A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Willie's World?

Willie Randolph is in the second year of a three year contract and the media is beating the 'give Willie a raise' drum.

"At the end of the year we will review things," general manager Omar Minaya said. "Willie has done a very good job."

How good?

Well, after yesterday's doubleheader sweep of Atlanta, 4-1 and 8-0, the Mets have a 20 1/2-game lead on their longtime tormentors.

Randolph is making $600,000 in the second season of a three-year deal, and Minaya prefers not having a lame-duck manager.

That would create a distraction, as would beginning negotiations three weeks before the playoffs.

"That's why we will wait until after the season," Minaya said. "It was a little different with the players. The timing was right. We're very happy with the job Willie has done."

Is Willie a very good manager? Or is Willie just a good manager on a very good team. Omar is the architect that put together this team and made some tremendous and unforeseen acquisitions. Omar has made countless moves that turned out better than anyone could have ever imagined and he has made some moves that have serious upside for the Mets future. Yesterday's double header sweep was indicative of that.

Dave Williams has been spectacular as the Mets have won all four games he has started and he went six innings yesterday on only 72 pitches. Williams was on track for a complete game, but there was no need to push him and Willie wanted to get some other arms in the action. In game two, another one of Omar's mid-season acquisitions threw a complete game shutout. Oliver Perez pitched a gem and only walked one batter.

Who are those wins more attributable to? Managers do deserve some credit. However, if Jim Tracy was managing this team instead of Willie, would the Mets not be so dominant? I'm sure everyone has probably seen the article of Sports Illustrated Player's Poll in which Willie was voted as the sixth worst manager in baseball. Does it mean much? It is only 6% of 470 players and Ozzie Guillen was one of the worst and one of the best while Buck Showalter, Eric Wedge, and Mike Scioscia landed on the worst list despite being regarded as good managers. If Valentine was still around, I'd bet he would be on the worst list too.

The list is tainted because it is clear that guys who tend to rub people the wrong way were voted the worst simply because they didn't have many fans amongst the players while there are certainly people on there because they do in fact suck. Weeding through the two groups is the tough part. Willie seems like an affable guy and it is certainly curious as to his inclusion on the list because his team is doing so well this season. Should the Mets extend him? It will be hard not to after this season, but I still have my doubts whether he is the long term guy for this team with two managers that could be better than him in their own system. However, as long as Omar is here working his magic, whatever deficiencies Willie might have may continue to be masked, but I would still like to see his entire contract play out before he starts getting extended for five years or something like that at major dollars.

* * *

  • Steve Popper likes Jose Reyes....a lot.

    He is the engine that makes the Mets go. He gets on base and chaos begins. But he is no punch-and-judy speedster. He has already put up 16 home runs this season and shows at 23 years old the sort of potential to fill out and rival the sort of power that Alfonso Soriano grew into.

    He is the force on the Mets that throws fear into opposing managers.

    But he smiles all the time. To Mets fans, it’s a love of the game. To the opposition, it’s a taunt.

    He knows.

    You can’t stop him.

    And you’re scared.

    He says Reyes is the team's MVP and a good case can be made since he has been so good.

  • Four no hitters and two World Championships in thirteen years for the Marlins to no no hitters and two World Championships for the Mets in forty four years.

    "I told myself, 'Now is when you have to pitch because [Byrnes] can change everything,'" Sanchez said.

    A 95-mph fastball on his 102nd delivery. Swing and a miss. A slider that Byrnes hit sharply, but on the ground to shortstop Hanley Ramirez. The sequence felt like an eternity.

    Pitch. Contact. Catch. Set. Throw. Out. No-hitter.

    The deal for Beckett and Lowell is looking worse and worse for Boston as Josh is sitting there with a 5.11 ERA while Sanchez is looking like a bonafide stud and Ramirez is looking like a future All-Star....not a starting All-Star though because we all know Reyes has that locked up for a while.

  • Mulder is done for the year.

    New York Mets orthopedist Dr. David Altchek examined Mulder on Wednesday morning and reached a conclusion "consistent" with that of Cardinals medical supervisor Dr. George Paletta, according to the club's statement. Paletta spoke pessimistically about Mulder's chances of pitching again this season after performing an MRI exam on the shoulder Aug. 30.

    I wonder if Carpenter can start every game?

  • Here is a disturbing quote:

    “I almost feel like if I give up a run, my behind’s going back to the minors,” Bell said. “I keep going up and down. It’s like, do they want me to be part of the team or not? What’s the deal?”

