Sunday, May 25, 2008

The ante-mortem post-mortem

It seems as if Willie Randolph is being marched out to the guillotine. I feel compelled to offer my take on events. If nothing else, it's out there before the (f)act.

The Mets are under .500 for their last 162 games. It's pretty well established that things started falling apart for Randolph and the Mets when he lost Jose Reyes. Contrary to the prevailing theories that this happened in July of 2007, when Randolph pulled Reyes from a game against the Astros, the Randolph regime jumped the shark during a June 13, 2007 game against the Dodgers. They were smoked, 9-1, as Penny was throwing steam that night and the Mets had their collective heads up their collective asses. No one was more conspicuous than Reyes, who, by my estimation, took off at least three plays in which he was directly involved.

I immediately picked up on this, as I had offered up my ass to trade for Reyes for my fantasy squad, but pulled it back after watching this game.

Back then, Billy Wagner was a little more veiled in calling out his Latino teammates for mamando gallo.

"We've caused a lot of our own problems. I mean, they played outstanding baseball, but we made them look better with our sloppy play and our lackadaisical efforts," Wagner added. "I don't think it's got anything to do with confidence. It's just about focus and desire. I mean, you've got to want it more than everybody else wants it."

In dealing with the suddenly lollygagging Reyes, Randolph's tough-love tactics backfired. Of course they would. Reyes was sore because he signed a shit contract (4 years, $23.25MM), made all the worse by David Wright's 6-year $55MM deal. The whole world knew it was a shit deal when it was announced, and the penny wise, dollar stupid Wilpons, still reeling and neurotic, years later, from Mo Vaughn's freeloading, thought they were getting over.

Of course, there is nobody in place, certainly not the agent that brokered the shit deal, to tell Reyes to man up and honor his contract. Instead, he has been sulking for the better part of two years.

The other load on the team is Carlos Beltrán. He's in cruise control. No one likes to talk about it, but he lost his balls when he bumped his head. He didn't even get the worst of it, but he has not been the same. While I don't necessarily fault him for that, if he's going to tell the world that the Mets are the team to beat, that tells me that he's over it and has no excuse not to dial it up.

While there are plenty of others on the team that I don't particularly like, I think you're getting what you're going to get from them.

Neither Beltran's nor Reyes' downturns are Randolph's doing or fault. It is the GM's job to identify these useless players and move them. Because GM Omar Minaya can't/won't move Reyes and/or Beltrán and because no amount of motivation from Randolph will fix this, the team has to change its manager. Someone has to come in, like Carlito Brigante, and explain that "I don't know you, so I don't owe rules, everybody pays."

Players and the GM have a one-manager buffer. When nothing changes, what's the excuse going to be?

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