I love this pic from Wilpon-hell.blogspot.com and I cannot think of something that is more dead on. Watching Jack McKeon bat Dontrelle Willis seventh last night in front of two position players illustrates a coach who is trying to everything he can to win and tossing conventional wisdom aside. Good managers have to get creative and take chances and Willie is as reluctant as anyone to do that. You have Bobby Cox, who is arguably the best coach around, had no problem entrusting rookies with large responsibilities. When Chipper went down and he was looking for a third hitter, he did not hesitate to do what he thought necessary and entrust such a big spot to a rookie.
I don't believe in doing things to take pressure off young players. We brought up Johnson from Triple-A and I hit him third right away. The kid has always hit, and he walks. He has a great eye. He went 1-for-30 and even some of our people wanted to send him back. But he hit about seven balls good and he walked about seven times during that stretch. I wouldn't take him out of there for anything.
In the end when you stack up bullpens, rotations, benches, and starting lineups, the Mets really could be a more talented club than any NL East team, but the Braves simply had a lot of organizational depth and got some big performances from some rookies. However, the main point is that Bobby Cox did not hesitate to give those kids a chance and that is a stark contract to the Mets and Willie Randolph's line of thinking. Batting a rookie third and moving up a pitcher to bat seventh when it was warranted are two things that Willie just will not do and that is something that runs throughout his philosophy no matter how much sense it makes.
He plays by his gut a lot but his gut is also predictable. He still overuses that by the book line of thinking that is a signature of a bad manager. He was married to match ups even when it really did not throw things in the Mets favor and if Willie is interested in succeeding in this league, he has to stray from conventional wisdom and not favor players and give them more chances than they are warranted. His ability to adjust and when he was entrusting high leverage innings in the bullpen to guys who had no business being there while there were better options is a microcosm of how he approaches the game. He is stubborn and once something enters his mind, it will take a third of the season or more for him to adjust and he simply has lacked the wherewithal to lead this team this season. Will he get better? Maybe. Randolph is a guy who would have benefited from a stint of managing at a lower level. Growing pains on this New York club should not be happening. When you have the cash like the Mets have, they shouldn’t hire a guy and hope he blossoms into a manger who helps their team rather than hurting the team. He has to learn how to not be stubborn and should be taking notes from Bobby Cox who values nothing over winning. You have to wonder where each team would be if they traded managers and if the Mets had Bobby Cox I truly believe they would still be in it and if the Braves had Willie, they would not be in first place right now.
Huh? Gold Medal? For what? Writing out a lineup card with the League's best offense? What has he done that is so special? He has a $200,000,000 payroll and I'm sick of people lauding this job that he has done. When the Yankees took first place on Wednesday night, they three Yankee fans in the bar exploded. "It's about time" the fools exclaimed. The team costs $200,000,000. Give Eric Wedge the gold medal not a guy who has a team full of All-Stars. Has everyone taken crazy pills?
Jose Reyes played in his 151st game last night, which is the most on the team and more than anyone had a right to expect after his injury-wrecked 2004.
He is on track to play 161 games this year and plans to take the winter off and that is a good thing. After this year, he needs the rest. Now if he could only learn to walk about forty times a year and stop getting under the ball he could be the best leadoff guy in baseball for the next fifteen years. On top of that, I believe as he gets older and fills out he could possibly hit 15 to 20 homers a year.
EMMANUEL GARCIA, ss, Mets
Age: 19 Ht: 6-2 Wt: 180 B-T: L-R Drafted/Signed: Mets NDFA '04
Passed over in the 2004 draft when a visa embargo sent the draft stock of Canadians plummeting, Garcia signed with the Mets after the season. He surprised the Mets in spring training and followed with breakout summer for a team that posted the GCL’s best regular-season record. He led the league in runs, hits and on-base percentage while using his above-average speed to steal 17 bases in 18 attempts.
Garcia demonstrated offensive potential with an ability to bunt and put the ball in play, along with a good two-strike approach. Defensively, he showed exceptionally quick feet and sure hands, excelling on balls in the hole because of a rare ability to get in position quickly to unload the ball. His arm strength is a bit short for shortstop, so he could end up at second base down the road.
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLGIn the NY Penn League, the Mets had another guy just barely cracking the top 20 as Bobby Parnell stops in at #20.
186 43 63 7 0 2 30 21 36 17 1 .339 .412 .409
20. BOBBY PARNELL, rhp, Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)
Age: 20 Ht: 6-3 Wt: 180 B-T: R-R Drafted/Signed: Mets '05 (9)
Parnell put up 6.82 and 8.86 ERAs in his last two years at Charleston Southern, yet Mets area scout Marlin McPhail had tracked him since high school and liked his live arm and wiry frame. McPhail persuaded his club to take Parnell in the ninth round in June, and Parnell repaid that faith by leading the NY-P in ERA.
Parnell is a sinker/slider pitcher who does a good job of keeping the ball down. His sinker creeps into the low 90s. He also has developed a changeup and the confidence to throw it in any count. Durability is a question for Parnell, who tended to wear down in longer starts.
G GS W L SV ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG
15 14 2 3 0 1.73 73 48 20 14 1 29 67 .185