    He is dead on. When he was up in the bigs, you got the feeling one hit...one run...he was back down at Norfolk.

  • Baseball America had a article about some minor league affiliation changes and had some interesting tidbits, but they did echo what we all knew, the Mets run with the Norfolk Tides could be over at the end of the season.

    Both the Mets and Yankees have their longtime International League affiliations expiring this year as well, in Norfolk and Columbus, respectively. The Nationals will also be looking for a new Triple-A affiliate, after two seasons in New Orleans, as will the Orioles after four seasons in Ottawa.

    With the Nationals looking for a new AAA affiliate, isn't Norfolk a logic choice?

    "We're hopeful that we'll be back and work something out with them," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said yesterday.

    Virginia native David Wright would like to see Norfolk stick around. He said his family still goes to games.

    "Those were some of my favorite baseball childhood memories, was going out to Met Park and going out to Harbor Park and seeing the Tides play. That's why I grew up a Met fan. That's why I have this infatuation with this organization," Wright said, adding, "definitely it'd be sad to go, and I think that the whole Hampton Roads and Tidewater community would be sad to see those guys go."

    I for one would be sorry to see that affiliation end, but it will boil down to money I'm sure.

  • Fucking Ponderous....

    There is perhaps another underlying factor in Smoltz's frustration right now, and that is the Braves' reluctance so far to pick up his $8 million option for next year.

    Though nobody believes the Braves will decline the option after the season, Smoltz is miffed they haven't made an exception from team policy for him considering all the concessions he's made to them over the years. For starters, he agreed to forego being one for four seasons, 2001-2004, because the Braves had no closer.

    Why not treat him like royalty? The Braves are getting a bargain and a half next season and it really seems like the Braves are just handling this wrong.

  • Dayn Perry gushes about the Mets...

  • Glavine secretly wants to be a Brave again.

    "I don't think it's a lock that they're going to pick up my option," Glavine said. "So I've allowed myself to at least think about it a little bit. I've been pretty up front since January that there are only two places that I want to play next year. So there's not a whole lot of guesswork involved there."

    While not mentioning the other place by name, Glavine indicated with a smile, "I've been there before."

    Glavine, who pitched in

    It really should not be a surprise and I'm still up in the air as to whether it makes sense to actually bring him back with the stable of arms the Mets have amassed and the possibility of Barry Zito being a target of Omar in the off season.

  • Let's not go crazy here. USA Today went over the top prospect for every team and named Mike Carp as the Mets top prospect.

    New York Mets: 1B Mike Carp : The left-handed hitter batted .287 this season at high-A St. Lucie and displayed the power (17 homers, 88 RBI in 137 games) the Mets liked when they drafted him out of high school in 2004. Carp, 20, worked on going to all fields this year. He has 107 strikeouts in his first 491 at-bats, but the Mets believe he'll get a better grasp on the strike zone.

    As good as he has been this year and as much as he has raised his stock, it would be hard to put him in front of Phil Humber, Mike Pelfrey, Fernando Martinez, and Deolis Guerra.

  • Thank you Jerry.

    The front office might have greater concerns over the biggest winner on the staff. Steve Trachsel, whose 14-6 record is largely a reflection of the league's best run support, walked seven Atlanta hitters in 4 1/3 innings Monday. If Trachsel continues to pitch like this, it'll be hard to justify starting him ahead of Orlando Hernandez or John Maine in the playoffs.

    Someone inject some reasoning into this situation...for the love of everything that is holy, puppy dogs, and Oprah....inject some reasoning into this situation.

  • Da Edge is hungry.

    "A lot of guys who play 10, 15 years never get the chance to be in the postseason," Milledge said Tuesday before the Braves-Mets game was rained out. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader at 1 o'clock today at Shea Stadium.

    "I want to be a part of it," Milledge said. "I'm trying to work hard and help the team."


    Blogger warmsox said...

    No mention of how incredibly different Ollie's mechanics were yesterday?

    Someone got through to him and his leg kick was only about half as high, almost like he was pitching from the stretch the entire game and he was more accurate, more consistent and absolutely devastating.

    I guess Peterson is trying to live up to the "10 minutes" comment but with Ollie rather than Zambo.

    Though he was still swinging for the fences every time up.

    12:09 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Willie won't take Milledge to the playoffs because he won't play him, so if I was Lastings, I'd forget about it. Just the fact that there is this question about Maine in the playoffs gets me going.

