View Full Version : Columnist: Mets should fire Willie Randolph

05-02-2008, 05:16 PM

It's Time To Fire Willie Randolph

May 2, 2008
URL: http://www2.nysun.com/article/75689

It's time for the Mets to fire Willie Randolph. They should fire him if his team sweeps the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. They should fire him if his team wins all three games by a total score of 27-0. They should fire him if his team puts on such a display this weekend that the greater Phoenix area literally burns to the ground around them, lit by nothing but the intensity of their passion and brilliance. The man's time is up, and nothing can change that.

Unless a manager is a genius, all one can ask him to do is not actively harm his team's chances. Randolph doesn't pass this test. Under his leadership, the Mets failed to play up to the level of their talent in 2005, did so again last year, and are doing so once again this year. Correlation may not imply causation, and it may not be precisely the manager's fault when his men are alternately listless, inattentive, and perplexed. When a manager is relentlessly inept at identifying his own best talent, though, and has over a period of several years proven himself completely incapable of seizing advantages during a game when he's displayed no feel for strategy or for tactics he has to be able to inspire his men to play at their best, or better, if he's to serve any purpose at all.

For a full year now, nearly no one on the Mets has done that. Wednesday's shameful 13-1 loss to the wretched Pittsburgh Pirates was the pitch-perfect demonstration of the depths to which this team, which a year ago was so vibrant and so promising, has managed to sink. When Oliver Perez walks five in 1.2 innings; when Jose Reyes fails to cover a base on a routine play, and when a strong lineup manages two hits against one pitcher who came into the game with a 13/22 K/BB ratio and another who was a hitter coming out of college and whose two shutout innings lowered his career ERA to 8.74, something is terribly, desperately wrong. These are not random failures of talent, but unforgivable errors of concentration and execution.

The Mets may be winning more than they're losing, but they're playing horribly, and things seem uglier the closer you look. David Wright is playing like what he is, the best player in the league; Johan Santana is, the odd long ball aside, proving to be exactly what was advertised, and Billy Wagner has yet to give up an earned run in 11 games. These three, along with outfielder Ryan Church, who's playing a hair better than expected, are essentially keeping the team from total collapse. It's a damning point; Randolph should not receive too much credit for getting these Hall of Fame-caliber talents to play well.

On the other hand, several other Hall of Fame-caliber talents are playing miserably, and in ways for which it's perfectly fair to blame the manager. Reyes has more closely resembled Cristian Guzman than he has Barry Larkin for some time now, Carlos Beltran is slugging .398, and Carlos Delgado seems to be about done. Their struggles seem, respectively, to have to do with concentration, aggressiveness, and an inability to adjust to what happens as you age. A manager of no special mechanical cleverness, who doesn't help put runs on the board with his mastery of the nuts and bolts of calling signals, making out lineup cards, or calling for the right relief pitchers, who can't help players deal with these airier, more abstract concerns, is a nearly useless one. That's what Randolph has become.

Hard times are coming for the Mets. In addition to all the problems with the offense, the credible performance of the team's rotation has been largely phantasmal. John Maine's shiny 3.58 ERA masks his more telling walk rate of 5.58 per nine, Mike Pelfrey is striking out 4.03 per nine and walking exactly as many, and Perez seems to be imploding. Unless something changes radically and soon, this team is in for, at best, more of the same mediocrity fans have been suffering for a year now.

This weekend in the desert, the Mets are probably going to be flayed. Arizona is everything the Mets seemed to be not long ago young, sharp, and as driven as they are talented and they're rolling out Brandon Webb and Dan Haren, the best one-twon punch in the league, and Micah Owings, a sophomore starter who's at worst every bit as good as Perez or Maine. Just as happened in Chicago, this team is going to be exposed by the contrast between them and a true winner. And the shame of it is that the Mets have every bit as much talent as the Diamondbacks or Cubs do.

That they haven't expressed that talent in its fullness is in the end the fault of the players, not the jeering Queens fans, drive time hosts, bloggers, or even the manager. The manager, though, is the one whose sole job is to ensure that the team that physically takes the field is as good as the team that's on the lineup card. In this, Randolph has failed in concrete ways, and shows no prospect of or capacity for improvement. Every day the Wilpon family and Omar Minaya keep him in his job is a day they do a bit more to show themselves as unfit for their jobs as Randolph has proved for his.

05-02-2008, 05:23 PM
I'll trade them Baker for Randolph, even up.

05-02-2008, 05:24 PM
I agree with the columnist; Randolph better start pitching, fielding, and hitting better if he wants to keep his job as manager.

05-02-2008, 05:29 PM
I just checked the standings and the Mets are a half game out of first.

Not seeing the crisis.

05-02-2008, 05:34 PM
NewYork Columnist? Sensationalizing a situation to sell papers? Over reactionary column for no reason yet again. Yup that is a Newyork columnist.

05-02-2008, 07:44 PM
If you think RZ'ers overreact, the NY media is worse. By FAR.

05-02-2008, 07:52 PM
For the amount they've spent on salary for that team, I can see why people are upset they aren't steamrolling the competition.

Randolph needs to go - but so does the architect of the team, Minaya.

wally post
05-02-2008, 08:28 PM
NewYork Columnist? Sensationalizing a situation to sell papers? Over reactionary column for no reason yet again. Yup that is a Newyork columnist.

Hey Top -

Here in NY, everyone is freaking out about the mets - that they are stinking. it's not about the standings really, it actually about last year's collapse and the inability of Willie to place any new significant explanation for it (about it).
He's no Joe Torre, who was a media God. The Mets are all getting mercilessly booed at games - and that goes for Santana as well! (the Pirates did a number on them, just as they did to us!) It's an interesting watch since i could hardly care less about the Mets. Willie is a solid guy in my book, but when you are working in NYC, you have wolves all around you.

