Friday, May 12, 2017

LMP Manager of Year Matias Carrillo fired by Mayos

The topic of managerial firings in Mexican baseball has been pounded into sand on this site, but they're often the result of team ownership or management pressing the panic button (sometimes remarkably early into a season).  However, even in Mexico, it's a rarity that a manager is shown the door after a season in which he led his team to the best regular season record in the league and won Manager of the Year laurels.

Matias Carrillo must be wondering what he has to do to keep a job after being let go earlier this week by the Mexican Pacific League's Navojoa Mayos.  All Carrillo did last winter was take the Mayos to a 39-29 overall record, the LMP's second half title and a tie with Los Mochis for the most accrued points for the season.  However, Navojoa absorbed a first-round playoff loss to eventual champion Mexicali in six games, and perhaps that served as catalyst for his ouster from the Mayos job.  We may never know, as apparently owner Victor Cuevas never gave Carrillo a reason for his firing. Yucatan Leones skipper Willie Romero (who once played with and for Carrillo with the Quintana Roo Tigres) was immediately announced as Navojoa's new manager.  Willie may want to start looking over his shoulder with the Mayos, however, as he's won two consecutive Manager of the Year awards in the Mexican League himself.

Carrillo's firing surprised even the usually skeptical columnists at Puro Beisbol, who've seen managers come and go with almost alarming regularity, and they no doubt notice that it seems to be the same men doing the coming and going, but the former Florida Marlins outfielder and one of the top sluggers in Mexican baseball history has had a strange baseball journey since retiring as a player at age 45 in 2008.  The following year, he replaced Enrique "Che" Reyes at the helm in Quintana Roo and led the Cancun squad to a 71-36 record to win the Mexican League South Division title before advancing to the LMB Championship Series, losing to Saltillo in six games.  In 2010, Carrillo took the Tigres to a 56-47 mark before losing to Oaxaca in the first round, but the club rebounded in 2011 by winning the LMB South 59-41 and copping the pennant by sweeping archrival Mexico City in the title series to earn Manager of the Year honors.

There was more success for Quintana Roo under Carrillo in 2012, with another division title at 73-39 and a trip to the semifinals before losing to eventual champion Veracruz at that stage of the postseason.  The 2013 season was when things began to get weird for "El Coyote" and the Tigres, as the team was 55-43 in July when owner Carlos Peralta fired Carrillo with two weeks left in the regular season (for "poor results") and replaced him with Roberto Vizcarra.  The Tigres went on to win the LMB pennant that year, but one has to wonder what was wrong with a manager who'd gone 314-206 (.604) with three division crowns and a Liga championship between 2009 and 2013.

It took ten hours for the Yucatan Leones to hire Carrillo to manage them over the final 12 games of the 2013 regular season, but it was too late to salvage the season as the Lions came in sixth in the LMB South with a 50-61 record.  He was carried over as skipper in Merida for 2014 but was replaced by Orlando Sanchez after starting out 8-18.  Carrillo was hired within days of his ouster in Yucatan to manage the newly-formed Tijuana Toros, who were 18-23 at the time.  The Toros went 37-35 under Carrillo but failed to reach the playoffs, which was apparently sufficient for TJ management to say adios to the Sinaloa native.  2014 wasn't a total washout for Carrillo, who'd managed the Hermosillo Naranjeros to Mexican Pacific League and Caribbean Series championships to start the year.  The trophy presented annually to the LMP batting champion bears his name.

It didn't take long for Carrillo to find work again.  He was initially hired as batting coach in Saltillo for 2015, but the Puebla Pericos came calling a month into the season to replace Von Hayes as manager after the Parrots opened the campaign with a 13-19 record.  The team went 38-38 the rest of the way and missed the postseason, but Carrillo was kept on board for 2016.  Even veteran observers of Mexican baseball had to scratch their heads when El Coyote led the Pericos to a Liga-best 38-15 record at the All-Star Break, during which he was inexplicably fired and replaced by Cory Snyder, who went on to take Puebla to the LMB pennant.  Carrillo went on to coach briefly with Yucatan under Romero before moving back to Tijuana, where he currently serves as batting coach under manager Pedro Mere.  Mere led the Toros to the LMB Championship Series last summer, losing to Puebla.

The 54-year-old Carrillo's managerial career in winterball has been no less nomadic, with stints running teams in Obregon, Guasave, Hermosillo and Navojoa.  He won his first LMP Manager of the Year with Guasave in 2011-12 and (as mentioned) led Hermosillo to a Serie del Caribe title three years ago.  As a player, Carrillo stands as one of Mexico's greatest, sporting a Mexican League career batting average of .335 on 2,484 hits with 325 homers and 1,526 RBIs.  He topped the .300 mark 15 seasons in a row, an LMB record, and was also the first player in Liga history to reach both 250 homers and 250 stolen bases in his career.  However, in yet another mystery regarding Carrillo, he is not a member of the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some guys just can't catch a break.

BBM EXTRA: Generales end 14-game losing skid

The Durango Generales rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and went on to take a 5-3 win in Monclova Thursday night to end Durango's 14-game losing streak, the Mexican League's longest in three decades.

Daniel Mayora, Jairo Perez and Yadir Drake rapped back-to-back-to-back doubles off Acereros reliever Casey Janssen to key the eighth, with Mayora's two-bagger producing two runs to give the Generales a 5-2 lead after trailing 2-1 going into the frame.  Durango closer Tiago da Silva struggled his way through the bottom of the ninth, allowing one run on three hits before getting Oscar Sanay to hit a grounder to short for a game-ending forceout at second.  Da Silva has now saved all 12 Generales victories against 24 losses this year.  Janssen took the loss for Monclova to fall to 0-3 for 2017.

The last LMB team to lose 14 consecutive games was the 1986 Veracruz Aguilas, who went through five managers that year en route to a last-place finish at 30-98 before dropping out of the Liga after the season.