    Willie is an okay manager, really it is more fair to say he is a much improved manager. I still think it is too early to say whether he is a great manager given what he has to work with - there are certain signs of obstinacy that I have never liked, notably the complete disregard for any young player not considered a top prospect, a certain Yankee-like quality I regret to say. Joe Girardi is more clearly showing the inklings of being a great manager given the situation he is working with and more than relative youth of his team's components. But there again, I say it's too early to tell.

    Omar deserves so many and major accolades. This is his team. While I hesitate to decry Randolph a good manager, it's way clear that Omar is the very very. His small moves can be lethal to the competition:

    -take Jae Seo for Duaner
    -take Oliver Perez as a throw in/dealbreaker or for that matter
    -take John Maine as a throw in/ dealbreaker
    -take Williams from the Reds for Robert Manuel if I am correct
    -take Endy, Valentin, Chris Woodward, etc.

    Omar may be GM but at heart he is a scout. He's well aware of what he's acquiring.

    And Perez could be his solution to the loss of Kazmir. It is hard not to imagine the guy slotting into the Zambrano role for next year, except that is it very clear that OPie thinks like a pitcher whereas Zambrano didn't seem capable.

    Give credit to Mr. Ten Minutes as well. He's having a wonderful effect on the younger pitchers in the organization and I think that's a trend that will continue.

    Would NY put up with the Mets letting Glavine go this close to 300 wins? The more you look at the team's starting pitching depth, the more I question whether they need to be pitching three guys worth more than $12 million a year. What if the Mets just let False Teeth go and slotted Zito in his place? Between Maine, Perez, Bannister and Williams - not to forget Pelfrey & Humber who likely could use another half season in the minors - the argument is there that the Mets can afford to conserve payroll, especially with their offense.

    12:20 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Warmsox...I didn't watch the game. I listened to the first, but nothing of the 2nd. I am upset. I'll defer to everyone else on Oliver. Great to hear what you said though, really encouraging.

    Though he was still swinging for the fences every time up.

    How do you not love the guy at the plate?

    DG...great point on Willie and young guys. Before I wrote the piece, I wanted to mention the entire bit about him having his guys and I left that out, but I also left out his allergy to some young guys and boner for vets...Girardi is showing better signs no doubt.

    And while Willie is improved, is it smart to extend him at like five years $6 mill? Like you said, it is too early to tell, but isn't that the reason they should let his three year contract play out? The Mets owe him nothing. He's getting paid and no one else hired him in like 11 interviews. They both had their agreement in place, look at it once it is done.

    Omar's biggest knock was can he do the small moves? I think it is clear the dude can make the small moves.

    Ollie P will be the #5 starter in 2007 and may very well end up being the #2 or #3. Pedro...Maine....Zito...Ollie...whoever? Not bad. Some exerpience and some youth...great blend. You can substitute Glavine for Zito if you want to keep him, still a very solid rotation with HUGE upside.

    I love Ricky P. He got a bad wrap for Zambrano, but if you give him a good healthy pitcher with a good arm and some brains, he turns it around. Look at the bullpen depth! That has to go to him. The retreads he has turned around. Screw Willie...extend Peterson at five years five mill.

    I agree with you man. No need to have three guys making $12 mill plus with the young arms they have. Roll the dice, and let Glavine go with his $3 mill and another championship and get his 300th in Atlanta like he really wants to do anyway.

    I am big on conserving payroll for a rainy day and letting Glavine walk may end up being the right thing to do. But ultimately, I think if he wants to come back, he will be back.

    12:42 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Hey guys, most of you have said what I wanted to say already...But like Mike, I agree 100% with what he says about Soul Glo...screw Willie Wonker, and extend Peterson. Nuff said. I think we don't get Zito if he's not extended (correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his contract is up at the end of the year).

    And as I told Omar to his face...I will never ever ever doubt him. Never.

    12:50 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Peterson is up at the end of the year I do believe.

    And as I told Omar to his face...I will never ever ever doubt him. Never.

    Awesome. I love it.

    As I was walking through the city yesterday, I saw a loud orange t-shirt that could only be a Mets shirt. As I walked by, I turned to confirm that it was in fact a Mets t-shirt jersey type shirt with no name on the back and it was on the body of one Viggo Mortensen. It is good to know Strider is a Met fan. He is now my most favorite actor and he appears to have good taste.

