Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Why NOT Fire Willie?

So Willie is coming back to the Mets in '08, thus ending the rampant speculation he would take the rap for the Mets' epic collapse. According to his GM, Omar Minaya, Willie's done a heckuva job:

“I think that what Willie Randolph has done the last three years speaks for itself. I think, on the other hand, my relationship with Willie is very good, but I do believe that the way we lost, I have to sit down with ownership and tell them how I think.”

Ahh… So if we understand Omar correctly, he thinks Willie is keen, but if those Wilpons want him outta there, well, far be it from Omar to tell the boss what to do. All it really means, of course, is that if Willie’s Mets don’t get an invite to the post-season party in 2008 then Willie can pick up his check at the front desk on his way out.

But that leads to the inevitable question: why not just fire Willie now? What, exactly, has he done over these “last three years” that makes him so special? The Mets have the third-highest payroll in baseball so winning is sort of expected, no? It’s not like he led the Pirates into the playoffs... once.

As for the rest of his résumé, this is a guy who was placed at the helm of a franchise in the country’s biggest market without a single day of managerial experience. Not in Kansas City, not in AAA, not even in A-ball. I’ve heard time and again about all the experience Willie gained from his time as a Yankees coach. Let me tell you: sitting next to the guy driving the bus is not the same thing as driving the bus. I’m sure any Mets fan would have no trouble rattling off a dozen or so questionable moves Willie has made, especially during this slide of all slides. Can the Mets really afford a manager who's learning on the job?

Look, if you think Willie is a good manager who's only getting better, keep him. If, on the other hand, you're among the many who could go either way, who think that 2008 will tell the Willie Randolph story -- redemption or recrimination -- then why not cut bait now? As Joe Torre proved, a manager is generally only as good as his players (See his early-90's Cardinals vs. his late-90's Yanks). Willie had arguably the National League's most talented roster and managed to grind them into the dirt. That's potential? When we're back here in October '08 reading all the post-mortems on Willie's managerial career, remember where you heard it first.

No comments: