Tag: tim teufel

Mets Grab Geren – But Who is in Charge?

Big news in Flushing — the Mets have hired former Oakland Athletics manager Bob Geren to be their 2012 bench coach.

The hiring comes as a surprise, since Bud Selig / MLB generally ask that teams hold off on huge announcements at this time of year, so that focus does not waver from the excitement of the postseason. But those brash and defiant Mets — who once almost wore illegal hats in a baseball game — laughed off such policy and came out with the news anyway.

What? The hiring of Geren isn’t big news to you? Maybe because you’re still on the edge of your seat waiting to hear who the first-base coach will be. Or, maybe you’re more focused on whether the Mets will take advantage of their exclusive negotiating window and talk to the agent of a certain switch-hitting shortstop.

In all seriousness, I find the hiring of Geren interesting, in that it smacks of a Sandy Alderson move. Whether that’s good or bad is hard to measure — it all depends on your perspective, which we can argue in the comments. To set up the discussion, consider these factors:

1. Terry Collins‘ choice for bench coach was his good friend Jim Riggleman. So, you could look at this as Alderson making a power play — though, not necessarily as an ego thing. I’m sure that Alderson genuinely prefers Geren for valid reasons, but the point is that ultimately, the Mets hired Alderson’s guy and not Collins’ guy — even though Collins is the one who will work most closely with the new employee.

2. The hiring of Geren comes off the heels of Chip Hale‘s move to Oakland, and the firing of Ken Oberkfell. Both Obie and Hale were leftovers from the “previous regime”, and rather than promote from within, Alderson chose someone outside the organization. At the same time, though, Alderson DID promote Tim Teufel to third-base coach. Which brings me to the third consideration …

3. Was Bob Geren really Alderson’s hire, or was it Jeff Wilpon’s? Further, was the hiring of a bench coach given to Alderson because Jeff had dibs on the hiring of a third base coach? Teufel is a longtime friend and trusted soldier of the Wilpons, and as such this promotion could be interpreted as a personal reward as much as it was one for performance.

I know a lot of Mets fans would like to believe that Sandy Alderson holds the Mets future in his hands. Those of you who have that belief probably also think that Omar Minaya singlehandedly “destroyed” the organization. Maybe you’re right, but I have my own conspiracy theories, and would just like to point out little things here and there that could support my silly ideas (hey, with no Mets games going on, there’s a lot more time to dream up this stuff).

There have been rumblings from “those in the know” that Alderson is already growing tired of “arrangement” that looms above him — and by that I mean the owners’ exercising their right to have a say in what happens with their company. A year ago, ownership was in a precarious position: they were in financial straits, were coming off two consecutive poor seasons, and had the Irving Picard suit looming. They were down, and they needed help. In response, Bud Selig sent Alderson in to Flushing on a white horse carrying a sack of secret cash to help turn things around. A year later, things are looking just a bit brighter for Mets ownership. For one, the Picard suit looks like it will cost them almost a billion dollars less than they thought. Further, Alderson has and is continuing to slash payroll. And, ownership seems to feel confident they can pull in a few investors over the winter. Those three developments have made the future look a bit brighter, and perhaps injected the Wilpons with just a bit of chutzpah. Why is this important? Because if they feel as though they’re “in the clear”, Fred and Jeff Wilpon are likely to go right back to doing what they’ve always done — which is, run the Mets. Again, that’s their prerogative — it IS their company, after all. For those who forgot, the Mets have been the Wilpons’ company exclusively since 2002, when they purchased the other 50% of the franchise from Nelson Doubleday (ironically, with some help from their good buddy Selig’s accountant, who Doubleday felt was “cooking the books”).

The Mets record since the Wilpons took over complete ownership in 2002? 795-823, for a .491 winning percentage. In those ten seasons, the Mets won the NL East once, reaching the postseason once. They’ve been through 5 managers and 4 GMs in those 10 seasons.

What do you think about this hiring of Bob Geren? Is it a clue to the beginnings of a behind-the-scenes power struggle? Or am I off my rocker creating conspiracy theories for lack of better content? Looking forward to your thoughts in the comments.

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11 DUPACR: Lenny Randle

There are 11 Days Until Pitchers And Catchers Report to spring training, and today I’m honoring former #11 Lenny Randle.

To be perfectly blunt, Randle was (and still is) a nut job. But he was ours.

A switch-hitter with speed and an ability to get on base, Randle was an up-and-coming star who the Mets were able to wrangle away from the Texas Rangers for a song (actually, less than a song — futility infielder Rick Auerbach). How did the Mets steal this former #1 pick? Easy — no one else wanted him after he belted his Rangers manager Frank Lucchesi during batting practice one day and pummeled the 49-year-old to the point where he required reconstructive surgery to his face. Randle was charged with aggravated battery — that’s a felony, folks — and faced a possible prison sentence. So naturally, the Mets were only too happy to take him off the Rangers’ hands and sign him to a 5-year, $400,000 contract; then-owner M. Donald Grant even offered Lucchesi $10,000 to forget the whole matter (Lucchesi declined).

But that’s how it was for the Mets in 1977; things started bad and just got worse.

As it turned out, Randle refrained from assaulting anyone in his Flushing tenure, and for one year, performed like a borderline All-Star. Playing the outfield, second base, shortstop, and third (where he eventually settled in), Randle hit .304 with a .383 OBP, .787 OPS, 7 triples, 78 runs, and 156 hits, pacing the Mets in all of those categories (among others) in ’77. He also set a Mets record with 33 stolen bases — though, he set another Met record by being thrown out 21 times. And, he grounded into 15 double plays to tie for the team lead — strange for a speedster, but you have to understand Lenny hit the ball on the ground just about all the time.

