Tag: omar minaya

Mets Continue to Clean House

Somehow this news got buried at the bottom of Adam Rubin’s postgame report on Sunday night, as if it were inconsequential: Binghamton B-Mets manager Mako Oliveras and Gulf Coast League manager Julio Franco have been fired.

Oliveras and Franco join Minor League Special Assistant Ramon Pena and “Field Coordinator” Luis Aguayo on the unemployment line — both were fired last week.

As Matt Cerrone of MetsBlog notes, “…Omar Minaya is planning to replace all of Tony Bernazard’s guys with ‘his own guys’…”.

So to review, the following positions are now open:

– Vice President of Player Development
– Minor League Special Assistant
– Field Coordinator (whatever that is)
– AA manager for the Binghamton Mets
– Rookie League manager for the GCL Mets

The first three positions, I’m guessing, were created for the people who held them. Still, I’m sure at least two of those spots will be filled with a new person, filling some type of scouting and development roles. And of course the Mets will need to hire managers for the two minor league clubs.

You know who MetsToday is supporting …

(Wally Backman on developing MLB players courtesy of Playing for Peanuts)

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Dead End Deals

dead-end

Yesterday we looked at the Mets’ trade with the Seattle Mariners last December, and became collectively ill over the fact that seven players were traded away for what could essentially turn out to be Sean Green. Nothing against Green, but that trade is typical of Omar Minaya’s dealings over the past four years. Though you can’t expect every trade to turn out great, you also can’t consistently empty your organization for assets that provide zero return. The below one-way, dead-end deals are part of the reason the Mets’ organization is barren at the upper levels.

You may judge these deals on their success in terms of how the players obtained performed for the Mets, but that’s not the entire point. Moreover, it’s the fact that

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Yankees Block Carter – So What?

Yesterday I thought we’d reached a low point when the DFA of a career minor leaguer caused excitement in the Mets blogosphere. Today, I’m seeing we fans sink even lower in this steep abyss of failure and mediocrity we’re calling the 2009 season — because now, we’re mad at the Yankees for preventing the Mets from auditioning another career minor leaguer.

Don’t get me wrong — I was excited as the next guy at the possibility of seeing some new (and healthy) blood come into Flushing, and wow us with his homerun hitting skills. But now, various sources are reporting that Chris Carter will be staying in Boston, because the Yankees claimed him on waivers as a handcuffing strategy (it forced the Red Sox to pull Carter back and keep him on their 40-man roster). Disappointing, yes, the news will hardly ruin my September.

First of all, the Yankees could care less about who the Mets want to audition in meaningless September games, and that consideration likely never entered their minds. The Yankees, after all, are focused on “meaningful games in September” (as Fred Wilpon so aptly describes them). And I can’t blame them — why should the Yankees do the Mets any favors, particularly in the heat of a pennant race? Did the Mets do the Yankees a favor by giving Billy Wagner to the Red Sox? And in return for peanuts, no less? Along with the potentiality of the Bosox getting two extra picks in next year’s June draft? Hmm … LHP who throws mid-90s and has closing experience … draft picks … in return for two non-prospects … yeah, we should be ticked at Brian Cashman for screwing up the Mets’ September, since Omar Minaya was so kind in helping out the Yankees!

Second, the blame is misplaced if it’s on the big bad Yankees. You want to blame someone for screwing up Chris Carter’s audition? How about blaming the Red Sox, who should have pushed Carter through waivers a month ago. It’s standard routine to send all your players through waivers after the trading deadline — no doubt the Bosox passed through people like Mike Lowell, Rocco Baldelli, Takashi Saito, etc. — so why not Carter?

Third, consider the silver lining. The fact that Carter won’t be in New York means there will be opportunities for others. For example, maybe without Carter around, the Mets will consider claiming Matt Murton to try out in left field. Perhaps not having Carter’s means Josh Thole will get some reps at first base. Or it could mean someone like Lucas Duda or Ike Davis gets a surprise promotion. At the very least, it should mean more at-bats for Angel Pagan and Cory Sullivan, and more first base experience for Dan Murphy. Seeing those three players for another 25-30 games will be helpful in determining where (or whether) they fit into the plans for 2010.

But hey, if you want to project your anger toward the Bronx, that’s your prerogative — and if it helps you cope with this sorry excuse for an organization, then go ahead and let it all out. Personally, I’d rather be “mad” at the Yankees for something more worthwhile.

