Even though the season's over, the agony continues.
In case you haven't heard, the Mets today announced that first base coach Luis Alicea was let go and that third base coach Razor Shines and bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. will be re-assigned in the organization. Manager Jerry Manuel stated that the moves were made because he was unhappy with the defense and base running this season (Alomar is the defense instructor).
The reason for the Mets losing 92 games this season was not simply because of bad defense and lack of baserunning fundamentals, although obviously it did not help.
If changes are going to made, major changes (not counting out change in manager and GM) have to be made.
Sorry Jerry, there was a lot more to be unhappy about this season. While the defense and base running were certainly horrible, I can also mention bad pitching, lack of power, and lack of clutch hitting.
Manuel even had the gall to back pitching coach Dan Warthen, stating that he was happy with the progress that John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, and Oliver Perez have made under Warthen.
If you compare the 2007 season(Rick Peterson's final full year as Mets pitching coach) to the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Maine and Perez were a lot more effective under Peterson. Both pitchers won 15 games that season, while neither suffered any of the control issues that plagued them the previous two seasons.
It's not fair to comment on Pelfrey, considering that in 2007 he was bouncing back and forth between the Mets and AAA due to his youth and lack of experience. While he did have a breakout year in 2008, having an ERA over 5.00 in 2009 is not what I call "positive advancement."
The manner in which injuries are handled is another issue, as the Mets organization was embarrassed this year with the way they handled Beltran's and Reyes' injuries. Injuries also cut short of the seasons of Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana, J.J. Putz, and Oliver Perez.
Granted, injuries do occur during the season for every team, but the lack of backup and support for a team with the highest payroll in the National League was staggering. And that doesn't fall on the bench coach.
The Angels lost Torii Hunter, Vlad Guerrero, Howie Kendrick, Ervin Santana, and John Lackey for significant time this season due to injury, and they still managed to win 97 games. Out of those 5 names, 4 of them are All Stars.
The difference is that the Angels were prepared enough to have players step in and perform while these stars were out.
This falls on GM Omar Minaya, who during times in the season seemed unorganized and unknowledgable on how to get the ship out of troubled waters. With all the resources that he has at his disposal, it's amazing to think that he had not prepared his team in the event of injury.
Needless to say, all of them are in the playoffs.
Regarding the hitting, while hitting coach Howard Johnson can take some credit for turning around Jeff Franceour's season after he was traded here, the only significant change that was witnessed was higher batting averages, but a huge drop in the ability to drive the ball and get runs home.
In order for Mets fans to start to forget what happened in 2009, Minaya needs to have somebody come in and help him out. The minor leagues need to be re-stocked, the bench needs to be filled with quality players, and the pitching needs to be upgraded.
If he won't accept that, he should be shown the door, contract extension or not.
Manuel absolutely needs to be let go. He was brought in during the 2008 season to turn the team around and guide them to the playoffs. So far, he led them to a similar collapse as the previous year, and a 4th place finish in 2009.
He has also shown nothing to make people believe that he will get things righted in 2010, no matter what moves are made in the off-season. He is simply too relaxed to handle a team with the pressure and expectations that the Mets have, not to mention his butchering of lineups and his overly-quick-trigger when it comes to the bullpen.
Mets fans have been suffering for years looking for a consistent winner. In order for this to happen, it appears changes need to be made. We Mets fans are knowledgeable, but also impatient. Fans need to see proof that the team is doing everything they can to build a team we can be proud of.
We're waiting. When is it going to come?