Jerry Manuel has been busy working the local beat writers to his own ends this spring. And as such, he’s been working us in the blogsphere that write and talk with friends and fellow fans about the Mets.
Is he really going to hit Luis Castillo leadoff? Is he really going to platoon Ryan Church and Fernando Tatis in right field? Does he really think Daniel Murphy is a better hitter than Ryan Church? Is he really going to play Brian Schneider more frequently than last season? Why is he discussing these issues with the media before telling the players that are impacted?
Manuel is proving himself to be a master manipulator, using the media and us for his own purposes. He’s verbalized the fact that he’s going to challenge his players this year. We just didn’t know he was going to do it through the media.
Although Manuel took over the Mets last June, we were used to three plus years of Willie Randolph’s stoic personality. Randolph didn’t give us much except a quiet, occasionally bewildered, discussion of the day’s events.
Manuel is using all of us to push, pull, and prod the players. He’s poking at them with his comments, giving confidence to some while putting others on notice. He clearly knows what he wants from the players and is busy preparing them mentally as well as physically for the season.
I like what he’s doing this spring. Each player needs to be treated differently, in the way that will draw the most out of them during the season. Castillo and Murphy are getting confidence building comments. Church, Jose Reyes, and Ramon Castro are being challenged to improve.
While I applaud Manuel’s ability to read his players, I take his comments with a grain of salt. I anticipate that Reyes will get the vast majority of games batting leadoff, and Fernando Tatis will get most of his playing time in left field. I’d like to see Manuel take advantage of Ramon Castro’s big bat at least twice a week. But Manuel is sure showing that he’s a manipulator… He’s gone gangsta on the media.