Baseball BeatMay 23, 2008
Open Chat: Are Willie Randolph's Days Numbered in New York?
By Rich Lederer

With a losing record after having been swept four games in a row by the Atlanta Braves, a divided clubhouse, and no public support from the owners, how long will it be before embattled New York Mets manager Willie Randolph is fired? Can general manager Omar Minaya escape the heat?

Should Willie and/or Omar be fired? If so, why, when, and who would you suggest as the new skipper and GM? If one or both should not be fired, tell us why?

Let's hear it from our readers.


Who cares? Is this really that important? If Willie Randolph were the manager of the Mariners, who were also supposed to contend, would you put it on the top of the page? Nope. Just fire him already so we can get on with discussing things that actually affect the outcome of games.

I think that Omar Minaya will squeeze he way out of the fall of the axe, but I don't think that Willie Randolph will. Mets fans are turning their backs on him rather quickly.

They need to bring back Bobby Valentine. I understand that the cost will be very high, but they just spent a fortune in money and prospects to be a contender NOW! There is a chasm between Bobby and Willie's intellect and strategic ability. Like Willie, Bobby is also a players manager, but he has FIRE and commands respect. Willie has proven nothing as a manager and tries to ride the accomplishments of his playing career. Great player, lousy manager.

Willie Randolph is a bit more public than John McLaren. And the Mariner's problems are.... yeah... that's a whole new can of worms.

Every GM will use the manger as a scapegoat. I give Willie until June 1. June 1 is the end of a homestand with 3 games vs. Florida and 4 games against the Dodgers. Both will be tough games. Met's lose over 4 of the 7, and Willie stands a good chance of June 1 being his last day.

I'd fire Minaya. The manager can only do so much with the roster he's given.

Considering the wilpon's aren't returning his calls, and plan to meet with him after the Colorado series, his days could be done if they don't play well this weekend. The problem that plagues the team has been there for a while, but hasn't brought itself out until they hit some tough times with the collapse and this season's sub-par display. His stoic personality isn't the problem, it's that his personality clashes with the personality of multiple players, as well as the team concept as a whole. While it's as much the players fault for underperforming, and minaya's fault for not taking this team's age into consideration in the offseason, something has to be done and Willie's firing will be their answer. Problem is there aren't many good candidates, so either oberkfel from AAA or Manuel will probably coach this team.

Definately Omar and probably Willie. This is a pretty lousy team built with no philosophy in mind. Who should the new manager should be (if indeed it comes to that? What about thinking outside the box? Why does every new manager have to be someone off the scrap heap, a former catcher, or a coach from a contender?

Hey Johan - that Twins offense doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

Omar Minaya won't be fired. He's been aggressive with trades and free agents which is a good thing. More of his moves have worked out than didn't. Minaya is the one that brought Brian Schneider, Ryan Church, and Johan Santana to the team this season. They've all been making positive contributions on the field.

Willie Randolph will be fired soon though. The only way that he could survive last season's collapse is if the team came out roaring this season. And they've done the opposite. I don't think that the Mets problems are all Willie's fault. Although Bill James statistical ratings show that his teams have underachieved. The Wilpons can't fire the team but they can fire Willie. His media gaffe last weekend shows that he's cracking under the pressure.

Willie's days are numbered, like it or not. If they lose the series in Colorado he could be fired before June 1. They'll can Willie and then Omar will be on ticker. I think Omar has built up stronger ties with the Wilpon's and he's clearly a slick guy, just like J.P. Riccardi is a slick guy. If the Mets bag Willie and still miss the playoffs, Omar would probably get fired in the off season.

While it's true that the fault of the crappy play is primarily the players, the job of the manager is to get players to play well. Fairly or unfairly, they get credit for sucess and blame for failure. The sad thing is that, at least tactically, Willie has been far superior this year than in previous seasons. But losing is losing, and Willie's job is most definitely on the line. If they can hang on near .500, I think Willie's got till the All-Star break, he's been named an All-Star coach, and the Wilpons don't want to show him up. Still, if the losing streak continues, Willie's toast.

That being said, Omar should be taking heat too. He's made some very solid moves in Church, Santana and even Schnieder's been a pleasant surprise. But he also made some serious blunders, like giving away Ruben Gotay for *nothing*. Having nothing in the way of a ready backup for Delgado despite so many indications that he's done. No real reserve OF bat. Keeping Marlon Anderson. Luis Castillo's 4 year re-up (that one is mind-boggling). So while Willie job is on the line for the short term, Omar better hope the team turns it around soon, because the long-term problems the team faces are of his doing.

Randolph likely will be fired, probably deservedly so. Managers generally fall into one of two categories, the tacticians (think Bobby Valentine) and the guys who can run a clubhouse and get the best out of their teams (think Joe Torre). No one has confused Willie for Bobby V. or John McGraw, so the remaining question is is he running a good clubhouse and having his team play smart baseball. The answer to those appears to be no. Plus, although no doubt the players deserve most of the blame, firing them midseason is unlikely to change the way the team performs for the better.

Omar, for his part, I think has done a solid job. Yes he overpaid in years for Castillo, but he resisted overpaying in talent for Santana, he stole Maine and OP and even the Milledge trade, which I was critical of, as much as for the timing (pre-Santana sweepstakes) as for the talent, has worked out well. He lost a couple of trades, especially in giving away Heath Bell, Lindstrom and Owens, but I don't fault him for Bannister because he got a 20 year old power arm with some ML success. The fact that Burgos blew out his arm is not the GM's fault. On the whole, I think he has done a solid job and deserves to get to the offseason.

