It's only April, but Manuel's seat with Mets is already getting warm
Mets officials insist that nothing is going to happen imminently with Manuel. And general manager
Mets people say Manuel deserves a better chance to show what he can do. Last year wasn't a fair test considering all the devastating injuries to their core players, and neither is a week and a half into this year, not with catalyst
Yet, everyone around the Mets' say they understood that a solid start was needed, and that their 3-6 beginning doesn't qualify. It also isn't a great sign when several people familiar with their thinking seem to believe that they know the identity of Manuel's successor, should a change be made. They all believe that would be former Diamondbacks manager
"Jerry's working hard, and trying to get the most out of our players. And it's our job to get him the players,'' Minaya said.
Manuel wasn't nearly alone as a manager with an uncertain job situation heading into this season. The Orioles'
But right now, Manuel's heat seems as intense as anyone's (though Trembley's seven-game losing streak has to put him right near the top as well). Manuel's job security is becoming a hot topic around New York, especially on the airwaves.
Judging by what's being said, the most popular choice for successor would be
In any case, the rumblings on the radio and other places are ongoing.
"You're going to hear rumblings, but all that is just noise,'' Minaya said. "There's nothing to it.''
The noise has been picking up even inside the organization. Folks familiar with the thinking of higher-ups say they believe that the team better start winning more games within the next few weeks. While Manuel is unlikely to become the 20th manager fired within a team's first 20 games, it is not a guarantee that he will still be around by the second half of the season. One person familiar with the thinking of Mets' upper management said, "They don't appear to be in a patient mood.'' That person was referring to ownership, and not Minaya, who is also under some pressure.
Team owner and COO
Minaya, who was portrayed in discussions about the status of their top baseball people last year as being part of a package with Manuel, also has been seen as being under the gun. But it isn't unreasonable to think that he may have more latitude than Manuel, in part because of a longstanding relationship with
Folks who have worked with Manuel say he is "a good baseball man,'' and an "outside-the-box thinker'' who gels well with Minaya. However, some within the team say the jury's still out as to whether Manuel is great strategically.
The decent feeling heading out of spring training is fading with the team's slow start and a sense that things have the potential to get worse in the near term. Mets people know that they are going to have to face both
"It was good to get the win. It just changes the momentum,'' Minaya said after the Mets had shut out the Rockies behind
It's reasonable to think that Manuel should have the chance to manage with Reyes and Beltran, who isn't expected to return until next month. The Mets also have two very good positional prospects, first baseman
Everyone in the front office admires Manuel as a person, which is easy to do. He seems to have an amazingly thick skin, a prerequisite to manage in New York. He is also very candid. After a demoralizing recent defeat to ex-Met
Manuel, for his part, has not lost his calm, or even his humor, even once. His serenity at a time like this says something remarkable about the man. He is a good and confident manager, his bosses agree. But last year's postmortem, when Mets ownership expressed their disappointment and sought results, is still fresh and memorable.
But Loria has seemed less effusive when it comes to his very fine manager
Loria told Marlins writers late in spring that he wanted to see more "pep'' from his team, a comment that seemed to reflect on the manager. And Loria didn't back away from that remark in his interview with SI, either. "I thought we were a little sluggish,'' he said in explanation of his late-spring remark.
Gonzalez, a chronically hard worker and perpetually upbeat guy who was the choice of the Marlins' top baseball people
There have been uncomfortable moments though, like when word leaked out early in the winter that Loria was in contact with Valentine during the season. Loria suggested there was nothing to that. "Bobby already answered that ... I've known Bobby for 25 years,'' Loria said in response to a question about that situation. Valentine has indeed denied that his phone conversations with Loria included any suggestion he'd take over for Gonzalez.
Gonzalez has done an exceptional job with a young team filled with inexperienced and in some cases immature players in his tenure in Florida. And outwardly at least, he doesn't appear to be bothered by less than enthusiastic reviews from the Marlins' owner.
Loria is known to have been dissatisfied with the Marlins' 2009 season, though others around the Marlins seem perfectly pleased with the job Gonzalez did to keep them in contention into the final week. Gonzalez's efforts even earned him some Manager of the Year support (including a third-place vote from me). But Loria doesn't appear easy to please. He fired
Loria didn't seem too impressed by the Marlins' first win of the year, a 7-6, 10-inning affair that Loria called "like four hours in the dentist's chair,'' after the game, the second of the year. The Marlins are now 6-4. But the pressure is definitely on Gonzalez.
The Marlins do an exceptional job putting together a team on a shoestring budget, thanks to superior scouting and smarts, and Loria said he loves what the Marlins accomplished this winter (even though they were the one team that made no new acquisitions), and loves the fact "we kept all our guys.''
When he said that, he meant the players.
"He's got to feel it,'' Minaya said. "He's not fully there yet.''
Reyes is known as a great team man, and one former Met expressed some disappointment Reyes isn't accepting the assignment immediately.
"The Jose I remember was not afraid of a challenge,'' the ex-Met said. "For him to say he's not ready, that's not his makeup. The bigger the moment, the bigger the man.''
Reyes has been known as a great kid and hard worker who was the first to show up for extra work. Assuming nothing's seriously wrong, the great hope is that he returns to his old form. In the meantime, he should report to the No. 3 spot in the order, which would allow Manuel to bat the talented
"I don't know why he isn't anywhere near the guy he was in 2006 or 2007,'' the former Met said. "He's the one person they can't replace. It's not Wright or anyone else. It's Reyes. As he goes, they go.''
Dye and Sheffield weren't close to the only players who found this market trying.
Hudson is also likely thinking of his own experience, which has been to sign two straight one-year deals. But Hudson also turned down an offer from the Diamondbacks of $24 million over three years after the 2008 season before he first hit the free-agent market, and he has likely been hurt by a re-evaluation of the value of good but not great second basemen.
The reality is that several teams were anxious to sign Hudson, including the Mets, because is known to be a great guy and clubhouse influence. The Mets badly wanted to be rid of
• According to one scout, youngster
• Congratulations to Houston's