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Mets Injuries: Not Bad Luck

After having his knee examined, Oliver Perez has been shut down and scheduled for season-ending surgery because of patella tendon tendinosis. No word on whether he will have his head examined.

Johan Santana will have elbow surgery.

J.J. Putz has been shut down for the season, due to new fraying in his elbow near the ulnar collateral ligament and a slight tear in his right forearm. He will NOT have surgery to correct the condition.

No word on Carlos Beltran , Carlos Delgado, John Maine, nor Jose Reyes.

There are others on the DL and/or lost for the season, but I mentioned the above for a specific reason. Can you find the common thread?

If not, I’ll make it plain and simple: in each of the above cases, the player’s original injury was misdiagnosed and/or rehab was mishandled.

In other words, all this talk about the Mets being “unlucky” because of all the major injuries suffered is a bunch of bull. Maybe some of it is luck, but at least half of it is due to incompetence.

Though, I tend not to fault the Mets’ medical staff — I have a hunch they know what they’re doing, and making the proper recommendations. In the end, the doctors and trainers have no control over whether a player goes back on the field or to the disabled list — that decision is made by the front office.

If you’ve been paying attention since spring training, you don’t need me to re-hash each individual case and point out where the team went wrong. And it goes back further than the spring — last year’s handling of Ryan Church and Billy Wagner are the most obvious examples from 2008 (you can put Maine in there as well).

In every case, a player continued to play despite an injury. Now, we know that all athletes have to learn to play with pain, and can often play through injuries without causing further damage. But over the past several years, the Mets have been grossly negligent in the evaluation and assessment of injuries.

We know this because:

– the manager, general manager, and player are rarely ever on the same page in terms of information
– the general manager cannot “remember” serious injuries to vital players
– the manager has admitted to allowing injured players to talk him into letting them on the field
– the team has admitted to hiding injuries and allowing players to continue to play through them
– the team has consistently waited too long to place players on the DL
– cortisone shots have been administered so frequently and easily it has become an industry joke
– more than one player has sought a second opinion from outside doctors, without the team’s recommendation
– Maine, Putz, Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, and Church all experienced failure in the rehab process

The only successful injury rehabilitation in the past year was Billy Wagner’s recovery from Tommy John surgery. Is it any coincidence that Wagner, for the most part, rehabbed on his own, at his home in Virginia?

Yes, there is some luck involved in a player becoming injured, and recovering from injury. But bad luck is not a valid explanation for this level of medical failure. In addition to personnel moves, the Mets need to make sweeping changes in the way they a) prepare and condition their ballplayers; b) evaluate and assess all injuries; and c) make determinations based on the recommendations of their medical staff.

** UPDATE **

David Lennon at Newsday has written a similar, more in-depth piece. Good thing to see the professional journalists are seeing things similarly to the fans and bloggers.

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Mets Forgot About Johan Santana’s Elbow

During the team’s conference call with the press today, Ben Shpigel asked Omar Minaya if Johan Santana’s elbow issue was related in any way to the discomfort he felt back in February. Minaya was stunned by the question — he had not remembered the elbow problem, stating that “spring training was a long time ago”. Later, Minaya said that the “spring training problem” had “more to do with Santana’s knee”.

Wow … and we wonder why the Mets’ medical issues have been such a problem this year. If the team can’t remember their $137.5M investment and ace pitcher had elbow issues, how can they possibly deal with the phyical problems of “lesser” players?

Now we understand why Jose Reyes played on a bad hammy, Carlos Beltran on a bad knee, and J.J. Putz with a bad elbow (among others) — the Mets simply “forgot” those players were injured!

Another strange quote by Minaya … after being asked why Santana wasn’t shut down earlier in the season — since he hasn’t thrown in between starts since June — Minaya’s response was:

“That’s why we’re shutting him down now. … After his last start is when he brought it up.”

Um …. huh?

In any case, Johan Santana was seen by Dr. David Altcheck, and the result of the examination is that Santana has bone chips in his elbow. He will have season-ending surgery to remove the chips.

There has been no confirmation one way or the other as to whether Santana had an MRI — only that he saw Dr. Altcheck. Strange, no?

Minaya also announced that Oliver Perez would be heading back to New York to have his knee examined. No word on whether Perez would also have his head examined, unfortunately.

Further, Minaya confirmed the Billy Wagner trade, and said that both Pat Misch and Nick Evans would be activated.

Finally, J.J. Putz will NOT pitch tonight in Brooklyn as scheduled. The Mets are going to “play it safe” with Putz and have him wait a little longer before throwing in a live game.

