One thing Steve Cohen has purported to try to do is to right a lot of the existing wrongs with the New York Mets. The most classic example was his deciding to retire Willie Mays‘ number with the franchise even if that decision was rather dubious (much like Casey Stengel‘s was).
Put another way, he is looking to change the karma of the Mets. Seeing what M. Donald Grant and the Wilpons did, there is a lot to undo here.
One of the worst days in the history of the franchise was the firing of Willie Randolph. At the time, the fanbase was split over whether or not Randolph should be fired with a majority likely calling for the termination in the aftermath of the collapse.
There were no Mets fans who were happy with the classless manner it was handled. Randolph was fired one game into a west coast trip and replaced by the backstabbing Jerry Manuel. Making the bizarre decision even worse was the fact Randolph was fired after a Mets win.
Parenthetically here, Manuel would guide the 2008 Mets to their own collapse. Worse yet, he did it as the Mets were closing Shea Stadium putting a damper on the beautiful and touching ceremony to close the ballpark. Naturally, in true Wilpon fashion, Manuel was rewarded for his collapse.
Understandably, Randolph did not handle the firing well. He initially made overtures the firing was racially motivated, and he would back off the statements. Unfortunately, Randolph would never get another opportunity to manage a major league team for the rest of his career.
That was a shame because Randolph was a good manager, and he was one ahead of his time.
He paired with Rick Peterson to be at least a decade ahead in terms of bullpen usage. As a manager with limited starters, he did not allow John Maine, Oliver Perez, Steve Trachsel, etc. to falter. Rather, he turned to his bullpen, the strength of his pitching staff, to carry the team through games.
We saw his impact on developing David Wright and Jose Reyes. Wright became a better defender who utilized his base running better. Reyes developed an idea of the strike zone and became an All-Star who didn’t swing at literally every single pitch.
He has dealt with the New York media more than anyone. He is a Mets fan at heart. We’ve seen how his knowledge of the game can help players, and now, the Mets have hired Carlos Mendoza, who needs Randolph’s guidance on the bench.
Mendoza talked about how Randolph has been a major influence, and it began talk of Randolph becoming the Mets bench coach. Naturally, that was met well here as I have made the case Randolph should get another opportunity to manage and that the Mets should look to bring him back in this very role.
The timing is right, and Mendoza seems to want Randolph. The Mets can build a terrific coaching staff, and at the same time, Cohen has the opportunity to undo one of the worst things the Wilpons did during their ownership.
Randolph should be brought back by the Mets, and they can let him help Mendoza lead the Mets to their first World Series since 1986.
The expectations were once David Stearns came to the New York Mets the team was going to hire Craig Counsell to be their next manager. That seemed all the more to be the case when the main competition seemed likely to come from the Houston Astros, who didn’t seem as serious about him as the Mets were.
Of course, we now know the Chicago Cubs gave Counsell exactly what the Mets could offer – a large market and a big contract. However, Chicago is closer to home for Counsell, and it doesn’t come with the issues presented by the New York media, who have sometimes been all too happy to run managers out of town.
This is a situation somewhat similar to what we saw with Steve Kerr. He was practically hired to coach the New York Knicks until he wasn’t. Golden State had all of what New York had to offer without the media or front office issues. For the Mets, the front office issues aren’t present.
With Counsell taking the surprise offer from a Cubs team who had not fired David Ross as their manager, the Mets were left looking to hire someone else. Because the Mets did their due diligence, and didn’t just go through the process to hire Counsell, they were able to quickly pivot to Carlos Mendoza.
At this point, we should remember Stearns was entasked with hiring a manager. Not with hiring Counsell, but with hiring a manager. He did that with Mendoza.
The reviews on this hire are all over the place, but that is partially the result of this shocking nature of the turn of events. You’ll see the loudmouths and naysayers killing the decision. The sycophants and optimists love the move.
In reality, no one can really know what to make of this decision.
On the bright side, it’s not Buck Showalter, who was a mediocre manager who fought against the modern game. From here, we don’t know if Mendoza will be Luis Rojas or Kevin Cash. With Rojas and Cash, we see what separated them was the front office.
Rojas was neutered from the start in the wake of the rash Carlos Beltran firing. Rojas was handed scripts from which he couldn’t deviate. In essence, he was never truly allowed to manage, and he became the fall guy for a poorly led and frankly clueless front office.
Cash has succeeded with an exceptionally run Tampa Bay Rays organization. They gave him what he needed to succeed, and to his credit he has. In essence, this means Stearns has to make good on this hire.
It is incumbent on Stearns to first give Mendoza the staff and data to be successful. More importantly, Stearns has to build the right roster. If he does that, we can the strengths and reputation Mendoza had lead to him being a successful Mets manager.
If that is the case, we can see him quickly in the postseason like Willie Randolph (a good name to throw in here for bench coach) did with the Mets. From what we saw in Milwaukee, we can and should expect that. After all, Counsell was a losing manager before he and Stearns turned things around there.