John Harper warns new Mets GM Sandy Alderson to be careful about his managerial pick. Why? Because things are totally different in New York:
In New York, the manager matters more than most places. The scrutiny on every decision demands a certain type of personality, as does the magnitude of dealing with the media – as well as creating the right clubhouse culture . . . Joe Girardi has survived and even thrived to some extent despite being a control freak who gives the impression that he would be more comfortable undergoing a colonoscopy than he is dealing with the New York media on a daily basis.
I’d say there’s an argument that, in New York, a manager matters even less. What other city has seen a team fire a successful manager only to have the team not miss a beat with his successor more often than New York? Houk won after Stengel was let go. Lemon won after Martin. Girardi won after Torre. The guy in the dugout has probably mattered less in New York than anywhere.
Of course, all of those examples are the Yankees, not the Mets. But the Mets have been awful under a lot of different managers. Without fundamental changes in how the team does business, they’ll continue to be awful. Which suggests to me that the manager is the least of the Mets’ concerns right now. It’s Alderson’s moves and his vision that will make the difference.
Is temperament irrelevant? Of course not. But whether Sandy Alderson hires a manager who can deal with the New York media is something that should concern the New York media more than it should concern Sandy Alderson.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.