Commentary

Wilpons, Mets need to clean clubhouse

Forget cosmetic changes in the post-Minaya era -- no one on Mets roster should be safe

Updated: October 5, 2010, 7:47 AM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Finish the job, Wilpons.

Don't stop at general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel. It was the right call to fire both Monday after a second straight losing season in Queens.

The Mets, for all the money spent and talent, should have been better. Not just this year, but the past five years.

And if you are serious about making the Mets relevant again (was 1986 really 24 years ago?) and giving fans a reason to go to Citi Field in 2011, you must clean out that clubhouse, too.

We're not talking about wiping down with Pine-Sol or spraying Febreze on everything.

The Mets need to be fumigated, stripped bare and built from the ground up. There is no patch job here.

Let's face it. Your team is filled with losers.

That's not harsh. Sadly, it's reality.

Professional sports has a short menu -- wins and losses. None of the other stuff really matters.

And no one should be spared. There are no untouchables on your roster, no players you can't part with. You can't be a fan favorite when your season ends in July every year.

The only players you want to keep around are those who help you win. There aren't any in the Mets' clubhouse.

GMs around baseball should know that any and everybody is available for the right price. Of course, we're not talking about giving away players. You still have to get value for the players you ship out.

The time has come to be honest and realize it's just not going to happen with David Wright, Jose Reyes, Francisco Rodriguez or even Johan Santana. They can go on and have fine careers elsewhere.

Nice try.

Disaster.

[+] EnlargeReyes/Wright
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesJose Reyes and David Wright have had their ups and downs as Mets. Perhaps they should finish their careers elsewhere.

Teams with far less have made the postseason, while your Mets -- who had an Opening Day payroll of $133 million -- have become laughingstocks.

We're not stupid. We know the Mets had injuries. But it's part of the game. Some teams are able to overcome it. Ask the Minnesota Twins, who lost closer Joe Nathan before the season and have not had first baseman Justin Morneau since July.

Yet, the Twins won the American League Central for the second year in a row. It's not a good enough excuse to point to missing players as the reason a team can't get it done.

Many can understand why this group was kept together this long. In 2006, it came within a game of making it to the World Series. You have to let that go.

Calendar-wise, it was just four years ago. Championship team-wise, it dates back to the Stone Age.

Plus, the culture is all wrong. There's something missing. Your team never had a real identity.

And if you don't want Minaya anymore, you shouldn't want the team he assembled. He tried. It just didn't work.

That's why you need major changes with your franchise. You have to be serious about the idea that you don't want to be embarrassed anymore and that you want to win. There was a time in this city when the Mets were the stars and the Yankees were second-class citizens.

Those teams of the late '80s were the best. They had a personality that was all their own. The Mets were rough and tough. They didn't take anything from anybody. Fans around the country hated them. Not because they were from NYC, but because they were good.

Your recent Mets have never been that. Many simply felt sorry for them after a couple of September collapses, one of historic proportion.

The time has come to clean up your mess, Mets.

People in the city who aren't Yankees fans should have the right to go out and watch a quality baseball team. There's never any guesswork when it comes to the Yankees. They know who they are, and so do the fans.

You need to figure out what your team is going to be and get the right person as GM to make the transformation. And don't be cheap about it. You are going to have to spend money to get this thing turned around.

Here's the first name on your shopping list: Cliff Lee. It will signal that you are serious and real change is happening.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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