Even with the Mets (33-36) 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals, their fate has yet to be decided. But manager Willie Randolph had an interesting take on his team’s struggles over the weekend in Seattle, describing the $107-million Mets as a transitional team trying to combine a group of veterans in the twilight of their careers with mistake-prone youngsters.
No one could blame Randolph, the proud owner of six World Series rings with the Yankees, for being frustrated by the Mets’ state of affairs. The manager watched Victor Diaz, Jose Reyes and David Wright commit costly mental mistakes in three losses to Seattle, and the void left by injuries to Mike Cameron and Miguel Cairo has been impossible to ignore.
When Randolph was asked if the Mets can win consistently while enduring the blunders of young players such as Reyes, Diaz and Wright, it didn’t take long for him to answer.
“No. No, you can’t,” Randolph said. “You have to play the game and minimize your mistakes, not give teams outs and stuff like that. Young organizations, whether you’re the Twins or the A’s when they first started coming up, everyone has to go through growing pains to get to where they are.”
Randolph included Kaz Matsui among his group of four “young” players, meaning players who still are learning the game at the major-league level. Diaz is likely headed back to Triple-A Norfolk because of his struggles, but Reyes and Wright are the future of these Mets and Matsui’s salary is too costly to move at the moment.
Let’s not forget about first-year managers who give the ball to the likes of Mike DeJean far too often. Seems a bit unseemly to be talking about youthful indiscretions the same week the Mets sign Benito Santiago and call up Gerald Williams. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much the lack of expertise but rather the inability to teach?