Mets Soft? Look Again to the Jets

At Newsday today, David Lennon reported that more heads will be rolling in the Mets organization, and noted that

“Mets decision-makers have been meeting regularly for the past six weeks in an effort to sort out what went wrong this season.”

To which Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog responded,

“here, let me take a crack at it: everyone on your team got hurt, your GM struggles with foresight, you have one reliable starting pitcher, and your players are soft”

Well, injuries are difficult to control, and Omar Minaya is coming back next year. We can only hope that the Wilpons have enough money to buy a decent starting pitcher from the free agent market (John Lackey?). As for the softness, that can be addressed with a mixture of new blood and the right leadership — similar to what the New York Jets did when they reassembled their roster and hired Rex Ryan. During Jets training camp, Ryan talked tough about how the Jets would be playing, though it may have fallen on deaf ears at the time:

I’ve brought up Ryan again because he is living proof that the right leadership can completely change the culture and attitude of a professional team — and parlay that into success on the field.

This year, at least part of the Mets’ problems could be blamed on the injuries to their stars, but that’s not the entire story. One need only look at the failures of 2006, 2007, and 2008 to know that in addition to talent, the Mets can also benefit by a change in their demeanor and the way they approach the game. Some players may be inherently “soft” but that doesn’t mean a “hardness” can’t be coaxed out of them with the right leadership.

Which leads us into part three of “Bring Wally Back, Man!” — Watch and listen to Wally talk about how his team will play aggressive “old school” baseball (courtesy of Playing For Peanuts):

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I don’t know that Wally Backman can singlehandedly change the face of the franchise. But adding Wally and other hard-nosed coaches / former players like him (Ray Knight? John Stearns?) to the minor league system, where they can teach youngsters the right way to play the game, would be a good start in changing the culture and reputation of the organization. There is the “Dodgers’ Way”, the “Braves’ Way”, and used to be the “Orioles’ Way” … why not start building the “Mets’ Way” ?

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.
  1. Walnutz15 September 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm
    Some organizations get it….

    “The Indians will fire manager Eric Wedge and his entire coaching staff, according to’s Anthony Castrovince. A press conference is scheduled for 12:30pm CST.”

    ………not ours, though. We routinely REWARD situations that are not the best thing for our organization; or keep us stuck in neutral (if not, reverse).

  2. Walnutz15 September 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm
    Additionally, I’ll just add:

    If the Mets are willing to “play chicken” every year with their managerial spot; it can only be bad for the long-term building of this ballclub.

    The time to take a definitive stance on things should be early-on this winter (if not, what the Cleveland just did today) — and it appears that they’re fine with heading into 2010 w/Manuel still on as manager; not to mention that they’ve leaned towards keeping Warthen….with a guy like Dave Duncan probably exploring a new opportunity.

    After seeing this go on for 2 90+ loss seasons of Art Howe (3 GM’s during that span), and with Willie (after the 2007 collapse) — I’d prefer not to go through another “scapegoat season” with Jerry Manuel at the helm.

    We know what he brings to the table; and it all evaporates with the slightest little imperfection in roster.

    Nuthin’ doin’…….as evidenced by this 2009 mail-in job. Season was over in early July — if that long.

  3. joejanish September 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm
    Good points, ‘nutz. I don’t get why the Mets sit on their hands — with everything — and only act at the point when they absolutely have to, or it’s already too late.

    They do it with the manager, with injuries, with the handling of Tony B. — it goes on and on.

    Hmm … maybe that’s a post ….

  4. Rex Ryan Redux : Mets Today January 24, 2010 at 2:38 pm
    […] subject of the second post was related to the Mets being “soft”, and compared that to Rex Ryan’s edict that the Jets would be “tough”. To reiterate the point of that post: I’ve brought up Ryan again because he is living proof that […]