Manuel Likes Manny

January 28, 2009

“I don’t get involved with the salaries, or what a guy makes, what he’s gonna make, or how many years he’s gonna make,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel professed during a recent episode of SNY’s Daily News Live. When confronted with the possibility of the Mets signing free agent Manny Ramirez, Manuel said, “Once that player becomes a Met, I deal with it from there.”

At the top of the interview which seemed more like an inquisition, Manuel fielded questions on how he would handle a player like Manny Ramirez. The Mets manager was thoroughly impressed by the veteran right hander’s abilities. “I don’t have a problem with people who produce in the fashion that he does,” Manuel said.

Throughout the interview, Manuel was relaxed. He brushed off DNL co-host Jonas Schwartz’s soft jibe about how much better the skipper might feel walking out to the mound this season.

“I feel pretty comfortable with the team, you always like to add different pieces here and there,” Manuel said. “I would love to have another right-handed batter to balance out the line-up.”

Although that last comment made everyone laugh, Manuel seemed frustrated in having to compete with the World Baseball Classic. The WBC is being held during this year’s Spring Training, the first for Manuel as the Mets manager. “I wish we wouldn’t have the Classic as my first year as manager because, I feel, the core players are the players that I need to manage at that time more than anybody else.”

“When those guys can understand what you want,” he went on to say, “then they can manage the rest of the guys.”

Manuel provided confident responses for the most part, except when he was asked to address concerns surrounding second baseman Luis Castillo. He couldn’t say “one way or the other” about how Castillo will fare this season. “Our job as a staff is to get him back to the player he was and for him to be embraced by the team he plays for,” he said.

When speaking about what happened to the Mets during the last two seasons, Manuel re-iterated that “regardless of who you are, J.J. Putz, anybody, you have to make sure that you identify with what has gone on in the past.”

“It is always out in the open,” he added, “we will never get rid of it until we make the playoffs.”

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