Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Symbolic Sacrificial Lamb

Willie Randolph got fired today- very expected and he won't be the last this MLB season. After all, he was the manager of the NL club with the highest payroll and they're floundering at around .500.

As I count it, the Mets have at least $60MM in 2008 salary tied up in subpar producing players. We're talking Delgado, Pedro, Wagner, Alou and Hernandez- plus a few others who make less than $2MM per year. And did Randolph sign these guys? Is Randolph responsible for teaching these guys how to steal bases or hit a curve ball or not get injured, or be less than 35 years old? Is it his job to inspire these guys to play beyond their abilities? I mean isn't an $11MM salary enough to motivate a professional athlete? Or is their pay correlated with past glory? So Willie is the guy who gets the axe eh?

Now I know that the manager's job is to make decisions on lineups and when to pinch hit or bring in a situational lefty and we all have plenty of examples of good and bad managerial decisions in pretty much any sport, but is it really the manager's fault? OK, well we all know of other examples of where managers were fired mid year and their replacements turned things around. Jack McKeon and Phil Garner come to mind in recent years.

But how do you rectify sunk money by firing the manager in Willie's case? We'll see if it works.

Oh by the way, if his firing is based on a combination of team salary and record, then here's who else should be fired immediately- Jim Leyland, Bobby Cox, John McClaren, and Joe Torre. $100MM team salary and you're below .500? You are obviously bad managers- I mean who's ever even heard of Leyland, Cox and Torre?

Bottom line is that all too often, the wrong guy gets canned for someone else's folly. Don't get me started on the salary cap...

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