Winter Meetings Notebook: Willie Randolph

Mets manager Willie Randolph met the media on Saturday at baseball's Winter Meetings. A brief synopsis of his session:

On his first Winter Meetings as a manager: Randolph has "mixed emotions" about his experience so far this weekend. He's already noted the difference between the Mets and the Yankees in that the Mets don't have boundless amounts of cash to delegate, but is also inspired by the fact that the Mets are considering their future (something that isn't done in Yankee-land).

"We want to win as soon as possible, obviously," he said, "but we also want to make sure we take care of the kids."

Pedro Martinez: One of the top competitors in baseball and a heck of an opponent, Randolph says. He said the Yankees were lucky to just keep up with Pedro in recent years – forget all the 'Who's your daddy?' stuff – and may or may not have spoken with Pedro to try and influence him to take the Mets' three-year offer.

"I can't speak to that," he said.

Changes on the way: The Mets struggled with fundamental baseball beginning in spring training last year, leading the Wilpons to openly challenge Art Howe to do a better job.

Randolph's task will be similar, and although the specifics of the regimen aren't complete yet, Randolph says to look forward to his players "[coming to] work hard every day and put things together piece by piece."

Reaching out: As was reported in several newspapers, Randolph has been having trouble getting certain Mets – most notably Mike Piazza – to return his calls.

This isn't abnormal, Randolph says, as he claims to have played phone tag with Derek Jeter for two or three weeks at a time in recent years. As for Piazza, Randolph is "going to assume he's busy. I'll just keep trying."

Meanwhile, Jason Phillips was quoted as saying that Randolph won't return his calls.

The inferiority complex: Randolph recognizes that the Mets suffer from an inferiority complex in their own city, but maintains that "we'll change that." He feels that New York is big enough for two teams and aims to win fans over with a good, hard brand of aggressive baseball. In fact, Randolph hopes the Mets will be even more daring on the bases given the "right horses."

Team captain: Randolph doesn't put a whole lot of stock into a team captain, and doesn't necessarily think that a team needs one. Rather, he'd like to see someone (David Wright, most likely) evolve into a defacto team leader, and doesn't feel that it's crucial that someone wear the 'C' on his chest.

Assorted items: Randolph doesn't foresee any problems communicating with Kaz Matsui, citing his experience with Hideki Matsui. … There is no Yankees blueprint to bring over, he said. … Rick Peterson is likely to maintain his status as 'C.E.O. of pitching.' Randolph said he has told the pitching coach that he'll be "in (his) back pocket every day."

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