    12:56 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Hopefully, Viggo isn't a "convenient" Mets fan...you know, those "Yankee" fans who are like "You know, I don't *hate* the Mets," who are thus the safety net for these blowhards rooting for a winning team.

    Meanwhile, you know they were wearing San Fran Giants caps in 2002 when they were in the series. yes, that is a reference to a true story.

    Sorry about that rant. Convenient Mets fan piss me off.

    1:02 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    The shirt looked decently weathered, but I was too busy being lost in his eyes to really tell.

    Well, the Giants have a link back here as to the Dodgers, so they get a minor past, but many fans are convenient ones because who wants to root for loser? I guess the easy answer to that one is Mets fans 1991 through 1997 and 2001 through 2004.

    1:06 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Not me! I almost gave up on baseball during those year, rather than root for someone else. The only time I rooted for another team, actually two times in my life...for the Marlins in the 2003 WS, and during the 2004 ALCS for the Sox. In 2003, I surprised someone by saying I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan...I became obsessed with their history that year. Other than that...It's never been convenient to root for the Mets. Except when I was 10, in 1986...but I was following them since 1980 (Steve Henderson HR anyone?), and definintely started to pay attention in 1983 with Mex's trade.

    1:26 PM

    Anonymous PDNH said...

    Hey coop, was that the 3-run walk-off by Henderson? I think it was against the Giants.

    1:32 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da Computer Science Class said...

    I think that Willie is on ok manager but... everybody, especially the players love and you HAVE to keep around because of that.

    To bad there aren't alot of "Marlins" fans to enjoy the WS victories and all the no-no's.
    "Animal" Sanchez...

    Fuck gotta go... I'll finish up my comments later...

    1:40 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    last year willie aggravated me, but this year i do give him credit. i'm not calling him a genius, but he does run a tight ship, is respected/loved like Benny says, and presumably he (and his assistants) coaches well, as the team is fundamentally swell. all of these things are arguably much more important that the in game moves and statements to the media, which are really all any of us can go on.

    i'm also big on the jacket and his bullpen coach, who sounded awesome when they interviewed him during a game a while back. and rick down has produced.

    of course, all these guys were also hired by omar, hail hail.

    1:55 PM

    Anonymous Coop said...

    Jake - wasn't Soul Glo hired by the Duquette regime, or wait...wasn't it Phillips -- whoever was here when Grandpa Art was mgr (shudder). Correct me if I'm wrong, Soul Glo's tenure is longer than Omar's, isn't it? Yeah, it was "Fix him in ten minutes" pre-dated Omar. Never mind, just answered my own questions.

    And pdnh, I think so...I was only like 4 when that happened, but I remember it because my dad decided that we were definitely going to the game the next day. My mom (not the best driver) got us lost in Chinatown and I ended up eating McDonald's that night as a consolation prize. Oh well. My first "for the record" game was versus the Astros, Sunday, May 8, 1984. Stros won that contest, 10-2. Yay.

    2:15 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Obsessed with the Brooklyln Dodgers? Interesting. I was always a Met fan, though there were times that I was too...um...occupied with other stuff during my formative years to care much about the goings on of baseball while my teams was mired in stinkiness.

    Following them in 1980? Impressive. I was two during that season and you couln't be older than four. When I was four I was busy burning things and playing with toys.

    Benny, you can keep him, but let it all play out. I think him as slam dunk manager for the next ten years is a bit premature. He still irks me a lot. Jake make a great point that he has the team being fundamentally swell. Particularly on defense and on the bases. They are such a well rounded team and that is a testament to him, but before you extend him, see how he does in year #3. Does he follow it up? Does he get better? I have not seen enough.

    To bad there aren't alot of "Marlins" fans to enjoy the WS victories and all the no-no's.
    "Animal" Sanchez...

    Sad...funny...and true.

    Soul Glo was here pre-Omar.

    2:23 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    HA! Check out the SI link on that is on SportsSpyder....

    From article...

    Across town, the Mets are 16 games up and always sticking things in each other's lockers.

    Is that what the kids are calling it these days? I knew they were close, but not that close.

    2:28 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Sneaking in a comment. Props to the St. Lucie Mets for beating the Cardinals last night.
    One step closer to the FSL championship if I'm not mistaken.

    2:32 PM

    Anonymous alias said...

    willie is a passable manager at best. i think one of the best things to happen to him (outside of a resurgent beltran, delgado, wright, reyes and omar minaya)was adding bench coach jerry manuel. he and willie really seem to click. willie needs as many bright confident guys around as possible.

    also, unrelated, james blake, of tennis fame, put on a beltran jersey after winning yesterdays match and in the interview proclaimed himself a lifelong mets fan. maybe that will help him tonight against federer. couldnt hurt.

