When the Reds hired Dusty Baker my take was it was a positive step not so much because Baker was a stellar coach (like most he's got his strengths and his flaws), but because it indicated the Reds would start to behave more like an organization interested in winning things. Sure enough that's what happened. And Baker does a fair job of playing a winning hand when he's dealt it.
So coaching matters, but I suspect there aren't a lot of cases where coaching is transforming a major league team.
Where it probably matters more is in minor league instruction. I still say Wayne Krivsky taking a scythe to the Reds' developmental staff was the most important decision anyone has made in the organization during the past decade.
Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong
I'm witchcrafting everybody.