06.17.08

Randolph Sacrificed, Minaya Death Watch Starts In Earnest

Posted in Baseball at 3:44 am by

A day after some of us tried to determine if a skipper has ever been fired between games of a doubleheader, the New York Mets finally  succeeded in ending the managerial career of Willie Randolph after his club had won 3 of their last 4. And why, exactly, was Willie and a pair of his soon-to-be-sacked coaches made to fly cross country yesterday? So much for the ecology conscious New Mets.

From The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

The Mets have fired manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto, the team announced shortly after 3 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday.

Bench coach Jerry Manuel has been named the team’s interim manager, while Ken Oberkfell, Dan Warthen and Luis Aguayo will join the staff.

Warthen, who was serving as Triple-A New Orleans’ pitching coach, succeeds Peterson in that role at the major-league level. He rejoined the organization after spending the previous two seasons as the bullpen coach on Grady Little’s Dodgers staff.

Oberkfell, a former major-league infielder, has managed the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate the past four seasons. Aguayo was the Mets’ field coordinator, overseeing minor-leaguers at the Port St. Lucie complex.

GM Omar Minaya, who let Randolph twist in the wind without a bona fide vote of confidence for the past month, will hold at press conference at the Angels’ stadium at 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday. If the Mets continue to flounder, the scrutiny will undoubtedly shift to Minaya, who is signed through the 2009 season.

Earlier this morning, Rubin spoke with WFAN’s Tony Paige and claimed players were learning of Randolph’s termination from Mets beat reporters via text message. Dignified stuff, Wilpon inc. Presumably, Jerry Manuel possesses secret powers that will keep Moises Alou and Ryan Church in the lineup everyday.

For whatever it’s worth, I don’t believe Fred and Jeff Wilpon are the worst owners in sports. As long as James Dolan and Bruce Ratner own their respective basketball teams, the Wilpons aren’t even close to the most loathed owners in the New York metropolitan area. But for all the credibility the Mets purchased with their acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana, there isn’t enough money in Flushing to erase the sort of ill will their handling of this episode will generate.

20 responses to “Randolph Sacrificed, Minaya Death Watch Starts In Earnest”

  1. Jason Cohen says:

    Man, the Mets got nothing on politicians when it comes to dumping news while no one’s looking, even if they are in California. It’s now 5:47 AM EDT and SI.com and ESPN.com both still have nothing except for yesterday’s right hand stories “Mets coaches’ jobs could be in peril” and “Willie lobbies for coaches”

  2. Skip Lockwood says:

    If I see Jeff Wilpon at the Cyclones game tonight, should I thank him for allowing the Yankees to have Willie as the AL Honorary Captain this year at the ASG? Do the Wilpons know how to do anything without leaving a crappy after taste?

  3. Rog says:

    there isn’t enough money in Flushing to erase the sort of ill will their handling of this episode will generate.

    I think you overestimate the fans. Most of these bozos wanted to run both Brian Cashman and Joe Torre out of town; I don’t see how Randolph and his coaches will get much sympathy. If they were smarter they’d run Minaya out of town instead.

  4. we can’t even get a firing right. embarrassing.

  5. GC says:

    Rog,

    the firing of Willie in and of itself is not the biggest issue. Had ownership made Randolph the scapegoat for last September’s collapse and sacked him the day after Glavine failed to show up against the Marlins, there wouldn’t be nearly the outcry last night’s act of cowardice will generate.

    This was nothing short of a very public humiliation of Randolph. Revenge, perhaps, for his having the temerity to suggest SNY was making him look bad.

    “If they were smarter they’d run Minaya out of town instead”

    Stay tuned, dude. This is likely to be one of the longer days of Omar’s professional life.

  6. Marc says:

    I really don’t understand the point in firing Randolph after flying him cross country, after a couple of wins, and/or in the middle of the night. But, I think Willie was a mediocre manager at best (governed by a mediocre GM) and (unfortunately) he was replaced by another mediocre manager. What’s the point exactly?

