While appearing during his regular weekly spot with Mike Francesa on WFAN, Jerry Manuel sounded more like a general manager at times than he did a manager.
When asked if he was intrigued by any of the starting pitchers and if any one starting pitcher caught his eye as far as the 2010 rotation, Manuel gave no ringing endorsements, and instead he offered quite the contrary.
“I think the guys we have here now are good pitchers, but might not be guys that you would want to be starters over a period of time. I think you can spot some of them here and there if you needed an extra starter for a double header or something. To say that we have guys that would be considered for the rotation of a championship team? I think we gotta be careful about saying something like that.”
So who is he talking about? Redding? Figueroa? Pelfrey? Niese? Maine? Parnell?
Francesa followed that up and asked him if he had any confidence in Oliver Perez ever becoming a serviceable starting pitcher again?
“Well… (long pause) Because he’s done it once before, there’s always a possibility he can do it again. I believe that the knee did impact him alot, but I’m still concerned because I never saw the velocity that I wanted to see. Velocity is more important for Oliver than command. He can never be a command guy, so you need the velocity because hitters will need to make a decision early and hopefully swing at balls out of the zone. If he comes back with that same lack of velocity again, I would be very concerned.”
He was also asked about Maine and if he thought Maine’s problems were now behind him, and if he is back to being the effective pitcher he once was. Manuel said that Maine has not shown that he can be effective over the entire course of a game. He has had some good 15 pitch flashes, but hasn’t been able to maintain any longterm effectiveness beyond those 15 pitch glimpses. Hopefully a full and healthy spring training will help.
When asked what the core players could expect to see when they arrive for spring training next season, Manuel responded:
“I think they will probably not recognize a lot of the players when they go back to spring training. I think there will be a lot of different complimentary players coming in then the players we have. The guys that we’ve had have had a good shot, and they’ve had an opportunity, and for the most part they haven’t taken advantage of it. They didn’t get the job done.”
When Francesa responded that the Mets have so many players that most baseball people would never consider parts of a winning team, Manuel responded with his trademark response,
“No question. I would agree with that. There has to be upheaval. We, as a staff feel that we’ve put ourselves in the position to win most of the time, but we just didn’t have the people to put us over the top. This group will look very different from a complimentary aspect.”
Upheaval… That’s a good word to use when discussing this team moving forward. I’m a little surprised to hear Manuel say that and wonder what must have been running through Omar Minaya’s mind as he heard it. Hopefully, Omar was taking notes because Manuel is right. It would seem to me that Manuel threw down a challenge to Omar, and it will be interesting to see how all of this will play out.
Francesa also asked Jerry Manuel if there were any positives that he could take from the final third of the season. He responded by naming Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur.
“I think that despites some mistakes Angel Pagan has been a positive. He’s played a good leftfield and has been an asset in the leadoff spot. He can play all three outfield positions and I think in retrospect he has been somewhat of a positive.”
“Jeff Francoeur has been a positive. He has come here and brought a real good positive attitude. I like Francoeur, I really like Francoeur. He’s a gamer, but we gotta find a better way to attack when men are in scoring position. We have to cut down the area he is trying to cover as a hitter with men in scoring position. Once he does that and becomes a little bit more patient in that area, I think we’re gonna have a real, real, real good player. He’s a good teammate.”
It appears to me that Jerry Manuel’s game plan is quite simple…
1. Keep the core players: Wright, Beltran, Reyes, Santana, K-Rod.
2. Keep John Maine, Mike Pelfrey, Jeff Francoeur and Angel Pagan.
3. Dump everyone else.
He may have something there…