    3:27 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    I don't necessarily mind the "convenient" Met fans, because that is a sign that our team is becoming Big-Time. That being said, I will definitely start to mind these people when they grab all the good playoff tickets.

    I agree whole-heartedly on Willie. Yes, he has improved, but I certainly wouldn't call him "great." We will get a better sense during the postseason when every move is so crucial and will be under intense scrutiny.

    4:11 PM

    Anonymous Doug Mientkiewicz said...

    Willie's a terrible manager. He didn't play me enough!

    4:40 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Viggo is the real deal. Here is an interview he gave with SI back in 2004.


    He goes back to 1969 when he was 11 yrs old and moved to America.

    Its amazing. Mets fans have relatively few fans among celebrities since most show business people are unbelievably shallow and of course being shallow are more likely to be Yankee fans.

    However the celebrity Mets fams are pretty cool. Add Blake into the mix and you add another cool celb to a list that is made up of celebrities with some balls, (Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Tim Robbins etc) not pretty boys like Billy Crystal who root for the Yanks.


    4:47 PM

    Anonymous KB said...

    This is getting way off topic but I saw a picture of Julia Stiles once wearing a Mets belly shirt. I think it was from 2001. I don't know for sure if she's a real fan or not, but she automatically became my favorite actress of all time.

    Here's link to one such picture, but there were better ones...


    5:15 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    Julia Stiles is an official, real deal Mets fan. So she moved up like 2 points on her hotness meter.

    Also to finish up my thoughts/comments.
    I think Bell should be traded. It'll only be fair to him. Plus, he's replacable. If he does well for another team it'd be one of those "aww man, oh well" type of attitude.

    Milledge should be able to replace Anderson Hernandez for the playoff roster. A-Hern is USELESS with the bat.
    Milledge can run and has a better opportunity to hit the damn ball than A-Hern.
    The Mets would have Woodward as the 2nd base backup. GOod enough for me...

    5:52 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    I saw Julia Styles on the #7 train once when I was arriving at Shea. I've also seen pictures of her at the ballpark for various charity and promotional things. That Mets' half-shirt (from one of those MTV awards shows, I think) was one of the hottest outfits I've ever seen on a girl.

    Don't forget about MC Search of Third Bass fame. He is often featured on Mets Weekly on SNY. Isn't Ray Romano a fan as well? And Mayor Bloomberg (I also saw him on the #7 platform in full Mets regalia on Opening Day 2004.)

    6:01 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    No way I add "hotness" points to a woman who's a Mets fan (sorry Benny), but a woman who likes the Yankees is a stone cold dog faced nonentity within seconds. It's like, "are you daft or what?"

    7:18 PM

    Blogger ajsmith said...

    Willie is not my favorite manager of all time. His in-game decisions are pretty questionable, and his obstinacy and defensiveness drive me a little insane.

    How much does he have to do with the amazing chemistry on this club? Hard to say. The roster is packed with good, smart guys who seem to really enjoy playing with one another. A manager can screw that up, sure, and Willie hasn't done that, so that's something.

    There's a good argument to be made that things are going so well with this club, you don't want to change anything major (like the manager). If I were Omar, and even if I didn't think Willie was all that good, I'd be nervous about rocking this boat.

    In the end, let's see how Willie manages in the postseason. If he costs us with his moves (starting Trachsel would be one easy way to do that) then you think about not extending him. If he doesn't, I think you have to at least give him the money - and if he's simply a right place right time guy, you fire him later and eat the contract.

    11:27 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The reason to keep Hernandez on the post season roster is that besides him Woodward is the only guy who can play the Infield, if god forbid, 2 starting infielders go down in a series, there is absolutely no one who could fill in if Anderson Hernandez is not on the roster.

    If an OF'er gets hurt you have Chavez or Tucker in addition to Milledge to fill in.

    My post-season bench players if they carry 11 pitchers asexpected are:

    DiFelice (if Castro is healthy I'd definitely prefer him(

    Milledge would provide more value, but if we lose two infielders,we're screwed.

    Mets did a similar thing in '86. They took Kevin Elster in the post-season despite the fact that he was like 20 yrs old at the time and could not hit a lick, but no one else could play SS reliably.

    12:56 PM


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