Breaking Down the Jeff Wilpon Interview

In case you missed it, Jeff Wilpon appeared on Miked Up and discussed the Mets. Some of the highlights, and my analysis, follow.

Mets will remain on WFAN

Yee ha. However Mike Francesa will continue to talk about the Yankees every afternoon.

On the 2008 collapse,

“… I thought we showed more fight and more comeback this year, which I thought was lacking down the stretch last year … I did think we did better this year than last year.”

Funny, I thought it was just as bad, no matter which way you look at it. The Mets were in first place in early September, and blew not only the division, but the wild card as well. And they lost the wild card spot to a team — the Brewers — who were so dead and desperate that they fired their manager with ten days left in the season.

To refresh Jeff’s memory — as well as everyone else’s — in the last ten games of 2007, the Mets went 4-6. In the last ten games of 2008, the Mets went 4-6.

On Jerry Manuel:

“… we have great confidence in Omar’s leadership, and Omar felt that Jerry was the best guy to lead this team to the postseason.”

“I like everything about him … his leadership helped turned us around from where he had been … so I think that success is something that needed to be rewarded.

Interesting that Wilpon would make it clear that Manuel was Omar’s choice. Is that a means of empowering Minaya, or throwing him under the bus if things don’t work out next year? For those who forgot, Jeff Wilpon was similarly sly with his “endorsement” of the Willie Randolph hiring. In the end, it was discovered that Wilpon never wanted Randolph as manager — and we saw that Willie never had full support from ownership on down. Could Manuel be facing a similarly difficult situation?

On obtaining Manny Ramirez

“Omar did not come out and say we have to go out and get Manny Ramirez …. it wasn’t one of the pieces we thought we needed, we needed bullpen help.”

Francesa asked, “Would you have been opposed to Manny Ramirez?”

“(hesitation) uhhhhh … if Omar wanted him, and the baseball staff suggested it, we follow their direction most of the time. You’ll have to ask Omar why he didn’t go after him.”

Hmm … why wouldn’t Omar go after Manny? I guess we’ll have to ask him next time he’s a guest of MetsToday. Wilpon’s second answer began with a tinge of leeriness … making me think that perhaps Omar KNEW BETTER than to ask about bringing in Manny.

On the offseason and free agent market

“I think we’re gonna be active in trying to remake our roster. I think I said at a time that I wanna be uh, some addition by subtraction, and I think that will happen. Whether that happens by free agency or more to the fact from some trades.”

I won’t get on Jeff for his strange grammar, since I was bull-whipped the last time I criticized a Met for incoherent quotes. I don’t want his high school english teachers reigning down on me for making fun of a guy just because he didn’t have the benefit of an ivy league education.

Fascinating, though, that he says there will be a makeover. We’ll discuss it in more detail in the next post.

Wilpon’s message to the Mets fans

“ooh … our goal is to create a world-class experience for our fans and for the new Citi Field, regardless of the outcome of the game. Clearly though we want to field a championship team and make the make the changes to get that done. … we will leave no stone unturned in terms of getting us back to where we need to.”

Great. So once again the goal is to sell as many tickets as possible. We know this — that baseball is a business — but as fans we don’t really want to hear it. We’d like to have an owner like George Steinbrenner, who demands success at every level of the organization. But there’s only one George.

It was good, though, to hear that they will “leave no stone unturned” — meaning, I suppose, they’ll evaluate every aspect of the organization. So far, the effects of the evaluation have rewarded Minaya with a 3-year extension, Manuel with a 3-year contract, and renewals for Dan Warthen and Howard Johnson. Tony Bernazard will be back too. Carlos Delgado reportedly will return as well. The rest remains to be seen over the next few months.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.