At about 3:15 this morning, the Mets fired manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson, and first base coach Tom Nieto. With a massive payroll and a sub-.500 team that has never seemed to recover from last season's monumental collapse, the writing has been on the wall for Randolph for far too long. After months of very public speculation, the Mets finally terminated him.
Not that it was entirely Randolph's fault. The team lacks leadership on the field, despite a slew of veteran players, some of whom are far more "veteran" than "player" at this point. That last distinction is the fault of Omar Minaya, who filled a few of the holes in the Mets roster with players who were way past their primes—a characteristic other prominent members of the team shared as well.
Randolph certainly had his failings as skipper, but his firing is
primarily a shake-up move for a team going in the wrong direction.
Whether it will work is a whole different question. Sure, Randolph and
two coaches are gone. But all of the positions have been filled
in-house, with bench coach Jerry Manuel being named the interim
manager, and two minor league coaches being promoted to the bigs.
As Phillies fans, we're not sure if we should be happy that the Mets
are struggling so badly that they had to fire their manager, or concerned that
they finally did something about their woes. We've been enjoying seeing
them held at arm's length for most of the season, but we've never taken for granted that they'd stay there.