Failure Edition: Let's Go Mets, and Mets to Let Go
Folks, pardon me for not rehashing yesterday's game. I think the epic failure speaks for itself, and it's best to move on in the best tradition of sports blogging, by giving management a sound thrashing. What is bothering me today is that management doesn't seem "devastated." They ought to be since this was first and foremost a failure of design.
If I read them correctly, many fans think that J-Man did enough to win the job. In my opinion this is far from obvious. Perhaps he did enough to get on the list of contenders, but no one has presented any compelling evidence for what it is he did to earn the job. Willie, remember, was capable of getting this same team--save Johan--a weekend of blundering away from a playoff spot. What is it, concretely, that Manuel did? Did he motivate them? Was he a leader? Or is he just a nice guy whose retention completes the dangerous rationale that the only problem this year was a bunch of relievers? Where is the evidence that he deserves another chance?
It is my belief that Jerry Manuel made a huge, job-blowing error by putting in Shitthebed in with the knowledge that a Fish switch could be made so he'd have to face anyone righthanded (though i wonder if that shouldn't be extended to anyone with a right hand). Show-en-uf, the annoying little bastard took him yard. My point here is this: a manager needs to get creative, when for a month at least he has been bombarded with evidence that his pen is going to give up the lead, blow the game, etc. Yesterday was do or die, and he chose die. Why weren't starters standing by for the 8th and 9th? Manuel is getting a pass and again, the Wilpons are sending the signal that failure is acceptable. The Mets never seem to learn, either with their bumbling hiring or firing.
I for one, am sick of Omar Minaya and his precious few storylines and excuses. “There’s no Carlos Beltran if there’s no Pedro,” Minaya said again today. This is a patently lame excuse for commiting so much money to an aged and fragile player. "If the Yankees are interested, there's no Beltran" is much more accurate. The larger problem is whether Omar has learned a fucking thing, 'cause he is still repeating the same excuses. He shrugged off the El Duque fiasco and refused to stop overinvesting in elderlies or restock the pen last winter. He has to show that he can do more than throw money around this winter and has to realize that Phyric victories (beating out the Astros to Castillo or the Sox for Pedro, or uh nobody for El Duque) don't win championships.
So, if you love your team, you will militate for a managerial job search. As I explained at some length in my less than charitable but accurate post "Fire Jerry Manuel,"Jerry apparently felt that the job could be his because the bullpen was flawed and hey, what could he do but keep giving the ball to the likes of Aaron Heilman? This is not good enough for me, and even those who did not notice that Jerry demonstrated no creative problem solving flair during September must have noticed it yesterday during Shea's last game. It may feel better to let the bullpen shoulder all the blame, but without holistic changes starting at the top and going to the ends of the depth chart, this team is in serious danger of three-peating it's September swoon.
Why can't the Mets beat the schlubs of their division when it counts? I dunno. For a blogger, there's no avoiding an end-of-season-still-angry-accounting-rant job, so let's get on with it.
Mets who did their jobs:
What can you say about this guy? The Mets were an embarrassment to his good name. With almost any other bullpen, he may have ran away with another Cy Young. The sole bright shining light of the year, the one deal that Omar made that you can't take away from him. With the way imported stars have stumbled in Mets history, we should all sigh a big sigh of relief.
He will never be what some want him to be, and I admit that he has frustrated me in the past. But there just isn't a better centerfielder in baseball, and the Mets need his defense. End of story.
Mets I would be outraged to see defile Citifield (from most obvious to least):
Aaron Heilman: See, entire season. The only difference this year was that Aaron spread out his failure on every appearance rather than in one or two catastrophes. I was outraged that he was on this season's roster. Trade at first good offer.
Marlon Anderson: "thanks but no thanks"
Scott Shownblow: this guy was a mistake from the get go.
Pedreadful Feliciano: Some will say he should be used correctly. I agree, by another team.
Mets to pat on the back, thank them for their time, and part ways with:
Damion Easley: Thanks pal, we had our moments. But you're just another creeky aged infielder and we need to break that addiction.
Luis Castillo: Fans have been so hard on you, but you can't hit. Top five of Omar's biggest blunders isn't the list you want to be on. How to get rid of you is another story.
I honestly don't know what some fans see in this guy, he is not a starting catcher, though they can be forgiven for exaggerating his skills in light of Brian Schneider's obvious and expensive deficiencies. It's not fair to judge him on that awful throw on the pitch-out yesterday, so instead I'll just say that he is always injured and seems to have lost some power. The Mets have to decide whether they're willing to give away at bat after at bat when the Schneid strides to the plate.
Brian Schneider: Can he be moved? Is there anything else out there? Omar is too weak to get rid of this guy what with him trading the dynamic and useful Lastings Milledge, but he really should try.
He certainly is a nice guy. But when faced with a box, he crawled inside and thought inside it. Running out the same shitpen guys was intolerable, but not going to a starter like Pelfrey or someone Sunday sealed it. His main original contribution was to try to get the starters to pitch deeper. The team came up small over and over for him, and I see no real difference in terms of results then I would have with Willie. I advised his firing a week before the end, but the Brewers made that move and look where it got them. The team of underachievers needs a motivator, not a "players' manager." Sorry Jerry, these ain't the gangsta's for you. Ken Oberkfell at least deserves some consideration here.
The rest of the scrap heap:
Players like Fernando Tatis made valuable contributions. But the Mets now have a couple of players of which one or two might pan out, Hammer Murphy, A. Reyes, Nick Evans , so there is no room for aged reclaimation projects on the big club. The bench needs more thought this year, because you can't have a washed up Marlon Anderson coming out for key at-bats ever again.
Mets I am not exactly sure about and could be willing to accept their return under the right circumstances:
When John Maine went down, I think the Perez Paradox intensified and conditions swung in favor of re-sign. But for all his ability, Perez may never be worth what Boras is surely looking to extort. I don't know that there are a lot of other options on the market.
There is just no way that Carlos, as much as I love him, will be producing again at the levels he did the second half of this season. The problem is, his contract makes it almost worth keeping him. And the Mets don't appear to have an in-house replacement. Here is a difficult spot that calls for executive imagination. So they could: A) resign enter the Teixeira sweepstakes and risk having an awkward and expensive situation with both these guys for one year, but rest easy knowing they have the right guy at first for years to come B) cut ties with Delgado despite his all-things-considered cost and go after Teixeira despite the money and years C) do something else entirely different. The problem is, standing pat with Delgado is not an option.
I reserve the right to update this list as events unfold or I am proven wrong. You will also notice I have failed to mention two key players. This is because I still can't find them. Where did they go?