Oct 13

If the Mets want La Russa ….

If the Mets are serious about evaluating all aspects of their operation, then they can’t afford to ignore Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals’ manager and pitching coach. But, if this is the direction they take, it must be done quickly and decisively.

LA RUSSA: Enticing.

LA RUSSA: Enticing.


As a manager, I’d take La Russa hands down over Bobby Valentine, and Duncan could be one of the best pitching coaches in the business. I’d be willing to say better than the Jerry Manuel-Dan Warthen tandem currently in charge.

La Russa, who has won seven NL Central Titles, two pennants and one World Series, a significantly more impressive resume than that of Manuel. La Russa has been there and won. He’s one of the few who could come in immediately command everybody’s respect.

However, getting La Russa has to be accomplished quickly and neatly. There can’t be a long courtship as the uncertainty could chase away whatever free agents the Mets could be considering. Also, if the Mets come up empty they would have all but pushed Manuel out the door which would severely limit the respect he needs in the clubhouse.

Oct 05

Just say no to Bobby V.

One of the most interesting things I’ve read lately in the papers and on the blogs has been the slow drumbeat for the return of Bobby Valentine as Mets manager. All these people who should know better, who blast the Mets for repeating their same mistakes over and over again, are clamoring for them to return to the not-too-distant past in bringing back the flawed Valentine.

Why?

Can you really go home again? Can you reheat a souffle? Can a torn relationship be made whole again? Experience tells me probably not. Valentine had his chance, and in 1999 and 2000 had playoff teams that fizzled out. Yes, they reached the World Series in 2000, but after blowing Game 1, they were essentially done.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.

VALENTINE: Returning to the past not good for Mets' future.


Could Valentine without Steve Phillips work? I doubt it. Valentine is a lightning rod for controversy and in much the degree of Billy Martin, a quick fix. He energizes at first, but then things regress. He does not sustain.

As bad as Jerry Manuel was this year, it must be remembered the team was in first place until injuries sacked the season. We can’t say with certainty the Mets would be in the playoffs had they stayed healthy, but they were headed in that direction.

Manuel definitely has shortcomings, but the season was so hideously fractured by injuries it would have been unfair to not give him another chance. Remember, it wasn’t Manuel’s fault the Mets didn’t have the reserves to bring up from the minor leagues or to make a trade.

Yes, Manuel should have handled some things differently, but the argument can be made many of his mistakes were made because he didn’t have any other options. I’ve not been shy in listing what I didn’t like, but looking at things objectively, I can see his reasoning.

Given the same situation, I don’t believe Valentine would have been any better. I’m not sure anybody could have been any better.

For those wanting Valentine, it must be remembered no championships were won during his tenure, and that reaching the World Series was in large part because they didn’t have to face the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs that season.

From what I remember about the Valentine Era is there was always a controversy. There was always a distraction. Valentine was constantly at odds with somebody, whether it be his general manager, a player or somebody in the media. Valentine liked to play people off of each other and the clubhouse was about taking sides on one issue or another.

Those wanting Valentine either have short and selective memories, an agenda, or don’t know what they are talking about.

In the long run, we’ll need 2010 to see if Manuel is the answer, and odds are he’ll get a short leash because of the impatience that comes from being in New York. But, the Mets have been there and done that with Valentine.

A return to the past would not be good for the Mets’ future.

Dec 22

Bobby back in the market?

VALENTINE: Can you picture him in pinstripes?

VALENTINE: Can you picture him in pinstripes?

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine told The Associated Press the Chaba Lotte Marines will not offer a contract extension after the 2009 season, the final year of his four-year contract.

“They just wanted to go in a different direction,” said Valentine. “They wanted to change things and I certainly understand that.”

After winning the Japan Series championship in 2005, but the team finished in fourth place this past season and did not make the playoffs.

OK … we all know Valentine won’t sit still. So, where do you think he’ll end up? I can see him with the Yankees if Joe Girardi doesn’t get them back into the playoffs following their winter of free spending.

Oct 03

Bobby V. would welcome return to Mets ….

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine told ESPN he would be interested in returning if the club can’t re-sign Jerry Manuel.

In an email response to the question of his interesting in returning, Valentine wrote: “I am working for a team that needs me and wants me as their man. I love it here, but I am an American and love great challenges. I was a in a Met uniform in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000, and would love to be there in the next decade.”

Valentine, who managed the Mets to the 2000 World Series, is currently managing Chiba Lotte.

Well, would you like Bobby: The Sequel?