May 16, 2008

Klapisch Says It COULD Come Down to This: One of You Two is Fired - YOU Choose!

Over at the Bergen Record, reporter Bob Klapisch, a personal favorite of mine, the title of his column today says it all: "Mets Out of Control."


From Klapisch:

Although it might seem like the Mets are slogging along on that long, flat road to nowhere, they're actually reaching a tipping-point moment, when Jeff Wilpon calls Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph into his office and says: one of you two is fired. You choose.


Obviously, Willie was Omar's first pick and he's chosen, up to this point, to back him 100%, which is exactly what you'd expect of a.) a good employer, b.) a stand-up guy, and c.) the only person willing to give Willie a chance to manage, after being turned down for numerous opportunities over the years. However, at this point, it's also obvious that IF Omar were to receive the ultimatum that Klapisch suggests, he'd have to save his own job, and again, rightly so.

Billy Wagner was already spoken to by Willie, behind closed doors, admonished for sharing internal team problems with the media, just last week; yet again, yesterday, there was Wagner, for all to hear, taking some of his teammates to task for "disapperaing" when it comes time to speak to the media- and, again, Wagner was completely justified!! One has to wonder just how much Paul Lo Duca was really a "clubhouse cancer" instead of being what he might really have been, which is simply honest (I know- it's hard to accuse an admitted HGH user/distributor of being honest, but if the foo shits, or something like that...)
We've said it before, and Klapisch agrees:

Willie hasn't been able to get through to Delgado or Jose Reyes, can't seem to motivate Beltran (who still looks as if he's heartbroken the Yankees never made him an offer four years ago) and otherwise can't make nice (read: soft) guys like John Maine and Aaron Heilman and Oliver Perez realize it takes more than skill to get to October.

If a player has natural talent, and the team doesn't see good results as a function of that talent, either the player is dogging it, or the management can't get it out of him. With Reyes and Perez, you have two talents who have yet to realize their potential; with Delgado and Beltran, you have two players with superstar talent, one of whom hasn't been as consistent as he should be, or at least as his monster contract would want us to see him perform at (Beltran), the other a future hall-of-famer whose talents seem to have left him at 75% of his previous skill-level; and with Heilman (and previous relievers, such as Bell and Yates) it just seems as though nothing that pitching coach Rick Peterson does is having a positive effect. None of these situations are of Willie's doing, although he hasn't been able to penetrate Reyes' psyche deeply enough to get him playing at the next level, but he is the manager, and ultimately, as the saying goes, you can't fire the entire team, so someone must pay the price for this season's futility to date, last year's collapse and not reaching the Series in '06- and that man, obviously, is Willie. But who would replace Willie?

Not Wally Backman; the Wilpons are too conservative to gamble like that. Bobby Valentine is close to Minaya, but currently happy managing in Japan. There aren't even any short-term answers on the current coaching staff. Actually, that's been Randolph's undoing, not having a bad cop among his lieutenants, the way Joe Torre had Larry Bowa to get in Robinson Cano's face last year. The Mets are full of Canos – flashy, skilled, crisp-looking players, too many of them drifting along without a rudder. Once Pedro Martinez disappeared on the disabled list, Randolph was doomed. Without the energetic Pedro to patrol the room, the "certain guys" Wagner was referring to were free to divest themselves of the passion Randolph preached about.

Gary Cohen suggested Jose Valentine, who can at least get through to Reyes; many other blogs have called for former Met/current broadcaster, Lee Mazzilli; I've heard every name from Buck Showalter to Whitey Herzog - and none of those names seem to be the way to go. We have been making a case for Ken Oberkfell since our old Mets Trades blog began in early '06, and I still think, long-term, that a combo of "Obie" and pitching coach Leo Mazzone would be a better way to go, with a tough bench coach (and wouldn't Herzog be great in THAT role?)

Change seems inevitable at this point, as Willie has lost face in the eyes of the fans, the media and the team, and, after 4 years, it's not going to all of a sudden change for the better. Omar deserves the chance, as I've stated before, to continue to mold this organization into the perennial winner the fans so desperately deserve; the only choice, regretably, is to fire Willie and go in another direction.

