Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Late May, early June, is typically the time of year MLB teams take stock of their season. The season is roughly 30% over, and – if you’re looking to shake things up – it seems to be the time to fire the first shot.
“The hitting coach is always the first to go,” a former GM, who pays close attention to the Mets, told me this morning. “If I’m Terry Collins or Dan Warthen, I wake up extra nervous this morning.”
In other words, given conventional wisdom, and what we’ve seen from this organization before, yesterday’s firing of hitting coach Dave Hudgens makes it officially fair to wonder about the job status of Collins and his coaching staff… and maybe even Sandy Alderson, who’s contract can be up at the end of this season.
I talk to people at all levels of the Mets, and there is a palpable disconnect that is starting to concern me. I often hear of fans, ownership, players, management, marketing and media all on different pages. I think most everyone believes the franchise is in need of structure and direction, it needs a foundation, and Alderson is right to make that happen. However, the debate about what he’s doing and how fast he’s doing it runs rampant through Citi Field. It gets louder after every home stand. It’s actually starting to remind me of the final year or two of the Steve Phillips Era, when patience grew thin, irrationality took over and it all came crashing to the ground… only to give birth to yet another boom-and-bust cycle that also came crashing to the ground.
The Mets need to be mindful of the calendar. If this current attempt to rebuild doesn’t work, and it ends up being another five to 10 years of rebuilding the rebuilding, they may end up alienating an entire generation fans, all of whom are desperate to see this team be fun again. The thing is, today’s fan doesn’t have to deal with this. It’s too easy to root for other teams, in other cities, watch every game, follow specific players or, sadly, not watch baseball at all. There is no shortage of less expensive entertainment at every person’s finger tips.
I respect and admire Alderson’s focus and vision. I get the impression from people who know him that he’s mostly immune to the frenzy around him. However, he wants to get this right and, firing his friend, Dave Hudgens, may be an indication he’s feeling more pressure to win now than I realize.
Collins just signed a contract extension at the end of last season. The organization is littered with Alderson’s guys, from top to bottom. I find it hard to believe Hudgens is a precursor to more layoffs and a total change in direction. However, now that Hudgens is gone, and this team is looking at maybe another losing season, I’m starting to think anything is possible…