Willie Randolph, Not Carlos Beltran For Mets Bench Coach
One of the hopes Mets fans have with Steve Cohen taking the helm is his new regime correcting a lot of the wrongs committed by the Wilpons. There are countless examples of how poorly the Wilpons treated their former players, and that gives Cohen a real chance to seem magnanimous.
One area where he’s already planning to do this is an Old Timer’s Day. Another area Mets fans want to do this is by bringing Carlos Beltran back to the organization.
With Hensley Meulens not returning as bench coach, many fans see this as the opportunity to bring back Beltran as bench coach. Realistically speaking, Beltran is the worst possible choice for this job.
The modern bench coach job is very complicated. As a result, of all the jobs on the coaching staff, manager included, bench coach is the single job where you absolutely cannot have a novice like Beltran in charge.
As Brad Mills explained to the Sporting News, “You work with everyone from the groundskeepers to the traveling secretary, and you might even make sure the field is ready for early work.” Put another way, the bench coach has to make sure all the planning and preparation for the game is completed.
The bench coach is handling scouting and game prep. He’s running quality control before and during the game. He’s discussing strategy with the manager. He’s fostering relationships with players. He has his hands in everything. As was the case with Derek Shelton and Rocco Baldelli, that included media responsibilities.
With Beltran never having worked on an MLB coaching staff at any level, and with his front office experience having been just one year, he is ill-suited for the job. Very ill suited.
While you can understand Mets fans wanting to repair the relationship with Beltran, this isn’t the time or the job. However, just because the Mets shouldn’t use this opportunity to right a wrong with Beltran, it doesn’t mean they can’t hire a bench coach who can simultaneously right a wrong.
The Mets could very well look to hire Willie Randolph for their vacant bench coach position.
Randolph has the fifth most wins by a Mets manager, and he has the second best winning percentage. In his time as manager, he did a lot of good things including helping David Wright and Jose Reyes reach their full potential.
In addition to his successes as a Mets manager, he was on Joe Torre‘s coaching staff for the last Yankees dynasty. That includes his being a bench coach. Randolph has also been a bench coach in Milwaukee and Baltimore.
All told, Randolph knows the role extraordinarily well. He also knows the challenges Luis Rojas faces as the Mets manager. He knows how to develop players and handle a coaching staff. He knows how to win in New York, and he knows the intense scrutiny a manager faces.
If the 66 year old Randolph is interested in the position, the Mets should interview him for the role. If Rojas has a comfort level with him, Randolph should absolutely be hired for the job.
With that, the Mets will hire an exceptionally qualified person for the job thereby making the Mets a better team. It will also have the benefit of righting the wrong of how he was fired in 2008.
Ultimately, if the Mets want to right some wrongs, they should hire Randolph. If they want the best man for the job, they should hire Randolph. He’s just the perfect fit for this job right now.