James Renwick: Okay, Bob Brenley…
Ben Bak: Fired.
JR: Fired. Now?
BB: No, Brenley probably won’t get fired until after the year.
JR: Okay, lets start with what you want to see.
BB: I would like to see the D-Backs go in a different direction with a younger coach who will be more aggressive.
JR: Anyone in mind?
BB: Mark Grace!
JR: So you see Gracie going right from the booth after one year?
BB: I hope so cause he’s horrible in the booth
JR: We agree on that but--
BB: He makes me look intelligent
JR: --and that takes something
BB: Yes it does
Do you really think Grace is ready to step up to be a big league manager one year removed from playing?
BB: Here’s the thing, Brenley is gonna get canned at the end of this year, the reason they don’t do it now is by giving him the whole year he can’t say it was all injuries.
BB: They give him a whole year to tinker, to overcome the injuries etc. which won’t happen because they’re horrible even at full strength. They have two tradable commodities, Johnson and Finley, which of course the Diamondbacks will hold onto too long and then not get enough for when and if they actually trade them. We’re looking at Brenley getting the rest of this year, then the D’Backs will let him go.
JR: But why Grace?
BB: Now the reason they’ll promote Grace quickly is because fans want him there, he’s so much more personable and popular than Brenley is, and that mean butts in the seats. Grace will play more aggressive ball, try to manufacture runs, just play National League ball. As opposed to Brenley who plays American League baseball in the National League. It’s all singles and home runs. You don’t generate scoring situations with hit and runs, sacrifices, and by stealing bases. Problem is there’s no home run power in the D’Back’s lineup, especially now that Sexton is out. Finley always starts hot, every single year we talk about him in fantasy baseball--
JR: He doesn’t always start hot, but he always has a run.
JR: he just happened to have his run early this year
BB: And the reason they go right with Grace is because if they let Brenley go at the end of the year, and they move Grace in as a bench coach or a batting coach or even just leave him in the booth, the D’Backs have to find a guy that’s comfortable going in knowing he’s just keeping the seat warm for a year or two until Grace becomes the manager. Who’s gonna sign on knowing that Grace is right over his shoulder no matter what happens.
JR: Okay. Let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute here. Let’s say they give Brenley till the end of the year, because I agree with you, I think they will--especially since Brenley is in the last year of his deal. You let him finish the season, all you have to do is just not re-sign him, but what if the D’Backs come back and win the West?
BB: They won’t--
JR: But what if they do? We’ve discussed; the West is horrible! Brandon Webb has pitched incredibly poorly, and if he returned to the form that he had last year, you’ve got Shane Reynolds, making rehab starts right now in AA, AAA--
BB: I forgot they had him
JR: Reynolds is coming back. The West is horrible, you know you don’t have Sexton coming back, but now you’ve got Hillenbrand who’s been hot. You’ve got Chad Tracy who’s a singles hitter but he’s hitting close to .300. You know you’ve got all these kids, maybe they come together the second half of the year--you don’t have to be that good, 90 wins will win this division
BB:88 will win this division
JR: That’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Diamondbacks especially because they’ve gotten through the toughest part of their schedule, you know the NL West--who’d they play this year in interleague play, cause I know--
BB: The Yankees are coming into town next week
JR: Yeah, you’re right. So they’ve gotta play The Yankees, but then don’t they get the Devil Rays too?
BB: Yeah, the D Rays too.
JR: So you get the D Rays--
BB: They’ve already taken two of three from the Orioles and now split the first two against the Blue Jays--
JR: Okay, and I’m just saying they’ve gotten through a tough section of their schedule where they had to go through the NL Central, they had to go--
BB: The NL Central isn’t exactly--well it is pretty good, everybody is playing at least .500 ball. Everybody’s beating up on each other out there.
JR: Yeah, but it’s not necessarily out of the realm of possibility--
BB: That they come back and win the West? They had a leap, I’ll tell you that.
JR: Brenley puts this together, and maybe he doesn’t win the division, but maybe he comes within a game or two of winning the division, with all the injuries and everything--
BB: Then they bring him back.
JR: Do you agree with that though?
BB: No, no I don’t. I don’t think he’s the right manager for that team.
JR: He is the manager who took them to, and won the World Series.
BB: Okay, you load it up that much talent in the National League West, I could win that division, and go to the playoffs too. It’s a lot harder than going through the AL , were you’ve gotta, every year, play the Yankees. And then maybe you play the Red Sox, then you play Oakland--Oakland’s got the best pitching staff in the whole world--Even better than the Red Sox, since Pedro can’t put it together. You give anybody a monster squad like he had with Randy and Curt and they’ll. He had pop in the outfield, and had great infield and outfield defense, everybody was playing well. I mean you put the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Cubs, or Oakland in the NL West this year, they win 105 games. Brenley can’t win with the type of club the Diamondbacks have, and I think Grace can.
JR: You really think Grace can win with this club.
BB: The NL West? Easily.
JR: Does it have to be Grace?
BB: What other candidates do you think are available? I mean there are a million different candidates out there, but who else would the Diamondbacks look to. Yes, its Grace.
JR: I think it’s pretty much the consensus that it’s going to be Grace. I wondered if maybe they would sign Brenley for one more year. I understand what you’re saying that if you make Grace the hitting coach or whatever, who are you going to sucker into filling the seat, but would Brenley? Brenley I think, wouldn’t mind, going ‘ I know I’m filling the seat until Grace gets here.’
BB: I don’t think he would do it. I don’t think he’d want to go for it, because every year at the end of the season there’s gonna be a job opening. This year is different though because there’s so much parody in baseball. Almost everybody is competitive this year.
JR: Yeah, that’s true, but everybody is competitive 65 games into the season.
BB: Bottom line is, Brenley is going unless the D’Backs win the West, and maybe even then. Grace is the D’Backs Manager next season.
JR: I don’t think you can fire a guy who just took you to the playoffs, but unless that happens I agree with you.
BB: The Giants fired Dusty Baker after he took his team to the World Series. Brenley is gone.