Thursday, August 5, 2010

No help: Omar, Wilpons abandon Manuel, players

There is this assumption that by doing nothing to add to the roster, the Mets are sealing Jerry Manuel's fate as manager, and that his firing at the end of what could be another playoff-less season is a done deal.

First of all, if you don't think he's doing a good job, fire him now.

Second, the man whose fate you'd think would be sealed is Omar Minaya. He's done nothing to help the team in-season in his entire tenure, but especially this season, when the need for another starter was so obvious for so long. Manuel and even some players, like David Wright, made it known that they could use the help.

But Omar is being a good soldier by insisting he has the green light to make a deal when ownership has probably told him that he can't add any more salary. And he can't release Oliver Perez because he's making so much money, and ownership can't swallow paying someone that much for not contributing. Not that he's contributing now, anyway.

Omar is just doing what he's told, so presumably he'll be protected.

That leaves Manuel stuck with the players he has, and that list includes two guys off the DL, one of whom is ice cold (Beltran) and one who everyone outside the locker room apparently hates (Castillo -- although he started to hit against Atlanta), two players who were cold and are now hurt (Bay and Barajas), the hot-and-cold Francoeur, a rookie in Ike Davis, and a weak bench.

Only Reyes, Wright and Pagan have been dependable, and even there, Reyes hasn't been playing up to his own level, and Wright has had brutal cold streaks (he's started another one).

Angel Pagan has been the team's best player, by far, except for maybe R.A. Dickey. That says a lot.

The real culprit with this team is ownership. The Wilpons spend money, no doubt. No one foresaw Jason Bay going a whole season without getting hot, and having this drastic a power loss. They've paid big bucks for free agents before, so you can't call them cheap.

But this season, after a lost season due to injury last year, and after two seasons of bitter collapses, ownership had the opportunity to win back the fans who could no longer stomach the situation and have started to stay away.

Yes, they added all the nice Mets-y touches like the Hall of Fame and moved the apple and added big photos of old Mets. Great.

But what fans really want is an ownership that is willing to fund changes necessary to allow the team to compete and to win. That has not happened.

Instead, we get reports that the Wilpons lost a ton of money to Bernie Madoff and that has affected the ballcub, something they have denied again and again.

But the proof is in the pudding, and despite many opportunities to do something to help the team — whether it's throwing money to the wind and cutting Perez for the good of the club, or acquiring needed talent — management has done nothing.

That's on the owners, who aren't going anywhere.

Omar is just taking orders, so he's safe.

That leaves Manuel, who like many managers before him and many who will come after, as the scapegoat. When, in fact, almost none of what has troubled this team is his fault. (You want to question his moves, fine, but you'll have those questions with pretty much any manager you bring in.)

Wednesday night's error-filled loss doesn't reflect well on Manuel, but he's not the one throwing balls away, or missing the strike zone, or hitting batters, or failing to hit. The players are well aware of their situation and are trying — probably too hard — but they're just not executing.

A third of the season remains, with a lot of home games and games against teams like Houston and Pittsburgh. The Phillies are battered, and despite winning the Mets series the Braves have shown signs of coming back to earth (10-10 since the break). The Mets, warts and all, are better than their 6-14 record since the All-Star game.

But the reality is that nothing is going to happen to fix what is broken and the inertia comes from the top. Ownership can't spend money, so management can't make changes, so the roster stays the same, flaws and all.

That leaves it up to the players in the room and Manuel to beat the odds and somehow find a way to put it all together in the final 54 games.

Can it happen? If you believe that the players who have underperformed can rebound down the stretch, then, yes, it is possible.

Ya gotta believe. Because there's nothing else to count on.

1 comment:

  1. Break Up El Nucleo

    thats spanish for "the core", in case you were wondering.

    now.....i don't mean the core as in "francesa's core". i'm talking about breaking up reyes, castillo, beltran, pagan, feliciano (jesus), et al.

    mike as usual makes some great points here, especially when it comes to manuel. but its not the main problem as i see it.

    i watch the phils bench, and i see the "core" group of guys sitting together. business like. no screwing one sitting alone moping, or in cliques. and then i hear brian schneider's comments, which back up my opinion: these guys (the phils) are all business. schneider should know, he's seen both sides now.

    the mets have a clique on the team, that is detrimental to the "team".

    A clique (pronounced /ˈkliːk/, also US: /ˈklɪk/) is an inclusive group of people who share interests, views, purposes, patterns of behavior, or ethnicity.

    i've watched this clique (consisting of the guys i mention above) for a long time now. there is an immaturity about them. un-business like. too high when things go well, ie) windmill handshakes at 1st base when you're down 10 runs in the 9th, and way too low and mopey when things aren't going well.

    i look at the bench, and for a long time now, its always reyes, castillo, beltran, feliciano, etc on one end......wright usually alone or with ike or dickey, i don't know.....then some random pairings in the mix. its a bad optic, as michael kay would say, and a picture says a thousand words.

    i would bet big money that all this bothers wright, but he can't say anything obviously. its almost like he's biding his time until beltran, castillo, et al, are all outta here, and he can breathe a sigh of relief.

    and don't tell me chemistry is overrated. anyone who played legitimate team sports knows thats chemistry is very important. my darts team knows that for cryin out loud.....and we're definitely not legitimate.

    so there's no overall unity as i see it.....and a level of unprofessionalism. sure things look great, everyone is having fun when they're hitting.....but thats not what you look to. you judge this chemistry when things are bad. and reyes is a huge part of this.

    reyes: i love the guy, and i would never get rid of him. but you have to start with him.

    my solution - you keep reyes, but you surround him with guys like wright, ike, bay, thole, a david eckstein...guys who are more serious, more business like.....big gamers / hustlers. one thing i love about bay is exactly this. he's the kinda guy i want on my team. he's struggling, but he hustles.

    we can live with reyes being reyes on the field, but on the bench, we need him in the company of men. get some of that serious / business / dirty eckstein stuff to rub off on him.

    and beltran really needs to go. i like him, he's nice, i think he has talent...but he's not what this team needs. its gotten old also.

    i heard some idiot on the radio call in and say that jason bay was mcreynolds all over again. no guy: BELTRAN is mcreynolds, not bay. even when carlos is playing great, he plays uninspired, vanilla, dry white toast baseball. thats a big problem. bay plays ball like a hockey player. thats the kinda guy we need in the mix.

    another suggestion - find another cliff floyd as an ingredient to all this, and i think we're good. cliff had that infectious attitude. he was a decent player, but played big. remember how happy wright was when cliff was around?

    break up el nucleo. keep reyes....get cliff floyd II, get a couple of david eckstein doppelgangers, and throw manager x in there. i'm fine with manuel, i'm not a big wally guy, but he'll manage just fine if we change the culture.

    i think the wilpons agree with me, and thats why they didn't make some token moves at the deadline. they're looking big picture, and i have a feeling that this offseason, el nucleo will be nuked.