Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Too early to start talking about replacing Jerry Manuel

The Mets season has gotten off to a terrible start, but I don't want to see Jerry Manuel fired anytime soon. It's not because I think it's too early to panic - I've been in panic mode since the Mets refused to address their starting pitching needs in the offseason.

And it's not that I think Manuel is doing a good job - batting Mike Jacobs fourth was practically a fireable offense in itself.

But the reason to change a manager during the season is if you think the team is underachieving, and, sad to say, the Mets have mostly lived down to expectations.

Manuel has made some bad moves, but there's a good chance that he can correct them. Already he has moved Jacobs out of the cleanup spot against righties. If John Maine gets dropped from the rotation, we should finally see Johan Santana pitch every fifth day, rather than make sure that all five starters get to pitch. The Yankees are willing to skip Phil Hughes, but the Mets can't skip Maine or Oliver Perez?

Sure, I'd love to see Bobby Valentine back, but even he would have trouble with Omar Minaya's roster - and the lack of a budget he apparently had after signing Jason Bay.

Manuel should get more time, but not much more - maybe three weeks. If the Mets approach mid-May in last place behind the Nationals, there won't be any debate about getting a new manager.

But even more important will be getting a new pitching coach. And bringing up Ike Davis. And Fernando Martinez if Carlos Beltran looks like he won't be back anytime soon. (I don't want to hear about how Martinez is now a corner outfielder - if he is hitting, he will be a better option than Angel Pagan or Gary Matthews Jr.)

And by the end of the season, firing the GM.

Fortunately for Manuel, but unfortunately for the Mets, there are plenty of scapegoats to go around.

What moves would you like to see the Mets make now? Tell us what you think.


guinness said...

Sigh. I hate that I'm excited that the Mets clawed back to tie the game last night, even if they ended up losing. When did I start compromising my desire for the Mets to win? I'm just happy to see them compete now. Double sigh.

Anyway, I agree with some of your thoughts Jon. Ike Davis should definitely be brought up. He's a better option right now than either Jacobs or Tatis and will likely be better than Murphy. So why is he wallowing away in Buffalo?!?

And, as I've said for years now, John Maine should not be a starter. He has reliever stuff. His best pitch was a fastball (and now it's barely average) and his other pitches are average or below average at best. He can't make it through the batting order a second time without nearing a 100 pitches. He should be moved to the bullpen where he may prosper.

Also, the Mets need to bring Pat Misch up and let him start. He actually pitched well as a starter toward the end of last season. Meija should be sent down to be stretched out so he can return in June or July as a starter because it's likely that any of Niese, Pelfrey, Misch or Perez will be injured or ineffective.

Also, Jacobs and Matthews should be gone. It's painful to watch they're at-bats.

Finally, I hate to say it but Warthen and HoJo need to go. Warthen stressed throwing strikes all spring but yet, the Mets pitching staff continually issues walk after walk. He also has not shown any competence at correcting pitchers' mechanics. Both Maine and Perez's mechanics have been way off this season and it was obvious in spring training. Isn't it Warthen's job to recognize this and fix it?

And Jerry Manuel just continues to make WTF? decisions. Why did he do a double switch last night to get Pagan out and Matthews in when bringing in Igarashi? Nieve pitched the next inning (with the pitcher's spot not even coming up) so it made no sense to do a double-switch there when Pagan was batting 8...

He also pinch-ran Tatis for Jacobs. He should have known that it would prompt a pitching change. The Mets had Morales on the ropes. Why make a dumb move that gets Morales out of the game?!? If you want to pinch run for Jacobs, bring in Maine. He's done it before and if he gets hurt, is that really a bad thing?

Jon Lewin said...

Guinness - Pinch-running Tatis in the tenth means that it is no longer too early to start talking about getting rid of Manuel. Leaving the game in Cora's hands? WTF. You make good points on Maine and Misch - it is worth a shot. Warthen doesn't seem to have a clue and Hojo can't be immune because of 1986.

Uncle Mike said...

Just remember: Firing Manuel will have the same result as firing Willie Randolph. You'll be treating a symptom, but the disease will continue to rage unchecked.

"Isiah" Minaya has got to go -- and I say this as a Yankee Fan with a vested interest in seeing the Mets continue to clown around ad infinitum (or, more accurately, "ad nauseam"). The longer Omar is the GM, the longer it will take before the Mets become respectable again.

Do the Mets have a "Gene Michael" -- a guy in the organization with ties to a better era? (Stick was a good fielder but a lousy hitter in a down period in Yankee history, but he was a coach on the '77-'78 champions.) Someone with ideas on how to rebuild? If so, I'm not aware of him, but they'd better find him, before the Nationals become the second-worst team in the NL East.

Jon Lewin said...

Uncle Mike - You are right, firing Manuel won't help without an organization overhaul. Omar is terrible, but it doesn't look like it's his fault that the Mets didn't put up the money to sign Joel Pineiro. The Mets need a new Frank Cashen - a successful exec from outside the organization with the power to get things done.

guinness said...

Hey Jon, what do you think about batting Wright 2nd, Bay 3rd and Franceour cleanup? With Castillo moving to the 9th spot and the pitcher batting 8th?

With Wright's knack for drawing walks, he seems perfect for the No. 2 hole...

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