The Mets have always been an organization that has placed a lot of premium on talking and hoping for the best. We don’t often see times when they take charge in determining their destiny. Even Johan Santana, they admit, was because the market came back to them.
We have now learned the train wreck that was the 2009 season was the fault of coaches Sandy Alomar Sr. and Luis Alicea, both with limited responsibilities. It wasn’t as if they controlled a pitching staff that walked over 600 hitters or an offense that hit less than 100 homers.
Mets ownership is saying Omar Minaya has the resources to spend in the free-agent market and the nine-lived general manager is saying he will make trades despite a thin farm system.
The Mets have their new stadium, they have their showplace, which was filled for the most part this summer. But, it won’t be long before Citi Field won’t be a magnet anymore. It happened in Camden Yards and Jacobs Field. Eventually, thirty brands of microbrew, BBQ and clam chowder aren’t a draw anymore. Fans will soon learn it is easier to go to a local pub for those things than pay the price to drive out to Queens.
The Braves improved this year as did the Marlins, and we know the Phillies will be aggressive. If the Mets don’t dramatically improve, they could be looking up for a number of seasons to come. This offseason has the potential to shape the Mets for the next several seasons. If they prove to be all talk and fizzle again, we’ll be faced with another rebuilding phase.
It was a busy day at Citi Field this afternoon. Let’s get you caught up on the highlights:
* Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon confirmed GM Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel would return. “They both deserve a chance to redeem themselves,’’ Wilpon said. “They are very much on the hook now to work hard and correct the problems and flaws of the team. Injuries are not an excuse. We need to be better. … I wouldn’t say (win) or else, but we need to be at a championship caliber level. We need to be competing down to the end.’’
* Wilpon said the Mets would spend to improve. “We will have one of the highest payrolls in baseball as we have had the last number of years,’’ Wilpon said. “There are no handcuffs on Omar. He’s free to go and get this team to be a championship team.’’
* Wilpon said improving the pitching staff and adding a power bat were the off-season shopping priorities.
* Bench coach Sandy Alomar Sr. and first base coach Luis Alicea will not be retained. Third base coach Razor Shines will be re-assigned. Pitching coach Dan Warthen, hitting coach Howard Johnson and bullpen coach Randy Niemann will keep their roles. Alomar Sr. will be invited to remain in the organization in some capacity.
* Wally Backman was invited to interview for a minor league job. Reportedly, the Mets have been in contact with former San Diego GM Kevin Towers and former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi.
* Wilpon said the medical staff would be retained but some of the “medical protocols’’ would be re-evaluated.
* Jose Reyes will have surgery on the right hamstring that kept him sidelined since May 20.
Five. Do I hear six? The Mets will try to extend their winning streak today behind John Maine, who has run hot and cold this year. When he’s cold, he usually has one bad inning – very Perez-like – that derails him.
Today, the Mets will be without manager Jerry Manuel, who was suspended for one game for bumping umpire Bill Welke Thursday night arguing the Shane Victorino play. Sandy Alomar Sr. will manage the team.
Here’s the line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Carlos Delgado, 1B
David Wright, 3B
Gary Sheffield, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Ramon Castro, C
John Maine, P