K-Rod Activated, Mets Remain Impotent
According to The New York Times, Francisco Rodriguez has completed his two-day suspension, has agreed to participate in anger management treatment, and will return to the Mets roster today.
Per The Times:
In fact, the Mets were considering a more severe punishment but settled on two games because the union agreed to the two games in consultation with Major League Baseball.
“We felt that was the right thing,” Minaya said, “and of course any time you do these things you also have to have conversations with the players association. We felt it was something we needed to do. We felt we needed to act upon it immediately.”
This followed up Thursday’s official statement from the Mets:
The New York Mets today announced they are taking the following disciplinary action against pitcher Francisco Rodriguez: The team has placed Rodriguez on the restricted list for two days. He will be removed from the roster, will not be with the team, and will not be paid during that time.
“Ownership and the organization are very disappointed in Francisco’s inappropriate behavior and we take this matter very seriously,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.
Once again, the Mets show their impotence, and cower to the opinions of others rather than taking the bull by the horns and making their own decision on a situation.
If the Mets cared one bit about their “brand”, the team, their fans, Francisco Rodriguez, and Rodriguez’s family, the punishment would have been delivered harsher, swifter, and with conviction. But the Mets don’t have the chutzpah or the cojones to make a decision on their own, and don’t know what’s “right” until others tell them.
Two days? Really? That’s “taking the matter very seriously”? And one of those didn’t count because it was spent in jail and court. And considering that Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey both pitched complete games, K-Rod didn’t really miss anything other than the $125K taken from his salary.
Jeff Wilpon had the opportunity to set the tone, to act as a potent leader, by acting swiftly and confidently. He could have said the Mets do not and will not tolerate such behavior on their property from anyone, and followed his “harsh words” with action — a one-month suspension, for example. Then, we wouldn’t have had to be subjected to the irrational comments of Jerry Manuel later that Thursday morning, who said he wouldn’t hesitate to use K-Rod if he were available. You can’t blame Manuel for saying such an idiotic thing, because the bosses above him were just as clueless and impotent as he was. Manuel wasn’t sure because Minaya wasn’t sure, and Minaya wasn’t sure because Wilpon wasn’t sure.
And even if Wilpon wasn’t sure of exactly what he wanted to do, he still had a chance to appear firm. Instead of conferring with MLB and the MLBPA, the Mets could have immediately announced that K-Rod was suspended indefinitely, and then let the MLBPA file a protest against them. Maybe K-Rod would still wind up with only a two-game suspension, but at least the Mets take a stand for themselves and publicly show that they are more concerned with preserving respect for their organization than in appeasing everyone. Let the MLBPA look like the bad guys for changing the punishment to a mere slap on the wrist.
Does anyone remember the last time a fireballing Mets relief pitcher was arrested in Flushing for assaulting a family member? It wasn’t that long ago that Ambiorix Burgos beat up his girlfriend in an eerily similar fashion — throwing her up against a wall, slapping her, and punching her to the ground. Just as similar was the Mets’ reaction to the news that Burgos had been arrested; from ESPN / AP:
The Mets said they were “disturbed by the allegations.” They said Burgos was in town for reasons unrelated to the team.
How did the Mets react then? They didn’t. Burgos was still technically in the minors, recovering from Tommy John surgery. So, rather than address the situation — possibly by suspending him or arranging anger management counseling — The Mets did what they thought was best — they ignored the situation and waited for it to go away. Eventually, it DID go away — Burgos went back to his home in the Dominican Republic and allegedly ran over two women with his SUV.
Burgos wasn’t officially on the 25-man roster at the time, so it was a different situation than the present one. The Mets didn’t really “need” Burgos like they “need” K-Rod right now. Maybe Jeff Wilpon didn’t act swifty and with certainty because he feared losing more games without a closer, and in turn losing more ticket sales.
One has to wonder: what if it was Oliver Perez who was arrested for assault in the Mets’ family room? Would he have been “punished” for only two days? Or would the Mets, MLB, and MLBPA agreed on, say, a 30-day, with-pay suspension so he could focus on “family matters”, psychiatric help, and anger management treatment?
I can’t imagine any other credible owners or GMs acting in a similar fashion.
They should have suspended K-Rod for a week, and if it was reduced due to restrictions in the collective bargaining agreement, so be it. In that scenario, at least the Mets would have looked like they cared, and truly wanted to address the situation, but couldn’t due for legal reasons. Because of the way they chose to handle this, it just looks like the management team rolled over without even trying…just like their team does on the field.
And yes, there is a trickle-down effect. Wilpon rolls over, Minaya rolls over, Manuel rolls over, the players roll over.
A leaderless, rudderless franchise from top to bottom.