Tag: omar minaya

Will the Sun Come Up On Monday?

According to various sources (first reported by Matt Pignataro on 7 Train to Shea), the Mets will announce that both manager Jerry Manuel and GM Omar Minaya will be fired on Monday.

This in direct opposition to what Fred Wilpon insisted in early August. For those who forgot (or weren’t paying attention), from the NY Post:

… as Wilpon walked away, a Post reporter asked if Minaya would remain the team’s GM beyond this year.

“Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?” Wilpon answered.

Now I’m thinking, maybe it won’t. Perhaps the end of Daylight Savings Time has something to do with the sun not rising, and Wilpon firing Minaya.

If indeed Minaya is fired, and Wilpon believed what he said to that Post reporter, then the Mets are more inept at management evaluation than we ever imagined. Did something change between August 5th and October 5th? In other words, what happened in August and September that would change the Mets’ perception of Omar Minaya’s performance as a General Manager? Did they think that their mediocre MLB roster was good enough to compete with the Phillies and Braves, and simply underperforming? Or, did they think that Minaya would somehow, some way, find a half-dozen gems from the rubble of the waiver wire to rescue the season?

One might consider the fact that Wilpon was lying — that he had considered the possibility of relieving Minaya of his position, and was simply giving Omar a public vote of confidence to prevent a media nightmare of questions and rumors that might affect the final two months of the season.

You know what? That’s an even WORSE consideration — because it means that the Mets have been thinking about fixing their management issues for two months, and have done absolutely nothing. In the meantime, other teams in similarly terrible condition have made steps toward righting the ship. While the Mets sat on their hands wondering what they should do next, strong leadership candidates have found employment elsewhere. More importantly, the team floundered without direction nor meaning under a lame-duck manager and a lame-duck GM — both of whom had motivations other than the Mets’ future in mind.

While it’s true that Jerry Manuel played a number of youngsters in September, what good does that do for the next Mets manager and GM? Those men might have preferred to see Justin Turner at second base instead of Ruben Tejada. Maybe the new management doesn’t see Dillon Gee, Pat Misch, or Raul Valdes as candidates for next year’s pitching staff, and would’ve preferred to see other arms used in September starts.

Who knows, maybe the sun WILL come up today and Omar Minaya will still be the General Manager in 2011. Or maybe Fred Wilpon was lying — again.


Dodgers Get Manny For Nuttin’

You may have seen that the Chicago White Sox claimed Manny Ramirez on waivers.

You may also have noticed that the Dodgers asked for absolutely nothing in return — the ChiSox took on Manny and the remaining $4M of his contract free and clear.

I know, I know — it’s all moot now, since the Mets are a dozen games behind. But when Manny first went on waivers, Omar Minaya insisted the Mets still “had a chance” at making the playoffs. Without a shadow of a doubt, the one glaring issue holding them back at the time was a lack of offensive production. For all the baggage Manny brings to a team, he also brings a big bat. Even in his current underperforming state, he still would have walked into Flushing as the best hitter in the lineup. And getting him would not have cost a prospect, as so many fans had been concerned about. It would’ve cost nothing, in fact, except the one thing the Mets supposedly have: cash.

But the Mets didn’t claim him. Therefore, Minaya lied about believing the team was still “in it” and Jeff Wilpon also lied, since he consistently insisted that money was not an issue. Because if indeed the Mets had money to spend, and believed they could still salvage September, Manny would have been a Met right now.

On the one hand, it doesn’t matter because we all knew long ago that this team wouldn’t be playing October games. But on the other hand, it does matter because yet again the ownership and management has played us for fools.

Thank you sir, may I have another?


K-Rod Activated, Mets Remain Impotent

According to The New York Times, Francisco Rodriguez has completed his two-day suspension, has agreed to participate in anger management treatment, and will return to the Mets roster today.

Per The Times:

In fact, the Mets were considering a more severe punishment but settled on two games because the union agreed to the two games in consultation with Major League Baseball.

“We felt that was the right thing,” Minaya said, “and of course any time you do these things you also have to have conversations with the players association. We felt it was something we needed to do. We felt we needed to act upon it immediately.”

This followed up Thursday’s official statement from the Mets:

The New York Mets today announced they are taking the following disciplinary action against pitcher Francisco Rodriguez: The team has placed Rodriguez on the restricted list for two days. He will be removed from the roster, will not be with the team, and will not be paid during that time.

“Ownership and the organization are very disappointed in Francisco’s inappropriate behavior and we take this matter very seriously,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon.

Once again, the Mets show their impotence, and cower to the opinions of others rather than taking the bull by the horns and making their own decision on a situation.

