No Presure Willie
Carlos Beltran likes the way the Mets are looking and the improvements they've made, but there's a caveat with some of his optimism.
"If we can stay healthy, and can find a way to play the game the right way," he said, "I don't see any reason why we can't win our division."
Sounds good, right? And, who knows, the Mets might stay healthy, but there aren't many teams that actually find a way to play the game the right way. That's a big if, Carlos.
Finding a way to play the game the right way has more to do with Willie than anything else. He's calling the shots and he is making the calls setting all the pieces in motion. That's the bad news and that makes this statement a bigger if than Tom Gage probablyl thinks. The Mets improved last year on paper and on the field and this year they improved even more on paper. Willie's honeymoon is over and Gary Carter is moving up the food chain. He will manage high class A St. Lucie this year and could make things interesting.
"I'll be managing in Port St. Lucie this year and I'm looking forward to that," Carter said Saturday after participating in the 18th Annual Martin County Pro-Celebrity Skins Game. "It's one step closer to my goal of getting to the big leagues as a manager."
If Willie shits the bed this year and the Mets are down in the standing mid year, who knows. We all know Willie is not my most favorite manager and somehow spending his life around baseball did not properly prepare him to make obvious and sound decisions in 2005. He should be on thin ice if he gets off to an inauspicious start and makes curious decisions yet again with not only one, but two managers below him in the Mets system that very well could be better.
"I figure I'll give it a couple of years," Carter said. "Who knows, if I do a good job this year in St. Lucie maybe an opportunity will come next year. Even though I would like to stay in the Mets organization, they have to realize that there are 29 other teams out there.
"It's not what you know, but who you know. Look at (Florida Marlins first-year manager) Joe Girardi, he doesn't have any managerial experience, but he sat alongside Joe Torre and (Marlins' owner) Jeffery Loria took an interest and hired him."
Sad but true. Carter will most likely not be a manager for the Mets and many guys get hired not necessarily because what they know, but because they might have Yankee mystique that could magically rub off on their new team. Hopefully Omar took note of Mazzilli's failure as a manager and how he was over his head and relate that to Willie because this Met team should be the favorites to win the division and only Willie stands in their way.
The Future: The wraps come off Hughes in 2006. The Yankees will start him at high Class A Tampa, and he shouldn’t be there long. As he reintroduces his slider, he should become a starter with well-above-average control and above-average command who throws three plus pitches for strikes. In a different organization, a healthy Hughes could reach the major leagues in 2006. Instead, he should be in the mix for a rotation spot in New York in 2007—as long as he stays off the disabled list.
Just to point this out, the dude does not turn 20 until June. Just saying he might be able reach the Majors in 2006 if he was with another organization is pretty impressive. Hopefully the Yankees deal him in a desperation.