It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Monday, September 29, 2008

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?

t 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:

Johan Santana:
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.

Carlos Beltran:
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.

HEAD Castro:
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.

Jerry Manuel:
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:

Oliver Perez:
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.

Carlos Delgado:
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?

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  • At 6:42 PM, Blogger katherine said…

    I don't know if I would call it an "epic" failure this year. Losing the last game when your pitcher gives up 7 runs in the 1st - now THAT is epic. This year's last game was depressing but unsurprising; I knew early on exactly what kind of game it was going to be - a typical 2008 loss.

    Good starting pitching, but not deep - first couple of runs given up by the starter. Batters appear to have been administered valium, and are stupefied by a mediocre - bad pitcher. Then bullpen coughs up a couple more runs.

    Oh well, lets talk about something more happy - like, the economy, maybe?? haha

  • At 5:14 AM, Anonymous BackFromTheLedge said…

    My condolences. I am shell-shocked, though not surprised, just like everybody else. Of course, for me, the loss of Shea is the great tragedy and injustice.

    There are many comments I could make, but one thing is glaring - you mention Omar, but you don't show me where HE belongs on this list. Of course, not putting him on the list, might be an answer in itself. I'm ready to see him go. As to who should take over, no suggestions as of yet. I'd just let Omar collect checks for another year, while he is helping his old buddy Bush write his memoirs (maybe he can work on his own, as well). I'd make Leo Mazzone the pitching coach, for sure!

  • At 10:04 AM, Blogger Itsmetsforme said…

    Well, epic might not be the right word, but to me to fail like this is epic. Maybe this was never a very good team. They certainly didn't play well for very much of the season. But to do this again after choking the last two years is epic. To be unable to do anything to win when you are playing the 2008 Marlins for a chance to go to the playoffs is epic.

    As for Omar, the fact that the Wilpies let it leak that they were extending him in the middle of the shitstorm last week has taken the winds out of my sails. If they had dumped him, I wouldn't have shed a tear. I am a big fan of continuity in the front office, but even still, this mess is almost entirely Omar's creation. And its outrageous that he hasn't taken any hits for it. Jeffy thinks this team overachieved!! That doesn't bode well for the future.

  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger katherine said…

    Well, I didn't mean to quibble over words. I think I was just responding to the feeling I had that this year's loss seemed so much less surprising. I was so BEREFT last year. For weeks. Now I actually feel a little relieved the season is over.

    Maybe, epic, like the Odyssey? I hope this torture doesn't go on for 20 years!

  • At 12:26 AM, Anonymous BackFromTheLedge said…

    And don't forget, we actually "overachieved". I'm so sorry for all the mean things that all of us have said about Jeff Wilpon, since it is now clear that he is not just a spoiled rich kid, but evidentally a spoiled rich kid with a serious drug problem. With that in mind, maybe we should lay off the guy;(

  • At 2:37 PM, Anonymous jdon said…

    Good site. Hello Katherine. I agree with EVERYTHING itsmetsforme has said, except I like Jerry a little. See, I go back to 2006 when I first reallized (no hindsight) that this team was a bunch of losers. Whle I have loved the Mets since 1962, I really dislike this bunch. I see you mention obie. I actually wanted him when they wer looking for a Howe replacement, but they hired Willie, which I considered to be a terrible move. Willie could not run a game and could not run a press conference. He mishandled the bullpen and he wasw an ex-Yankee. Plus, nobody liked him. The simple fact is, we had so much more talent than the other teams in the NL in 2006, that we were not given the opportunity to choke. Until Jeff Suppan made us look like patsies in Game 7 in our own park. The same Suppan who went on to win 8 games the following year. That is when I realized: we are fine unless someone challenges us. The Dodgers went down like dogs in the first round. That ridiculous double tag at home plate belonged in a clown act at the circus. Yadier Molina? (Thank you, Aaron) Come on. In 2007 and 2008 the Phillies had improved, and the Brewers had improved some. That is all that was required. I know everyone thinks that if Wagner had not been hurt we would have got in. But injuries happen. We were required to beat a team that was worse than us on the last weekend of the last two seasons. They came in talking tough. We went down like dogs. Challenge us and we roll over, no matter who the manager is. I don't know how you fix this.

  • At 6:01 PM, Blogger Itsmetsforme said…

    the season's end was kind of a relief. mostly because these guys started torturing us in April!

    This is a hard team to like right now, i agree.


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