Bloodthirsty Nats fans were left unsatisfied. Manny Acta's head did not roll yesterday, even as speculation of his imminent demise reached a fever pitch.
Acta's definitely in charge. For now.
When Nats.com called him, he said, "I'm still the manager. You wouldn't have reached me if I wasn't." Simple enough. (Does that mean that Uncle Teddy would instantly cut off his cell phone?)
It's pretty clear that something's coming soon. The Rosenthal report, some argue, just delayed it. It's just as likely that the report came too early, and that the Nats had no intention of firing Manny mid-road trip, or sending an interim guy up against the Yankees as his first assignment.
He's safe through at least Thursday, says the Times. And the Rosenthal report was characterized by mlb.com as being "premature" not wrong.
Stan Kasten's only comments indicated the he's troubled by the team's record (welcome to the club, Stanley!), and implied that a managerial change is one of the options he's considered: "We continue to look for solutions. Have I thought about every possible recourse? I have."
Meanwhile, Bobby Valentine has popped up as a candidate to replace Acta, according to John Heyman. It's an interesting choice; he's certainly a much larger personality/influence than Manny Acta is. And he's had a pretty good track record of winning wherever he's gone -- the man even brought the Mets to the World Series!
But one problem with the rumor: it's likely not going to happen. Yet.
MLB has a rule like the NFL that teams must interview minority candidates for open positions. So it's likely that they'd appoint a stopgap like Riggleman for now, before opening up the search later. Even if they wanted to permanently hire Bobby V now, they couldn't unless they could drag in a minority for a sham interview. (Not to mention that Valentine's still in his Japanese League season.)
He might very well be the guy, but he's not going to be Acta's immediate replacement.
And who knows... if the Nats somehow sweep the Yankees, maybe the Nats won't be looking for a replacement -- for another week or two.
Chris Needham used to write Capitol Punishment. He hopes that Valentine will bring his fake mustache.