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Mets owner Fred Wilpon: `Willie did a Good Job'

June 23, 2008 1:55:17 PM PDT
Mets owner Fred Wilpon praised Willie Randolph's performance as manager, even though he agreed with general manager Omar Minaya's decision to fire him last week. "I think Willie did a good job. I think that the results the last, say, 14 months were not up to what we thought it had to be," Wilpon said Monday. "What Omar finally decided was that he had to make that change."

Randolph, celebrated for bringing the Mets within one win of the World Series two years ago, was fired on June 17 with New York at 34-35. The Mets began 3-2 under new manager Jerry Manuel going into Monday night's game against Seattle.

"Obviously, we've been playing well in the last few games," Wilpon said.

Wilpon said Minaya made the initial decision to fire Randolph on June 16, after a doubleheader split against Texas.

"He called me at the end of the doubleheader and asked me whether we can meet," Wilpon said after a news conference at the commissioner's office. "He told us what his recommendation was going to be, and that what he wanted to do was replace Willie and replace the two coaches, and that he wanted to do it expeditiously. He wanted to do it in person. And he said, just like he always does, trades and everything else, he said, `I want to just think about it overnight."'

Mets executives spoke again at 9 a.m. on June 17 and made the final decision. Minaya then traveled to California and told Randolph after the Mets beat the Los Angeles Angels.

"Management and the owners approved of what his plan was, so we were OK with the switch and we were OK with his recommendation, and he implemented that recommendation," Wilpon said.

Wilpon rejected criticism that the Mets were unfair to Randolph because of the timing of the announcement, which came just after 3 a.m. EDT. Randolph said he was stunned.

"The intent here clearly was to respect Willie, to respect his feelings and to do it in person," Wilpon said. "It's never easy to fire anybody. Believe me, it is not easy to do, and Omar took a lot of time. We took a lot of time listening to him and thinking about it."

In the end, Randolph was fired for a lack of wins.

"It's all a matter of performance, and Willie knew this when he started," Wilpon said. "Recognize we gave Willie the chance - Omar gave Willie the chance to be in this position. He had never been a manager in the major leagues or minor leagues."

Minaya's first big decision after the Mets hired him as GM in September 2004 was to make Randolph the manager.

"I think Omar has done a great job," Wilpon said. "Everybody who makes decisions is not going to make all right decisions. He has made some great decisions. ... Our minor leagues are in much better shape than is being reported."


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