I'm not a big fan of Randolph, but this is Minaya's fault. He built this team, he brought in Alou and Martinez, who both can get hurt standing up too quickly. He brought in Delgado with his bum hip, slowing bat and fear of ground balls. He brought in Castillo who, despite bad knees, bunts half the time he's up. He brought in Beltran, who's facial expression would not change if he got stabbed and who hates getting his uniform dirty. It's time to clean house from the top down!!!!

Another outfielder hurt tonight. Thats three nights in a row. I seem to recall there's a pretty decent OF available, hits and walks a ton. Whats his name? Oh yeah, Fernando Tatis.

Mets really could use Gomez right now. The Mets traded for the next Frank Viola a great pitcher coming off his prime. Oh and Mets fans are getting sick of Jose"the most overrated player in the game" Reyes.

wait...Eric C, are you saying the Santana trade was a bad move? hmmm, I wouldn't say that. I might agree that it hasn't turned out to be as overly onesided as it was described as though.

I think getting rid of Willie or Omar would be a bit quick at this point, the team should come around, both the pitching and hitting are decent and I think it's a little early to do anything drastic.

I think Willie's gotta go, and he's gonna go. I usually think blaming poor play on the manager is kind of ridiculous, but this seems to be a scenario where the personalities just clash too much and Willie's lost control of the team (kind of like what happened in Philly with Larry Bowa). He's doing more harm than good at this point, and while firing him may not turn things around, it couldn't hurt.

As for Omar, he'll stick around at least through the offseason. He's an interesting case though - I think he may have the most uneven record of any current GM. He basically stole Maine and Perez. The Johan deal was kind of a no-brainer, but you still gotta give him some credit for it. I think Beltran and Wagner have both been good free-agent signings. Even Pedro, though that hasn't worked out very well, I think could be the rare instance of an FA pick-up that was justified by the buzz it created.

On the flip side, he seems to think that Endy Chavez's 2006 accurately reflects his abilities. Endy is a fifth outfielder at best, and any team that employs Moises Alou needs a good part-time bat in the outfield. Omar doesn't get this. The 4-year deal to Luis Castillo was incomprehensibly stupid. There's also just no reason for a team's bench to employ the likes of Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson. The Delgado deal made sense at the time, but now Omar can't seem to figure out a way to minimize the damage Delgado does to the line-up. That the Mets are old wouldn't be such a big deal if the bench weren't so atrocious.

It seems that Omar, while he has his strengths, screws up the small stuff and has a markedly uncreative approach to his job. He's not the worst, but the Mets could do a lot better.

Oh, and replacements for Willie? I'd love to see Bobby V. I'd really love to see Manny Acta, but I think that would violate several rules.

Well, since June 1, 2007, the Mets are 76-80 after today's game. They've only had two month over 500 (August +2 & April +1). They have the talent to win 60% of their games and they ain't even breaking 50/50. Part of the managers job is keep a team from having prolonged losing stretches. He's failed at that, with an apparently talented bunch of players. I applaud the Mets management for giving him the chance to prove last September was a fluke... but by Memorial Day, you should have righted the ship.

If they had the perfect manager standing by, then maybe you can him.

I still say stick to the plan and give him until the end of the season. If he doesn't get to playoffs and do well there, then he is on his ass.

They hold out until the All-Star break. They steal some of the Yankees All-Star thunder with the return of Bobby V. They probably told Willie today that he needed to play .600 ball in the next month to keep his job.

the church/schneider and santana deals were both bad. it's bizarre to me that anyone thinks they were good. when you give away a 22-year-old with amazing potential and a decent major league track record in limited at-bats for an awful player with a good defensive reputation and an undervalued but still-not-great corner outfielder, that is not a good trade. similarly, when you trade away four prospects (including three of your top four) for one year of a pitcher, only to toss out his current contract and immediately sign him for free agent money over seven years, that is not a good move. the only possible justification for either of those moves is the motivation to win this year. now, a lot of people seem to be praising those moves because the players minaya got are playing pretty well over the first two months of this year. but if they're all playing well and the mets are still losing, doesn't that make them even worse trades? that means that minaya completely misread the position his ballclub was in and erroneously sold (a whole lot of) future potential under the mistaken impression that he could contend this year. that is the hallmark of bad general managing.

and by the way, willie will be fired sooner rather than later, and deservedly so.

I've never been a big fan of Willie Randolph, but I think the blame has to go to Minaya for the current state of the Mets. He's made some easy free agent signings (Beltran) in his career with the Mets that have kept his team relatively successful, and the Santana trade was a no-brainer that I'm still not sure how it ended up in his lap. But his overall record in trades is marginal at best as the other commentors have said.

To me the biggest reason this team is so crummy is that Omar never seems to plan long term. Delgado was a short term move that paid off for one year, same with Pedro Martinez. The Mets farm system is a disaster with no one ready to help the team this year at AAA, and possibly only one top prospect in the entire system. His record drafting players would be comical if I weren't a Mets fan. The Mets bench seems to have been constructed only as an afterthought filled with has-beens and never-weres. Everyone gave Minaya a pass for the terrible job he did running the Expos because of the ownership situation there, but he's proven with the Mets that it wasn't a fluke how badly he ran that organization.

Unfortunately, Fred Wilpon has a record of hiring lousy GMs (Al Harazin, fired Joe McIlvane for no reason, Steve Philips!?), so I can't wait to see who's up next.