Sep 25

Bringing back Manuel

Manuel deserves to continue.

Manuel deserves to continue.

If the Mets continue their fast fade in the NL East for the second straight season, should Jerry Manuel be brought back as manager?

That’s the question the Mets are wrestling with, but in the wake of news general manager Omar Minaya will get a four-year extension, how can they not extend Manuel as well? Afterall, part of bringing back Minaya was his decision to ax Willie Randolph and how the team responded.

The Mets were sinking when Randolph was replaced by Manuel, but they’ve rebounded and are tied for the wild card. They still control their destiny despite last night’s miserable showing.

The players responded to Manuel. He has their attention and respect. They play hard for him. The bullpen is awful, but players are trying. Nobody is dogging it.

Manuel has shown he can manage this team and he should get the opportunity to continue with better pitchers.

Sep 24

The Minaya Extension

The news is Omar Minaya will be the Mets’ general manager for the next four years. How many of them will be championship seasons? None … if the bullpen isn’t repaired.

Quite simply, the Mets are a better team today than they were when Minaya was hired. There is discontent from the fandom to be sure, but that’s in large part because the expectations remain high after the 2006 disappointment.

So, what are your thoughts on the Minaya Era? By no means are the following lists conclusive, but there to give you a working reference.

Highlights

1. Signing of Carlos Beltran.
2. Signing of Pedro Martinez, which gave the franchise credibility.
3. The trade for John Maine.
4. Acquiring Carlos Delgado.
5. His ability to bolster the bench (Tatis, Easley, Chavez, etc.)
6. The acquisition of Oliver Perez after the Xavier Nady injury in 2006.
7. The trade for Johan Santana.
8. The Lastings Milledge trade.

Lowlights

1. The extension given Luis Castillo.
2. The two years given Guillermo Mota.
3. His reliance on older players such as Pedro Martinez and Moises Alou.
4. The inability to repair the bullpen after last season.
5. The organization’s handling of the Ryan Church injury.
6. The Lastings Milledge trade.
7. The handling of Willie Randolph.
8. Not trading Aaron Heilman when he had the chance.

Sep 08

Wagner done for year, maybe for career?

When Billy Wagner was healthy and popping off on a regular basis, he often joked about retirement. He liked the idea of going out on his terms.

That’s gone now.

Wagner will have surgery to repair a torn MCL in his left elbow, and with recovery time of one year, we’re talking 2010. Wagner has his money, but what remains to be seen is whether he’ll have peace of mine and be willing to leave like this. No athlete wants to leave the game injured.

“That was a scenario that I was not expecting,” general manager Omar Minaya said today.

Wagner walked off the mound during a bullpen session Sunday afternoon. At 37, he has one year and $10.5 million left on the contract signed before the 2006 season.

The Mets hold an $8 million option for 2010, which they likely would not pick up without having seen him pitch next year.

Wagner saved 101 of his 385 career games with the Mets and was a two-time all-star. He lived up to his end of the bargain. Yes, he had blown saves, but nobody quite blew a save like Wagner.

Wagner went on the DL with a strained left forearm, Aug. 5, and the team has gone to a closer-by-committee role. Things were spotty at first, but Luis Ayala settled into the role by converting five of six save opportunities.

“Surgery was always a possibility if things did not get better,” Minaya said. “And we’re at the point right now where things did not get better. … In a lot of ways, you almost got the feeling that we were going to have to do this without Billy. Baseball is not about one guy. It’s about a team, and the concept of togetherness.”