'Perfect place': Acta excited for Indians' future
Manny Acta had two choices for his second job managing in the majors. He picked Cleveland over Houston, where his baseball career began.
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Acta, Washington's former manager who turned down a chance to return to the Astros, was introduced as Cleveland's 40th manager on Monday. Acta signed a three-year contract with the Indians, who outbid the Astros over the weekend for the 40-year-old.
"This is a perfect place for me," Acta said. "That's why I'm here. I'm attracted to all these talented young players. I'm looking forward to teaching and leading them and helping this team win a championship."
Acta spent 2 1/2 years with the Nationals, who fired him after a 21-61 start this season. He compiled a 158-252 record in Washington, but was confident he would get another chance.
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said Acta's win-loss record became less of a factor as they learned more about him.
Cleveland began with an initial list of 35 candidates, which the club whittled to about 10 before inviting Acta, former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine and Torey Lovullo, the Indians' Triple-A manager, to Cleveland for second interviews. The team had also planned to interview Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly a second time.
But when the Astros made an offer to Acta, the Indians jumped in and negotiated with his agent before agreeing to a contract on Saturday night.
"I knew we might lose him because he got offered a job," Shapiro said. "They offered him a job first while we were still working through our process. We just sped up our time frame, since we were headed in that direction."
During the club's search, Shapiro said the team kept getting the same positive feedback on Acta.