Minaya Lobbies Mixed Messages

When Omar Minaya entered the hotel lobby in Indianapolis (as opposed to “having lobby” in Indy), he was greeted by several members of the media, including David Lennon and Adam Rubin.

Not surprisingly, Minaya’s chats with the two journalists provided mixed messages.

Lennon asked Minaya if it would be necessary to completely revamp the Mets roster. Here’s his response:

“It’s not that we have to do a total revamping,” Minaya said. “It’s not like we have to fill in a whole bunch of guys when we get our core guys back healthy. That being said, I’m of the belief that it’s 162 games. Whether you do things in the winter or do things in season, at the end of the day, we do have to improve our club. But if the players are not there in the free-agent market, you just can’t force it.”

“This year it’s not as clear as it was last year,” Minaya said. “Last year we needed a closer and we ended up getting two closers. This year we have more pieces that we have to fill in. Are we going to be able to fill them all in? I don’t know that.

On whether he feels pressured to make some deals:

“But as far as the pressure itself, when you start putting pressure on yourself that you have to get something done, that’s not good. But it makes sense when you have a year like we had last year that we have to address those needs.”

Rubin had similar questions for Minaya. Here is one in particular:

(Rubin:) Is there pressure on you to pull the trigger on something and satisfy the fans?

“There’s no doubt because of last year—I don’t want to say you feel pressure to do something—but there’s no doubt we have to find a way to improve our club if possible. I remember coming here last year and we were trying to get Frankie Rodriguez. We knew that. And we focused on that. Coming into the Meetings we had meetings with the agent and we felt that we could get things done and address that last year. This year, it’s not as clear as it was last year. Last year we needed a closer and we ended up getting two closers. This year we have more parts that we have to fill in. Are we going to be able to fill all of them in here? I don’t know that. But as far as the pressure, I don’t feel like I have to do something. When you start putting pressure on yourself that you have to do something, it’s not good. But it makes sense we have to try to address those needs.”

So, in conclusion:

– Omar is under pressure, but not really, because being under pressure is not good. He doesn’t “feel like” he has to do something, but he does have to address needs. Got it?

– A “revamp” is unnecessary, but the Mets have more pieces to fill this year. He needs more parts. But not a revamp.

My concerns:

First, the notion that the Mets needed only a closer last year explains everything in regard to the awful 2009 season — with or without injuries. Walk away from the computer and let that settle in for a minute. So again, even one year later, Minaya admitted that the “only” thing the Mets “needed” was K-Rod. Even with the benefit of hindsight, Minaya didn’t believe the Mets needed a power-hitting outfielder, THREE starting pitchers, middle relief support, and legitimate AAA depth (among other needs).

This year, Omar doesn’t believe a “revamp” is in order. Yet, even a casual fan can recognize the fact the Mets need a starting catcher, a first baseman, a left fielder, a setup man, a #2 starter, a #3 starter, and a middle reliever. Add in the fact that Minaya is hell-bent on dealing Luis Castillo, and that’s a minimum of EIGHT new faces. (I won’t even get into the manager and coaching staff, which surely will be replaced by next June.) So, how many new people does it take to fit the definition of “revamp”?

I hope this is strategic posturing on Minaya’s part. Somehow, though, I doubt it.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Tommy2cat December 8, 2009 at 8:51 am
    Last year, Omar took calculated risks with regulars Delgado, Murphy & Castillo.

    His loyalty to Castillo paid off, as Luis arguably had the best all-around season of any regular within the means of his skill.

    Omar’s loyalty to Delgado did not pay off, at least initially. I believe the team relied more heavily on Delgado than most are willing to admit. Whenever he’s been in the DL, our offense loses its knock-out capability. And when he’s hot, it seems as if everyone is tearing the cover off the ball. Delgado has that effect.

    Murphy did not pan out in left field, obviously. But he rewarded Omar with an unexpected aptitude and deft glove at first base, and his post AllStar output (27 doubles, 7 homers, .282 ba) is better than most are willing to admit.

    Omar’s management of the pitching staff was less than sound in that he took calculated risks with Ollie and Maine that clearly did not pay off. Those risks, combined with Pelfrey’s subpar performance and Redding’s injury, did not give Omar the luxury to dabble with Livan Hernandez – who turned out to be the Mets most effective starter for a stretch.

    My concern with Omar is that he is too much like the kid trying to plug holes in the dyke (ok, ok…simmer down). From 2006-07 he dismantled the bullpen, which he finally sought to repair in 2008-09. The problem is that his over-simplification of the major league roster’s needs carries over from one year to the next.

    The solution, of course, is that Omar needs to take a step back, allow people that have good organizational skills to provide a structured analysis of the organization, and proceed to develop existing talent within the organization and add-on very talented ballplayers as needed.

    Omar has a good eye for talent – think of Francouer, Tatis & Nieve as a few of many examples where he got it right. I wish him the best of luck and fortune this week, but sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make (see Ollie).