HoJo On the Way Out

According to sources close to the situation, Howard Johnson will be relieved of his duties as batting coach for the New York Mets.

You may have read or heard Jon Heyman’s report that “there has been no discussion of Howard Johnson” and that Jerry Manuel’s job is “safe”. Kevin Burkhardt is tweeting similar “news”.

However, our sources are reporting quite the opposite.

For one, Johnson’s role was most definitely discussed and almost surely will change. It is possible that he won’t be fired outright — for example, he could be “reassigned” to another area of the organization. Or maybe the Mets will do something like they did in 2008 with Rickey Henderson. Perhaps they’ll hire Darryl Strawberry to teach the players how to swallow fire — who knows? All we know is that HoJo is moving on and Jerry Manuel is about as “safe” as Toyota gas pedal — though he’ll likely remain the manager for at least a few more days.

My guess is that the Mets are still trying to figure out the best way to break the news without upsetting fans of the ’86 Mets and David Wright, and waiting for the “right moment”. Or, maybe our sources are completely wrong.

Regardless of HoJo’s status, the Mets HAVE TO do something — they’ve forced themselves into making a change for the sake of change, at the very least.

*** UPDATE ***
Just got word that Jerry Manuel’s job IS safe for the time being. Though, the Mets have been on the fence before regarding Manuel, and could change their mind again at the drop of a hat.

HoJo is still the focus of whatever “change” is made, however.

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. MetsFanInPhilly-Twitter July 26, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    exactly — they HAVE TO DO something.

    Phils fired their hitting coach and since then, have won 5 straight.

    Coincidence? Maybe. But maybe they just needed a jolt. Maybe they realized, DAMN we have to step it up — people are losing their jobs.

    Whatever the reason, they have to do SOMETHING — at least to even prove to their dwindling fans that they are paying attention.

    • Frank Quinn July 26, 2010 at 6:34 pm
      Excellent piece Joe (as usual).

      People should never wonder why they have been called the amazin’s. They really do stink.

      If I owned the Mets I would bring in a baseball man (like Buck Showalter?) and let him sit up high in the booth and let him watch (and take notes) for the last 60 games. Tell me who the keepers are. At the end of the season ask him if be wants to manage or be the GM. If it is GM then bring in a Wally Backman type of person. I hear Bobby V. or Lee Mazzilli or other has beens/neverwas’s. This is really embarrasing. The Mets payroll is four (4) times the Marlins for almost an equal amount of wins. What a joke. If Buck wants to manage then bring in a guy like a Pat Gillick. or a Theo Epstein type. There are plenty of assistants that no one has ever heard of who could do the job after they get their chance. I think Omar is a fantastic judge of raw talent. I live in Texas and he brought in a slew of latin talent and the Rangers did well in the late 90’s. Let him do what he does well. Scouting. As a GM he is a disaster.

      I see very few Met games on TV and don’t see the killer instinct of the 86 Mets. Remember Ray Knight, Wally Backman, Bobby Ojeda, Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell, Jessie Orosco. the Kid (Gary Carter), and of course Keith (no last name necessary). They were cocky, arrogent, and nasty. On the current Mets I see Thole (who can flat out hit but plays sparingly????), Davis(who has good pedigree and looks OK), Tejada, Cora(limited talent but plays hard and went nuts in the club house in Arizona) and Pagan. The pitchers I like are Dickey, Niese, Takahashi, Santana, Parnell, Valdes, Nieve(you can make guys look bad if you try to), I actually like Jeff Francour – but not everyday and not for five (5) million. Great attitude gun for an arm and just wants to play baseball. I see relief in Wright’s eyes when he is intentionally walked. Other times fear. I hope Minaya is not allowed to trade Duda, Ratliff, Flores, Gee, Misch, Tejada, Mark Cahoon, Brandon Moore among many others. I am a throw-back Joe. I look at innings per start, strikeouts per inning and the ratio of walks/strikeouts. Simple stuff. I do not read or understand the grandiose statistics being thrown around today which do not mean a hill or beans when it is mano y mano (i.e. pitcher vs. batter) And if you throw a lot of innings per start without a large number of strikeouts maybe you have a Greg Maddux type guy.

