Tag Archives: Willie Randolph

I already love Jerry Manuel

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.

-Jonathan Kraft

 

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What a day to be a Mets fan/player/coach/manager/beer man

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.

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Willie Randolph, Peterson, Nieto fired

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.

-Jonathan Kraft

The “Save Willie” Post

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.

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Beast in da House

I’ll be at the House that Mediocrity Built tonight to see the Mets take on Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers. I’m expecting a terrible game, as Oliver Perez and his lack of command take on Hamilton, Michael Young, David Murphy, Milton Bradley, and a whole lot of other guys who are hitting the cover off the of the ball, believe it or not. I’ll be the guy in the David Wright pinstripe jersey shaking his head for eight and two-thirds of the game (gotta beat traffic!) and yelling obscenities at Oliver Perez, Rick Peterson, Willie Randolph, Carlos Delgado, you get the idea.

-Jonathan Kraft

Wagner with men on base

Not that it matters so much now that Billy Wagner blew his third consecutive save, this one of the starting the ninth inning variety, but I still researched the split I referenced in yesterday’s rant post criticizing Willie Randolph‘s decision to have Mike Pelfrey start the ninth inning.

Wagner with no men on base in 2008: 60 PA, .158 BA, .446 OPS, 9 H, 3BB, 18 SO

Wagner with men on base in 2008: 43 PA, .244 BA, .670 OPS, 10 H, 1 BB, 13 SO

These numbers don’t include the blown save yesterday, by the way. So there you have it, the statistical basis for why Willie almost blew it in Wednesday’s game, only to be saved by Carlos Beltran‘s bat.

-Jonathan Kraft

Phew! Billy and Willie are saved

What a game last night, as Mike Pelfrey (8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) outdualed Arizona ace Brandon Webb, in a 13-inning thriller that should have ended calmly in the ninth. Instead, due to what I believe was a poor decision by Willie Randolph, Billy Wagner gave up a three-run home run to Mark Reynolds that tied the game. In my view, Pelfrey should have been pinch-hit for in the bottom of the eighth, which would have let Wagner come on in the ninth with the bases clear. I’m not sure what Billy’s percentage of blown saves is with baserunners already aboard when he enters the game, but I’m sure when I look it up later I’ll find that it’s much higher than without baserunners aboard.

Pelfrey was through 110 pitches (a career high) in the 8th. He led off the bottom of that inning. Now, obviously, there are two conflicting schools of thought here. One would let the starter bat so that he could finish off his gem of a game, and go for the complete-game shutout. The other would play it safe for the team, and pinch-hit for the pitcher, trying to stimulate a rally and buy more insurance runs, letting the elite closer finish out the game, giving the starter what should be an automatic win.

It’s incredible how two fans can disagree about such a thing. MetsBlog’s Matt Cerone takes the first approach, even going so far as to say that Willie shouldn’t have pulled Pelfrey after he allowed a baserunner in the top of the ninth with no outs. I completely disagree, and think that it was a terrible idea for Willie to let Pelfrey bat in the eighth. Sure, I understand that it’s great to go for the complete game shutout for Pelfrey, a guy who’s arm is integral to the team’s future success. But Pelfrey is only one of twenty-five, and, in this situation, you have to play it safe. Sure, it’s Wagner who ultimately allowed the home run, but that lead baserunner would never have been aboard if Pelfrey hadn’t started the ninth inning.

The good news is that Carlos Beltran bailed everybody out, walking off with a long ball to end the game in the 13th. The bad news is that the Mets take the field this afternoon, with very little rest for an already banged-up team.

By the way, I now agree that Mike Pelfrey belongs on this team. He’s shown flashes in the past, but this year, despite a few roadblocks, his flashes have been closer and closer together. I think he’s finally turning the corner. Good for you, Big Pelf.

-Jonathan Kraft