Fixing The Mets

It is widely speculated (and more than likely true) that current Mets Manager Jerry Manuel and General Manager (GM) Omar Minaya will be fired at the end of the season. It is likely that Manuel will get the axe as soon as Oct. 4, the day after the Mets finish their 2010 campaign, and Minaya will either be reassigned or fired soon after.

Let’s face it: Manuel has been a dead man walking for much of this season, and Minaya has been on the hot seat for a while.

As for replacing a GM, the Mets have been cryptic of their plans for 2011. Minaya’s contract runs until the end of next year, and the Mets are debating if they should fire Minaya and eat the rest of his contract.  Ideas have been floating around about possibly reassigning Minaya to a more scouting based position, which he does in fact have a good eye for, and hiring a new GM.

There was talk of Manuel getting fired earlier in the year when the Mets were struggling mightily.  It’s for the better really. As much as I like Manuel as a person and he seems like he would be a great guy to hang out with, his in game managerial skills are questionable at best and he clearly is not the right guy to manage the Mets.

But there are a few names that I think could be those guys!


STEP 1: Finding A GM

1. Jon Daniels:
Jon Daniels is the architect of the now successful Texas Rangers roster, the youngest GM in the MLB and the most intriguing option for the 2011 Mets GM spot. While many of his first moves were marked with questions, Daniels has made many baseball savvy moves that were integral to the current roster that is dominating the AL West. For example, Daniels was the GM who traded Mark Texiera  to the Braves for notable names such as Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Jarrod Saltalamaccia. Daniels represents exactly what the Mets need if they are to overhaul the team – a smart, young, statistically oriented student of the game who has already proven himself in the MLB. Not to mention Daniels is a Bayside, Queens native, grew up as a Mets fan and has an out-clause in his current contract which could make him ripe for the taking this offseason. I’ll admit Daniels is my personal choice to succeed Omar Minaya, but getting him may not be so easy. While Daniels has an out-clause in his contract, the Rangers are extremely interested in retaining him.

2. John Ricco:
The current Mets assistant GM might be the most likely candidate to succeed Omar Minaya , if only for monetary reasons. Ricco worked for the Commissioner’s Office for 12 years before joining the Mets staff in 2004, and has been becoming a prominent figure in the Mets front office.  As Minaya’s credibility continues to fall, Ricco’s continues to rise, and it is widely regarded that Ricco will eventually become a GM.  He is already media tested, and has a firm grasp on the current roster of Mets players, and would likely be much cheaper than any of the other available options the Mets have been considering. However, I believe to fully correct the current debacle the Mets find themselves in, they need to completely reinvent the team, which unfortunately for Ricco, does not have him taking the helms.  I hope that he stays on with the new GM as an assistant.

3.Kim Ng:
While there haven’t been any rumors connecting Ng and the Mets, there should be. Ng would clearly be the centerpiece of a new clean slate the Mets need.  Ng would be the first female GM in any sport, and would be a bold move for the Mets to make. Ng has been an assistant GM for the Yankees and Dodgers, and has been making waves in baseball as a  future GM. She has interviewed for many GM jobs over the past few years, including the Dodgers GM in 2005, Seattle’s opening in 2008 and San Diego’s vacancy in 2009. Ng also was the American League’s director of waivers and records early in her career. Her ability to handle negotiations and contracts could mean an end for the Mets seemingly endless ability to offer gargantuan and overpriced contracts. Plus, Ng grew up in New Jersey which means she, like Jon Daniels, would be coming back home to put together a new and improved Mets team.  She deserves a chance to manage a roster and would instantly bring fresh ideas to an otherwise stagnant team. In a perfect world, Ng would be the next Mets GM; unfortunately, I doubt she will even get an interview.

4. Josh Byrnes:
Byrnes is an intriguing option for the Mets to consider for their (hopefully) soon-to-be vacant GM position. Byrnes is a 40-year-old former “rising star” who was able to build most of what we see of the Arizona Diamondbacks under extreme financial limitations (sound like a team I know?) and was able to secure the core of his roster to team friendly contracts.  While Byrnes does make some missteps (Eric Byrnes), he also did construct the 2007 Diamondbacks team that almost made it to the World Series. While somewhat risky, Byrnes would represent a change in direction that the Mets clearly need.


STEP 2: Finding A Manager

Melvin was hired by the Mets last offseason to be a “professional scout,” which roughly translates into “manager if we fire Jerry.” Melvin has a pretty solid managerial record of 493-508 and won NL Manager of the Year in 2007. Melvin started his managerial career as the Seattle Mariners skipper, and immediately found success. In 2003, Melvin’s Mariners won 93 games. However, his success was not sustained and the next year the Mariners lost 99 games and his contract was not renewed.  Melvin signed on as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and had moderate success winning 90 games in 2007 and almost reaching the World Series.   Melvin has been dubbed “The Mad Scientist” because of the different lineups that he tends to use, usually generating success.  Recently, Melvin has been rumored to be a candidate for the Cubs managerial opening. However, Melvin is not the kind of guy I foresee the Mets hiring.  The next manager should be the anti-Jerry, and Melvin fits the mold as  mild tempered and passive rather than the character boost the Mets clearly need. Because of this, I don’t think Melvin will be at the helm next season. I could, however, see him being the bench coach on the 2011 squad.