      Lastly, last year you wrote a column about “the myth of Murph” and I wonder how you feel today. Do not get me wrong; I LIKE IKE DAVIS. But are we not basically talking about the same guy as Murphy. Both were lefty rookies batting fourth for the Mets. I guess both are about the same age and Davis has a little AAA experience while Murphy had none. Murphy to me got better while Davis has slumped which is to be expected. No problem or complaint from this corner. But yet while Murphy was torn apart last year Davis is not touched. Has he been blessed by something to be left alone. If Murphy is still with the Mets next year( and healthy) what happens. I see Murphy at 1st base and Ike in the OK. I would like to see Thole moved from behind the plate before he gets killed by a runner. I tell you Joe this kid was born to hit and reminds me of Dave Magadan or John Oleruud.

      The Mets do not need to and should not trade anything in the minors. The talent is there Just let it bloom. They also do not need a pitcher.

      Haven’t we seen enough Beltrans, Bays, Perez’s, KRods, etc. as FA’s And bad trades too numerous to name.

      I personally would trade Wright, Reyes, Castillo, K-Rod, Bay, Perez, and Pelfrey because they are all gutless.

      When the Mets fall behind 1-0 it is generally game over. Turn them off and get some sleep. I think they are 0 -38 when trailing after eight innings. That pretty much sums it up.

      Sorry for any bad grammar/spelling errors,

      • Joe Janish July 26, 2010 at 11:32 pm
        Frank, thanks for sharing. Where have you been? Glad you’re back.

        Interesting point on Murph vs. Davis … that may be worth a full post. I think it may have something to do with the fans being allowed to “discover” and embrace Davis as opposed to having Murphy forced down our throats. For the record, I like the attitude of both players, but not sure either will ever be nearly as good as their top supporters suggest. To me, Murphy’s ceiling always was somewhere between Matt Franco and Mike Hargrove. For Ike, I see Adam LaRoche.

        As for trading half the team … well, the one guy I’d hold on to is Wright. Though I think he needs to go back to the more compact stroke that brought him success from 2004-2008. Otherwise I agree with your throwback perspective. Problem is, those old-school players are few and far between throughout MLB these days.

  2. Mic July 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm
    Exactly Joe. Hojo is an organization guy. I think Dave Jaus goes and Hojo goes to the ‘bench’ and ….

    Hojo’s closest ‘guys’ are Bay, Wright and French. Those guys are the ones with bulleyes. As for carlos Beltran…I DISAGREE with several blogs that the Mets kick in funds. This is a GG, HOF centerfielder…Yes he has decreased value but now IS the time to buy…in fact I think the Angels are a good destination in a swap for Haren or Kazmir.

  3. AC Wayne July 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm
    The Mets world, well let’s just say, has turned everything Howard Johnson. Every where you look, the mention of his firing has become front-and-center. It could very well happen as we speak or sometime early afternoon prior to Tuesday nights’ Mets game against the St. Louis Cardinals, one of their long-time rivals.

    Or it could not happen at all. However, if Johnson is not let go prematurely then Mets fans will have to come up with other reasons why their team has found itself in the dumps, if not Howard Johnson, then why?

  4. Moose July 26, 2010 at 10:32 pm
    Who in the Mets System would be a better Hitting coach then HOJO? I forget what this background of the 1st base and 3rd base coaches are could we switch one of them with Ho-Jo? As for the player to think about trading Yes Ollie, What kind of trade Value would Carlos Beltron have? Here would be a idea move Thole from behind the Plate and maybe make him a second baseman. Don’t laugh at this thinking but let me remind was this not the type of a move that someone by the name of Craig Biggio. Does Thole have the same ability I don’t know. We need players that bleed and breath hard nose baseball. Play all out hard baseball.
  5. Eko July 26, 2010 at 11:02 pm
    fans like Frank Quinn make me upset. say what you want about team makeup or chemistry or attitude or whatever. but saying you should trade Wright, who is 27 and entering the prime of his career, because he is “gutless” is absolutely stupid (so is saying you would trade a young Pelfrey). “Clutch” hitting is overrated and is an amalgamation of luck and small sample sizes. Fans like you clamoring for a trade because “he can’t hit in the clutch” won’t know how much you’ll miss Wright until he actually gets traded…and then you’ll probably rag on management for trading him.

    I can’t believe you “fans” have been forgetting that in the face of the 2007 and 2008 collapses, Wright was not only the ONLY Met producing in September, he was one of the only ones answering the media after the games. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted out of this franchise, either — there’s only so much failure a single person can take, coupled with the piling on of labels from a huge city. David Wright is a high class, talented, and wants to play in New York. Players of his ilk don’t come along too often. Appreciate what you have.