Time for a change in philosophy

As the Mets front office mind trust carefully considers their next manager and pitching coach they need to look beyond resumes and intangible leadership qualities. Managing and coaching this team will require a keen mind and an adaptive personality. This is not a typical team that’s in clear win now, rebuild or tear down mode. This is a team that is in reboot mode.

There are holes to be filled, but there’s enough talent in place to reconfigure this group into a winning team. We need a manager who can inspire players and make smart in-game decisions, but also, work with the front office and his coaching staff to figure out the optimal role for each player to give this team the best chance to win. This is what overachieving teams do. It’s the Cardinal way. Mike Matheny and Tony LaRussa before him were great at making solid relievers out of struggling starters, finding at bats for utility players, deploying clever platoons, maximizing hot streaks, and using positional versatility to their every advantage. Smart managers are clever and resourceful. They find unique ways to manufacture and prevent runs. The most talented team doesn’t always win. How the heck did the Twins make the playoffs? How come the Nationals can’t get past the first round?

A good leader, be it in the military, the workplace or in the dugout needs to identify every contributors’ strengths and weaknesses and utilize them in a way that maximizes potential. It starts with asking the right questions. How would each of Alex Cora, Joe McEwing, Mickey Callaway, Manny Acta, and Kevin Long turn eight talented but mostly injury-prone starting pitchers into a top-line rotation?

Which manager and pitching coach candidates are most up to the task of solving the riddles of this roster? Is it time to convert Zack Wheeler to a relief pitcher? Is there a way to piggyback guys at the back end of the rotation as Brian pointed out on Sunday? Can we do more to take advantage of players who are quicker on the bases, like have Amed Rosario work on drag bunting? Can we develop a productive platoon at second or third base with what we have in-house?

If Sandy Alderson wants to get this team back to the post season, he’s going to need more than wisdom and moxie. He’s going to need a little magic.

So, as he interviews each coaching candidate, Alderson shouldn’t just be asking about game strategy, preparation, sabermetrics, handling the media, and so forth, but rather, “how can you pull a rabbit out of your hat?”


10 comments for “Time for a change in philosophy

  1. Chris F
    October 20, 2017 at 10:40 am

    “how can you pull a rabbit out of your hat?”

    …the battle cry of 2018…and the quick slide to 2019…

    • MattyMets
      October 20, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Chris F – If I’m the optimist, you’re the pessimist. The yin to my yang. I know the history of this team is rough on the psyche, but have a little faith, come on man.

      Here’s my challenge to anyone reading this shaking their head. Look at the final standings and note how things didn’t shake out according to roster talent. How are the Yankees on the verge of the WS when Cleveland and Houston were built to win now? This isn’t the NBA where the most talented teams make the playoffs and the best team almost always wins.

      I’m not suggesting we don’t need more talent, but rather that we need more than just talent. We need the right mix of veterans and kids, the right strategy from the front office, and the right skipper to steer the ship. Is this Dodgers team really that much more talented than the one the Mets squeaked past in ’15? An infusion of youth and an inspiring manager is the big difference.

      • Chris F
        October 20, 2017 at 6:36 pm

        Matt, I dont see that “faith” has anything to do with this. The concept has zero meaning to me, especially when it comes to baseball. Lets look at the record of the Mets in the Alderson years. Overall, 5 of 7 seasons have losing records.One of the 2 winning seasons directly connected with a complete meltdown in DC. Last year the Mets slipped under the door, and exited before the actual post season began. If we were to place the 7 year record into where would it fit annually, we would see that at .486, we we would be in 8th place this year. I dont want to extinguish your boundless optimism, but I see what I see, year after year. We are 7 seasons into the Alderson Administration, and in no better place than we were before he took over, in fact the pipeline is a complete sham. So I dont believe in the “what if all the pitchers are 100%” in any way shape or form. Next season begins in the same spot as this season. A number of pitchers coming off of season ending injuries, with no way to expect outcomes to be different. While SS is “fixed”, now its clear 1B, 2B, and 3B are question marks – not a single one of those positions at this time projects to even league average. Catcher is average at best. Ces is an unknown quantity. Conforto coming off of major surgery and so in an unknown quantity. CF is literally 2 bench guys heading for a platoon. So you want me to be excited against the Nats? sorry. We have ownership that clearly is indicating regression in payroll. In total, the team is average at best and needs, as you rightly point out, to figure out “how can you pull a rabbit out of your hat?”. Unfortunately, thats a pretty terrible strategy and not one a new skipper of any breed can solve. We need talent like mad and we need pitching talent in desperation.

