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Manuel Extension? Remember how Isiah Worked Out?

By Mike Silva ~ June 21st, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Back in March of 2007 the Knicks spent about five minutes in a playoff spot when James Dolan awarded then Coach Isiah Thomas with a multiyear contract extension taking him off the hot seat. We all know how badly that turned out as Thomas was fired two years later for bad performance on and off the court. The Mets recent hot streak has put Jerry Manuel in a better light after being days away from the unemployment line about a month ago. Earlier today Jon Heyman of SI suggested that Manuel deserves an extension since “he fostered a positive vibe around the team.” I respect Jon’s opinion, but have to disagree with him on this one.

This team still has a lot to prove. Sure, Jerry has fostered a positive vibe and the club hasn’t given up when things look bad, but is he the right man for the job long term? He was the driving force behind the stunted growth of Jenrry Mejia, hasn’t mastered rudimentary bullpen management, and is just a couple of months removed from asking his team to “compete” on a road trip. On Friday he nearly threw away a game by bringing Raul Valdes into the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium with a 4 run lead. This is classic managing to the save rule. In short, Manuel is a strategic “Pandora ’s Box” that I fear will derail the Mets by season’s end.

I believe Manuel has done a nice job keeping this team together during a difficult period in franchise history. He was the right “interim manager” when Willie Randolph was dismissed in 2008. Is it the right man for the long term? No, not in an organization that has other managerial prospects with higher upside such as Wally Backman and Tim Teufel. Want another Isiah Thomas scenario? Give Manuel a contract extension and cognitive dissidence will soon ensue.

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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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10 Responses to Manuel Extension? Remember how Isiah Worked Out?

  1. Stu B

    I don’t disagree with you about not being so quick to give Manuel an extension, but he doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with Thomas – nobody does. Isiah’s in a (lack of) class by himself.

  2. Patrick

    If the Mets make the playoffs this year, he has to be given an extension.

    Not some unreasonable over reaching one. But he will deserve one never the less.

    I don’t hold the same promise as most fans do for Backman or Tuefel. I believe there is far too much gravitation toward them based on their playing days in a Met uniform. Fact is if they never played for the Mets no one would be sitting back and wondering if we could only get them in our organization.

    Isiah Thomas is a moron. Dolan is a bigger one though.

  3. RonOK

    I have never been a huge fan of Manuel — he just makes too many decisions that I find odd and he can really burn out a bullpen …. however, as a person I like him.

    I have no appetite for extending him as manager …. frankly, I think the Mets would be best served if he were a coach …. realizing that won’t happen now, I just would love to have all talk of extensions cease and dissist and hope the Mets bring Bobby Valentine back.

    It’s June 21 and there are 93 games to go …. the Mets could fade miserably and finish in 4th or 5th place … they could go on a torrid pace and run away with the division … or they could stay in the hunt and we could even see yet another collapse in September …. who knows?

    I do believe that what the Mets recent hot streak has done is buy Jerry more time and he has eliminated any chance of an in-season firing …. to go so far as to actually extend him would be foolish.

  4. GravediggerHebner

    I despise Manuel less than most people but even I don’t think now is the time for an extension.

    As Patrick says above, if the team makes the playoffs he deserves a small one, but not until then.

    I would add the best way to avoid managers playing to the save rule is to eliminate the stat. Until then, closers will exist and will expect to be utilized primarily in save situations.

    KRod is already an emotional guy prone to lash out at any perceived injustice. You’re asking Manuel to disturb the “positive vibe” that Heyman credits him with.

    Manuel might be more deserving of an extension in your eyes (and those of many others) had he brought KRod in with a 4 run lead but is it worth losing the tenuous respect of his tempestuous closer for a noble cause far more important to people outside his locker room than within it? I think not.

    It’s OK for you or I to disdain him, it’s not for his key players to do so.

  5. Trolley

    Sorry, the manager does not make that much of a difference in baseball. It’s an individual sport played by 9 guys at a time (except for the fake player in the AL) and the team with the best 9 will win more than not over 162 games (game to game ther are of course serious variations). You can’t force all the action through one player like basketball, Hockey and Football. So as long as he is not benching the wrong guy, he’s going to be ok. That being said…I’d rather have an interesting guy like Jerry over an automaton like Randolph any day.

    For those of you that are Torre fans…think about how much better of a manager he was with the Yankees and Dodgers (with all that talent) than he was with the Mets, Braves & Cards. And for those of you that believe in Chemistry. The 70s Yankees all hated each other and the same for the 70s A’s…but they won anyway….because they were the most talented teams.

  6. Unclemario

    If the manager does not make that much of a difference in baseball, then explain Ozzie Guillén , the man who followed Manuel in Chicago?

  7. Calvin

    Why are you comparing Manuel to Thomas, you racist piece of s-h-i-t? Your mindset is what led the Nets to fire back-to-back NBA Finals coach, Byron Scott, and retain the mediocre Lawrence “Can’t Get Past the First Round” Franks for so many years. Every black coach is deemed an incompetent failure unless he wins a championship. Try applying the same standard to every manager who hasn’t achieved the same success as Manuel and every team save one will be turning over a new manager every year. What makes you think Teuffel and Backman have a better upside? Have you seen them in action or is it the lack of melanin in their skin?

  8. Dave

    Wow, you sound really hostile, Calvin. It’s wrong to put Manuel in the same class as Thomas, but everything is not always about racism.

  9. birtelcom

    I’m not sure why failing to bring in an elite closer with a four run lead in the 9th inning is poor strategy. An elite closer is a limited resource who can’t pitch every single day. A team that has a four run lead in the ninth inning is very likely to win regardless of whether the team’s elite closer pitches. It seems generally to be sensible strategy therfore not to use the elite closer with a four run lead in the ninth — the next few games are likely to be closer than that and be more appropriate settings to use the ace reliever. Certainly there are cases where managers choose relievers based on save stats even where it is a bad thing to do from a game strategy point of view. But this particular case doesn’t seem like one of them.

  10. Trolley

    Uncle mario….the White Sox were more talented at the time Ozzie took over…that’s why they won!

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