If the Mets cared one bit about their “brand”, the team, their fans, Francisco Rodriguez, and Rodriguez’s family, the punishment would have been delivered harsher, swifter, and with conviction. But the Mets don’t have the chutzpah or the cojones to make a decision on their own, and don’t know what’s “right” until others tell them.

Two days? Really? That’s “taking the matter very seriously”? And one of those didn’t count because it was spent in jail and court. And considering that Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey both pitched complete games, K-Rod didn’t really miss anything other than the $125K taken from his salary.

Jeff Wilpon had the opportunity to set the tone, to act as a potent leader, by acting swiftly and confidently. He could have said the Mets do not and will not tolerate such behavior on their property from anyone, and followed his “harsh words” with action — a one-month suspension, for example. Then, we wouldn’t have had to be subjected to the irrational comments of Jerry Manuel later that Thursday morning, who said he wouldn’t hesitate to use K-Rod if he were available. You can’t blame Manuel for saying such an idiotic thing, because the bosses above him were just as clueless and impotent as he was. Manuel wasn’t sure because Minaya wasn’t sure, and Minaya wasn’t sure because Wilpon wasn’t sure.

And even if Wilpon wasn’t sure of exactly what he wanted to do, he still had a chance to appear firm. Instead of conferring with MLB and the MLBPA, the Mets could have immediately announced that K-Rod was suspended indefinitely, and then let the MLBPA file a protest against them. Maybe K-Rod would still wind up with only a two-game suspension, but at least the Mets take a stand for themselves and publicly show that they are more concerned with preserving respect for their organization than in appeasing everyone. Let the MLBPA look like the bad guys for changing the punishment to a mere slap on the wrist.

Does anyone remember the last time a fireballing Mets relief pitcher was arrested in Flushing for assaulting a family member? It wasn’t that long ago that Ambiorix Burgos beat up his girlfriend in an eerily similar fashion — throwing her up against a wall, slapping her, and punching her to the ground. Just as similar was the Mets’ reaction to the news that Burgos had been arrested; from ESPN / AP:

The Mets said they were “disturbed by the allegations.” They said Burgos was in town for reasons unrelated to the team.

How did the Mets react then? They didn’t. Burgos was still technically in the minors, recovering from Tommy John surgery. So, rather than address the situation — possibly by suspending him or arranging anger management counseling — The Mets did what they thought was best — they ignored the situation and waited for it to go away. Eventually, it DID go away — Burgos went back to his home in the Dominican Republic and allegedly ran over two women with his SUV.

Burgos wasn’t officially on the 25-man roster at the time, so it was a different situation than the present one. The Mets didn’t really “need” Burgos like they “need” K-Rod right now. Maybe Jeff Wilpon didn’t act swifty and with certainty because he feared losing more games without a closer, and in turn losing more ticket sales.

One has to wonder: what if it was Oliver Perez who was arrested for assault in the Mets’ family room? Would he have been “punished” for only two days? Or would the Mets, MLB, and MLBPA agreed on, say, a 30-day, with-pay suspension so he could focus on “family matters”, psychiatric help, and anger management treatment?


Omar Minaya’s Backward Plan

For several years, many pundits (including myself) have criticized Omar Minaya for his lack of a “Plan B”, or “backup plan”.

It turns out that we simply didn’t understand Minaya’s genius. He never had a “backup plan” because from the beginning he’s been working with a “backward plan”.


We have to go back far in time to explain — specifically, to June 12, 2003, when Steve Phillips was fired.

It was on that day that Jeff and Fred Wilpon announced a new direction for the organization.


Mets are NOT Spending Enough Money

To quell the legions of fans screaming for a better product on the field, the latest talking point in the media and blogosphere is that the Mets’ problem is not that they don’t spend enough money, but that they don’t spend it wisely.


While I agree the Mets do not spend their money wisely (*cough* Oliver Perez …. *cough* Luis Castillo), they also do not spend enough — not for a New York City baseball team with a brand-new ballpark and their own TV network.

The Mets’ 2010 Opening Day player payroll was right around $126M, which was about $23M LESS than their 2009 payroll and $12M LESS than that of the Phillies’ 2010 payroll and about $18M less than the Cubs’.

Yeah, yeah, I know — spending doesn’t necessarily equate to winning (just ask Peter Angelos). And yes, there are teams that spend a lot less and do much better. But those facts are convenient excuses, and irrelevant to the argument. Why? Because


Can the Mets Afford to NOT Make a Change?

According to MetsBlog and other sources, the Mets’ braintrust (and I use that term loosely) is in meetings all day today to discuss the matter of the team’s 2-9 road trip and all-around suckiness.

