This is it guys. The final report card. And today, we’re gonna grade the Coaching Staff and the Management. It’s been a fun ride; these past two weeks have been a blast. Thank you Met fans for believeing and hearing what we have to say. We truly appreciate it.
Coaching Staff & Management
(Willie Randolph, Omar Minaya, Howard Johnson, Rick Peterson, Rickey Henderson, Sandy Alomar Sr., various others)
Ryan P. – This season was a questionable one for the Mets Staff. It started off well, like the team did, then turned mysterious from mid-season to the end of the season. A bunch of questionable calls by Willie, a few blunders by the base-coaches, and a bit of signing mistakes by Omar. Let’s start with the positives first. Willie has grown from last season, making a few veteran moves along the way. Omar signed some major players like Alou and Anderson while bringing up some rookies players like Joe Smith, Lastings Milledge, and Carlos Gomez. Rick Peterson has been a godsend for the Mets. He made Oliver Perez close to his dominant state in the early 00′s, and have made a lot of adjustments to the other pitchers like John Maine and Aaron Heilman. Rickey Henderson and the rest of the coaching staff made some plesant moves this season that contributed to the Mets success.
Now the negatives. Willie made a lot of shotty management this year. In some cases, he’ll leave a pitcher in longer than expected, he’ll go to his Mota man-crush every other game, and he’ll never suicide squeeze, or attempt a risky move. Instead, his decisions caused the Mets more than 5 games this season. Omar didn’t do a good job surrounding the team with good veterans. Scott Shoenwefjisdfweis struggled all season, along with Mota, and Ben Johnson. Remember him? Rickey Henderson wasn’t the impact the Mets needed this season. Many blamed him for the collapse of Jose Reyes. Overall, a mediocre season for the Mets management and coaching. Hopefully a big change will happen next year.
Grade: Management – B / Coaching – B-
Andrew V. – Willie has improved. Omar didn’t have the best season. The Jacket is a genius. HoJo is pretty good. And Rickey got greedy.
Willie Randolph has definetly become a better manager over the past year. The way he handles his pitchers is the biggest change I have seen. He is quicker to pull a struggling starter and try and stop the bleeding with someone out of the ‘pen. Unfortunately, most of the guys out of the pen were terrible this year, so it kept making Willie look foolish. Willie did lean on a few certain someones way too much, as they would consistently stink up the place, but would continue to get trotted out to the mound day after day.
Omars’ bench moves were great, but his pitching moves backfired big time. Signing Mota with the steroid allegation did not work out at all, Schoeneweis was pretty darn terrible, and Sele only pitched when there were at least 15 runs scored in a game. But moves like picking up Marlon Anderson mid season help counteract the poor pitching moves. Next year will be better…I hope.
Rick Peterson is doing as much as he can do with his young and old staff. He is trying to corral the young guys, trying to help them focus and learn, at the same time as he is trying to keep the old guys healthy and effective. I think he’s done a great job with Oliver Perez, who still gets into his own head and likes to try out new things, making him the kind of pitcher he is today, just the same with John Maine. To me, it seems as though working with the bullpen arms proves a much tougher task, as you really only have a limited amount of time to see them work on the mound in a game. He’s done a great job teaching the young guys and keeping the old guys pitching well.
HoJo was a nice addition to the squad, as we definitely saw the hitting improve when he joined the club. He has players stepping out of the box more, which throws off a pitchers rhythm. I think this might be one of the most effective things a batter can do to gain an advantage over a pitcher while in the box. Rickey Henderson tried to make his players steal too much. Thats my only qualm with him. He probably has great insight on the game and on stealing bases, something Reyes and Wright and many other speedy players could learn from. Who knows if he will be back next year.
All around, I think our staff was a little better than last year, with Willie learning the game a lot more, but with Omar’s questionable decisions and trades bringing the grade down a bit. I’d just like to thank Ryan for coming up with this idea and allowing me to write on this panel of great bloggers!
Grade: B (combined)
Brian M. - In 2007, Nothing changed about the way Willie and Omar managed from 2006. Willie was steady and Omar was smart. Until things took a turn for the worse, then Willie was slow and Omar was stupid. It’s funny how that works in New York. I would have given Willie and Omar an A+ in 2006. I give both of them an incredible, an amazing, amount of respect for not crumbling under the pressure, especially in the most pressure packed town there is. Omar didn’t trade the farm for fowl and Willie didn’t throw foul language. It says a lot about the two of them, maybe cause they were born and raised here or maybe that was simply how they were raised. That was fine for me.
The results were not there, but what else could Omar do? Luis Castillo was the most underrated trade of the year, killing two birds with one stone. Marlon Anderson was the pinch hitting sensation the Mets lacked. And who did you want Willie to pitch? Who did you want Willie to pitch in the 1st inning or in the 9th? Who did you want Willie to pitch in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 5th innings? They all stunk at the same time. Stop pitching Mota? Stop pitching Sosa? Wagner, Feliciano, and Heilman can only last so long. Questionable non-decisions could include not Joba’ing Humber to the pen, yes. But for every one of those there was a Damion Easley HR or a Jorge Sosa dominating start (how quick we forget).
