Acta went so far as to say it's the happiest he's felt during his professional career. Acta indicated that the Indians are in a more advanced stage in terms of the Minor League system than when he started managing the Nationals in 2007.
"Life is not easier without Grady and Cabrera, but I think I learned from those experiences over in Washington in 2008 when we had all those guys down," Acta said. "But I'm enjoying it. I'm very happy for what's going on [with the Nationals] because those fans deserve it. I'm happy for [manager] Jim [Riggleman] because he is a good guy that I admire."
Acta managed the Nationals for 2 1/2 years, going 158-252 during that period. If he has one regret in Washington, it's that he used Saul Rivera and Jon Rauch too often.
"That really doesn't work," Acta said. "I was trying to keep the game close. Saul and Rauch had innings they shouldn't have had even though I was trying to catch up [in the game]. I learned that in Cleveland. It's a mistake I will never do again."
Acta also realized that he can't win without pitching and defense, which was a problem when Acta was managing the Nationals.
"I was the same guy that I was in 2007 except that I had [Chad] Cordero and Rauch [in 2007]," Acta said. "It was a big difference last year not being able to have those guys at the back end of the bullpen. It was tough for us. We had five guys closing games. You need pitching and defense to win and the Nationals are doing the right things right now."