Manny Acta's Ears Are Burning

Whispers about his job are growing louder

Manny Acta's happy-go-lucky attitude has helped him persevere through lots of bad baseball. If the growing rumblings are right, though, he's going to need that same cheery attitude to carry him to the unemployment line.

The Lastings Milledge demotion, it seems, is the sign of a rift between the front office and their field manager, says the Times.

"Acta is a Milledge guy, has been since their days together in New York. When others rip the outfielder for his play or his personality, Acta defends him. And he did it again Wednesday in discussing the demotion.

"'I'm a big fan of Lastings,' Acta said. 'I think Lastings is going to be a good player. I'm pulling for him, and I'm anticipating him being back up here and making a contribution.' ...

"Managers and their bosses disagree on roster moves often. But there are growing signs that the Nationals-Acta marriage may not be as strong as it once was."

The front office wanted Acta to bench Milledge for the first game of the season after Milly was late for the mandatory pre-season team meeting. Acta refused.

The team also hasn't picked up Acta's contract extension for next season.

And they've quietly criticized some of his in-game moves to the press.

For a front office that rarely leaks much one way or another, what's being said (and not said) is actually saying a lot.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon debated Acta's job security on PTI yesterday. Even though they're Washington guys, the Nats terrible record is making Manny's performance a bit of a national story.

They already cleaned house with Bowden. Might Mike Rizzo -- who came on board after Acta was hired -- put his own stamp on things?

A few more losses, and we'll know for sure.

Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment.  He likes Manny, but...

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