Sure, I didn’t want Willie Randolph to go. But I’m already loving Jerry Manuel. Here’s what Jerry said about Jose Reyes today:
“I told him next time he does that I’m going to get my blade out and cut him. I’m a gangster. You go gangster on me, I’m going to have to get you. You do that again, I’m going to cut you right on the field.”
He also refers to his players as “Gangstas on the field, ladies on the bus.” This guy is basically the man.
It appears that the Mariners are about to release 1B Richie Sexson, who is hitting .220, .294, .380 with 9 HR and 23 RBI this season. Sexson is certainly having a down year; he is a career .261 hitter who hit 45 home runs in 2003. So it’s pretty clear that Sexson, at age 33, is past his prime.
And that’s why I propose that the Mets sign Sexson, should he become available. Here’s the reason behind my madness. Sexson, this year, is hitting .349, .417, .581 with 3 HR and 6 RBI against left handed pitchers in 43 at-bats this season. Carlos Delgado, in 83 at-bats against southpaws this year, is hitting .229, .273, .398 with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Delgado’s lack of production has been one of the most important failures for this year’s Mets team, and there have been plenty of calls for a platoon at first base. Sexson appears to be the ideal player to split time with Delgado, and would also provide a power threat off of the bench, something that has been sorely lacking.
It’s been quite the day for the New York Mets. I can’t remember the last time there was so much embarrassment associated with the Mets, oh wait, yes I can, it was after the historic collapse last season. Since that fateful day, the Mets have continued to significantly under perform, so much so that it warranted, according to many, the dismissal of manager Willie Randolph. One thing is for sure; the Willie Randolph era has ended and the Jerry Manuel era has begun. Will this transition spark a change in the team’s play? We’ll have to wait and see.
For the Mets front office, this was not a good day. Since the news broke just after 3 AM Eastern time, the Mets have been crucified by the media, both in New York and across the nation. The consensus is that the Wilpons and Omar Minaya screwed up big time, although writers differ on who to place blame. Matt Cerone of MetsBlog, whose opinion I respect a lot, argues that the harsh media reaction was not justified. Matt and I were both on the “Keep Willie” side of the divide, for the record.
I went to sleep content with a nice road win in Los Angeles of Anaheim or whatever. I woke up to the news that Willie Randolph, Tom Nieto, and Rick Peterson had been fired after the game. I had just completed my “Save Willie” post before going to bed, and had no idea that it would be so obsolete so soon. Why in the world would Omar Minaya fly those three coaches across the country only to tell them that they were out of a job after a win?!?!? Just like Omar’s roster moves, this is unprofessional and offensive.
I spent last night writing why Willie Randolph should have been saved. For those reasons and now for this mess, I am livid at this team. As far as I’m concerned, they’ve given up on the year. Maybe the Mets management should have taken a cue from the Mariners, who yesterday dismissed GM Bill Bavasi, correctly placing the blame on the management, not the manager, for the team’s poor record.
Jerry Manuel, who will replace Willie as Interim Manager, is a likeable guy, but his demeanor is no different from Randolph’s passive composure. We’re not exactly getting the second coming of Lou Pinella here. The Mets better find an acceptable replacement for Willie soon, or a lot more people are going to be out of a job.
Everyone is throwing their two cents in on the Willie Randolph controversy, so I guess I should add my perspective. I’ve avoided comment on Willie’s situation for some time now because, in reality, there is no easy answer here. Fire Willie, and, yes, the demons of last year might be exorcised. But on the flip side, a mid-year managerial shakeup could drive the team apart. Of course, it has been extensively reported that the Mets clubhouse is divisive as it is, so maybe this wouldn’t hurt as much as it could.
If I have to pick a side, and I feel like I do, I’m more on the “Keep Willie” side. It’s not that I have complete confidence in the manager. I agree with Willie’s critics that he doesn’t motivate the team enough. I’ve commented on his poor managerial decisions in the past. But, ultimately, the responsibility for this year’s mediocre play, in my view (and I know a lot of people will disagree with me here) belongs to Omar Minaya, not Willie.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Brian Bannister, Chris Aguila, Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Heath Bell, Jeff Keppinger, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Mike Jacobs, Moises Alou, Nick Evans, NL East, Omar Minaya, Orlando Hernandez, Pedro Martinez, Ryan Church, Trot Nixon, Willie Randolph
The Mets yesterday acquired OF Trot Nixon from the Diamondbacks organization. Nixon, of course, is a former teammate of Pedro Martinez; the two played together on the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox team. Nixon was playing in Triple-A ball for Arizona and now immediately joins the Mets, where he started in left field in the first game of today’s doubleheader, going 2-3 with 2 walks and scoring a run.
Many Mets fans might question the move. Why trade for a guy who’s past his prime, someone with no upside. The reality is that Nixon has the potential to be a huge upgrade from what the Mets have had in left field this year, which is a group of players including Fernando Tatis, Endy Chavez, and Marlon Anderson, who aren’t hitting a lick. Nixon is a guy who can fire up a clubhouse and who knows how to win. Sure, he might appear to be in decline, hitting just .251 with Cleveland last year, but he was tearing it up for Triple-A Tucson, hitting .318, .449, .578 with 10 HR and 31 RBI. Compare that to Tatis (.250, .292, .333, 1 HR, 10 RBI), Chavez (.218, .271, .277, 1 HR, 4 RBI), and Anderson (.169, .194, .246, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and it’s easy to see why this move was necessary.
Hopefully, this will be a quick fix. With any luck, Ryan Church will be back soon, allowing for greater flexibility in the outfield alignment. But with Moises Alou on the seemingly perminant DL and Angel Pagan nowhere to be found, Nixon could see a good amount of time in left field this season for the Mets. It’s certainly not the ideal scenario, but give credit to Omar Minaya for addressing a major need.