So keep it the way it was in 2007 Willie, and work your magic Omar. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
It seemed like the majority of the Mets in 2007 had streaky seasons, played up and down, a better first half or a better second half. For whatever reason the coaching staff couldn’t get the team consistent. For every Rick Down firing there was HoJo to help a resurrection. For every HoJo, there was Ricky Henderson. And for every Joe Smith, there was another Joe Smith, for every John Maine and Oliver Perez there was a different side as well. Consistency of the team was my biggest concern and the coaching staff is there to help line p the tracks. That didn’t happen in 2007.
Grade: Management – A / Coaching – C
Jon C. – Sorry fans, I don’t like Willie’s ho-hum say nothing quiet confidence schtick anymore. Instead of getting his team to snap out of the September doldrums – he sat there expressionless. Instead of getting his team revved up for the home Phillies series, he sat there – expressionless. Quiet confidence works when your team is performing. Just once, I would’ve liked to see Willie get thro
wn out of a game – just to show he has a pulse. I won’t even get into his constant misuse of the bullpen and starting Green over Milledge- for the most part, Willie goes with his gut – and this season his gut was deadwrong.
For the most part – the coaches weren’t the problem in 2007. I will say, however, that Sandy Alomar’s constant waving in of runners to the plate was a constant crucial error in judgment. How many times can you think of was a rally cut short because Sandy Sr. sent Delgado or another slower runner home? HoJo did a great job all-around whether it was as first base coach or hitting coach. Rickey Henderson, as mentioned, must go. His "who cares" personality is a cancer in the clubhouse. Manuel does a decent job and Peterson for the most part did an admirable job getting the most from shaky starters.
Grade: Management – C / Coaches – B
Joe D. – Expectations were high for the Mets in 2007 after coming within one out of the World Series in 2006. The Mets had become so sure of themselves that even their slogan implied a World Series title. It was up to Omar Minaya and Willie Randolph to see this job through and achieve the ultimate goal. They both failed miserably. Both Omar and Willie took huge steps backwards in 2007 after consecutive years of forward progress. You can blame Omar for what he didn’t do, and Willie for what he did do.
Omar knew fully well what the Mets shortcomings were heading into 2007, but decided to go with what he had for his starting rotation, a rotation that seemed flat and ill-equipped by most experts before the season even started. Omar also failed to keep the National League’s best bullpen intact and traded away all of the team’s depth in the minors in a series of bad trades. He then replaced key relievers Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver with Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis, who were both signed to lucrative deals even after one of them (Mota) tested positive for steroids. Now Schoeneweis may face a suspension for steroids as well. Omar’s job security suffered a major blow and he must salvage his credibility with a big off season this winter and a division title in 2008.
Willie, Willie, Willie… there’s so much I want to say, and so little space to do it in. The honeymoon is definitely over between the Mets and Willie Randolph. His laid-back style has led to may questions about whether he is too soft to lead the team. Some of the younger players seemed to test his authority as they made numerous lackadaisical plays and baserunning decisions. There were also some grumblings from the veteran players who had hoped for a stronger show of support from Randolph on the field. His bullpen and starting pitching management has some serious flaws, and some wonder if he can even improve in those areas. His in-game strategy is among the least aggressive in the National League and he is frequently outmanaged by the opposition. He is a 6-game losing streak away from being replaced. If the Mets don’t hit the ground running in April, Willie may hit the road in May.
I don’t put much credence between a team’s performance and their coaching staff. But, I do have some issues with some of the coaches on this squad. Rick Peterson has somehow managed to avoid any blame for the collapse despite presiding over the team’s two biggest failures; starting pitching and the bullpen. Oliver Perez and Peterson butted heads all season long, while Mike Pelfrey looked worse after implementing many of Peterson’s so-called fixes. Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis should not be blamed on Peterson, but Joe Smith’s lack of improvement showed Peterson’s obvious disconnect with all of the young pitchers.
Adding Rickey Henderson to the staff was the absolute worst move for a team that was already suffering from an inability to execute and play at full throttle. His presence simply accentuated the hidden flaws on the team and made them more pronounced. On a team who is desperately looking for leadership, Henderson was the last thing this team needed.
Firing Rick Down, showed how immature Omar Minaya could be at times. He said he thought the team needed a spark and some motivation and he wasn’t happy with their approach at the plate. The truth is he needed a scapegoat and Down was it. If he wanted to add a spark, he should have traded for a pitcher at the deadline rather than firing Rick Down. The rest of the staff is very capable and I would expect to see most of them return in 2008.
Grade: Management – C / Coaches – B-
Again, from the staff of Mets Merized, we’d like to thank you for sharing your opinions this year and especially hearing ours for the entire season. We’d like you to stay tuned for the off-season for any breaking news and any blogs that may interest you.
I’ll be writing a follow-up blog with all the grades later this week. Stay tuned!