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.
The Mets announced that Ryan Church would head to the 15-day Disabled List yesterday, three weeks after sustaining his second concussion of the year on a nasty collision with Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar.
That’s a roster move made three weeks too late. The Mets management have shown time and time again that they have a knack for making the wrong decision at the wrong time–resigning Luis Castillo, trading Scott Kazmir, etc. How obvious should it have been that Church needed to be placed on the DL at the time? It was staring Omar Minaya in the face.
When the Mets left Atlanta for Colorado, Church jetted along with the team, seemingly unaware of the negative effect that the altitude would have on his already woozy state. I’m no doctor, but it’s obvious to me that the last thing someone needs to do after sustaining their second concussion in three months is fly across the country to a place with thin air. And then play baseball of all things? Terrible idea.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Angel Pagan, Luis Castillo, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Moises Alou, NL East, Omar Minaya, Ryan Church, Scott Kazmir, Willie Randolph, Yunel Escobar
I was as surprised as anyone else this week to hear that Abraham Nuñez would join the Mets in place of Nick Evans, who obviously is not Major League ready. Surprise was my first emotion. Anger quickly supplanted that. Why am I angry? Nuñez has Major League experience (1,029 games worth) and is solid defensively. While his .242 average is hardly fear-inducing, it’s adequate for a defensive replacement.
But the last thing the Mets need right now is another utility infielder for defensive purposes. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Mets aren’t hitting, and are missing two of their most productive offensive players in Ryan Church and Moises Alou. With Endy Chavez and Fernando Tatis not hitting and Marlon Anderson and Angel Pagan on the DL, the Mets are in desperate need of an outfielder.
Posted in Mets
Tagged Abraham Nunez, Angel Pagan, Carlos Delgado, Endy Chavez, Fernando Tatis, Jesus Feliciano, Marlon Anderson, Mets, Moises Alou, Nick Evans, NL East, Omar Minaya, Ryan Church, Valentino Pascucci
Everyone on ESPN seemingly has to have a say about the Willie Randolph situation today, including Rob Neyer (“The owners seem to have decided to send exactly the wrong message, which is that nobody’s accountable for this mess”), Peter Gammons (“What [the Wilpons and Omar] don’t seem to know is what role Randolph’s managing plays in all this or, at this point, who would be the right person to change it”), and Buster Olney (“What occurred privately is that Randolph was put on notice, probably for the last time this summer.”).
Ken Rosenthal says what I’ve been saying for some time now, that Omar Minaya is the man who ultimately deserves the blame for the Mets’ shortcomings. Rosenthal also expands on a problem that could be plaguing the Mets clubhouse, a lack of cross-cultural camaraderie. It’s well worth the read.
Newsday‘s Arthur Staple wonders why the Mets would have a press conference to essentially say nothing.
And on, and on, and on the media firestorm goes. I could link to more, but there’s really no point, you get the drift. Everyone reads something else into the Mets’ latest meltdown but the conclusion is essentially the same in each person’s analysis. The Mets are a team with no grit and no chemistry, a team that may have a lot of talent, but isn’t going to win anything unless some sort of major change takes place.