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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Will Joe Torre be the Mets' next Casey Stengel?

Casey Stengel spent years as an unsuccessful manager before winning numerous titles with the Yankees. After turning 70, Casey managed the Mets. Is Joe Torre headed down the same path? I hope not.

The first thing the Mets need is a strong, competent general manager. The new GM must be the one to pick the manager. The best candidates will probably not even want the job if what could be their most important decision is made for them. Especially if it is yet another example of the Mets overpaying a high-priced free agent that is past his prime.

The Mets need a dynamic manager who can energize the team and the fan base. Torre has admitted to having trouble relating to the Dodgers' younger players. His personality seems to energize the media more than anyone else. The Mets already have a manager whose best attribute is dealing with the media.

By the way, the Mets do currently have a manager, and whatever one thinks of Jerry Manuel, it was wrong for Torre to speculate about the Met job while it is occupied. Gary Carter was heavily criticized for doing the same thing a few years ago. Good for Manuel to show some irritation.

Torre has had some success with the Dodgers, winning 84 games his first season and 95 last year. But Willie Randolph had similar numbers in his first two seasons managing the Mets - winning 83 in year one and 97 in year two. Torre made the playoffs and won in the first round before losing in the NLCS in both 2008 and 2009, while Randolph did so in one year.

This season, Torre's Dodgers are currently four games under .500. The Mets are two games under. The Dodgers have off-the-field issues to contend with, but then again, so do the Mets.

If Torre wants to manage next year, he should find a veteran team that is close to winning and just needs a new leader to put them over the top. The Mets, unfortunately, are not close to winning. They need a new manager who will be around for few years to help build a winning team. They don't need Torre.

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

A wise analysis, Jon. Torre might still be the right manager for somebody, but not for a team that needs to blow it all up and start over.

Actually, the right guy for the Mets might be one of the last names a Met fan wants to be reminded of, and certainly not one his current team's owner will allow to leave, but is definitely successful and can take his time to do the job: 1988 NLCS nemesis Mike Scioscia.

Considering how cheap the Minnesota Twins have been, maybe the Mets can hire Ron Gardenhire away. He both played and coached for the Mets, and last night they clinched their 6th Division title (and they just missed 2 others) in his 9 seasons at the helm.

He's never won a postseason series, but he's done a lot with a team that's basically been Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, one good starter (formerly Johan Santana -- another good reason to get Gardenhire -- and now Francisco Liriano) and 22 guys named Nick Punto. As cheap as the Twins have been in their 50-year existence (first under Calvin Griffith, then Carl Pohlad, now under Pohlad's nearly-as-cheap son), Gardy can, as Jim Bouton would say, probably be had for a song, maybe a short medley.