Ex-Rangers manager Narron might not survive Cincinnati housecleaning
07:52 PM CST on Saturday, January 28, 2006
Poor Jerry Narron. He's about to have the trap door opened underneath him again.
When Narron took over as Rangers manager during the 2001 season, he and general manager Doug Melvin had a clear plan for rebuilding the franchise. That ended when owner Tom Hicks, listening to outsiders, dumped Melvin on the final day of the season and brought in John Hart.
Narron made it through one miserable season with Hart, who left it to the manager to explain all the bad decisions. Narron, who championed infielder Michael Young when others wanted to dump him, was fired after the 2002 season in favor of a bigger name: Buck Showalter.
The scenario is repeating itself for Narron with Cincinnati.
He replaced Dave Miley during last season and turned a lifeless 27-41 team into a respectable group. The Reds were 46-46 with Narron.
The general manager who hired Narron, former Rangers executive Dan O'Brien, did not make it through the winter. Three days after buying the club, new Cincinnati owner Bob Castellini fired O'Brien last week.
Castellini said he made the move out of a desire to bring in his own man and should not be seen as an indictment of O'Brien, whose trading of first baseman Sean Casey and signing of free-agent left-hander Eric Milton were unpopular moves. O'Brien said he felt "deep disappointment" at not being allowed to continue.
"Winning right away was not a realistic goal," O'Brien said. "But the Reds have good minor league scouting in place and a Latin American presence that should lead to success. We did quality work that will stand the test of time."
Narron remains, but for how much longer?
Castellini is enamored with former Reds manager Lou Piniella, still a hugely popular figure in Cincinnati. If Florida executive Dan Jennings gets the job, Piniella could return to Cincinnati in 2007. Piniella's divorce from Tampa Bay included an agreement that he would not manage this season.
Jennings and Piniella developed a good relationship during their time with Tampa Bay. Piniella was unhappy when front-office friction caused Jennings to leave the Devil Rays.
Jennings is highly regarded. So are other candidates: Minnesota assistant general manager Wayne Krivsky, the former Rangers' executive who was passed over for O'Brien two years ago; and Chicago Cubs assistant general manager Gary Hughes.
The Piniella factor could swing the decision.