After a historic September collapse and a listless 14-12 Apri, the New York Sun’s Tim Marchman has seen enough. “It™s time for the Mets to fire Willie Randolph. They should fire him if his team sweeps the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. They should fire him if his team wins all three games by a total score of 27“0. They should fire him if his team puts on such a display this weekend that the greater Phoenix area literally burns to the ground around them, lit by nothing but the intensity of their passion and brilliance.” Pretty rough then, that Marchman predicts “this weekend in the desert, the Mets are probably going to be flayed”.
The Mets may be winning more than they™re losing, but they™re playing horribly, and things seem uglier the closer you look. David Wright is playing like what he is, the best player in the league; Johan Santana is, the odd long ball aside, proving to be exactly what was advertised, and Billy Wagner has yet to give up an earned run in 11 games. These three, along with outfielder Ryan Church, who™s playing a hair better than expected, are essentially keeping the team from total collapse. It™s a damning point; Randolph should not receive too much credit for getting these Hall of Fame-caliber talents to play well.
On the other hand, several other Hall of Fame-caliber talents are playing miserably, and in ways for which it™s perfectly fair to blame the manager. Reyes has more closely resembled Cristian Guzman than he has Barry Larkin for some time now, Carlos Beltran is slugging .398, and Carlos Delgado seems to be about done. Their struggles seem, respectively, to have to do with concentration, aggressiveness, and an inability to adjust to what happens as you age. A manager of no special mechanical cleverness, who doesn™t help put runs on the board with his mastery of the nuts and bolts of calling signals, making out lineup cards, or calling for the right relief pitchers, who can™t help players deal with these airier, more abstract concerns, is a nearly useless one. That™s what Randolph has become.
If Willie’s toast and a successor doesn’t right the ship soon afterwards, we can safely assume a “Fire Omar” column is already written, if not by Marchman, then certainly by someone else.