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Why Taking Jerry Off the Hot Seat is Smart



By Mike Silva ~ April 27th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

I originally circled this Thursday, April 29th as a day that we could see a possible managerial change with the Mets. This was two weeks ago as they embarked on a six game road trip after playing some lifeless baseball on the opening home stand. Even as late as a week ago it appeared that Jerry Manuel could still receive the ax before the end of April, but the 6-1 start to the home stand seems to have given him a stay of execution. After further thought I believe, short of things getting ugly in Queens, the Mets should ride Manuel out the rest of the season.

Why the change of heart? First, my concern he is managing for his job and putting the long term needs of the team second. I can’t blame him. Any of us would do the same if we were trying to save a job that only 30 people in the world are lucky enough to obtain. The use of Fernando Nieve nightly is perplexing, as only rain as given the guy a couple of days off. He has appeared in a league high 12 games, tied with Ramon Troncoso who pitches for noted “pitcher abuser” Joe Torre in LA. Nieve should ask Scott Proctor how his workload turned out for him. Jenrry Mejia is another curious case. Brought in to solidify the Mets bullpen, under polarizing debate may I add, he has become persona non grata in the Mets bullpen. Manuel has turned to Manny Acosta to get big outs for him making the decision even more dubious. If Mejia is not in the minors developing his secondary pitches then why have him in the big leagues? You could justify the decision if he is getting bit outs in a setup role, but mop up? That is what you could bring Bobby Parnell up to do. It’s unconscionable.

The second point is what will a managerial change do at this point? Bob Melvin does nothing to excite me, even if he brings more sensible bullpen management to the table. You also run the risk of making a band aid change into something more permanent (see Manuel). Bob Melvin is not a long term solution for this team. Bobby Valentine? I wouldn’t mind that move, but all the rumblings indicate the Wilpon’s are not enamored with Valentine Part Deux. Besides, Bobby will want to blow this thing up, essentially leaving no shot at winning in 2010. Also remember that sequels often don’t live up to the original billing. Look at Jacques Lemaire in New Jersey with the Devils as an example. The most logical candidate, in my opinion, who would be a great short term/long term candidate is Wally Backman. Again, this is a move that requires vision, guts, and out of the box thinking. None of those characteristics describe ownership so why would I believe it would happen? A good performance in Brooklyn could change things and probably is best for Wally and the Mets right now.

I propose giving Manuel the year and let him know he is safe right now. Take some pressure off the team and let’s see where this goes. Manuel is a good man and won’t embarrass the organization (see Jeff Torborg) by turning the clubhouse into a mess. Can Manuel screw up a .500 team? Who knows, maybe they rally around him and make some noise? Stranger things have happened in baseball. At the end of the year you could evaluate his performance, which if done properly, should result in the team not picking up his option and moving on to someone else. Hopefully knowing he will be around this year takes away the “Game 7″ managing we have seen thus far, although with Jerry Manuel you are never going to be short on wondering what he is doing on that bench.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Why Taking Jerry Off the Hot Seat is Smart

  1. Patrick

    That is a bit random to say that if done properly after the season his option would not be picked up anyhow. If the Mets made the playoffs this season, would you not pick up his option.

    I was not keen on the idea of putting Mejia in the bullpen, but the fan perception is all based on baseball cards, fading memories and hope that Mejia is going to be the next knock em dead starter, which is not something he has executed on much at any level.

    If the fall out of Joe Torre constantly making the playoffs and winning four world series is a disgruntled Scott Proctor, I’d sign up for that.

    The modern game is what it is, Manuel never had any trouble managing bullpens in chicago when his starting pitchers seemed to be able to pitch more than 5.1 innings with some frequency.

  2. Steve

    Mike,

    A good manager will give you the edge when you really need it to put you over the top. Unfortunately, for the last ten years or more, the Mets have had neither the player depth or good management to give them that final push. Look at Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. In the bottom of the ninth with no one out, runners on first and second, and the Mets down by two runs, Willie Randolph pinch hit Cliff Floyd (who made an out) instead of trying to bunt over the runners to set up an intentional walk to load the bases. A better manager would have helped in that game and many others that could have been the deciding factor in winning the division by one game in 2007 or 2008. So while Jerry may be a non-factor now, at some point he will not be the best person for the job.

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