Florida Marlins skipper, Fredi Gonzalez, probably received the highest form of disrespect any manager can get from a player: to be criticized by your player through the media. Marlins player Hanely Ramirez is the culprit. Ramirez is bitter over the decision Gonzalez made in benching him for not hustling on a play the other day. Who is really getting the bad end of this? Not Gonzalez. Far from it. Ramirez is being attacked by his teammates and Gonzalez. As a matter of fact, the other Marlins players are expecting Ramirez to apologize to them, not just for the attack on their manager, but to the implication of other players not playing to their full strength.
This got me thinking. What makes for a great manager? Is it the ability to fill out a line-up card? The ability to change your pitchers? Loyalty? Faith in your players? The answer is yes to all of the above. Yet there is one element that is of the utmost importance and Fredi Gonzalez has it. The most crucial component of a manager is the ability to stand strong and bench a player if it is the most beneficial to the team. If it is felt the player is not helping this team, but hindering it, a manager must be able to say: “You are not playing until you get straightened out”. A manager must send a message, not just to said player, but to all of the players for that team.
Right now, New York Mets third baseman, David Wright, is more of a hindrance, a nuisance, an inept player and is, if nothing else, detrimental to the health of this team. His inability to hit and field are costing the Mets more than just games, but a chance at the playoffs. Watching the Mets play with Wright on the field has filled Mets fans with so much dread, it is all they can do not to change the channel when he comes to the plate or a ball is hit his way. Jerry Manuel is failing at his job. Before tonight, Manuel had not benched Wright for reasons unknown. Maybe because there really is no legitimate third baseman to take his spot? Possibly. At the same time, you take a chance on another player like Fernando Tatis and give Wright time to get his head screwed on straight.
So much hype was given when people saw how big Wright had gotten during the offseason. People predicted home runs galore. Some said he was going to be the beast of this team. The pressure on him was to have been alleviated somewhat with the addition of Jason Bay. No such luck. It seems the pressure is even greater than before.
Manuel is failing greatly as the Mets manager. It is a very dire situation which needs to be turned around sooner rather than later. While the Mets were in Atlanta, there was a big meeting with Manuel, Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya and John Ricco. This was their chance to instill some faith into the minds of Mets fans. Fire Jerry Manuel. I did not call for his job last year because in my mind, you do not fire a manager over an injury plagued season. He did not cause the injuries. Manuel, however, is contributing to the losses by failing to bench players, mismanagement of the bullpen, and failure to rip apart of failing rotation. It is his job to meet with the GM and let him know what it is he needs to help him win. Manuel believes in giving chances to your players to prove themselves, yet never giving them a good message like stupid plays are not just unacceptable, but intolerable.
At this point, I think it is time to bid adieu to Mr. Jerry Manuel. You had potential here in New York, but potential does not win games. Sorry. Here is your pink slip. You will not be getting a reference from us. I think other teams will understand why.