Joe Torre was originally going to be in this spot; however, thanks to Jerry Manuel whining about someone else talking about taking his job, Torre “closed the door” on a return to orange and blue. No matter: the current Mets third base coach could be the answer for our managerial woes. Hale was hired last year to provide some stability to an otherwise dismal coaching staff. Hale has been great in his position this year, and has me thinking that he could be an interesting managerial candidate. Hale has managed many minor league teams in the Arizona Diamondbacks system, and has had great success. Four out of his six years as a minor league coach, Hale led his teams to at least a second place finish and in 2006 his Tuscon Sidewinders won the Pacific Coast League Championship.  Hale is said to be a great baseball mind, thoughtful and has gained the respect of the current roster. Hale was considered by the Mariners when they were searching for a head coach in 2008 and was a candidate for the Nationals top job in 2009. What I liked most while researching Hale was how he described the potential style of play he would preach if hired. He is quoted as saying he would tell his players to play the game right, and respect the game. Sound like something the haphazard and embarrassing Mets could use?


This is a name that captures the imagination of every Mets fan. Bobby V was a fan favorite for much of his tenure in a Mets uniform, and it is generally believed that his firing was not justified in 2002. While 2002 was a rough year for the Mets, Valentine’s unbelievably successful run from 1997 until then should have saved his job. During Valentine’s tenure, the Mets won 536 games and had two playoff appearances, not to mention a World Series appearance. Valentine is known to get the most from his players, and he is generally loved by the media.  The Mets don’t play up to their potential, and could use a manager who will inspire them to be better. On many accounts, Valentine seems perfect. He is exactly what they need so it should be easy, right? Not exactly. A team hiring back a manager they fired only nine years ago is essentially admitting they made a mistake, which the front office does not want to do. Valentine is also going to command a lot of money and will certainly demand a say in player related decisions.  I hope the Mets admit to their mistakes and hire Valentine back, rumor has it that Valentine is no longer on the Marlins list for their managerial opening, making his return to Queens ever more likely.


Here’s a name you probably haven’t heard of, but you probably should. Collins has managed at every level of professional baseball, and has found success.  He has even already been considered for the Mets top job. In 2005 when the Mets hired Willie Randolph, Collins was considered to be the Mets second choice to fill the vacancy left by the lifeless Art Howe. This off-season, the Mets hired Collins as their minor league coordinator, and it was speculated that Collins would be a potential replacement for Jerry Manuel should he be fired mid season.  Collins has a strong character, and has experience in the major leagues.  He is the type of personality that the Mets should be looking for in a manager, and has expierence to back him up. In Houston he never had a losing season, but also never won a division title, which ultimatly led to his firing. When he was hired as the Angels manager in 1996, he saw similar success, but ulitmately resigned in 1999. Collins signed on as the manager of the Japanese League Orix Buffaloes in 2006 and led China in the World Baseball Classic in 2009.  Collins is generally seen as a bright baseball mind, and  I see Collins as a dark horse candidate for the job.


Backman is the favorite to land the manager’s job by some around the league, and I happen to agree. Backman has always been a favorite of Mets fans and has long been a person fans have discussed about taking over the team.  The Mets announcement last off-season that he was to take over the Mets A-ball affiliate. The Brooklyn Cyclones only added to this speculation.  If the Mets were to hire Wally Backman as their manager, it would be a bold move. But I think it’s about time the Mets made a bold move rather than sticking to boring and collected Howe/Randolph/Manuel types. Backman is a fiery guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and doesn’t accept losing. He would give this stagnant franchise a jolt of energy they really need. One thing in particular that strikes me with Backman is the loyalty that his players have for him. Every team he has managed wins and his players perform.  Players who have played for him have had nothing but positive things to say. His players fight for him, and that is something I think the Mets need. Unless someone like Valentine can be had and Backman can serve as the bench coach for a few years, Wally is the way to go, and should be the next manager of the Mets.



What Do New Paltz Mets Fans Think?

“The organization should be focusing on winning. The team can’t go through a rebuilding phase and waste more of the Wilpon’s money on bad contracts. The next manager should be someone who can start a fire in these players, who look like they are not playing with a fire in their belly anymore.”
– Pierce Wezenaar
Second-Year Journalism Major

“Their current manager sucks and hopefully their new manager will not be afraid to change up the lineup and actually take risks.”
– Lizzie Takach
Second-Year Biology Major

“First off, I think Omar Minaya needs to go. I feel that first and foremost he is the biggest problem in our organization when it comes to the front office… When it comes to management I think we need to focus on an experienced manager, and a manager who can handle New York andthe
players we have.”
– Jack Herter
Second-Year Secondary Education Major-History