…and it’ll take more than a Citi Field floorplan to sort him out. With the likelihood of a lower payroll in 2010, the Bergen Record’s Bob Klapisch suggests the coming offseason would be a good time for Fred & Jeff Wilpon “to decide if Jerry Manuel is still relevant”.
In one sense Manuel is lucky: his team is so pathetic, no one assumes the Mets will ever win another game. If they do, it™s a pleasant surprise.
Manuel™s players are taking full advantage of this late-September vacation, if not the manager himself. He keeps urging the Mets to focus, finish out strong, cling to the fundamentals that got them to the majors. But more and more, Manuel™s oratory is as substantive as vapor. He has the impact of Jeff Torborg, circa 1993.
How else to explain the growing list of mental blunders? On Sunday night, with Pedro Martinez up to his 130th pitch, Daniel Murphy, already at second base with two out and already in scoring position, gets thrown outtrying to take third on a pitch that bounced only a few feet away from the catcher.
Angel Pagan, one of the franchise™s bright spots, committed two unforgiveable base running mistakes a week ago against the Marlins. After being caught in a rundown between second and third on a grounder to short, Pagan was later doubled off second base after thinking Jeff Francoeur™s fly ball to right was the third out of the inning.
These are telltale signs that Manuel is failing at his job; he is being tuned out by players who think a) the season is beyond hope, so who cares b) the manager is incapable or unwilling to discipline anyone and c) no one™s watching.
It’s an interesting argument, though in Gangsta Jerry’s defense, it would be hard to say, for instance, that Murphy and Pagan have underachieved under his supervision. In an ideal world (ie. one in which the entire roster isn’t disabled), Murphy would be a complimentary player and Pagan wouldn’t even be on the major league roster. If it were a matter of say, Carlos Beltran or David Wright ignoring the manager, then perhaps you could conclude Manuel had lost touch with the team. Can Manuel contend in 2010 with a younger, cheaper variation on the current squad? Probably not, but unless there’s a full commitment to rebuilding — one you’re not likely to see with so many Citi suites to sell and the probable difficulty in moving the big contracts save for Wright — no manager, not even Bobby Valentine, is gonna make a substantial difference.