        • MattyMets
          October 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

          Understand what I’m saying here. I agree that the Mets need more talent – a strong reliever, a bulldog starter, at least 2 bats. But they also need the right skipper.

        • Rae
          October 21, 2017 at 5:37 am

          The Mets need to sign Kevin Long as manager since Manny Acta was an utter disaster as the Nationals manager. Long has a clue, and is liked by the Mets players. Hire Long to manage, and then hire a really good pitching coach. I hear both Frank Viola and John Franco are available? They also need to trade d’Arnaud as he is incompetent in throwing the ball. I’d rather see Plawecki behind the plate along with Tomas Nido who at least can throw the ball to second base. The best idea would be to sign a free agent catcher since Nido, Mazeicki, and Domino need more time in the minors to improve on their throwing before they are brought up to the Majors. The Mets also need to sign either Cozart, Nunez, or Lowrie to help solidify the infield. Nunez and Cozart have speed while Lowrie will hit in the 270 range. Both Lowrie and Cozart switch hit. I would also like to see a reunion with Lucas Duda as Dom Smith is a complete disaster at 1B, is fat, and out-of-shape at 22, and cannot hit for average. The guy needs to be back in the minors so some really good coach can help him work on his defensive and offensive shortcomings. I think we need to keep Asdrubal Cabrera, and might as well give him a chance at 3B with Phillip Evans as his backup. Since Kevin Kaczmarski is having a breakout season in the Fall League it looks like the Mets might consider starting him in CF? He may lack power but he has speed, hits for average, and can field and throw the ball well. He is a lead off hitter type of player. So if he starts in CF then Conforto can stay in RF with Cespedes in LF, and Nimmo and Lagares as 4th and 5th OFers. Get Lucas Duda back at 1B because it is gonna take Peter Alonso until 2019 to be ready to play 1B in the Majors. Sign a catcher who can throw the ball, and who can hit above 240?

  2. Joe Gomes
    October 20, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Sprinkle Pixie dust on the whole team, that’s what Sandy will do.

  3. TexasGusCC
    October 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Hold on now:
    During the summer all I heard was how little the manager had to do with the overall results. Have we come to see the light?

    Think the Nats aren’t lamenting their manager’s choices that left Werth as the last out because he had him batting second and Harper, Murphy, Rendon all lower down? It’s one example, but those examples add up, and as Jim Leyland once told me, idiot managers cost their teams games.

    On another note, cannot believe how Tony Pena’s name has not come up this year. The Yanks keep their mouths’ shut and let the other teams raid other staffs.

  4. Metsense
    October 20, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    It looks like you are advocating for Bullwinkle Moose to be the next Met manager !
    The new manager will have a talented core with a healthy Cespedes, Conforto, Syndergaard, Familia and returning deGrom. Those are five all star caliber players. Every position has an average offensive player but the starting pitching is below average after deGrom and Sydnergaard and the middle relief was awful. The “change in philosophy” should be how to handle the starting pitching and bullpen usage while getting more out the other “average” offensive players in the line up. The real problem will be if the GM doesn’t change his philosophy and address the pitching needs which will force the manager to “pull a rabbit out his hat” resulting in a “Rocky” 2018.

    • MattyMets
      October 20, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Metsense – before the season started I posted that the Mets had enough depth to overcome injuries as long as those five and Harvey stayed healthy. 5 out of 6 missed at least half the season and that is precisely why this season went to hell in a hand bag.

    • Rae
      October 21, 2017 at 5:46 am

      “Again”, according to Rocky J. Squirrel. Managers absolutely loose games or just go to the stupid moves file listed under dumb managerial moves Ala Terry Collins…Kevin Long is going to be the new Mets manager, and I think he deserves a chance. He already knows the players so this is not a bad move for the Mets. They do need to bring in a pitching coach, and if it was me I would hire both Frank Viola and John Franco. Viola already know the Mets minor and Major league players, and Franco would be a decent reliever/bullpen coach.

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