A New Argument: Jerry Manuel vs. Bobby Valentine

Michael GanciCorrespondent IJune 17, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel runs back to the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Since taking over for Willie Randolph roughly one year ago, Jerry Manuel has amassed an 88-67 record.

Initially, the players really stepped up for him. Two guys who definitely turned their games up a notch were Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado. Manuel’s win percentage is .568, which is 34 points higher than a man who may one day find himself coaching in the big leagues again, Bobby Valentine.

Recent rumblings have surfaced that the Nationals would be interested in Bobby V. if they decided to fire former Mets third base coach Manny Acta from his managerial post. Valentine is currently in his last year of a deal he signed in Japan, and most people believe he won’t be renewed.

When asked if he would like to be a manager in the majors again, Valentine certainly left the door wide open. One reporter even asked him if he would like to manage the Mets, but Valentine learned from Gary Carter’s mistake and answered the question by praising Jerry Manuel.

The question is this. Would Bobby Valentine be better than Jerry Manuel? That question is easy for me to answer. NO!

Valentine was always a guy who seemed to be more of a distraction than a manager.

During his campaign with the Mets, he was thrown out of a game, and he returned with a fake mustache on. While it was moderately funny, he was making a mockery of the situation, and he would later be suspended.

Then there is the situation with Todd Hundley. While the Mets’ star catcher was going through a bit of a tough patch, Valentine made a comment that continues to make me scratch my head. He said that Hundley doesn’t get enough sleep, which was perhaps the dumbest thing I have ever heard come out of a Mets’ manager’s mouth.

Hundley was taken back by it, and he adamantly denied that he needed sleep, and it became an unneccessary distraction that the team just didn’t need.

I know what people are going to say. Bobby Valentine took the Mets to the World Series in 2000. That’s wrong. Mike Piazza took the Mets to the World Series. Valentine was often bailed out by his players when he made dumb managerial decisions.

For example, he removed Mike Piazza for Todd Pratt in the extra inning game versus Arizona, and he didn’t believe that spot would come up in the order again.

Sure enough, it did. Pratt hit a ball that eluded Steve Finley’s glove by less than a foot, and the Mets had won the series.

And with a win…there are no criticisms.

Jerry Manuel makes his share of managerial mishaps as well. He is always flip-flopping guys in the lineup, and it seems like very few guys feel a sense of security. The injuries have been a test to his character, and the Mets know that they are lucky to be where they are.

I’m not in love with Jerry Manuel, but I think he is a far better manager than Bobby Valentine. Enough said.