After the first game of a six game road trip ends in a 9-6 victory over the Angels of Wherever The Fuck They’re From This Month, Omar Minaya decided to do some late-night housecleaning, excising manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson, and first base coach Tom Nieto from the Mets payroll. Jerry Manuel will take over on an interim basis (not like Minaya can get anyone else on such short notice and Manuel is a decent manager) along with some managers and coaches moving up from the Mets’ minor league ranks to replace Peterson and Nieto.
It’s been absolutely fucking painful to watch the Mets this season — I watched most of the Angels game at work convinced that the bullpen was going to blow it until the last out was recorded — but I refuse to lay the blame at Randolph’s feet. This is Minaya’s mess, and Randolph got run over so Omar could save his job. Unless Randolph was more involved in the personnel decisions that kept Moises Alou as a starting left fielder, Carlos Delgado as a first baseman, and an absolutely craptastic bullpen without any sort of upgrade, Randolph tried to do the best with what he had. Unfortunately, what he has is mediocre, and not even Johan Santana can save you when the bullpen coughs up the leads he leaves them with.
I know the Mets are still hungover from last year’s collapse, but it was as much Minaya’s conviction that the core squad could rebound that has them in such a predicament. Dealing away both Lastings Milledge and Carlos Gomez does not look half as smart right now given the need for a left fielder (although Milledge at least got Ryan Church in return and Gomez got Santana back.)
Minaya will lose his job because he couldn’t or wouldn’t ditch the bullpen arms not named Billy Wagner or Duaner Sanchez. This is what is killing the team, and only so much work from Randolph and/or Peterson can go so far.
I fervently hope Randolph will get another job when the season ends and other teams are going through the managerial carousel. He deserves it after all the ish he’s put up with, especially with the cheap, craven way in which he was fired.
Photo: AP/Kathy Willens