Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on September 14, 2004
Tom Glavine, Al Leiter, Steve Trachsel, Kris Benson, and Victor Zambrano.
That’s a solid pitching staff.
Jose Reyes, Kazuo Matsui, Cliff Floyd, Mike Piazza, and Mike Cameron.
Quite a solid bit of offensive prowess.
So, why are the Mets (thru the games of September 1st) thirteen games below .500 this late in the season?
For the most part it has been injuries that have held this version of the Metropolitans back. Piazza, Reyes, Zambrano, and Benson have all missed serious amounts of time this season. But many people are pointing fingers in another direction.
Six weeks ago, the Mets were only one game out of first place. They then acquired Kris Benson and Victor Zambrano at the trading deadline and have since fallen 18.5 behind the division leading Braves. The Mets traded away Scott Kazmir and Justin Huber among others to continue the spiral of this season.
Cliff Floyd, the Mets' left fielder, all but issued a concession speech when he said, "things aren't looking bright. There's no light at the end of the tunnel."
His outfield teammate Mike Cameron concurred when saying "San Diego took everything we had away from us. They took everything."
So, why the sudden drop off from the Mets? Perhaps it's the fault of skipper Art Howe, who, according to the COO of the Mets, is “too weak”.
A veteran player recently said that playing for the Mets was like “playing for your grandfather.” This is quite ironic, as Howe was hired as a calming influence to replace Bobby Valentine. (Isn’t this quite a vicious cycle, going from a hardcore manager to nice guy only to go to someone who’s tough? Alas, that’s another article.)
So, should manager Art Howe be fired? If he is, the Mets will have to pay him 5 million to do nothing for the Mets. Money should not be a major object for the Mets, so that would not be a good enough reason to hold back firing him. I think that the firing of Art Howe would only be good for the Mets if they can find a manager with a little fire behind him. The Mets definitely need a shake up to get their act together.
“It’s getting old because it’s been two years that we’ve had the same situation,” Howe said. “If that’s my fault, I’ll take the blame.”
And he might have to.