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Why Fire Rick Peterson, Too?

Louis WebbCorrespondent IJune 17, 2008

I can understand what the Mets management was thinking of giving Willie Randolph the axe.  On the one hand, he has a winning record by a significant margin managing the Metropolitans, but he didn't seem to be getting the job done. 

302-253 record aside, the Mets are 34-35 with the largest payroll in the National League.  That is lackluster; there's no question about it.

Whether it was a good idea to fire Willie right after a win, or while the team is on the road, or in the middle of the night, or even in the middle of a season, is one debate, but that's not what I want to address.  My question is why Rick Peterson had to go too?

What has Peterson done that's so bad?  The only thing I can think of is the Kazmir trade a couple years ago.  That was pretty bad.

But beside that, Peterson's been great.  The Mets' team ERA under Peterson, not counting this season, was 4.06.  That's second in the National League over that three year period ('05, '06, and '07). 

This year, the Mets' team ERA is eighth in the NL at 4.14, but that isn't as much under par as it sounds.  If 4.06 is second in the NL over a three year period, then 4.14 can't be that bad.  It only looks bad because there are some teams who have been pitching fantastically for the first half (Cubs at 3.61, Diamondbacks at 3.80, etc); those numbers will probably average out.

And it isn't just numbers.  Besides the infamous Kazmir-Zambrano trade, think of what Peterson has done. 

Oliver Perez was abandoned by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who aren't really a team that can afford to abandon players they think have real promise.  So Perez was considered hopeless, but over the past two years he has improved greatly under Peterson's tutelage, posting a 3.56 ERA last year. 

John Maine was a nobody who came in to pitch because of injuries and has turned into a valuable number two or three starter.

Peterson has been great at squeezing talent out of players who others thought couldn't perform, and it isn't the Mets' pitching staff that has been bad this season.  Apart from a team ERA eighth in the league, the staff has let up the fourth-least hits in the NL and is sixth in strikeouts and walks.  Those stats aren't dominant, but they're at least average, even a little above.

To me, it's been more the offense this season. 

The lineup is ninth in batting average, 13th in slugging, ninth in hits, and 12th in home runs.  The only reason the team has stayed around five hundred is the walks.  Sixth in the league in walks, putting them fifth in OBP. 

Of all the offensive stats I just listed, OBP correlates strongest with wins, but without any power, this team is not going to win the way they were expected to.  Beltran and Wright are both guys you'd like to see with 15+ home runs by now, and neither of them has reached that point yet.

So when the offense has been below average and the pitching slightly above, why is it that our phenomenal pitching coach was fired and not HoJo?

-Ever fiddling with the facts of firings,

Louis

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