The Houston Astros have fired manager Cecil Cooper. It isn’t hard to figure out why. In fact, the reasons are so obviously and plentiful that we’ve put together the following
Top Ten Reasons Cecil Cooper Got Fired by the Houston Astros
10. Foolishly relying upon Roy Oswalt. Surely Cooper could have had the foresight to see that Oswalt is a paper-tiger. Sure, the first eight seasons of his career were amazing, but Cooper should have seen through Oswalt’s decade of dominance and realized that he was on course for a return to earth in 2009.
9. Bringing Mike Hampton in for a Reunion Tour. What was Cooper thinking here? Hampton was ten years removed from his Cy Young runner-up season with the Astros in 1999 and five years removed from the last time he pitched over 100 innings in a season, and he gave Hampton a spot in the starting rotation.
8. Playing Miguel Tejada at Shortstop. Surely Cooper should have realized that Tejada has lied about his age, lied about using performance enhancing drugs, and was never that good of a defender even in his prime. Why did Cooper sign Tejada and put him at shortstop?
7. Failure to Develop Minor League Talent. Cooper failed where his predecessors did not – he never could develop young talent into legitimate major league players, relying instead upon cast-offs and failed prospects from other organizations. The Astros next manager really needs to develop talent throughout the system better.
6. Letting Lance Berkman Get Off to a Bad Start. Somehow, someway, Lance Berkman has never had any trouble succeeding in the early months of the season until this year. Last year, Lance was one of the elite hitters in the National League. This year, he was so-so. Shame on you, Cecil Cooper.
5. Signing an Aging and Inadequate Catcher to Play Full-time in the National League. There was a time when Ivan Rodriguez was an elite defensive catcher who called games very well and could hit a bit. He is no longer any of those things, and Cooper should have known it.
4. Putting Together the Oldest Lineup in the National League.
How are the Astros supposed to succeed when Cecil Cooper sent out a lineup everyday with an average age of 31.7 years old, the worst in the league? Plus, some of their oldest players were at key defensive positions. I would have expected Cooper to manage the roster better.
3. Allowing Russ Ortiz and Felipe Paulino to Start a Combined 28 Games. These guys went 5-16 with an ERA over 5.75 and a WHIP over 1.60. How did Cooper not make sure he had better pitchers in camp before starting the season with these guys.
2. Stocking the Bench with Jeff Keppinger, Chris Coste, Humberto Quintero, Jason Michaels, and Darin Erstad. If I had the oldest starting lineup in baseball, I sure would hope to have some solid bats on my bench. But between these five reserves, the only ones with 100 or more plate appearances after the starters, the Astros have a batting average under .250, an on-base percentage under .300, and an OPS well under the league average. I hope Cooper plans to have more depth at his next stop.
1. Playing in the NL’s Toughest Division with the NL’s Thinnest Roster. Facts are facts, people: the NL Central has six teams, which is more than any other division. So, to compete in the NL Central, a team needs to be better than five teams, not just four or three. And when three of those teams are the young up-and-coming Milwaukee Brewers, the cash-flush Chicago Cubs, and the ingeniously-run St. Louis Cardinals, you gotta come to the field with more than just Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada. You have to have guys who can pinch-hit, who can get on base, who can field the ball, and who can pitch six innings a game without giving the game away. The Astros didn’t have that this year.
And hey, when the organization fails to put together a competitive roster and the aging players on the field don’t put up the numbers they once did, there can be only one person to blame.
Cecil Cooper, we hardly knew ya.