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Heyman: Mets’ Randolph Close To Getting Axed

Over in Queens, the shit is hitting the fan at a rapid rate. Jon Heyman writes the Mets are seriously considering firing Manager Willie Randolph and a couple coaches, including Hitting Coach Howard Johnson and Pitching Coach Rick Peterson.

Jayson Stark wrote in his Rumblings and Grumblings that Randolph won’t be leaving Shea:

“According to one baseball man who speaks regularly with Mets management, Randolph is “not going to get fired. Period.”

Meanwhile, Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog thinks Randolph was dealt the wrong hand:

“…i feel bad for willie…i do…i just don’t think he has the right mix of players to fit his strengths as a manager…had Omar Minaya actually built the type of team he said he was going to build when he arrived here, i.e., young, fast, athletic, sustainable, etc., i think willie would have been a perfect fit…but, today, the fact is, the team is losing, and if it continues to lose, willie is going to pay for his player’s sins with his job…”

The Mets are 31-34 and 7.5 games in back of the Phillies in the NL East. Since this point last year the Mets are under .500.

Basically the Mets have been a mediocre team for a year now, and you have to shake up a team of this prominence playing so poorly. There are myriad reasons for their poor play — injuries, old age, no chemistry, managerial style, lack of hustle. It’s a team that just looks tired, stale and sad.

Is it Randolph’s fault? Consider the on-again, off-again play of Jose Reyes; consider the silent leadership across the board (Carlos Beltran, David Wright); consider the volatile “leadership” in other places (Billy Wagner, formerly Paul LoDuca). Together this doesn’t resemble a team that really cares about each other. The clubhouse is comprised of mostly individuals playing as individuals.

Randolph has been called soft and has been said to be the wrong fit for this team. But — basically as Cerrone is putting it — the team assembled isn’t strong as a unit. Moreover, injuries to Pedro Martinez, Moises Alou and Ryan Church, among others, doesn’t make it easy to sustain high day-to-day quality.

The bottom line is this team was built to win in 2006/07 but came up short. On paper they looked like runaway favorites, but paper wins nothing. Baseball is a grind, and half this Mets team can’t take the grind. It’s that simple. As for Randolph, he has seemed to be walking through the grind with eyes half open. If I’m him I’d be glad to be on the way out. He needs something softer and fresher for a new job.

What do the Mets need? If they really think the 2008 campaign is finished, they should reassemble. Keep Johan, Jose and David. Everyone else is up for grabs.

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