Andrew Marchman of the New York Sun is one of the few real newspaper columnists with anything at all to say on this subject. That is, if you can call the Sun a real newspaper. We're kidding of course; we're glad that someone with a name attached to conventional news media shares our opinion on these matters, because really, it's the media's fault in the first place.
Marchman has two recent pieces that deal with this subject. Mets Need To Rethink Veteran Approach and Mets Avoid Blame Game by Protecting Randolph. From the first:
A decision like the one to not use Humber or Milledge is ultimately Willie Randolph's responsibility. He didn't use them, and it's not as if his decision was irrational: It wasn't in his interests to bet the season on unproven players. The problem is that it just as obviously won't be in his interests to do so next year. A manager with his job on the line is a manager who will favor old players. The decision to retain him inherently commits the Mets to trying to win a World Series next year at all costs. Barring some brilliant maneuvering by Minaya that would bring on someone like Johan Santana, that's probably not a good idea. They already bet on age, and it failed as badly as any bet in the game has ever failed. It's time for a new course. If that doesn't coincide with the manager's best interests, the manager is the problem.Because there is the expectation to try really hard to win championships, no one (but Marchman and a few others) will celebrate the Mets for putting the team's fate in the hands of unproven rookies. That means guys like Livan Hernandez and Ivan Rodriguez, not Ruben Gotay and Lastings Milledge. From the thoroughly depressing second piece:
Managers rarely get blamed for not taking risks; they get blamed for taking them. Plenty of people are laying into Randolph for letting Lasting Milledge dance on the field and sleep on defense. Very few are laying into him for giving Milledge's at-bats to Shawn Green, whose admirably professional playing style didn't make up for the fact that he was a lesser player. There will be no real youth movement at Shea Stadium next year.Basically, we are doomed to have two more years of Dusty Baker-style management.
NJ.com's Ryan McConnell has also picked up on this theme:
Marchman brings up an unsettling point -- by keeping Randolph, the Mets are not only failing to hold anyone accountable for this disaster, but they are, in effect, forcing an already conservative manager to be even more risk averse next season. As such, it's not difficult at all to imagine next year's Shawn Green or Brian Lawrence taking valuable ABs/starts away from younger, more talented players.So has David Leonhardt, writing some bloggy thing for the New York Times:
Imagine if a team full of young players had blown a seven-game lead with 17 games to play. The baseball punditocracy would now be holding forth about the importance of having a strong veteran presence in the clubhouse... The Mets’ problem wasn’t a lack of veteran presence. It was too much of a veteran presence.
As long as it's being said.