Keep It In The Family
I have a suggestion for the Mets and their managerial opening. Just take the "B-" off of Ken Oberkfell's current title of B-Mets manager. Ken played for the Cardinal, Braves, Pirates, Giants, Astros, and the Angels over a major league career that spanned from 1977 to 1992. He played primarily third base and a some second base during his lengthy time in the majors. After coaching for almost a decade, he was named the best managerial prospect in the Eastern Division by Baseball America for 2004. Although he may not be the most glamorous name out there, he has the minor league coaching credentials to back it up. Pinella has stated he is staying in Tampa, which is fine with me. There has be recent speculation that he may still be available, but the last thing the Mets need to give up some prospects to get a manager no matter who it is. I do not care what Mike Cameron says about Pinella being the savior, this team just needs a manger who is competent. The other positive thing to Oberkfell is that he will be cheap. He will be cheap and he could be possibly very effective at that. I'd rather the Mets pump money into the product on the field instead of spending millions on a manager when they have a perfectly suitable and capable one in the minor leagues right now.
On top of that, an outsider is just that, and outsider. Unless a guy has played or been involved with the Mets organization, he may not have it in his veins. I understand the nature of the baseball and that the players, managers, and GMs will most likely change affiliations at some time, but the fact is, Oberkfell cares about the Mets. He has coached players in the organization and already been to battle with some of the players he would be coaching. He has won a championship with David Wright on his team in at St. Lucie and took the Binghamton team to the playoffs the following year. Oberkfell has a vested interest in seeing some of the kids that he coached be able to come up and succeed with the organization. What vested interested does Jim Fergosi have in this team if he gets hired in 2005? It will be a job to him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting he will not give it his 100% to win and that he will not be a professional, but your job and family are two different things. Oberkfell is part of the Met family.
Ken undoubtedly has strong feelings for the players in the organization as he has helped raise one on the major league squad and would eventually see some of the other players he has managed in his short stint in the Mets organization make an appearance in the coming years. Ken already has made his mark in the franchise is already part of the Mets. Howard Johnson is in the same boat as Oberkfell. HoJo has been a Met for life (we'll ignore the fact that he played for Colorado and the Cubs for two insignificant years) as a player and now as a coach. He already has the respect of the players being that was a part of the last Met championship team and he has played against a lot of the geriatrics on the team. Bringing him in as the Bench coach may be another thing to be considered. A tandem of Oberkfell with HoJo could be a perfect recipe for the future. Let's be realistic, Piazza and Leiter will most likely be gone after 2005, so let's have a manager that is used to working with kids. Over the next two years, there will be a large infusion of more young players coming up the through the system and hopefully through free agent signings as well as some trades. Along the same lines as the aforementioned two, the idea of bringing in Gary Carter or Lenny Dykstra is certainly intriguing. However, the capacity that they would be employed has to be looked at. Neither has any coaching experience at all and would be good candidates to supplant the losses of Oberkfell and HoJo in the minor league system. Either one may also work out as a bench coach in the majors, but certainly not for manager as Carter had lobbied for in the media. The last thing this team needs is a manger who is wet behind the ears in terms of managing.
The Mets have quite a few questions to be answered in the off season about how this team is going to be put together in 2005. There are not many problems that can be solved in house, but this is one answer that should be smacking them in the face. The best thing this team could do is promote in house and keep it in the family. Forget the veterans who may not be enthused about the rookie manager, this team will most likely not hit their stride until 2006. By that time, only Glavine, Floyd, and Cameron would be around as the resident crusty veterans that have been a Met for a few years. Besides, if being a rookie manager is of paramount concern, hire an experienced coaching staff to surround him. The Mets should start new with a coach that has grown with it's young players and will continue to grow with it's young players. It's time to get back to looking at the future instead of being so short sighted and making decsions to make splashes on the back pages. Pinella and Fergosi are no doubt great managers, but the best option is not always the biggest name.
"I'm healthy," Ordonez told the paper. "I'm going to be 100 percent by spring training. I don't know why they're saying I won't be."
Is Kenny trying to drive down Magglio's value?
"One thing I can tell you about the New York Mets that I really like is the fact is that at the trading deadline they went out there and did their best as an organization to improve their situation, give themselves a chance," he said.
"Things didn't work out as they anticipated. As a coach or a player, you like to see those things happen, because they give the impetus to go forward. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but they tried."
Victor Zambrano (flexor muscle strain) threw yesterday for the first time since being cleared for limited action. Zambrano, who won't return this season, said he's unsure whether surgery may be required. "It's hard to say," Zambrano said. "I don't have control.
"What happened last year? They can finish in last place and survive in New York. I'd rather be ending the season the way we are, improving and playing better baseball."
I have to agree with Frankie here. A guy from a team that finished below the Expos in both of the last two years should not be talking much about this topic. The Mets have not exactly been drawing well for being in the best sports town in the world.