Mets: Is Kevin Long the answer to all the team’s problems

If the Mets select Kevin Long as the new manager for the organization, how far does that take them to rebuilding a team that can seriously challenge in the National League East in 2018?

The New York Mets will soon announce the name of their manager replacing Terry Collins for the 2018 season. Rumors are rampant that Kevin Long is in line for the assignment as someone from outside the organization, as opposed to, for instance, Manny Acta, from “inside” the organization.

Long showed up professionally for his first interview with two binders full of ideas he has collected over time on how he could improve the Mets team. Team brass, subsequently, was impressed as they should be and Long has gained the status of another look and see coming up as soon as Monday.

Long’s credentials reach wide as evidenced in this video.

The Mets are barred by MLB to announce once the World Series is underway and has reached a conclusion. So if the team is going to move, they have to do it pretty much now.

And no one less than Brett Gardner, who played while Long was the batting coach of the Yankees offered this assessment of Long’s potential talent as a big league manager:

“I can see K-Long filling that role,” Gardner said Monday, at the Yankees’ workout ahead of the AL Wild Card game against the Minnesota Twins. “I know that’s something that’s something he’s done a little of in the past is manage. But as a hitting coach, I was a big fan of him. And not just as a hitting coach but as a person. I think he’s got really good communication skills and he’s a people person. He’s always got a positive attitude that he brings to the field and to the batting cage … “I think on a daily basis, it’s very important to bring to that sort of operation.”

Accolades like that from a respected veteran of Yankee campaigns going all the way back to their last Championship in 2009 count. But the overriding question remains. Is the appointment of Long, or any other qualified prospect for the job enough to lift the Mets over the hump, making them a better team in 2018.

But the Mets of 2018 are not about binders

Because unless those binders translate into a way to communicate with a player like Yeonis Cespedes, who seems to have created his design in what is commonly called team play, all efforts are for naught.

And if this same manager cannot get in tune with a struggling and decisively ineffective, Matt Harvey, then what will have been accomplished. Terry Collins, for all his faults, defended his players and what did it get him except for the ax as the scapegoat for the myriad of problems facing the Mets.

A manager, any manager in the big leagues, can expect this. And sometimes, it reaches its fruition in the name of Dusty Baker, who was relieved of his duties with the Washington Nationals following yet another failure to progress in the postseason. Ditto the situation in Boston where the Red Sox parted ways with the unfortunate soul of Terry Francona with the hope that Alex Cora will make everything right in 2018. Right, as if that could be true.

If Kevin Long is their man, the Mets should go for it. But no one should expect an automatic transformation of the team with his hiring.

The Mets rejuvenation rests at the top

That responsibility rests with the stingy and mostly aloof Wilpon brothers and their designated scapegoat for Mets fans to pound, Sandy Alderson.

Alderson has prevailed during a time when he has not been backed by the purse string conscious ownership of the Mets. And when the purse strings have been lifted, Alderson has not helped the team by shooting himself in the foot with the ill-fated signing of Cespedes.

Still, the organization has to start somewhere. And if Long is going to be the centerpiece of rejuvenation for the Mets, let it be. Players need to be added and subtracted and if anything portends of the future of the Mets, the offseason moves, made or not made, will set the stage for the 2018 Mets season.

Stay tuned, soon the true colors of the New York Mets will be revealed.


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