Betty's No Good Clothes Shop And Pancake House
Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As you may have heard, Willie Randolph is no longer the manager of the New York Mets and Omar Minaya handled the firing with the sort of tact and professionalism we've come to expect from this organization. The bottom line is that Wilie is out, which I regard as a good thing, and Jerry Manuel is in, about which I don't really have an opinion. Manuel was 500-471 with one division title in six year as manager of the Chicago White Sox, which sounds decent, but then Willie has a pretty good career record as a manager, too. Based what I heard of Manuel's press conference today, he seems like a reasonably smart guy who is willing to buck conventional baseball wisdom, but we won't really know how good he is at the job until he starts doing it. I don't expect immediate and drastic changes to staring lineups and bullpen roles, but if Manuel could have a word with Omar about adding someone capable of a hitting a home run to his bench, that would be a nice start.

Also relieved of his duties today were pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto. Peterson probably deserves some credit for the development of John Maine, Oliver Perez and the recently solid Mike Pelfrey, but he probably also deserves some blame for Willie's awful bullpen managing. The fact that Mets pitchers have walked more batters per nine innings than the league average each of that last two years also does not reflect well on the team's former "CEO of pitching." I don't know anything about Peterson's replacement, Dan Warthen, but I hope he will work with the staff on throwing strikes, thus getting starters to go deeper into games and taking some pressure off of a bullpen that already shows signs of cracking. As for Nieto, he will be replaced by Ken Oberkfell, who I imagine will do a fine job taking players' batting gloves when they get to first base and yelling "BACK!" on pickoff attempts.

These changes, which also include Sandy Alomar Sr. taking over as bench coach and being replaced as third base coach by Luis Aguayo, won't fix all that ails the Mets. The players still need to, in some cases, play better or, in other cases, be replaced on the roster by better players. But Willie wasn't an asset to the team either tactically or in terms of leadership, so removing him was the right move. Time will tell if it makes any difference.
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