It’s kind of a bad sign when one of the biggest moves of the Met offseason is signing Tom Nieto as the new 1st base coach.It’s not that Nieto is anything special. It’s just that nothing much else has happened.
Nieto replaces Rickey Henderson who joined the team right after the 2007 All-Star break and didn’t do anything notable in his tenure.
Nieto, 47, had spent the past three seasons as the team's catching instructor.
Nieto first worked alongside Randolph when he spent two years as the Yankees' catching coach at the start of this decade. Randolph was the team's bench coach at the time, and while the arrangement lasted only two years -- Nieto eventually took a job managing Class A Palm Beach of the Florida State League in 2003 -- the two were reunited with the Mets in 2005.
Before that, Nieto served as the manager of several Yankees farm teams, compiling 570 career wins as a Minor League manager.
So Nieto has plenty of managing experience, although not at the major league level. My first thought: The Mets hired Nieto to be the midseason Willie replacement should the team start 2008 the way they ended 2007.
The Mets organization needs a strong start. They have alot of 2009 season tickets to sell and it would be bad for business to field another embarrassment in 2008. If the team flounders early, Randolph is gone. And Nieto may have a shorter tenure at the 1st base coaching box than Rickey.