Unfortunately for the Mets, Randle was something of a one-hit wonder; he followed up his big ’77 season by hitting only .233 in ’78. The saberheads will point out that in ’77, he had an unusually high .343 BABIP and an unusually low .262 BABIP in ’78 — so in other words, he was very lucky one year and very unlucky the following year. Maybe … but, he also stunk. Pitchers and defenses didn’t know him in ’77 — his offensive style was not unlike that of Luis Castillo — and in ’78 teams adjusted to his bloops and seeing-eye grounders by attacking him with more hard and high stuff and positioning defenders accordingly. Randle didn’t adjust to the adjustments, and didn’t hit the ball with as much authority as he did previously. In ’79, Richie Hebner was brought in to play 3B, and so Randle didn’t make the team out of spring training in ’79 and was released, with the Mets eating the last three years of his deal. In a disturbingly inappropriate move, Randle was purchased from the Pirates by the Yankees on August 3rd — taking the roster spot of Thurman Munson, who died in a plane crash the day before. Ugh. Randle played a few more years in MLB as a utility man before becoming the first American to play pro ball in Italy in the early 80s — and hit .477 one year. Ironically, he also was a slugger in Italy, setting records for most homeruns and longest homeruns.

I have to admit, Randle wasn’t my favorite #11, but he is the one I immediately think of in that uniform number — mainly because he was crazy but also because he was their offensive star in an otherwise dark 1977. Other players who wore #11 for the Mets include — among others — Tim Teufel, Frank Taveras, Tom Veryzer, Wayne Garrett, Garry Templeton, Kelvin Chapman, Roy McMillan, Dick Schofield, Vince Coleman, Jason Tyner, Ramon Castro, and Joe McEwing (after Super Joe gave up #47 to Tom Glavine).

What memories do you have of a former #11? Share your thoughts below.

The countdown thus far:

#11 Lenny Randle
#12 John Stearns
#13 Edgardo Alfonzo
#14 Gil Hodges
#15 Jerry Grote
#16 Dwight Gooden
#17 Felix Millan
#18 Darryl Strawberry
#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd

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Since It Doesn’t Matter Who the Manager Is …

Now that Sandy Alderson is in charge, and we know he does not believe a manager has any impact on a team’s success or failure — provided, of course, said manager follows orders and executes the plan issued from the front office — then how do we go about choosing the next Mets manager?

Seriously — if you buy into this idea that “the manager doesn’t matter”, then, it doesn’t matter who is chosen; ergo, we can choose anyone we want, based on just about anything we want.

Further, it means that Jeff Wilpon can choose anyone he wants to be the manager, based on whatever he deems valuable, and in doing so, he’s not encroaching on Alderson’s “power” — because Alderson doesn’t really care who the manager is, so long as he is a good soldier.

So, if I were Jeff Wilpon, my three most important traits in selecting the next Mets manager would be:

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Can Teufel Toughen the Mets?

Tim Teufel gives Rob Dibble a pounding on July 8, 1989

Tim Teufel gives Rob Dibble a pounding on July 8, 1989

The Mets have hinted at hiring their next manager from within; at the same time, many believe that the person will have ties to previous success in a Mets uniform.

At least one individual fits both requirements: Tim Teufel.

Those old enough remember Teufel as the choir boy of the rough-and-tumble ’86 Mets — save for one unfortunate night outside a Houston night club. Though that one night was an off-the-field anomaly for the normally well-behaved Teufel, the second baseman did fit in with his teammates on the field as a hard-nosed, gritty ballplayer who took s%&t from no one.

But don’t take that from me — just ask the 6’4″, 230-lb. (in his playing days) fireballing Rob Dibble, who had his face rearranged by the 6′, 175-lb. Teufel after plunking Tim in the back.

Of course, being feisty is not the only characteristic needed to be a successful Major League manager — it helps if you can manage a team to victory as well. But I bring up the gritty side of Teufel because some feel that such a personality is necessary to “toughen” what many believe is a “soft” Mets team.

Looking at the rest of Teufel’s resume, it’s hard to say whether he’s ready to take the reigns as a big-league manager. His first year managing a pro team was an undeniable success, as he led the Brooklyn Cyclones to a 75-47 record and division title in 2003. After that, though, none of Teufel’s teams have finished with a winning record; over his career as a manager his teams are 337-412 (.450), managing mostly at the A level.

Granted, the talent of those teams may not have been up to snuff. But as with Ken Oberkfell, you can’t glaze over consistent losing when considering someone for a Major League managing job. I was a huge Tim Teufel fan from his rookie year with the Minnesota Twins, and thoroughly enjoyed watching him in the orange and blue — he was one of my favorite all-time Mets. If he was named as their next manager, I’d be happy to see him in the uniform again, I’d root for him, and I wouldn’t criticize the decision, but I’d be skeptical. My feeling is that this team needs a huge change in at least one if not all of the leadership roles, and a Teufel hiring on its own wouldn’t be enough to change my lack of faith in the organization. However, if Teufel were part of several moves aimed at changing the face of the franchise, I’d probably feel better about him in the dugout.

What’s your thought? Why or why wouldn’t you support the hiring of Tim Teufel as manager in 2011?

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