06.16.08

Rubin : Jacket, Nieto Will Be Canned Before Willie

Posted in Baseball at 1:40 am by

I spent a long Sunday on a fact finding mission at Shea Stadium ; the Mets’ doubleheader split with Texas is well documented elsewhere. Your weary editor, however, found a suspicious souvenir kiosk adjacent to the Subway sandwich pavilion just beyond the right field foul pole. Among the items on offer, “game worn” jerseys from a host of Mets, most of ‘em no longer with the club or so ferociously unpopular (ie. Aaron Heilman), no one attempted to affix a security tag to the shirts.

For the modest sum of $300, I could’ve purchased a Rick Peterson road jersey. The only thing that prevented me from doing so (aside from the $300) was the nagging concern it wouldn’t be right to render The Jacket shirtless. However, if I’m to believe the following item from the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin, the Mets could’ve peddled Peterson’s entire wardrobe.

Sources have told the Daily News that principal owner Fred Wilpon and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon have authorized Minaya to make the call on whether to fire Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson (above) and first base coach Tom Nieto. Bench coach Jerry Manuel would ascend to manager if Randolph is ousted, while Triple-A New Orleans manager Ken Oberkfell and pitching coach Dan Warthen would join the major league staff.

A team insider speculated that Randolph could survive a first round of firings, saying: “I think the coaches are in trouble. That may be the compromise for now.”

Pressed with the point that no reporter was looking for an assurance of jobs for the year, a month or even a week – just for tonight’s game – Minaya added: “I keep on answering the question the same way it’s always been. We have a manager. We have coaches. … You know my feelings on it. I think we’re not playing to our potential. I always like to leave myself to be able to evaluate those things.”

Billed as the “CEO of pitching” by Fred Wilpon upon his arrival, and a vigilant proponent of using data, Peterson will forever be linked to the failed Scott Kazmir-for-Victor Zambrano trade – regardless of his actual role in that debacle. A Mets insider leaked to reporters at the time of that deal that Peterson had claimed he could fix Zambrano “in 10 minutes,” though the pitching coach has longed insisted he was talking about a particular mechanical flaw in Zambrano’s delivery and not an overhaul.

No disrespect to either Oberkfell or Warthern, but there’s not exactly a ton of evidence on offer from New Orleans that indicates either gentlemen can do more for the parent club than Peterson or Nieto. Curiously, there’s no mention of a new assignment or termination for third base coach Sandy Alomar Sr., who seemed unaware yesterday that Milton Bradley’s throwing arm ought to be feared.

I’m not seriously suggesting Alomar lose his job over one glaring error, but it’s pretty hard to fathom how the desperate vibes surrounding the Mets are beneficial to anyone, least of all a frantic fan base whose chicken-little ‘tude is only being enabled by gutless ownership. No one has confused Willie Randolph with Connie Mack, but the current Mets skipper in no way deserves to twist in the wind.

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