The New York Mets cleaned house Monday, officially parting ways with manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya.
After finishing the season with a disappointing 79-83 record, a whopping 18 games behind the first-place Phillies in the National League East, the writing was on the wall for both men.
Now, in need of new leadership at the top, the Mets suddenly face the prospect of rebuilding from the farm system all the way up to the major league level.
They also might be forced to resort to plan B, with a growing reputation of being one of the more unsettled organizations in all of baseball.
Here’s a look at 10 reasons the Mets will have a difficult time luring an experienced manager and general manager to begin picking up the pieces next season:
So what exactly are the Mets?
For the moment, they are a lackluster veteran team with a huge payroll.
They would probably be advised to get younger and cut payroll, but there isn’t a great deal of depth in the minor league system.
And good luck finding takers for the contracts of Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana.
There simply isn’t much appeal to manage a roster filled with overpaid, underachieving, and injury-prone veterans.
Speaking of teams lacking direction, another high-priced franchise in the Windy City is also in the market for a manager.
Even though the Cubs will still have Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome on the roster making an absurd amount of money, there is reason to believe there is more appeal in Chicago than New York.
The Cubs are closer to being able to start over and have a potential superstar in the making in Starlin Castro.
The Mets simply don’t have much to get excited about.
The Mets are still enjoying some of the financial benefits of playing in a new stadium, but by the end of the season attendance was dropping.
New York has been an afterthought in the NL East all season long, and there are simply not enough draws to lure fans to the park.
The Mets entered the season with plenty of questions.
Already without the often-injured Carlos Beltran, the Mets were forced to deal with Jose Reyes’ thyroid problem in spring training.
It was a sign of things to come.
David Wright rediscovered his power stroke but endured several slumps and piled up strikeouts throughout the season.
The arrest of closer Francisco Rodriguez, another player with an expensive contract, brought unwanted attention to the Mets' organization in August.
Since falling in the NLCS in 2006, the Mets have trended downward.
New York witnessed a historic collapse in 2007 and again failed to make the playoffs despite finishing the season with a 55-38 record after Jerry Manuel took over for Willie Randolph in June.
Since then, New York has dealt with injuries and inconsistent performances from high-priced pieces including Beltran, Oliver Perez, and Luis Castillo.
Most teams have questions with the offseason approaching, and the Mets are no exception.
New York hasn’t gotten consistent starting pitching in years, and injuries to John Maine and Johan Santana have the Mets’ once-promising rotation in tatters.
Making matters worse, the Mets don’t know what to expect from their three best offensive players, Reyes, Bay, and David Wright.
The Mets got a fantastic season from Johan Santana and are optimistic he will be ready to go by spring training in 2011 after his season came to a premature end.
That doesn’t mean he will be 100 percent or ever return to his Cy Young form.
Santana had surgery to repair an interior capsule on his throwing shoulder and is expected to undergo an intensive 24-week rehab program.
If the 31-year-old ace of the Mets staff isn’t able to eat up innings next season, it could be another rough run in Flushing.
The Mets have invested a great deal of money in plenty of players. Aside from Santana and Wright, the investment hasn’t paid dividends.
Santana is in the midst of a six-year, $138 million deal. Carlos Beltran had a solid month of September in what was otherwise a lost season and is in the middle of a seven-year, $119 million deal. The Mets are expected to pick up an $11 million team option on shortstop Jose Reyes, bringing him back next season.
Jason Bay signed a four-year, $66 million deal last December. The Mets are trying to void at least part of Rodriguez’s $37 million contract following the domestic dispute.
It’s safe to say Omar Minaya has left a huge mess for someone to clean up.
Without hiring a capable general manager, the Mets aren’t likely to land a marquee manager capable of authoring a quick turnaround on the field.
The Mets need to hire an experienced manager and restore depth in the minor league system by improving player development and avoiding moving young players in trades to acquire veterans.
That formula clearly didn’t work for Minaya.
The Mets need an extreme organizational makeover, and there aren’t enough sure-things on the Major League roster to ensure that repairing the team will happen in the near future.
Would an experienced manager like Bobby Valentine or Bob Brenly really want to take over a rebuilding project?
In all likelihood, the answer to that question would be a resounding no.
The next manager of the Mets might merely be a sacrificial lamb as the organization seeks to restore stability.
Next year isn’t looking much better in New York.