ANAHEIM, Calif. - When Omar Minaya revamps, he believes
in multiple changes. That was his rationale for dismissing not only Willie
Randolph late Monday night, but also pitching coach Rick Peterson and
first-base coach Tom Nieto.
reassigning him to be the bench coach for interim manager Jerry Manuel. That
would usually be viewed as a promotion, but Alomar's incompetence as third-base
coach had become apparent this season.
To make up for these changes, the Mets welcomed three new coaches to their
staff last night. Dan Warthen replaced Peterson as the pitching coach, Ken
Oberkfell became the first-base coach and Luis Aguayo is now the third-base
"I think, when I looked at it, I thought we just needed to make a change,"
Minaya said. "I thought one move was not going to be enough."
Pressed on why specifically Peterson and Nieto went, Minaya said, "I think
that the way ... some of the pitching situations have been handled, I've been
evaluating those things. And pitching decisions are just not done by one
person. Pitching decisions are done by the manager and the pitching coach."
Nieto's greatest sin appeared to be that he was Randolph's friend. Randolph
brought Nieto aboard as the catching instructor in 2005.
Peterson's time with the Mets predated both Minaya's time as general
manager and Randolph's as manager. Jim Duquette hired Peterson, previously the
Athletics' pitching coach, in the 2003-04 offseason. Peterson quickly forged a
strong relationship with owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and he found success
But Peterson's personality - he tended to speak in long, analogy-ridden
phrases - ultimately wore out some of his superiors. As did his bullpen
"I appreciated the opportunity," said Peterson, the only holdover from the
Art Howe era. "[The Wilpons] welcomed me into their home and the home is going
through renovation. I grew up in the baseball business, and I'm the hardwood
floor that's getting ripped out and they're going to bring in the Tuscany tile."
Warthen, who had served as the pitching coach for Triple-A New Orleans,
previously worked as a major-league pitching coach with the Tigers (1999-2002),
Padres (1996-97) and Mariners (1992). He vowed to lower the pitch counts of
pitchers like Maine by urging them to challenge hitters earlier in the count.
"I think velocity plays a big part," Warthen said yesterday. "I like high
champion 1982 Cardinals, was managing New Orleans and managed in the Mets' farm
system since 2002.
Aguayo had been serving as the Mets' field coordinator.
Since division play began in 1969, 11 teams have advanced to the playoffs
after changing managers in midseason, though many other changes were made that
didn't work. Two of those teams (1978 Yankees, 2003 Marlins) won the World
Year Team Manager fired Replacement Result
2005 Astros Jimy Williams Phil Garner Lost World Series
2003 Marlins Jeff Torborg Jack McKeon Won World Series
1996 Dodgers Tom Lasorda Bill Russell Lost division series
1989 Blue Jays Jimy Williams Cito Gaston Lost ALCS
1988 Red Sox John McNamara Joe Morgan Lost ALCS
1983 Phillies Pat Corrales Paul Owens Lost World Series
1982 Brewers Buck Rodgers Harvey Kuehn Lost World Series
1981 Yanks Gene Michael Bob Lemon Lost World Series
1981 Royals Jim Frey Dick Howser Lost ALCS
1981 Expos Dick Williams Jim Fanning Lost NLCS
1978 Yanks Billy Martin Bob Lemon Won World Series