The biggest news today in the sports world is that the New York Mets have fired Manager Willie Randolph, who has been a class act throughout his playing and managing career. I have not hid the fact that Willie Randolph was also my favorite baseball player growing up, so I was certainly disappointed to hear the news of Willie's firing and the way it occurred. Some have even referred to the whole situation as a circus.
Bench coach Jerry Manuel will take over as the Mets manager for the time being. Manuel is a former Manager of the Year in 2000 for the Chicago White Sox and sports a 500-471 record in six seasons as a manager.
Here is what I had to say about Willie Randolph in my April 14th edition of MLB Weekly :
We start off with more criticism of New York Mets manager Willie Randolph , who was my favorite player growing up. I have not seen one good thing written about Randolph's managing skills since he got the Mets job in 2005.
However, this is really unfair for Randolph because there isn't one manager in the game who hasn't been criticized for their moves. If you win you are considered a great manager, if you don't then you get criticized.
Joe Torre was a god when he won 4 championships in 5 years, then he didn't win won for 7 years and he was considered old and lazy. Terry Francona was a dope for the first half of 2004 but now that he's won 2 championships he's suddenly a good manager? I certainly don't think so. '
Just for the record, here is Randolph's record as manager since joining the Mets, 273-223, which is a .550 winning percentage. '
The Mets should be lucky to have Willie as their manager, the team stunk before he was there, and I think some criticism should go to their GM Omar Minaya. Minaya hasn't been able to supply the Mets with a good pitching staff since Randolph has been the manager and has made some costly trades . '
In all honesty, I don't feel like the Mets had that great of a team last year and was not surprised that they missed the playoffs. In fact, according to their projected record based on runs scored for 2007, they actually won 2 games more than they should have won. In 2006, they won 6 more games than they should have . '
So maybe the problem is not Randolph but instead the fans bloated expectations for this team. It will be interesting to see what happens this season with the Mets and Randolph. I would suspect that because of the high expectations this team has due to the Johan Santana acquisition, that Randolph needs to at least make the World Series or he will get canned.
To me this whole situation just stinks of GM Omar Minaya trying to save his ass because the team he put together is flawed. The pitching staff, both starting and relief, is flawed and Willie has more than made due with the aging veterans Minaya has given him over the years like Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. However, this year it's just not working and Minaya should take some of the blame for putting this team together.
Here is the reason Minaya gave for the firing:
Mets general manager Omar Minaya said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that Randolph was fired because the losses and the speculation about his job were hurting the team.
Well to me, if the players can't perform in this situation then they deserve blame too because it certainly seems like they were not out there showing any extra desire to save Willie Randolph's job. Again this points to the mental make-up of a team that Omar Minaya put together.
I also think it is funny how they fired Randolph after the team has won 3 of the last 4 games, which to me shows that Minaya really did not want Randolph as the manager anymore because it's quite possible the Mets were turning things around this season. I still think the Mets should have let Randolph finish the season as the manager.
In the end, I believe the Mets don't deserve such a class act like Willie Randolph and I don't think this move alone is going to help the Mets turn things around. The bottom line is that the roster needs improvement and the players who are on the team right now need to play at the level they are capable of playing at.