Additionally — and also reported in various places — Omar Minaya refused to provide any assurances that the current manager and coaching staff would remain intact for the short-term.

Considering that this information is public, can the Mets afford not to make a change of some sort? In other words, at this point, knowing what we know, and feeling how we feel about the team — that it is sinking quickly and could be irrelevant once the NFL begins workouts — would we as fans be OK with the Mets emerging today and doing nothing?

Maybe, just maybe, a blockbuster trade could provide a glimmer of hope (i.e., convince fans to buy tickets in August and September). Unfortunately, Dan Haren and Cliff Lee have been dealt, and Roy Oswalt is unlikely to accept a trade to a New York team not named the Yankees — though, Adam Rubin has said the Mets aren’t interested anyway. As a result, there appear to be no high-impact, well-known All-Stars available on the market. I doubt very highly that Mets fans would be placated by the acquisition of the likes of Kevin Millwood, Ted Lilly, Scott Downs, Fausto Carmona, Jake Westbrook, or any other so-so pitcher — particularly since the problem lately has been the hitting. Unfortunately for the Mets, no big bat appears to be available — unless you think the Nats would consider trading Adam Dunn to an NL East rival.

So, short of coaxing Barry Bonds out of retirement or raising Babe Ruth from the dead, the Mets will have to make some kind of internal change. The question is, will the change they make be enough to convince fans that the team is on the right track, and worth the (hefty) price of a ticket at Citi Field?

Share your opinion in the comments: what can the Mets do to change your view of the team’s chances in 2010? That is, if you think anything CAN be done to save the 2010 season.


Something is Cooking in Metsville

After going 2-9 on their Left Coast trip, the Mets are sinking fast in the standings. They are now 50-49, which may satisfy Omar Minaya’s goal of “being around .500”.

Further, the offense has sputtered and died like a 1974 Ford Pinto, getting shut out an incomprehensible 4 times in 10 days. That would be quite a feat if this were 1979, and the likes of Frank Taveras, Doug Flynn, and Bruce Boisclair were littering the lineup. But to be that anemic in the 21st century is … well, there are no words. Unfortunately for Howard Johnson, someone is going to have to be the scapegoat, and it’s unlikely to be the bullpen coach.

Whether it is HoJo or someone else, heads are guaranteed to roll in the next 24-48 hours. That’s an educated guess based on privately gathered inside information and the following public reports:

From tweets by Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger:

Omar: “When you have a trip like this, you have to sit down and assess how you’re going to get it right . . . We’re not going to sit back.”

Twice asked if staff would survive by Tuesday, Omar Minaya twice demurred from anything definitive.

From Andy Martino of the NY Daily News:

Minaya passed on two chances to say entire coaching staff would be intact Tuesday.

From Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY:

No one will say Howard Johnson’s job is safe

Omar would not directly state staff would remain intact Tuesday.

From David Lennon of NY Newsday:

Asked twice, Minaya would not say definitively that staff will remain intact on Tuesday when #Mets return to action.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize something is up, and that changes of some sort are coming soon — or sooner. Heck, even a two-bit blogger such as myself can figure that out.

What exactly will happen, no one is sure. HoJo’s job is unteneble right now, and though the pitching has been mostly strong lately, Dan Warthen could be blamed for Mike Pelfrey’s sudden slide. Dave Jauss could be in jeopardy for no other reason than the fact he’s Jerry Manuel’s pal (remember when Willie Randolph’s buddy Rick Down was fired?). Whether Manuel himself is spared the hatchet remains to be seen; Omar Minaya could have a tough time ‘splainin why he chose the wrong manager twice in five years. Indeed, one has to wonder if Minaya himself is on the chopping block.

We don’t know for sure what will occur in the next two days, but we can be sure that SOMETHING will happen.

Fasten your seatbelts …


Quotes of the Day: Omar on Jerry, Willie

Omar Minaya on Jerry Manuel’s job status:

“Jerry Manuel is our manager. Look, any time you’re going to have a couple of losing streaks, those things are going to pop up. But there’s no discussion at all. Jerry Manuel is our manager, will be our manager. I’m very happy with the job that he’s doing.” (MetsBlog, July 22, 2010)

Omar on Willie Randolph’s job status, just a few weeks before Willie was fired:

“Willie has my support. He has the support of our ownership,” Minaya said. “Willie’s job was never in danger going into this meeting.”

After the two-hour session, Minaya said: “There is no limbo period. Willie is the manager.” (ESPN, May 27, 2008)

For the record, our sources tell us Wally Backman will be the Mets manager on Tuesday, if the Mets lose 3 of 4 in Los Angeles. But it is clear that the Mets front office is in disarray and they’ll probably change their minds fifteen times between now and then.