05-02-2008, 10:21 PM
I'll trade them Baker for Randolph, even up.

Agreed, throw in Pole and get it done.

05-03-2008, 07:58 AM
Agreed, throw in Pole and get it done.

You guys beat me to it. Dusty and Pole for Willie straight up.

Why it works for the Reds fans -
Stress relief
Guys that can actually hit the ball or recognize bad pitches will be at the top of the order
Pitching coaches won't have to be imported to do the pitching coaches job.

05-16-2008, 10:58 AM

Starting today, Mets' Randolph in line of fire

Jim Baumbach

May 16, 2008

Before the Mets' 1-0 loss to the Nationals yesterday, Willie Randolph playfully answered a question about returning to Yankee Stadium one last time by campaigning for a spot on the National League All-Star squad. That, he said, would be a cool final visit to the Bronx.

But considering the way everything fell apart for the Mets yesterday, the way their warts became so much more obvious for all to see, it's safe to wonder if Randolph will even be the Mets' manager in July.

Today, for the first time, you can say it for real. Randolph's job has to be in jeopardy.

All that has gone wrong with this Mets season was on full display yesterday - on the field, in the stands and in the clubhouse. It was a perfect crescendo of the sort of events that have led to their disappointing, underachieving start.

They suffered their third loss in four games to a team they should beat. Their offense was muted by a pitcher, Jason Bergmann, who entered the game with an 11.68 ERA. They made two critical baserunning mistakes in the final two innings, each of which resulted in a double play.

And the fans directed their daily venom at the manager, booing him as he walked back to the dugout after removing Mike Pelfrey in the eighth. Randolph responded by lifting his head and looking directly into the stands behind the home dugout, giving the awkward and uncomfortable appearance of a fans-vs.-the-manager staredown.

Clearly, Randolph was trying to make a stand against the fans who were targeting him. "I was keeping my head up," he said. "All the time. I keep my head up all the time."

Then, when the Mets' awful day was almost complete, Billy Wagner colorfully admitted in his own way that this clubhouse isn't exactly full of campfires and singalongs.

"Somebody tell me why the -- the closer is getting interviewed and I didn't even play," Wagner said, "and they're over there not being interviewed."

Let the record state he pointed in the direction of the row of lockers where Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran dress.

There was no one there.

"Oh, I got it," Wagner said. "They're gone. -- shocker."

(Beltran already had spoken. Delgado never did.)

A little less than a year ago, Paul Lo Duca angered the Mets' front office by uttering a similar sentiment. "Nobody else wants to talk," he said. "Some of these guys have to start talking. They speak English, believe me."

The obvious clubhouse discord and friction among players should have been taken care of by Randolph long before it got to this.

The Mets thought they were ridding themselves of a clubhouse problem when they did not bring back Lo Duca, which may be true. But clearly he wasn't the sole problem.

At this point, though, with the Mets one game under .500 in their last 149 games (74-75) since last June 1, it's time to wonder if the problem on the field and in the clubhouse lies with this mix of players. As in, they don't mix.

General manager Omar Minaya deserves some blame for that, but it's on Randolph to make what he's given work. And despite all the talent here, it's not working.

"To believe you can win and be one of the best teams in the National League, you have to practice it," David Wright said. "So far, we get hot and then cold, hot and then cold. We need to get hot and stay hot to prove to ourselves, to get that winning attitude and that swagger back."

It was so easy to think the Mets would enter this season strong, looking as if they had something to prove.

But what they've done is effectively extend their awful 2007 collapse by 39 games. They look no different this year from last September - when they blew a seven-game NL East lead with 17 games to play - and that has to be bothersome.

Their best player, Ryan Church, is someone who wasn't even here last year. Their imported ace, Johan Santana, is being shielded from reporters. And the all-around play of their igniter, Jose Reyes, can be best described in one word: desperate.

"We're just not earning our money," Wagner said.

As always, the first person who will pay for that is the manager. Beginning today, Randolph's job is on the line. Good luck cleaning up this mess.

05-16-2008, 11:00 AM
Granted, I don't personally know very many Mets fans but the ones I do know can't stand Willie Randolph. I don't think he's all that popular among the fanbase.

05-16-2008, 11:18 AM
Since that first article, Beltran's raised his SLG from .398 to .428.

Five-year extension for Willie! ;)

05-16-2008, 11:26 AM
Granted, I don't personally know very many Mets fans but the ones I do know can't stand Willie Randolph. I don't think he's all that popular among the fanbase.

I would say that's not true. Most people were very unhappy after the way last season unfolded, but more people than not do actually like Willie in my experiences.

However, I think the last place Nats putting a hurting on the Mets at Shea made a lot of people angry and so that's why people are frustrated.

05-16-2008, 11:29 AM
The Mets are a .500 club since about midway through last year, or ever since Omar fired Willie's batting coach, Rick Down. Not that it has anything to do with their mediocrity.

The clubhouse is fractured. Some of the "stars" don't talk to the media at all when things aren't going well (Reyes, Beltran, Delgado) -- leaving it to Wright and Wagner. Last year it became an issue, and recently it has again.

There's a sense that Omar and Willie aren't on the same page, as well.

There are a combustible mix of egos in that organization from the top executives down throught the baseball club ... and there's a sense that it's all going to explode if they don't win this year. (Or if the Yankees sweep them this weekend.)