There's not much that Manny Acta can do for his free-falling team over this last month or so of the season. The Cleveland Indians are a worst-in-the-AL 10-29 since the All-Star break, they're currently working on an eight-game losing streak and they're going to lose fourth place to the Minnesota Twins if they're not careful. The season has sunk.
One thing Acta can do, though, is provide a little encouragement to his team in the form of what looks a lot like gallows humor to the rest of us.
His message: There's only one person sitting on the hot seat right now and it's me.
"I talked to them just to reassure them," said Acta following a 3-1 defeat to Seattle (on Wednesday). "They do need to relax. There have never been 25 guys released [at once] in the history of the game. They should relax. If one guy is going to go, it's going to be me, not them. So relax and play the game."
Whether or not Acta should really be fearing for his managerial future seems to be up for debate. Acta's contract runs through the 2013 season and he received a vote of confidence from GM Chris Antonetti on Aug. 6. The Indians have gone 4-11 since then, though, and they're a weekend sweep by the Yankees away from posting their second 11-game losing streak of the second half. If the Indians continue to flail for the rest of the season, can Acta survive the postseason evaluation that will take place?
Also up for debate: Does Acta even want to manage the Indians anymore? As TD of Waiting For Next Year wrote Thursday morning, Acta's recent comments suggest a guy who doesn't think he has much to lose anymore. Not only is he willing to play sacrificial lamb in front of his players, but he's starting to publicly question the flawed makeup of this Indians team. It's hard to think that any member of Cleveland's front office wants to have a spotlight shined on their failures by a member of their own organization.
Give Acta credit for using any capital he might have in forcing a change for 2013. Although given the Dolan family's penchant for doing things on the cheap, there's a good chance no big changes will be made before next season — and yes, that frugality probably also includes an aversion to firing Acta and paying him to do nothing next season.
If I were a betting man, I'd say Acta returns for one more year. Whether anyone likes it or not.