Keep Willie Randolph, Fire Rick Peterson

An article by posted on May 3, 2008

While many Mets fans are already calling for Willie Randolph’s head, don’t you think if anyone should be shown the door that it should be Rick Peterson and not Willie?

It’s so easy to hang everything on Willie, but the fact of the matter is that he never got a fair shake. Among many other different issues, he was not even allowed to choose his own pitching coach. I think it is critical to a managers success to surround himself with the guys he trusts the most, and that a managers coaching staff should be hand-picked by the manager and not by his bosses. Rick Peterson was shoved down Willies throat along with some of the other coaches. Who know’s… if not for Peterson we may have been able to get Mel Stottlemyre back.

I have some real problems with Rick Peterson. For some reason he seems to be more untouchable than Elliot Ness. Never do I hear his name mentioned as the Mets starters continue to work fewer innings and deliver poorer performances. Everyone jumped all over Willie during the latest debacle where Oliver Perez gave up seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings. Why shouldn’t Peterson share some of the blame.

If a pitchers performance was any kind of a barometer in measuring the impact and effectiveness of a pitching coach, then maybe the Mets should reconsider the active employee status of Rick ‘the jacket" Peterson.

I have nothing personal against the guy and everytime I’ve seen him during his many interviews, I found him to be a nice guy who really knows his stuff. But, that being said, his coaching style has been less than effective to put it mildly.

There is not much a pitching coach can do about veteran pitchers like Johan Santana or Pedro Martinez. Veteran pitchers rarely have much interaction with a teams pitching coach. A pitching coach is never going to have one of them change their conditioning habits, alter their delivery or ask them to add or drop a particular pitch. For a veteran pitcher, a pitching coach is part of his support group and a personal adviser and counsel during a tough stretch or a slump.

However, guys like John Maine, Oliver Perez, Joe Smith and Jorge Sosa are the the types of pitchers that a pitching coach will work extensively with. These are pitchers who are still growing and trying new things in hopes that it will elevate their performance. They rely on their pitching coach not only for support, but also as an instructor and teacher who can analyze all aspects of their game and help them make the necessary adjustments to improve their performance. Their success or failure sometimes hinges on their pitching coach.

In a nutshell… a great pitching coach will help the veteran pitchers "maintain" their level of success, and help the younger pitchers "find" their level of success. Sure there are some exceptions, but basically that’s the job.

When I look at the trends of John Maine and Oliver Perez so far this season, I see two pitchers who have regressed from last year. These two pitchers were both expected to build on their 15 win seasons, and instead they find themselves on a pace to win 12 games. They look less confident and their numbers are drastically worse than in April of 2007. This is totally unacceptable to me.

Peterson’s  obsession with pitch counts have led to an overused bullpen and an inability by the starters to pitch deep into ballgames. In fact, the Mets have not had a nine inning complete game since 2006. For the last four seasons, the Mets innings per start average has gone down. This is a disturbing trend.

Peterson first came into the spotlight when he boldly convinced Mets management to trade Scott Kazmir because he was at least three years away from reaching the major leagues, and that he could fix Victor Zambrano in 10 minutes. He was going to fix Guillermo Mota and Kris Benson too. He didn’t.

The Mets are in desperate need of a wake-up call. Hey Omar… I can fix the Mets in 10 minutes… fire Rick Peterson.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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