When the Mets and Orioles finish up their game on Tuesday night, Jerry Manuel will have completed his first year as Mets manager. There probably won't be a cake, not with the Mets chasing the Phillies, but there's been a lot to like about Manuel's tenure.
He took a team that was under .500 and steered them to a 55-38 record in 2008. It fell short of the playoffs, thanks again to a lackluster September, but the players appeared to respond to the change from Willie Randolph in the dugout. This season has seen player after player head to the disabled list, but the team is 32-29 which has to be a credit to the job that Manuel has done keeping the team together. Under more trying circumstances, his .565 winning percentage is better than Randolph's.
David Lennon of Newsday suggests that all may not be so rosy for Manuel, however. The team has made a lot of mental mistakes this season, and Manuel is stressing that it is okay for them to keep treading water until players return from the disabled list. Treading water won't lead to enough wins, though. Lennon feels that the Mets could make another change if the Mets fall off the pace during the second half of the season, something that would seem more likely if the Mets make a trade to bolster their thin roster.
If the Mets do make another change in the dugout, would it foreshadow changes to the roster? You can reshuffle deck chairs on the Titanic all day long, but it won't make a whit of difference if you don't do something about the hole in the hull that is sinking the ship. The players have been the constant through the last two-plus seasons, and it doesn't make sense to continually blame others if they are coming up short.
Manuel will have his detractors, because every manager in baseball history has had detractors, but it is hard to see how he is the problem with the Mets at this point in time.