The 2009 New York Mets – It Was All Luis Alicea’s Fault!

That’s the message sent by Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel today, as the team will fire Alicea and Sandy Alomar Sr, while the rest of the team’s coaching staff will return.  Razor Shines and Sandy Alomar Jr will likely inherit the first base coach and bench coach jobs and the team will likely look to find new men to fill the third base coach and catching instructor roles.

It should come as no surprise that the team is going to retain Jerry Manuel for another year.  While he is neither a good instructor, nor a good in-game tactician, nor is he good at relating to his players (as Ryan Church can attest), nor is he good at keeping the team from quitting on him, and nor does he make a substantial sum of money…actually, I don’t know why the Mets are retaining Manuel.  I guess it’s just easier to keep him than have to fire him and go through the trouble of finding somebody else?  Especially when somebody else (like Mets blogosphere favorite Bobby Valentine) could command up to $4 million.

As for the rest of the coaching staff, the team likely recognized that they couldn’t go into 2010 with the same exact coaching staff, as for PR reasons they would need to hold somebody accountable.  The most obvious coach to fire is Razor Shines, since he was clearly the worst at his job in 2009, but since he is buddies with Jerry Manuel, that wasn’t happening, but at least they won’t let him keep getting players thrown out next year.  Howard Johnson and Dan Warthen seemed like good candidates to get the pink slip, but by retaining them, it allows the team to fire somebody other than Jerry in mid-season in case the team underachieves again coming out of the gate.  To fire them both now means that Minaya and Manuel are out of people to blame if they struggle to start 2010.  Now, at least they can fire the pitching or hitting coach to buy time.

That leaves Alomar and Alicea.  Sandy Alomar is old, so this is probably just the Mets’ way of forcing his retirement.  As for Alicea, I will admit that I’m at a loss for what the first base coach actually does, besides collect batting gloves and offer encouragement to players on first base.  Yet when the Mets need to make some sort of symbolic firing the past few years, the first base coach has been the least safe position on the team.  Here is a look at the first base coaches since Omar Minaya took over as general manager in 2005:

2005: Jerry Manuel (lol)
2006: Sandy Alomar
2007: Howard Johnson/Rickey Henderson
2008: Tom Nieto/Ken Oberkfell
2009: Luis Alicea

That’s seven first base coaches in five years, with next year being the eighth in six years.  Now, only Rickey, Nieto, and Alicea were actually fired, as Manuel and Alomar switched jobs in 2006, Hojo took over for Alomar the last time he was kicked upstairs, and Oberkfell went back to coaching in AAA after last season.  But considering that first base coach is likely the least of the various coaching assignments on the team, it sure seems like the Mets keep firing them year after year.  Does anybody else remember when Bill Robinson was the Mets’ first base coach seemingly forever?  In the same time period, the Mets have had four third base coaches, four bench coaches, two hitting coaches, two pitching coaches, and two managers.  I guess we as Mets fans should feel blessed that the team has had such competent people coaching the team.

4 Responses to “The 2009 New York Mets – It Was All Luis Alicea’s Fault!”

  1. tjv101 says:

    I agree this team continues to be comical by the minute. Clearly, it was Alicea’s and Alomar’s fault. Noooooooo, it wasn’t Razor Shines who actually had to do something as 3rd base coach like stopping runners or giving the green light and never was able to figure out the right one. Shines was awful this year. I thought, for sure, he’d be first to go but I should know better that he is friends with Jerry. The first base coach does absolutely nothing but slap a player in the fanny after they get on or yell to get back when a throw is coming over. I understand keeping Jerry around another year and by giving him a free pass til next season. His team didn’t quit on him. The team had nothing to play for and no one decent around in the first place since the whole team is in the infirmary. They were just that bad. I would’ve started with HOJO and canning him as he is to blame (in my opinion) for David Wright going the other way and his power numbers being so dreadfully poor. I don’t believe it was the Spring Training 80 pitch Going The Other Way Drill that Jerry instilled which by the way if i was a betting man, won’t recycle itself into Spring Training 2010. It was HOJO, HOJO, HOJO tinkering with Wright. But as usual, the Mets screwed up even firing someone!

  2. Chris Wilcox says:

    It was the 80 pitch drill, and that was all Jerry and Razor. That was an exercise that emphasized hitting the other way, and spray charts show that Wright has hit more the other way this year, which goes against his power stroke.

    If the team didn’t quit on him, what do you call getting swept by the Washington Nationals, the worst team in baseball? That was an ugly series that just demonstrated how bad Jerry has been this year. Plus, there was so much wrong with this team defensively, so many bad bunting attempts, and so much misplaced aggression that resulted in baserunning outs that Jerry became a real problem by season’s end. He should have been removed, and it’s a shame he wasn’t.

  3. nyker says:

    There were plenty of baserunning errors this season to understand why alicea was dumped. His strengh was in pregame conditioning and drills, improving the turn on the double play and timing on stolen bases. He did not communicate well during the games – causing several outs due to lack of communication. An inside source confirms that Alicea was not a good clubhouse guy, was argumentative and did not have respect of other coaches and management because of very bad off field behavior – my source told me that a member of management said “alicea shouldve retired when he stopped playing because he never made the psychological transition from playing to coaching off the field”

    My inside source said Alomar was let go because he was getting ‘tired and rusty’ and the players liked and respected him but needed a change. He is liked and respected by management but it was time to let him go. Razor Shines did not belong on third base – another bad communicator and worse, poor research on the opposing defense.

    My source told me the training staff may have some changes…and there is some inside speculation that the PHD list will contain several of the injured players from this season of SUCK. It is going to be a tough off season to hear of NOTHING getting improved…stay tuned for more doom and gloom…

  4. Chris Wilcox says:

    Well, I didn’t really say Alicea did a good job, more that simply firing Alicea, retiring Sandy, and then saying “Okay, all done!” sends a bad message to Mets fans. To them, it feels like the organization was accepting of way too much that went wrong this year, be it the absolute butchering of a job that Razor Shines did as third base coach to Dan Warthen’s questionable results as pitching coach, to even Howard Johnson tinkering around with David Wright too much (although I don’t think that was the reason, and I support HoJo sticking around). Firing Alicea wasn’t a bad move, but they should have gone further.

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