As unfair as I believe it is, the end of the Jerry Manuel era is coming soon for the Mets. At 19-22, the Mets are fading fast in the NL East, can’t buy a hit, have the bumbling Jeff Wilpon breathing down their neck and have seen some discord surface in the clubhouse in recent days. All of this is a recipe for someone getting the pink slip, and soon. Unfortunately, you can’t fire the owners and it makes no sense to jettison a general manager in the middle of the season so Jerry (and I hope to god Howard Johnson) will be the fall guy.
Although Manuel is a pleasure to be around and a great man to cover, I have no great affection for him as an X’s and O’s manager. More glaringly, I thought he should never have even been the manager after Minaya so unceremoniously dumped Willie Randolph back in 2008. As the bench coach in 2007,
Manuel was a part of the team that choked away the NL east title and thus came to the show with a losing presence attached to his resume? Unfair? Maybe, but the Mets needed a fresh start then by cleaning house and it appears as if they are in need of one again. This time, it looks like the Mets fans are going to get their wish. With a loss tonight in Washington, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a new manager in the dugout before the start of the Subway Series on Friday, likely Bob Melvin. I know folks, you are jumping for joy over that possibility.
The whole problem is that this has not been the manager’s fault or even the players’ to some degree. It starts right at the top with Jeff Wilpon, who has turned this organization into the laughingstock of Major League Baseball. Since becoming the face of the franchise a few years back when his his father began to retreat into old age, the organizational ineptitude has been nothing short of an abject disaster.
Starting with the Randolph firing, moving on to the Tony Bernazzard saga and the injury avalanche and subsequent medical mishaps, Wilpon has made a mockery of this team, which boasts some of the most loyal fans in any sport. Right now, with Jeff’s meddling in baseball affairs and unwillingness to speak publicly (his words to the media in Atlanta a few night’s back were the first in many months) he is spitting on those fans’ faces. The lack of fannies in the seats at Citi Field show that those tortured fans are fighting back the only way they know how, by striking spoiled rich boy Wilpon where it hurts most….in his blue and orange pocketbook.
The next level of ineptitude obviously falls down to Jeffy boy’s top lieutenant, Minaya. How this guy still has a job is beyond me. Yes he recruited Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez, which revitalized this team for a few years and made them relevant, but that was 6 years ago.
Since then, the Mets have accomplished what exactly? Two horrific collapses. A 72-win campaign last season. The signing of Oliver Perez to a 3-year/$36 million deal. The failure to address their biggest weakness this offseason of starting pitching, instead paying an aging outfielder over $60 million. Hey, at least the team built a new cavernous stadium that proceeded to psych out their star third baseman. Couple all of this with the Adam Rubin disaster from last year and how this guy still hold the title of general manager of a NY baseball team? Stunning
So I don’t blame the players for this free fall. Frankly, this team as constituted is just not good enough, especially when your two “best” players in David Wright and Jose Reyes continue to come up so small. In fact, this group of guys continue to fight. They are seemingly in every game and have actually pitched capably enough to win more than 19 games. The Mets are rotten to the core and until the power structure is given a huge makeover, I fear there is no hope in sight.