It’s finally here: The end of the infamous 2009 Mets campaign, one that will certainly go down as one of the bleakest and disappointing seasons in Mets history. One that was projected to be glory filled (SI predicted we would be World Champs this year…) Whether you blame it on injuries, ineptitude, or the lack of depth we have, one thing was clear across the board- the Mets lacked fundamental baseball skills throughout the entire season.
Where does one hone in these fundamental skills? One might ask, the answer is quite simply- your coaches. According to Dictionary.com a coach is defined as: “a person who trains an athlete or a team of athletes.” Wait…? That’s what a coach does? As a Mets fan I thought they just waved runners home over and over again and taught hitters how to hit less homeruns. You learn something new every day.
A coach is hired by an organization to make the players on the field even better by teaching their craft to the roster. The 2009 Mets had no coaches as far as I’m concerned. Whether it was Angel Pagan making another mishap, or Ryan Church missing third base, or David Wright making a base running error, or Daniel Murphy playing left field every day, or Luis Castillo missing a routine pop-up, or David Wright not hitting homeruns anymore, or Mike Pelfrey seemingly forgetting how to pitch, the Mets made error after error throughout the season, and no visible correction was made.
Before the season started, I backed Jerry Manuel 100%. I truly believed he had the right intangibles and coaching style for this team. I liked how he seemed to have a presence around the clubhouse, and the savvy way he handled the media. But, as this season has shown us, the end of the 2008 season was an illusion. The Mets did not play well because of Manuel’s coaching style, but rather simply because Willie Randolph was no longer at the helm.
That being said, it’s time for an overhaul.
Fire Jerry, fire Warthen, fire Sandy Alomar, and most of all fire Razor Shines. The Mets need a change at the helm; they need someone who will energize a team that seems to have slipped into a relaxed apathy that has stretched for the better part of two seasons.
My personal choice (and most likely the best choice) to manage the Mets in 2010 is also a pipe dream. I fully support brining back Bobby Valentine to coach the Mets. He knows the town, knows the media, the fans love him, and is an energetic guy who loves to win and gets the most out his players. But unfortunately I do not find it likely that the Mets will re-hire someone they fired in the past. (For the record, I find it unlikely they will fire Manuel or his staff after this season anyway…)
A second more interesting choice to manage our beloved Mets next season is the former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge. Wedge has worked with both veterans and young players (which is much like how our team is currently made up) and has developed many players who have had great careers. Wedge is a smart baseball guy and could easily slide in and make an immediate impact.
As for a bench coach, I think Texas Rangers current hitting coach, Rudy Jaramillo, would be an excellent choice. Jaramillo was reportedly one of the finalists for the Mets managing position many moons ago when Randolph was hired and it’s no secret that Jaramillo is a hitting guru, and could make the Mets a better hitting team within a matter of minutes.
Our pitching coach situation is tricky. Warthen has done a decent job since being hired last year, and for the second half of last year seemed to have fixed Ollie Perez. However this year it seems that pitchers are getting tired and hurt more easily since switching off of Rick Peterson’s regime and workout routines (John Maine anyone?) and he may not be the best pitching coach available. That award would go to Dave Duncan. Duncan is universally known as one of the premier pitching coaches, and has literally fixed pitchers and turned them into all-stars. He might be costly, but he would certainly bring a sense of hope to a pitching staff that is currently mired in despair.
Hojo can stay on as our hitting coach, he seems to have connected well with many players (Wright and Francoeur to name a few) and it might not be totally fair to blame all of the Mets current offensive problems on him. However, he should be kept on a tight leash; if the team continues to struggle offensively he should be axed.
As for other coaches, I would prefer to hire people with fire. How about Larry Bowa roaming the third base box at Citi Field? How nice would it be to have his fiery style supporting players and sending them home? As a matter of fact, Larry Bowa was one of my first thoughts when I wanted to write this article, I really believe he would send a huge spark through the team. As for the other side of the pond, how about Gary Carter? Carter was a great hitter back in the day and is the current manager of the Long Island Ducks. He has previous managing experience and he would be a neat presence on the field. Bringing back some more of the ’86 spark might not be such a bad thing, not to mention hiring him would enable him to work with our young catchers Thole and Santos. Plus, he’s been lobbying for a job for years. (haha) Another name to keep in mind might be Manny Acta.
So to conclude, the Mets 2010 staff would look something like this:
Manager: Eric Wedge
Bench Coach: Rudy Jaramillo
Pitching Coach: Dave Duncan
Hitting Coach: Howard Johnson
1st Base Coach: Gary Carter
3rd Base Coach: Larry Bowa
It’s a bit of a dreamers staff, but that’s what the offseason is about isn’t it?
This was a fan post submitted by one of our readers.