The Mets’ starting pitching is decidedly better than it was last year at this time, but I don’t think it will be enough to save Dan Warthen when Jerry Manuel gets the ax, presumably within days after the end of the regular season.
Incoming managers prefer to name their own pitching coach and staff. To have a staff thrust on a new manager is unfair and puts him at a disadvantage. There’s always the underlying thought if the pitching coach stays he’s really the GM’s guy. The new manager could interview from the old staff as a courtesy, but there are no guarantees.
That coaches’ contracts expire after the season – unlike that of GM Omar Minaya – should make the transition easier. If Manuel goes as expected, it will mean five managers this decade, hardly a bastion of stability. They’ve also had three general managers during that span to further indicate this is franchise without stable direction.
So, they start again with a new manager and pitching coach.
While the rotation has improved, there’s not enough of an imprint by Warthen to make a difference for these reasons:
1) John Maine: Calling one of your pitchers a “habitual liar,” is not good business. Although it turned out Maine was injured, the process of letting him go out there when he didn’t have it to throw five pitches lost the player, and might have damaged Warthen’s ability in the clubhouse. The team had rebound hopes for Maine but he never made any progress and then came the injury.
2) Oliver Perez: While this is probably unfair with the assumption Perez is a lost cause, Warthen did have two years to work with him without positive results.
3) Mike Pelfrey: Kudos for the fast start, some questions for the slide. There was also last year. Pelfrey, despite showing signs of coming out of it, remains an enigma.
4) The Eighth Inning Guy: All season the Mets have had troubles finding somebody for the eighth inning. A lot of guys have pitched there, but nobody has taken hold of the job. While Manuel will get roasted for this, Warthen must share responsibility.
5) Burning out the bullpen: Manuel kept riding the hot horse until he drops. Somewhere, the pitching coach has to do a better job of monitoring the bullpen arms to keep everybody fresh.