Fire Up the Old Hot Stove
November 5th, 2010 by slangon

Now that the World Series is over and nobody east of the Rockies cares about the Giants unless they’re playing football, it’s time for baseball obsessed folk like myself to start looking at the off-season moves made by their favorite teams. I’m not too sure how much moving and grooving other teams have done so far, but the Mets have been busy little bees since Oliver Perez walked in the go-ahead run in the 14th inning of their season closer.

They wasted no time by letting manager Jerry Manuel go and relieving Omar Minaya of his duties as GM. After several weeks of interviewing they landed on Sandy Alderson as the new general manager. This was followed up by the hiring of J.P. Ricciardi as Assistant GM. I don’t really know too much about either of these 2 gentlemen other than that they seem to well-respected around baseball and that it seems like Alderson has a definite plan in mind for the team, which I find refreshing after suffering through Minaya’s “patch the holes” approach.

As far as an immediate impact on me as a fan, they made a huge move the other day by picking up the option on this guy.

Reyes has been by far my favorite player on the Mets these past few years. I just like the kind of baseball that Jose brings to the table (when he’s healthy). I’ve always said that, although I love a good long ball just as much as the next guy, I find the speed game way more exciting. I had been especially excited to watch Reyes play at Citi Field. I thought that the combination of his speed and the spacious dimensions of the park would make for some pretty fun to watch baseball. Unfortunately, 2009 was pretty much a complete wash thanks to a calf injury that turned into a season ending hamstring tear. 2010 wasn’t much better thanks to a weird thyroid issue that wiped out his spring training and a nagging oblique strain that sidelined him a few times. Hopefully 2011 will be a healthy year for him and he’ll be hitting triples and pissing off the opposition with his awesome dugout step hand shakes like nobodys business.

I had actually been slightly nervous as to the fate of Reyes going into this off-season. All over the local sport talk radio station was folks calling for trading Reyes, trading Wright, trading Beltran, trading Jon Niese, trading Ike Davis. Basically blowing up the whole thing and rebuilding from scratch. I should know better than to get worried about what people who call into sport talk shows say, but not knowing much about the new GM had me worried a bit. I guess it’s still too soon to not worry about trading away all the players I’ve grown to love, but picking up Reyes’ option has helped ease that concern a little.

It seems as if the next big step for them is the hiring of a new field manager. Before the ownership had landed on Sandy Alderson to take over the reins, there were several names being thrown about as possible managerial replacements. The two that got me most excited were Bobby Valentine and Wally Backman.

I had gotten really excited when I heard Bobby V’s name in connection with the Mets managerial job for a few reasons. First, he’s one of my all-time favorite Mets managers. They were mostly successful under his watch, he got the absolute most out of his players, and he was a character. How could you not like a guy who gets ejected and then tries to sneak back into the dugout wearing sunglasses and a fake mustache? Unfortunately, I haven’t heard his name in quite a spell so I have a bad feeling that any chance of Booby returning to Queens has died quietly in it’s sleep.

I liked the idea of Backman moving up to captain the ship as well. He was a fiery guy in his playing days, and it doesn’t seem as if that’s changed. I’ve said for a while that I thought the Mets have lacked a certain fire that hasn’t been here since Paul Lo Duca was around. Maybe having a manager that fits that bill would trickle down to his players. He also had success last year managing the Single A Brooklyn Cyclones, winning their division by 12 games with a 51-24 record. Again, unfortunately, from what I’ve read, Backman, although high up on the Wilpons wish list, he doesn’t seem to have too much stock with Alderson.

Actually, I haven’t really read or heard too much about who is being favored by Alderson as the next manager. On one hand, I understand that he’s getting adjusted to the new job, and these things take time, but on the other hand, I would like to see the manager job get filled soon so that they can start figuring out what moves need to be made to make the team itself better.

Right off the bat, I can think of three moves that would make this team better.

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