The manager summoned one of his veterans into his office for a closed-door meeting, challenging him to focus more on baseball. It was a rare, line-in-the-sand moment for Randolph, who avoided confrontation with his players. But the manager’s attempt to assert his authority failed miserably, as the two men raised their voices at each other.Of course, he was right. This makes me wonder, how much is "veteran leadership" worth when the whole team is full of veterans? If there is a benefit to such leadership, surely there is a tipping point where having too many veterans causes a sense of entitlement, not leadership.
As he walked out the door, the elder Met taunted Randolph, “I’m going to be here longer than you.”
I know this is supposed to be an anecdote that shows Randolph's failure as leader, but to me it is more of an indictment of Omar Minaya, just as most of the team's problems are. The unnamed veteran could be anybody. It doesn't really matter, because there are so many of them on the team. It was probably Carlos Delgado, who can be sure of his job because the general manager has turned the Mets' bench into a club for all his buddies instead of a source of depth and roster flexibility.
I'm not going to name all the crappy players on the Mets here. You know who they are. If you don't, do yourself a favor and look at all the guys who have played left field for the Mets in 2008. Met left fielders have hit .243/.294/.315 this year. I don't care how bad the situation is or how much you've been caught by surprise-- finding at least replacement level production in left field should be one of the easiest parts of the job. And that Moises Alou will hit the Disabled List should have been Omar Minaya's Assumption Number One.
Met first basemen have hit .247/.317/.406 this year. If that's not below replacement, it's pretty damn close. Again, finding replacement level production at first base should be one of the easiest parts of the job. A platoon partner for Delgado should be easy to find. There's one in AAA right now.
But did Omar Minaya stock the bench with suitable depth and protection for left field and first base? No, he started the offseason by handing out guaranteed contracts to mediocrities-- easily replaceable guys who should hold no special place in the organization. And now, with two starting outfielders out of the picture (one predictably and the other due to Minaya's negligence) the lineup regular features the worst offensive and defensive corner outfielders in the game, an old and broken first baseman, and two starters who would be lucky to ever slug over .400-- two starters whom Omar Minaya went out of his way to obtain and retain for the 2008 season and beyond.
So yea, quip all you want about how Willie Randolph was a poor leader. He was an even worse tactician. But 100% of the blame should go to Omar Minaya.