Tracy will no longer Think Blue

According to The RSS-less LA Times, the now-former Dodger Manager will leave struggling pitchers in too long in another city, possibly Pittsburgh.

Tracy wanted a contract extension until 2008, but McCort and DePodesta didn’t want to give it to him, so they “parted ways.”

The Dodgers acted swiftly and decisively Monday, severing ties with Manager Jim Tracy one day after the end of a disappointing season, one month after Tracy asked for a contract extension and one year after the team won its first division title since 1996.

The parting was not described by the Dodgers as a firing, nor as a resignation, rather as “a parting of ways.” Tracy, who posted a 427-383 record in five seasons, was paid an undisclosed amount as a buyout for the last year on his contract. His base salary for 2006 was $700,000 ó at the low end of compensation for an experienced manager ó with incentives that could have earned him another $200,000.

But don’t cry too much for Mr. Tracy and his barely-over .500 record. He’s the leading candidate to lead Pittsburgh’s exciting race for fourth place, if Tampa Bay doesn’t snatch him up in their exciting race for last, first. And the Dodgers may be reaching all the way down to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Downey And Long Beach But Mostly Anaheim for a replacement:

Paul DePodesta, the Dodger general manager, said the search for a new manager could take several weeks. He will be in Italy for six days beginning Wednesday for his sister’s wedding and expects to begin interviewing candidates upon his return. Angel pitching coach Bud Black and Oakland Athletic coach Ron Washington are expected to be among those considered.

All snarkiness aside (just for a moment, don’t worry), I don’t think that Jim Tracy was the greatest manager ever, (most notably when he let pitchers who were clearly finished stay in the game so they could blow the lead in the sixth,) but I also think it’s unfair to put the abject failure known as The 2004-2005 Los Angeles Dodgers entirely at his feet.

Paul DePodesta made some of the worst trades in the last decade — indeed, if not for Dodger Boy, they would have easily been the worst trades is Dodger history, and I don’t think it’s fair or right to blame Tracy for some of the factors that contributed to such a disappointing season. It wasn’t Jim Tracy who failed to make an effort to resign Beltre, or traded away Paul LoDuca for a washed-up pitcher who spent more time on the DL than on the mound (Penny, not Dreifort. It’s an easy mistake to make.)

Tracy wasn’t my favorite manager, but I think he did the best he could with what he had, and this is one less excuse Parking Lot Boy has for for next season.