    When Cancel and Tatis are on your bench and have the potential to be regularly used, of course your team is fucked.

  7. David Roth says:

    Yeah, I feel badly for Willie in this, although I still think there’s a case for him being fired — not because the team is suddenly going to wake up and get it together, but because it really doesn’t seem likely that they’re going to get better without a real shake-up. That may start with him, Teh Jacket et al, but I think it needs to extend to the roster in order to have any effect. It’s not like there was some secret potential in Robinson Cancel that Willie was failing to unlock. Or, more to the point, Brian Schneider.

    And I think the way it was handled was really embarrassing. And not just because of how much CO2 air travel costs: the Wilpons let this drag on way too long, and their easily distractible, tuned-out incompetence did indeed start to look a lot like cruelty at the end.

  8. Marc says:

    My concern, as a Mets fan, is that there isn’t shit in the farm system and the only tradeable parts on the major league roster are the parts the team needs for the next 3-5 years.

    I don’t give a shit about who manages the team, but I do care that there’s no one to surround Reyes, Wright, Beltran, and Santana with any time soon. Half the Florida Marlins roster is made up of former Mets/Sox/Tigers prospects and it drives me nuts.

    At least living in Austin means I don’t have the daily pleasure of watching Luis Castillo the next 3.5 years.

  9. David Roth says:

    This is maybe off-topic, but I’m almost coming around on Luis Castillo. How I feel about him in 2011 remains to be seen, but…well, no, I’m going to hate it.

    I”m actually not as worried about the team as some are: Pelfrey seems to be figuring it out to a certain degree, and the best prospects in the organization are still decent, and still around. And I’m still of the belief that the roster they have now, at full-ish strength (that is, with Church — Moises doesn’t count), is a potential World Series winner. Left field is a problem. The bullpen is a problem. Neither is likely to be fixed by anything other than savvy trades or free agent acquisitions, and certainly won’t be fixed by firing Willie.

    But I sure agree with Marc’s point about the given-away prospects. Leaving aside the Johan deal, Omar has gotten EVERY prospect-challenge trade he’s made wrong, from Bannister-for-Burgos to Keppinger-for-Gotay to that ridiculous farm system dump two years ago in which he dealt Heath Bell and Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens for a pile of worthless AAA lefthanders and Ben Johnson. How he wasn’t the one to get fired, I don’t know.

  10. Marc says:

    Didn’t Lindstrom and Owens go to Florida for Vargas and/or Delgado?

    The Bannister trade just absolutely fucking absurd and I’ll never understand it.

  11. Jim says:

    Brandon at MetsBlog has identified the true victims of this trainwreck:

    “…we, as fans do not deserve to be humiliated like this…”

  12. David Roth says:

    That’s Brandon Eddy, right? I used to work with that guy. I, uh, think there are other victims more notable in this instance, but Brandon’s usually great. Both as the basketball editor at Topps and, in general, at MetsBlog.

  13. PB says:

    I totally agree that if the Mets were going to fire Willie, they should have done it after the collapse last season. The team could have made a statement that that kind of failure was unacceptable and the ax needed to fall somewhere. This season thus far does feel like a hangover from last year’s disaster. However, firing him at this point just seems like a foolish panic move that will do nothing to improve this season’s woes. It won’t heal Moises Alou or make the bullpen any more consistent. Not to mention that if they had fired Willie in the off season there may have been some good candidates for replacements floating around.

    What shocks me most of all is that they fired The Jacket as well. It wouldn’t shock me to see Maine, Perez and Pelfrey get lit up for the rest of the year or at least become woefully inconsistent.

    Say what you will about Omar but at least he wouldn’t have trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano. At least I don’t think he would have.

  14. Rog says:

    Let me make it clear: I think that the 3am text messages were as cowardly as anything that an owner of a business can do. There’s a million ways that they could’ve handled it better and I’m of the opinion that if the team is going to suck and not get better/younger/more competent soon then just let them play out the season and make your firings at the end of the year.

