It was one year ago today that former Mets' skipper Willie Randolph was dismissed by GM Omar Minaya. Since then, the Mets are 87-67 under new manager and former bench coach Jerry Manuel.
Despite all of the criticism and negative publicity surrounding Manuel and the Mets, New York still finds themselves just four games out of first place and three games over .500 on the season.
Oh yeah, and did I mention that nearly half the team has been on the disabled list at one point or another during the season?
First off, let me say that I was not happy with the way the team handled the firing of Willie Randolph, as it was both unprofessional and untimely. Seriously, who fires a manager after a win in the middle of a west-coast road trip?
I do believe it needed to be done, but not at that point in time. The Mets were not losing as a result of Randolph's actions as a manager, but instead the cloud of controversy that distracted the team day in and day out.
Question: How would you perform every day for two months if all you heard and read about was how your actions could lead to your boss getting fired? When put into perspective, it becomes very clear that it was a lose-lose situation for both Randolph and the Mets.
Since Manuel has taken over, the Mets have had a more-loose atmosphere in the clubhouse, and in a way it has showed on the field. You can pick apart certain stats wherever you like, but the fact is that the Mets are still winning under Jerry Manuel.
All the talk about the Mets having no "chemistry" or "heart" is total nonsense. Have you noticed that losing teams never have chemistry? Even if it is the same team that went to the NLCS less than three years ago, are they now all of a sudden unfit for one another and need to be broken up? Give me a break.
How many Mike Francesas are there in this world?
Mets fans, there is nothing wrong with this core and you know it. The fact that they have come so close and tripped before the finish line the last two seasons is eating away at you like maggots on a deceased carcass. It's revenge you want, not success.
Jerry Manuel has to do what no manager wants to do by dealing with injuries on a massive scale. With the lineup the Mets are forced to play with every night, fans should be happy with the fact that they are less than a week removed from first place. Are you happy?
Now that the trade deadline approaches at an alarming rate, all we are forced to read about is "trade this guy for that guy" and "sign this guy and fire this guy." It's obsessive if you ask me. Sorry Mets fans, but this team does not need to make a blockbuster trade in order to win.
They need to get healthy. Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, John Maine, J.J. Putz, Oliver Perez (cursed by thy name), and so on. Please, get healthy.
If I hear Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday, Jake Peavy, Carlos Lee, or even Aubrey Huff mentioned one more time, I'm going to snap. Not only do all of those guys cost way too much, but they aren't going to provide the fix the Mets really need.
To win championships, you need to trust your organization as a whole, namely scouting and development. Since Omar Minaya has taken over after the 2004 season, he has put an emphasis on preserving the future and not sacrificing the farm system as his predecessors had done.
The problem with being in New York is that most fans don't take the time to logically think about how long it takes for a group of players to develop and become ready for the big leagues. On average, it usually takes at least four to five years before a player can become a solid producer in the major leagues, assuming everything goes to plan.
Thus we have the rule of five; if prospects are not developing within five years of a GM's tenure, then he can be questioned. Otherwise, exercise patience.
Minaya's drafting resume is quite reasonable, actually. Take a look at his most prized draft picks while with the Mets:
Mike Pelfrey, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell, Josh Thole, Kevin Mulvey, Joe Smith, Daniel Murphy, Eddie Kunz, Nathan Vineyard, Scott Moviel, Brant Rustich, Eric Niesen, Lucas Duda, Michael Antonini, Dylan Owen, Dillon Gee, Roydrick Merritt, Ike Davis, Reese Havens, Bradley Holt, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Dock Doyle, Josh Satin, Eric Beaulac, and Scott Shaw.
If any of these guys ring a bell, then he has done his job. There are quite a few names on this list that have sniffed the big leagues recently, so give the man some credit.
But wait, don't forget about his international free agent signings:
Wilmer Flores, Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Jefry Marte, Francisco Pena, Ruben Tejada, Jose Coronado, Elvin Ramirez, Carlos Gomez, and Deolis Guerra, to name a few.
People are always so quick to pounce on Minaya, who has made a few mistakes. Yet they fail to bring up the positive things he has done, which include:
Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Willie Randolph (who was a good manager, despite what many say), Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado, Paul Lo Duca, Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez, Chad Bradford, Duaner Sanchez, Xavier Nady, John Maine, Oliver Perez (who is also on the negatives list thanks to his new contract), Ryan Church, Brian Schneider, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, and of course, Johan Santana.
**Sarcasm Alert**: Nope, he deserves no credit at all.
In case you don't see where I'm going with this, my point is that Mets fans need to just relax a bit. Yes, it's very frustrating watching this team lose. However, is it frustrating because they are losing, or is it frustrating because they are depleted right now and other teams are taking advantage of it?
Make a move to save the season, if possible, but do it in a manner that will allow you to still preserve the farm system. In other words, forget about the Halladays and Hollidays of the world.
This team is built to be competitive for years to come, and despite what some may say (myself included at times), Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya have contributed to that. Before they lose again and everyone starts grabbing their torches and pitchforks, realize how lucky the Mets are to still be in the position they are in.
If you build it, they will win.
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