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Thoughts on Cora’s Remarks

By Mike Silva ~ August 10th, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Mets.

Former Mets 2b Alex Cora had this to say on XM Radio with Jim Bowden:

Alex Cora told us that if they are building for 2013 or 2014…they should just come out and say it and then do it.

I realize Cora was a respected voice in the Mets locker room and I am one of the first proponents of how veteran leadership is necessary on a winning ballclub. However, it’s at the point where the cost of Cora’s leadership ($2 million dollar vesting option) and the stunted development of a kid (Ruben Tejada) made his dismissal necessary. Keeping Cora around would be lying to the fan base by sending the message they believe they are in a pennant race. We all know the reality of the situation.

The Mets have held onto players for “leadership” too long in the past. A perfect example of diminished cost of leadership would be Julio Franco. There is no doubt Franco was an important voice for the 2006 Mets team. I still point to how he facilitated the “Beltran vs. the fans” curtain call the first week of that season as a turning point. Franco was also a productive bench player that year. He hit over .300 with runners in scoring position and had 15 pinch hits. The following year he was an automatic out, yet Willie Randolph continued to rely on him late in ballgames. His veteran leadership at that point wasn’t worth the on the field detriment that he had become. Eventually the Mets realized this and cut bait mid season.

I disagree with Cora’s assessment of a “youth movement” as well. Earlier today I talked about how the Yankees have sprinkled in kids the last few years and could possibly add more in 2011. The Yankees have never had a youth movement, but have been able to incorporate a Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, David Robertson, and Joba Chamberlain into the mix over the past three seasons. In many ways the Mets are trying to do something similar with the additions of Ike Davis, Ruben Tejada, Josh Thole, and Angel Pagan.

Does subtracting Rod Barajas and Alex Cora from the mix affect chemistry? Absolutely, but the upside is only a few games because those players are not the future of the organization. Perhaps they could blame the manager for not being in the race- I suspect a competent manager would have this team about a half dozen games better- but the fact remains that we all believed this year was one of transition in the spring. I pegged them for 85 wins in and believe that’s where they ultimately will wind up.

There doesn’t have to be a “youth movement” or “veteran movement” on this team. What they need to do is give the right players an opportunity to contribute to the 25 man roster. Some will succeed, some will fail, but in the end they will wind up with supporting members that are productive and inexpensive. If they lack “leadership” during the process that is something they can address when the time is right. The Mets putting out a talented roster will do more for the fans than any empty statement.

The Mets need to focus on the talent on the field right now and worry about leadership after the fact. Right now they have a leadership void in the manager’s office that Alex Cora, Rod Barajas, Julio Franco, or even Derek Jeter can’t solve.

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4 Responses to Thoughts on Cora’s Remarks

  1. GravediggerHebner

    Do organizations routinely make specific mid-season proclamations that they are folding the tent on a particular season with an eye toward being relevant again 3 or 4 seasons down the road?

    I think Cora’s premise is flawed and based in sour grapes.

  2. Howard Megdal

    In a related note, “sub-.600 OPS” and “win now” are not connected concepts, Mr. Cora.

  3. DrSchnip

    Alex Cora was the worst player in the majors this year. Despite this, if Minaya had his way, he would be back next year with another contract extension. Alas, now that the Wilpons are penniless and Are barred by a debt covenant from adding payroll, he was released. This has nothing to do with a youth movement and everything to do with Ruben Tejada making the major league minimum. Get used to it, suckers!

  4. Mike Silva


    You are making assumptions about the debt covenant - you don’t know if this is the case. It’s a private company. I think your commentary reeks of anti Mets bias.

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