Thoughts On The Future

An article by posted on September 18, 2010

I know I’ve been gone for a while. Life occasionally takes precedence over things like MMO and the Mets as a whole. Truthfully, when I’m home and able to turn on a baseball game, I’m more interested in watching a game that matters rather than Mets/Pirates. Does it make me a bad fan?

Well, no, it just means I don’t live and die with needing to watch every game. I check in, I get updates, but I’m a Mets fan because I’m a baseball fan. A Yankees/Rays game is more interesting to me in September right now than seeing Luis Hernandez play. Sorry, it just is. 

I did however, want to get my thoughts documented on the whole GM/Manager situation. First, I feel bad for Jerry Manuel. I listened to his interview with Francesa this week and he sounded defeated, and it’s just sad to hear somebody KNOW they are going to get fired. Granted, he’s not getting fired from a $40,000 a year office job, but it’s still his life and his career. 

I do think Jerry will be okay though. Somebody will pick him up, but most likely as a bench coach. That is where he is best in my view.

Omar, look, if you’ve read anything I’ve written you know I don’t think this is all Omar Minaya’s fault. I still don’t. I think he did the best he could, and I think the problem here is that when you make a mistake it’s magnified by 100, and your successes are expected so you receive no praise. 

I do believe the Mets GM and Manager job are probably the toughest in baseball. Not only are we a tough fan base, but frankly, we’re a jealous fan base. We’re tired of seeing big brother do well, and tired of seeing our annoying next door neighbor (Phillies) constantly do better than us. 

There’s been just so much talk about who should take over, and who needs to manage this team, and what trades need to be made. 

Here’s what I have to say.

#1 If you want Omar Minaya fired, which I’m gonna go ahead and assume you do, then you need to decide what type of GM do you want the Mets to hire? Me? I want a young General Manager who wants to take the city over, and who isn’t afraid to face the media and also who is open about the team’s position and future. 

I want a guy who doesn’t ignore saber metrics, and who doesn’t ignore the farm system and his scouts. To me, you need to have both, especially in New York. I want a fresh face, and I want a guy who doesn’t have the old guard hovering over him. If you’re bringing somebody in that has a reputation, they need to be able to control the operations of this team.

#2 If you want Omar Minaya to be let go, you need to throw every single idea of who you want to be the Manager away. The biggest mistake this organization made with the coaching staff I s that Jerry was not able to hire his own staff. The same can and should be said for a new GM. If let’s say Jon Daniels is hired, Jon Daniels needs to hire the Manager. Not the Wilpon’s with the idea of selling us on our fascination with the 1986 Mets. Look I love Wally Backman, but I don’t even consider him right now because I don’t think it’s right to hire a Manager before you hire a GM. 

#3 This off-season is bigger than any off-season in recent memory. The Mets ownership isn’t going anywhere. They need to send a message that says “I hear you, and I see you” (Parenthood on NBC.) They need to realize they are better at collecting and counting money, and they hire baseball people to make baseball decisions. They need to realize the hiring of the General Manager is more important than any, and I mean ANY free agent acquisition they could possibly make. If you hire Daniels or Byrnes you’re telling me you’re ready to change the face of this franchise and let these 2 talented candidates run the Mets hopefully with success. If you re-assign Omar Minaya and promote John Ricco or any other internal candidate or obvious choice (IE Bobby Valentine), you’re telling me you don’t think anything is wrong and you’re not interested in winning. 

Before anybody flips out. Valentine is not a General Manager. This isn’t football where head coaches are good GM fits sometimes. Valentine is better on the field dealing with players, not dealing with other GM’s. 

#4 The Mets need to consider the other GM’s when deciding who should take over. If the Mets hire a GM that has a great reputation and other GM’s get along with, then we’re in great shape. If they hire somebody who like Omar Minaya was apparently famous for offering $5 and asking for 2 $10’s and a $20 back, then we’re just going in a circle. 

For me, I’m personally endorsing either John Byrnes, or Jon Daniels. I believe Byrnes was given a raw deal in Arizona, and I think new ownership in Texas will be looking to hire their own guy. Also, I’m not ruling out J.P. Ricciardi as a wildcard. I think you can look at any GM and point out flaws. I heard somebody on I think it was Metsblog point out the Adrian Gonzalez trade that Daniels made. Look, A) He was young and B) Every GM does that. You can’t pick apart every single mistake a GM makes, because if you did, then we’d have no good candidates. 

I’m all for giving an up and comer a shot in life, somebody who has worked their way up. But, the Mets need a GM that can jump right in with no learning curve, can deal with the media and has confidence in his own theory of how to run a successful major league baseball team. 

That’s step 1. You can’t talk about who to sign, who to trade, or who to manage without knowing who is going to be announcing those moves to the media at a press conference.

My hope is that whoever is handed the keys to this organization realizes that we are a fan base that wants to be clued into the thoughts that go into what the future holds. If Jon Daniels comes in and says, “we need to rebuild,” then I’m on board. So long as there is a clear, concise message from the top all the way to the fans and the players.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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