Friday, October 2, 2009

Mets need an early Valentine's Day


For several years, the Mets were a team that appeared to be a piece or two away. In 2006, they needed a closer and cleanup hitter, so they signed Billy Wagner and traded for Carlos Delgado. In 2008, they needed a staff ace, so they traded for Johan Santana. In 2009, they needed a closer and a setup man, so they signed Francisco Rodriguez and traded for J.J. Putz.

Each of these moves worked out for the most part, with the exception of Putz. But going into next year, the Mets are not just a piece or two away. Even if the Mets somehow signed both Matt Holliday and John Lackey, they are not going to the playoffs with a team that is lacking in fundamentals and does not have a winning attitude.

As Newsday's Ken Davidoff points out, the Mets have lost 41 of their last 59 games. Injuries are an excuse for not making the playoffs, but not giving up on the season. Getting swept by the Nationals is merely the latest embarrassment.

Davidoff suggests it is time for Manuel to go, and Metsblog's Matthew Cerrone has endorsed bringing Bobby Valentine back to manage the Mets. Everything that Davidoff and Cerrone say makes a lot of sense to me.

Squawker Lisa wants Manuel gone without hesitation, but I do feel that he has been dealt a bad hand with all the injuries. The biggest problem the Mets have is that, when people got hurt, there was no one to replace them, and that has to fall on Omar Minaya. Maybe I would feel better about getting rid of the likable Manuel if Omar went as well.

But it comes back to losing 41 of 59 in such a listless fashion. The manager may have been dealt a bad hand, but he has played it badly.

For much of the year, the mantra has been, wait till everyone is healthy. But David Wright, Carlos Beltran and John Maine all made it back, and the team lost even more.

By spring training, everyone could be back, but the swagger (whether earned or not) of the last few years is gone). This team no longer looks like a surefire playoff contender, and that starts at the top.

Should Manuel be fired? Should the Mets bring back Valentine? Tell us what you think.

Update: Squawker Lisa has weighed in on Manuel at The Faster Times. Check out her piece "Throw Out the Manuel: Why the Mets Need a New Manager" here.

Photo by jpellgen.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, being a Mets fan, but it may be time to blow up this version of the Mets. One thought can't seem to escape me, teams like the Marlins, Twins, and A's seem to have a knack for finding good young talented players (keywords are good and young), why are the Mets not doing the same thing?

With their resources, the Mets could be developing good young talented players and then when they blossom into stars, sign them to long-term contracts, unlike the aforementioned teams. The key to developing good young players is to FIND THEM, sign them, bring them up through the system (this implies lots of training and coaching on fundamentals), then hang onto them. The players that don't pan out could be used for trades or possibly as bench or role players.

Forget about trading the farm for established superstars, or making a big splashy free-agent signing every year, instead focus on player development.

It seems to me that the front-office philosophy has to change. I realize that we are talking about New York City here, media capital of the world, but the Mets have to become deaf and blind to the media garbage for a few years during the "rebuilding" years. Forget about that other corporate entity from the Bronx masquerading as a baseball team, they own the media companies so you can't beat them at that game. What the Mets need to do is put a winning product on the field, the fans will come, and if your team is composed of a lot of young players, then turning a profit won't be an issue.

If the Marlins can put a winning team on the field for $50 million or less, the Mets should be able to do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

One other thought. The Mets could use a "Valentine's" day gift, either Bobby V. or someone like him who will light a fire under their butts and insist upon discipline and a commitment to winning. No more Mr. Nice Guy in the dugout, I'm thinking of Jim Leyland or a reasonable facsimile, someone who will not only push the players every day to perform to their maximum ability, but also teach and coach them on fundamentals and skills development. And someone not afraid to get into their heads and in their faces when the players forget why they are playing the game.

Anonymous said...

One other thought. The Mets could use a "Valentine's" day gift, either Bobby V. or someone like him who will light a fire under their butts and insist upon discipline and a commitment to winning. No more Mr. Nice Guy in the dugout, I'm thinking of Jim Leyland or a reasonable facsimile, someone who will not only push the players every day to perform to their maximum ability, but also teach and coach them on fundamentals and skills development. And someone not afraid to get into their heads and in their faces when the players forget why they are playing the game.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the double post - got a little trigger happy

Jonmouk71 said...

I think Mets should ask permission of the White Sox to speak to Ozzie Guillen. HE'S the anti-Manuel and yeah, I know he shoots from the hip but after quiet Willie and suave Jerry they need a peppery, fiery type in the clubhouse to light that fire. I'm also coming to the conclusion that one of the "core" goes after this debacle of a year and that person is Wright, yes the "face" of the franchise. If Omar could get a Lincecum or King Felix for him (and he has greater value now than Reyes, Beltran, etc.), he will most definitely do it. If the Mets are building around pitching and defense, this is the way to go - and Murphy can play 3B (his natural position).

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