For eight hours on Tuesday Tribe managerial candidate Manny Acta meet with key members of the Indians front office and then took questions from the media before dashing off to the airport to make a 4:15 p.m. flight home.
It was a day full of thought-provoking questions in addition to a thourough background check as the two sides discussed a range of subjects from Acta's background having grown up in the Domincan Republic to his thoughts on who'd he'd like to bring in to join his coaching staff if hired.
In additon to Acta, the Indians are also expected to bring to Cleveland to interview veteran manager Bobby Valentine (who has spent the last six years managing in Japan), Indians Triple-A Columbus manager Torrey Lovullo and two other unnamed candidates, one of which is widely believed to be Don Mattingly.
In a brief session with the media, Acta gave good insight into the type of manager he will be, whether in Cleveland or Houston - the organization who originally drafted him and for whom he has prior experience coaching for.
Below you will find some of the questions and Acta's responses from Tuesday's sit-down with the media:
Q) How has your two years managing for the Washington Nationals prepared you to manage elsewhere?:
A) Let's be realistic, everybody in this town and in every town in America would want a top-notch guy like a Joe Torre or a Tony LaRussa to walk in and manange their club. But the reality is those guys don't go for those kind of (rebuilding) jobs. Everyone of them already paid their dues, and those types of jobs go to guys like me at the beginning. I needed to get my feet in the door and I was in no position to turn down a job like (Washington). I felt it was important for me to start my managerial career and I took advantage of it...I have absolutely no regret - I knew what I was getting into.
Q) How different is the situation you walked into at Washington compared to here in Cleveland?
A) This is far away advanced. The Indians have a lot more pieces in place. In D.C., we were looking to identify the 25 core guys to continue rebuilding the franchise. Here, you have pretty much a whole lineup in place with exciting young players. Now it's just moving forward and bringing in a little bit of a supporting cast and get ready to bring some exciting times to Cleveland.
Q) What kind of manager are you?
A) I'm a common sense kind of manager. I'm a guy who brings a lot of positive energy and communication skills.
Q) What do you bring to the table that separates you from the other candidates?
A) I just try to be myself...I've already paid my dues for a rebuilding process. Baseball people know what we went through (in Washington), how our character was tested for two and a half years and we didn't break down. So we are ready to move on, take this talent and move to the next level.
Q) What do you think about the Indians current pitching staff compared to the one you inherited in Washington and who would you handle it?
A) It's different here (than in Washington) because you have guys who have already been in the big leagues for years. The game in the American League is different than in the National League, you don't have to worry pinch-hitting and doing double switches. Hopefully here, Fausto (Carmona) can bounce back and we can get Jake (Westbrook) back for spring training - and that's going to be a big part of the battle.
Q) What would you do differently this time around?
A) It's a different scenerio. Over there, there weren't that many pieces in place. Here, it's just about bringing the right attitude right off the bat and convincing the club and making them believe that with a little bit of improvement in our bullpen and starting rotation, we're ready to win here because this division is probably the most balanced one in baseball. It's a division where every year everyone comes in with hopes that they can win it.
Q) What is the most important thing a manager has to do?
A) I think it's the communication...This is a job where handling people and working with people is the key.
Q) How much time did you spend studying the Indians before coming to interview?
A) Like the baseball motto, I live for this. This is what I do...I could probably talk to you about the other 29 clubs, too, because this is what I do. But don't ask me about the Browns, I'm going to support them because I'm here, but I'm not very good at football...I did research on the club, I actually spent the last month of the season (watching) late at night, so I'm familiar with (the Indians)...(The team) has a good core of players. There's already an offense in place that if Grady (Sizemore) would have been healthy all season and (Travis) Hafner would have been healthy and Jhonny (Peralta) would have had his typical year, that's as good as it gets in the (American League) Central.
Q) How do you put together a successful bullpen and how do you handle it?
A) In the American League you basically need power arms, and we're in the right direction here. You look at the numbers, a lot of the guys we have here are able to miss bats when you look at the strikeout ratio. I think the bullpen here has a chance to be very good. Guys like Chris Perez can be huge for this bullpen. We already have (closer) Kerry Wood and Jensen Lewis has been a good pitcher here out of the pen since 2007...I think this bullpen can come around. I like to have some balance. I would love to have a minimum of two lefties in the bullpen who can get lefties out. I would also love to have a guy from the right side and the left side who can pitch multiple innings.
Q) When did you know you wanted to be a manager?
A) When I was 22 years old, the Houston Astros told me to my face I wasn't good enough to play in the big leagues. Since that was my goal, it was pretty tough to swallow in the beginning. Then I just made the goal that if I can't make it as a player, now you're going to have to make it as a coach. So I went down there in the minor leagues and worked very hard. Now that I made it as a manager, my goal is to become a mainstay manager in the major leagues, to manage for 20, 25 years with those top five, six guys that you guys know about and eventually win some championships.