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So the Mets are fighting with one another

May 25, 2010, 10:48 AM EST

Francisco Rodriguez headshot.jpgWe saw the the Jerry Manuel-John Maine argument last week and that was fun, but a dustup on Sunday between closer Francisco Rodriguez and bullpen coach Randy Niemann had escaped our notice.

The way I read it on Sunday night — and this came straight from K-Rod in the game stories that were written — was that guys in the bullpen were just roughhousing and having fun (“We were just fooling around . . .we were just kidding with each
other” he said).  I and most everyone else figured no biggie and didn’t mention it.  That’s not really what happened, however:

But two people in the Mets organization confirmed that the confrontation
between Rodriguez and Niemann was indeed a heated one and might have
escalated if other pitchers had not intervened.

The source of the dispute, the New York Times reports, is K-Rod’s overuse. It seems he doesn’t like the fact that Jerry Manuel has him warm up multiple times a game, getting five-out saves, and the like.

My first impulse is to tell Rodriguez to cry me a river. He’s paid a metric butt-ton of money, and if any reliever in baseball should be expected to go the extra mile, it’s him.

My second impulse, however, is to think that Jerry Manuel has probably never had that conversation with him, the constant warmups are thus rather disorienting to K-Rod and he’s not completely sure what’s being asked of him. One way to solve this: have Manuel tell K-Rod that he’s expected to be a Gossage-style relief ace.  I bet if it was couched in those terms he’d dig it.

Of course, all that assumes that that’s what Manuel is doing here rather than simply panicking and calling for his closer to warm up eleventeen times a game.  Which may not be the safest assumption on the planet.

Either way, the Mets should probably remember that everyone loves a winning team that fights among themselves (e.g. the 1970s A’s and Yankees).  No one likes a last place team that does it.

  1. Dai - May 25, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    I doubt it’s ever a good idea to employ a strategy that is likely to decrease the effectiveness of the pitcher likely to pitch in the highest-leverage situations. Maybe you meant to be denying that the strategy that the Mets are employing will do that. If that is your position, it seems pretty counterintuitive and you should probably defend it.
    Noting that he makes a lot of money is hardly a justification. By that rationale, Halladay’s workload has been unproblematic. But if Halladay has to throw 130 pitches every five days and puts up a 4.25/1.40 line, I suspect you’d be screaming bloody murder.
    Paying lots of money for closers is a bad idea. But it’s an issue that ought to be totally separate from issues about the workload of a closer. Assimilating the two is really silly.
    I guess I don’t see what your point is. This post seems poorly thought out – a quick and dirty reaction for the sake of reaction rather than an intelligent assessment of an important and ongoing storyline.

  2. JBerardi - May 25, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    “My first impulse is to tell Rodriguez to cry me a river. He’s paid a metric butt-ton of money, and if any reliever in baseball should be expected to go the extra mile, it’s him.”

    That’s not my first impulse. Maybe K-Rod shouldn’t complain, but he does happen to be right. Metric butt-ton of money or no, the guy’s arm only has so much life in it, and having him warm up multiple times during a game doesn’t help anyone. Those are awfully expensive bullets for Manuel to be firing so many of them at the bullpen catchers. This is one of my pet peeves regarding managers in general. Why is it that guys can’t ever pitch multiple innings, but throwing 30, 40, 50 warm up pitches (and possibly not even getting into the game!) is somehow OK?

  3. Joey B - May 25, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    But how can that possibly be the case? He’s never appeared earlier than the 8th. If Manual is having him warm up in the 6th, then he should be fired immediately, but I doubt that’s the case. He has 3.1 IPs in the 8th, and 2 IPs in extra innings, and the rest is the 9th. In two of his 8th inning appearances, he came in simply because it had been too many days off. In the other two 8th inning, he came in with bases loaded. That’s exactly how he should be used.
    It’s impossible to know how often he warms up, but his in-game usage looks like textbook to me.

  4. Charles Gates - May 25, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Regardless of how many innings K-Rod pitches per game, or in what inning they occur, the bigger issue is that Manuel apparently has not communicated with him at all in regards to what his role is and how he should expect to be used. Regardless of in-game strategy, this is just poor people management, which can’t put K-Rod in the proper mental state to pitch in whatever inning he ends up pitching.

  5. all4tookie - May 25, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I know he threw 100+ pitches warming up multiple times in that marathon extra-inning game against the Cardinals, and even said he was gassed by the time he got in the game.

  6. JBerardi - May 25, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Well, K-Rod is saying that he’s warming up too much, and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because of the whole throwing a hundred warm up pitches in that epic game against the Cardinals incident. But like I said, this is one of my pet peeves with managers anyway, so maybe it’s just conformation bias on my part.

  7. Jonny5 - May 25, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    What I’ve seen from most managers in the past, If a guy warms up, but is not used for that inning, he’ll be sat down and the next situational guy will get warmed up for the next inning. In most cases anyway. What i see is Jerry has a whole bunch of confidence that his highly expensive closer can handle extra warm up tosses. Maybe he’s right? Maybe he’s wrong? Whichever the case is, they need to have a pow wow about it. A MLB team should have a better internal repore than this. That’s the most damaging aspect of this situation in regards to Jerry Manuel keeping his job. If you can’t be on the same page as your star closer when it comes to workloads, how about the rest of team? “Boo” to Jerry M for that.

  8. Joey B - May 25, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    “Well, K-Rod is saying that he’s warming up too much, and I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because of the whole throwing a hundred warm up pitches in that epic game against the Cardinals incident. But like I said, this is one of my pet peeves with managers anyway, so maybe it’s just conformation bias on my part.”
    They had no choice in the StL game. The umps aren’t going to give the guy 10 minutes to warm up. If you have a shot at scoring, your RP has to be warmed up. If the game 11-12 innings, then he has 20-30 pitches. You can’t assume it’s going 19 innings or whatever it went.
    Again, without knowing the number of warmup pitches he throws every night, there is no way of telling. And if he thinks he is wearng himself out, then maybe he can bring it up with the manager. I just seriously doubt Manual is having him warm up with no intention of bringing him in. I’m not even a Manual fan, but that would make no sense at all.

  9. danny - May 25, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    With all the lack of success the Mets have had lately, maybe their managers and coaches do not know what they are doing or how to deal with people. They are one of the highest paid teams in the league and perform way below the price of admission.

  10. Gnort - May 25, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    While I’m against the completely-babying of pitching arms in this era (I love complete games), warming up someone eleven times in a game is beyond belief.
    Francisco has a right to disagree with how his arm/body is being treated as granted.
    The fact that the Mets have a long history of secondary coaches, trainers and doctors not being on the same page with their players (hello, Beltran, where are you?) suggests some serious family dysfunction.

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