    I was thinking this afternoon that Tommy LaSorda, who managed the Dodgers for 20 years on what I understand were 20 one-year contracts, would never have gotten the chance to win the World Series in 1988. The team was pretty bad in the mid-80’s and they finished last once, I believe. The WS roster for the Dodgers in 1988 was described by Bob Costas as “the worst of all-time” (I’m paraphrasing) and I’ve heard more than one journalist say that they won it that year because of, not in spite of, Tommy’s managerial moves (that and Orel’s awesome Baby Shampoo ads).

    My point is that the NY Mess fanbase won’t care that much about the way in which it was done because they just want some type of change. And I’m not saying I agree with that. The bigger problem, to me, is the GM and I do think that if Willie was allowed to manage a team that wasn’t made up of superstars surrounded by rejects, has-beens and also-rans that he could’ve actually won. Even after the collapse last year, you have to give a manager more time to succeed. Look at Bob Brenly, Ozzie Guillen, Jack McKeon…couldn’t Willie Randolph be as good as any of those guys? Probably. I just don’t think the fans have the patience anymore.

  15. Marc says:

    Why would I, as a fan, be embarrassed by this? That’s like saying I should be embarrassed because I use a PC and Microsoft released that piece of shit called Vista.

    It’s not my fault that the organization put an inferior product on the field or that they fired a guy at 3am. All I can do is hold off on buying a Mets jersey which, since I managed to hold off for the past 30 years of my life, is pretty easy to do.

  16. GC says:

    Marc, I dunno if you oughta be embarrassed. But unless you buy a Mets jersey at Shea, Bud Selig and Hank Steinbrenner profit from the sale just as much as the Wilpons. Hey, how about that, I’m giving YOU wardrobe advice!

    Rog, the fans’ level of impatience is stoked in all sorts of ways, some of ’em newer than others. I suspect most Mets fans are less troubled by Willie’s termination in and of itself compared to the way this was dragged out and the manner in which the club tried to sneak it past the media and public — which i hope you can agree has blown up in their faces.

    There’s also, as Billy Wagner might put it, the lack of accountability. There’s a curious double standard when the likes of Beltran and Delgado are constantly hammered for (take your pick) not showing proper leadership, deference to the paying customer, not being named John Franco, etc., yet this team’s owner and General Manager are unavailable to face the music at such a crucial stage. I am embarrassed by that, come to think of it. Not because I’m personally responsible but because I naively believed the ballclub-i-love-to-fucking bits had any sort of class or soul. That this WASN’T, as one person suggested, just James Dolan sans the crap guitar playing.

    So yeah, I was naive. Totally. To be fair, we know as little about really happens between Minaya, the Wilpons, Tony Bernazard, etc. as we do about whether or not Lastings was a pain in the clubhouse, or whether there are cliques split along ethnic lines. People less famous than Rick Peterson are misquoted or lied about all the time. Maybe he said he could fix Victor Zambrano in 10 years.

  17. Marc says:

    GC, you were always fairly fashionable — especially since you quit that job working at Casino El Camino and had those tattoos laser removed. About time you cleaned yourself up and got a real job!

    Can your faithful readers expect ruminations about Lohan and Miley Cyrus’ red carpet outfits in the coming months?

  18. GC says:

    Marc,

    less talk of Lohan’s red carpet, please. This is a family blog.

  19. Jason Cohen says:

    Ah, but Marc, if you were an Apple user and they released a shitty product you might feel personally embarassed.

    Up until this year I thought a lot of the chatter about Willie was similar to the chatter about Charlie Manuel, and the Phillies were admirably patient there (especially since Gillick didn’t hire him). Ironic that Randolph’s demise and Charlie’s extension pretty much happened for the same reason. But I think the worm did turn, with all the usual cliches (can’t fire 25 guys, it’s never fair when the manager gets fired, etc.) applying. They do have a new stadium to fill next year right?

  20. Marc says:

    I actually am an Apple user at home. And I’m not embarrassed that they released the Newton.

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