Sunday, October 14, 2007

Leader Needed for Mets

As I try to climb out of the hole that New York Mets made all of their fans fall into I have thought long and hard about why the 2007 Mets fell apart in the last few weeks of the season. My only conclusion - they lacked a true leader in the clubhouse. The player or players that would get the rest of the guys fired up or even stir the pot by challenging the team to play sound ball. The few guys on the Mets that people look at as superstars aren't that leader...yet.

David Wright has all the makings of being a leader someday, but he's only 24 years old and it isn't his role just yet. Jose Reyes is a great player, but I'm not sure if that will ever be his role. Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Aaron Heilman are all top notch players but they are more reserved and quiet. The same can be said for future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, he's not a get in your face kind of guy. Other players like Moises Alou and Luis Castillo were both in the first year with the team and probably didn't feel like it was their duty (just yet). Pedro was away from the club until early September and might have felt it wasn't his job to step in and chastise the guys that had played all season. Guys like Paul Lo Duca and Billy Wagner tried to fire the team up but it must have fallen on deaf ears when they didn't produce down the stretch.

The two guys that the Mets missed this season...Julio Franco and Jose Valentin. Franco was released during the All-Star break and Valentin was lost to injury around the same time. These two veterans gave the Mets two voices and strong personalities in the lockeroom. I'm not certain that the collapse would've been stopped, but having veterans that aren't shy about what they say to their teammates is invaluable and was missed in mid-late September.

I'm sure some changes will be made this offseason in Queens...but one aspect that Omar and Willie need to address is bringing in a few players that can and will take the leadership role of the Mets.