One person familiar with Fred and Jeff Wilpon’s philosophy says “the honeymoon is over” for both the manager and general manager. That means the Mets have to do more than simply remain competitive with a mediocre field in the National League. With a $140 million payroll, the Mets should be good enough to run away from the rest of the East; that’s the consensus from the franchise’s highest echelons. That’s why a win over the Braves was symbolically important to the Mets, because it reminded everyone in the clubhouse what efficient baseball feels like.
Randolph initially won over the Wilpons not as a tactical genius (he’s not), but as a master motivator: street smart, tutored by Joe Torre and Billy Martin, able to speak the language of his players. But Randolph is detached, if not aloof, and his toughness has morphed into a joylessness that’s been rubbing off on the Mets for more than a year now. They’re just three games over .500 since May 19, which suggests something is wrong about the culture in the clubhouse.
Jose Reyes is one of the Mets’ problems: His average fell to .237 after he went hitless in four at-bats against Atlanta, and he is starting to hear steady boos from the Shea crowd. Whether or not Randolph can reach his shortstop â€” he couldn’t last year during September’s collapse â€” may well determine his job security.
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