Yes, I stated that I'd like to see Ken Oberkfell become the next manager, but that's only because I know that my first choice won't be interested. However, I WOULD like to make the following statement:

I WILL PERSONALLY PAY TO FLY BOBBY VALENTINE TO NEW YORK IF HE WILL AGREE TO MANAGE THE METS AGAIN - AND OMAR ACTUALLY OFFERS HIM THE JOB AND HE TAKES IT!!!! ARE YOU LISTENING, BOBBY???

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

David/Jonathan - you called it right on the head, as usual. I remember your article over at Mets Trades when you called for Ken Oberkfel to become the next Mets' manager- and I agree that the combo of him and Mazzone would be better than what we have right now! Herzog as bench coach? We'd have our own version of Don Zimmer, only smarter- that might be too hard, though, for me to see him on our bench. It might make Keith Hern happy, though...

Anonymous said...

Moises Alou couldn't understand why he wasn't playing- if he doesn't know why, and we don't know why, I'd bet that even Willie doesn't know why!!!! He's NOT Frank Robinson, didn't have the playing career or managerial career that Frank did, although he was a very solid player, and he needs to realize this and get his head out of the clouds.

Anonymous said...

At least the Mets have a better record than the Yanks! If Cashman is gone, and the Mets fire Omar, will he become the GM of the Mets?

Anonymous said...

I just heard Willie's "meltdown" of sorts on WFAN- man is he delusional!!! He thinks that our protests over the job he's doing is going to cause him to lose his job- if he were doing a good job, first, we wouldn't say such things, and second, he would have nothing to worry about. Classic case of blaming others for his poor job...

Anonymous said...

Willie hasn't done the job yet- we've waited, we've cheered him, we've been patient, and yes, last season hurt - a LOT - but he just has not been the guy we thought he'd be for this team. For such a smart player, he's really not such a smart manager.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone- I just listened to Willie's interview on WFAN- did you know we all had the power to fire Willie, when his own bad job at the helm couldn't do the trick?! Wow- didn't know I had that kind of power...And I haven't been soooo insulted- Willie saying that anyone who called for his firing was both ignorant to the game as well as insensitive to his being able to make a living for his family!! Well- I've watched the game since 1960, played ball all through school and in college, had a minor league try-out and one of my cousins spent 5 years as a major leaguer- I'd say that, no, Willie, you're wrong, I DO know about the game, and YOU are not the manager for this team! Furthermore, you are working for ME, and for the Wilpons, and everyone who reads THIS BLOG or any OTHER Blog, as we all pay your salary! I go to over 20 games a year in NY, another 4-6 out of town, and spend well into the thousands each year on merchandise, parking, memorabilia, etc...and, if my perception is that you are NOT doing the job well enough, not only am I entitled to that right by virtue of free speech, but I am entitled to it as a fan of this team and a loyal supporter of it!!! I was willing to give you a few more months, probably the entire season, before really making my mind up as to whether I thought you should remain as manager of this club, but after your tirade today, I am counting the days until you're dismissed!!!!!

David Rubin & Jonathan Elfenbein said...

From David:
While agree with your comments, to an extent, let's get one thing straight- I don't wish ANY ounce of pain to Willie or his family! Like you, I have been a long-time fan of the game, consider myself somewhat of an expert in all things Mets (and baseball history) for what an "expert" in such pursuits actually means, and have said all along, through the past 4 years, what an exceptional person Willie is and how I wished that he had more success as a manager with us as I wanted him to be our leader for many long years to come. Like the "commenter" above, I was quite insulted by Willie's implication that we were stopping his ability to make a living by complaining so vehemently about the job he's doing- and, although I don't live in NY anymore, I go to over 10 away games a year, a few at home, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars on jerseys, memorabilia, etc over the years, in addition to all of the time and love invested in this team, usually unrequited. Willie, there are many things you do very well, and I've pointed those out- but, in my opinion, right now, you just are not the person to take this team to the next level. You couldn't get there in '06, and I have little faith that you'll get us there this season. Believe it or not, I hope I am sooo wrong, and I will be the first person to admit it on the front page of this blog!!!! I am not "counting the days" until you are fired- quite the opposite- I am praying that you'll somehow find a way to pull this out- I just don't believe it'll happen anymore, and that, indeed, is the saddest thing of all!

upstate met fan said...

Bobby V for 2009..repeat after me, Bobby for 2009!