Maybe I’m just bitter and a sore loser. The Yankees biggest problem these days are how they will handle Alex Rodriguez’s 600th homerun ball.
Meanwhile the Mets remain, and I’m going to be polite, annoying. I use that word as a fan and not as some objective person writing a column about the Mets.
It would come off as arrogant to say I could do a better job at some of the key positions in management but if you look at the Mets recent track record I wouldn’t be too far off.
Pointing out the Mets warts is like staring at a leper and figuring out which one to pick on first. Its disappointing to say the least how this organization COULD be run and how it IS run. There’s a huge difference.
Being in the New York market gives one a major advantage financially right off the bat. Unfortunately if you don’t have smart and able minded individuals running the operation you will be prone to its pitfalls. And to say the Mets are prone to such things would be the understatement of the year.
My biggest regret is waking up and having to write these “shake my head” articles that do nothing but make me shake my head at what this Met team is.
Take for instance their current dilemma and major front page news: whether they should keep their coaching staff intact.
I’ve long been a fan of Jerry Manuel and I still think a guy with his personality is suited for the rigors of a management position in New York. To be short and sweet about it, to play/coach/GM in New York is incomparable to any other city. Apologies to Philadelphia, Chicago, and Dallas but we claim the title of “most demanding press corps” in the country.
He is calm, congenial and is able to laugh at himself which comes in handy when the pack comes calling. So one can assume that the demands of the job won’t interfere in how he manages.
If that’s true and I believe it is, then we need only focus on his managing abilities and to be frank, he’s just not that very good. I can bring up specific situations that had my blood pressure go up and down like Wall street but the fact is his collective body of work speaks for itself.
Throughout his tenure I made excuses as to why he wasn’t given a fair shake and this year, through half a season, I’ve seen that many of his moves lack any firm grasp of logic and that more than anything made me turn on Jerry.
Since the beginning of the season I’ve been on Howard Johnson who I personally blamed for David Wright’s regression because he was mimicking HoJo’s upper cut swing. It caused his strikeout numbers to skyrocket and his confidence to shoot low. The Mets during this 2-9* stretch rarely worked counts and constantly swung at first pitches which opposing pitchers caught on to regularly and got them out quickly. That’s approach at the plate and that lack of success warrants a change.
*= 1-10, come on, the Mets shouldve been swept out of San Francisco.
I never thought I’d say this but Dan Warthen has done a good job. The pitching staff and relief unit have done their job for the most part. I will not bash them because it doesn’t matter who they are, no team can win when the offense is only scoring two runs a game.
But Jerry has to go. His media appearances are getting tougher and tougher to stomach. At some point his material wore thin on me and every little thing bugs me about him. Even a screen shot of him will send me in a tailspin. I would think most Met fans are at that point with him as well.
Unfortunately, he’s not going anywhere until the end of the season I think. Omar Minaya is linked to Manuel. Their reigns run parallel to each other’s so one man getting fired likely means the end to the other so Omar won’t do Jerry in. He’s going to let Jerry sink or swim and he’s going to do what it takes for him to be successful whether its acquire a bullpen arm or a starting pitcher which means that the Mets are going to do what it takes to make a play for the playoffs.
And that very thinking is what is wrong with the Mets. They look to please the press by making what seem to be approved by the media kind of deals that keep the press off their backs but in doing so give the press license to take no blame for listening to them and making them look like a minor league outfit. They don’t have enough confidence to make a decision without taking into account what those “experts” may think.
For instance, the Mets find themselves in quite possibly the worst position. They are in playoff limbo; not yet contenders and not so far off that you can’t imagine a run. So whatever the Mets decide, you can be sure that the team will have to be able to back it up and who out of the Mets dying legion of supporters feel confident enough to believe that will happen?
What the Mets should do is be logical. I think they should go after Ted Lilly. Then let him walk once the year runs out. He will be a type A free agent which means two picks that can be recouped if he goes and signs elsewhere. Lilly is a serviceable pitcher and if I were the Mets I’d use him as a mentor to Jon Niese who has a slightly better fastball and a getting-there cutter and that 12 to 6 curve. Lilly can help him hone his craft further. His demeanor can help this ball club as well.
Its not to say that I think this team can’t make the playoffs. I just don’t trust them to, not with this current management structure in place. The Mets have too many holes to fix.
But if you had to ask me for solutions. Here they are:
1. FIRE JERRY MANUEL. “PROMOTE” OMAR MINAYA AND WRITE BILLY BEANE A BLANK CHECK.
I don’t have a sure fire replacement that I believe will come in and lead this team so it only makes sens that they restructure the team in the offseason. If I had to pick three options to manage the team it’d be:
A. Bobby Valentine.
B. Buck Showalter
C. Ozzie Guillen
I don’t know how many GM’s have the patience to deal with A and C, and A and B have never won a world series but each has its good sides as well.
Bobby V is a popular figure for Met fans and his arrival would bring rejoicing for Met fans.
Buck Showalter’s teams always end up better than how he finds them.
Ozzie Guillen’s managerial style may not always be pretty but he surely will get the respect of his team by flashing that world series ring.
I still respect Omar’s eye for talent evaluation but we need a new set of eyes to be at the head of day to day dealings and player decisions. Who better than a former number one pick of the Mets, Billy Beane. He would be able to work with any budget (knowing he worked in Oakland and with limited resources managed to bring in premium talent every year is like music to my ears.), and keep the farm stocked and be able to go out and spend.
2. SPEND ON THE FARM
When I heard that the Mets spent the fewest dollars on the draft in all of the major leagues I thought it was the most absurd thing I had ever heard of and more proof of how poorly this organization was run. The draft is the way to get cheap talent for longer terms, why would you not spend on that? The Mets should go back to spending on the farm and begin decreasing their payroll on the major league level, even if we have to toil for a few seasons. I’d rather restructure the major league team and work on bringing a better structure and better model to the franchise than hope and pray that $36 million pitcher Oliver Perez and $25 million second baseman Luis Castillo will turn around their declining careers. By the way I think if Minaya were allowed to do it that way he would do a good job.
3. STOP THE BULL.
This encompasses the silly medical follies like once again taking a player with concussion like symptoms on a cross country flights. It sounds ridiculous that it can happen again but Jason Bay is the latest victim of shoddy managing. Even if he said he was ok, I would have him see area doctors.
Also, the Wilpons need to be honest with the fanbase about their money situation. If you have it then go out and spend on the draft and go hard after Cliff Lee. Don’t think you are fooling anybody with the whole “we kicked tires and they were all flat” kind of response. Its crap and we can smell it from a mile away as a fanbase.
Look, the Mets are not the Yankees, no one is. But there are enough financial advantages that if the Mets are run smarter and more efficiently than in the past, they can compete. They play in the National League and it doesn’t appear as if ANY team is building a dynasty there so its open every year. The Mets have lacked direction and thus have become the kind of team going through the motions and in a state of flux.
4. WILPONS SHOULD SELL.
It sounds cruel but the Mets ownership team is staring at a very high mortgage and it doesn’t look like gate receipts are going to keep them at the head of the Mets table for too long if this continues. It serves them right. They have continuously bungled the franchise and allowed it to become a laughingstock. I’m not blaming them for the Madoff scandal, but I am blaming them for leading the fans on and blatantly lying to us about whether it would affect day to day operations.
Look, this plan will take 3-5 years to put into action, but I’d rather wait that and know my team was headed in a specific direction then continue to see my team be a laughingstock and keep going through the same mediocre season.
The Mets are not the Yankees. They don’t have to be in order to be competitive. The sooner the Mets realize that, the sooner we come to respectability.