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Why the Mets May Consider Tony LaRussa

tony-larussaTony LaRussa is currently busy leading his St. Louis Cardinals into the postseason. But he could be on table of discussion in the Mets front office right now.

After two consecutive collapses and a godawful premiere season in their brand-new, billion-dollar ballpark, the Mets have to do something signficant to win back season-ticket sales their fans in 2010. They absolutely cannot stand pat, or make a few minor changes. In order to sell tickets compete in 2010, they have to make a sales-inspiring announcement drastic change at some point this winter.

But what can they do? If they were tightening the purse strings last winter — BEFORE the Madoff scandal came to light — then certainly they won’t have much money to spend this offseason. So forget about the Mets bidding for the services of Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. In fact, I’d be surprised if they have the money or gumption to go after Chone Figgins, John Lackey, or Rich Harden. My guess? We’ll see Mark DeRosa, Xavier Nady, Jon Garland, Benji Molina, Nick Johnson, and Jason Marquis on their radar. Nice complementary pieces, but hardly impact players.

Further, the Mets have next to nothing to offer in trade for a big-name player. No one of value is healthy enough nor expendable, and they’ll get lambasted if they empty their farm system for one player for the third consecutive winter. So, with no big trades and no big free agent signings on the horizon, the Mets will have to try another route to the back pages.

They will start by promoting John Ricco, either to GM or some kind of parallel position to Omar Minaya. With their budgetary concerns, I would be surprised to see them eat the rest of Minaya’s contract — particularly if they plan to eat Jerry Manuel’s. At the same time I don’t see them spending big bucks to lure Pat Gillick out of retirement, or hiring another big-name GM. They won’t do that because a) they don’t want to spend the money; and b) Jeff Wilpon wants to remain the puppet-master. So forget about the nonsense of bringing in a strong-minded personality such as Billy Beane or Bobby Valentine.

Instead, they’ll do the financially prudent move of keeping Minaya in the organization — in some type of “player evaluation” capacity — and promoting Ricco to GM. Such a decision will be a cheap way of making it look like things are changing, and they’ll spin it by positioning Ricco as a young Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein — a numbers-crunching uber-geek who can use his calculator to lead the Mets into the Promised Land. Maybe he can do that, who knows? … but the decision will be financially motivated, and in keeping with the “Jeff’s in charge” theme.

Still, a change in GM and a few mildly impressive free-agent signings won’t be enough to stimulate season-ticket sales improve the 2010 Mets. Soon after Ricco is promoted, expect to see Manuel ousted and replaced with Tony LaRussa.

LaRussa is most likely a bad fit for the bright hot lights of New York City — he barely gets through the mild-mannered press and forgiving fans in St. Louis. But convincing LaRussa to manage the Mets (3 years / $18M?) will be much cheaper than signing a big-name free-agent. Most importantly, it will be seen as a major change in “the right direction” — substantial enough on its own to sell season tickets position them as a contender.

I could be wrong — the Mets may not have enough money to even afford LaRussa. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a scenario similar to this unfold in the offseason. If not LaRussa, then another big name that won’t cost a fortune (in comparison to an impact free agent). Perhaps Lou Piniella is let out of his Cubs contract, or Frank Robinson comes out of retirement. Or maybe they do something completely off the wall and hire Gary Carter or Wally Backman (not likely). Whatever it is the Mets do, it will be newsworthy, but unlikely to break the bank.

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Ricco On the Rise – and Recommended Francoeur Deal

According to Adam Rubin, Mets insiders believe that John Ricco will eventually replace Omar Minaya as the Mets GM. Certainly, Ricco’s sudden plunge into the role of public speaker for the team is a supporting clue.

Also in Rubin’s report: Omar Minaya credits John Ricco for the Jeff Francoeur trade. (And here we thought it was Rubin who lobbied Minaya to acquire Francoeur … wait, I may be confusing something.)

This is an intriguing claim, considering that

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Fire Omar – Or Don’t

My apologies for missing this piece calling for Omar Minaya’s head by Dave Cameron, and an even better response defending Minaya by Fire Jerry Manuel. But with all the noise suggesting a change in the Mets’ front office, both are still relevant.

MetsFever suggests that Jermaine Dye will be available this winter, and the Mets could be interested. Well, that would fit the pattern of acquiring aging sluggers on the downside of their career.

How many times have the Yankees fielded an entire lineup where every one of their players had more home runs than anyone on the Mets? Visit I Hate The Mets to find out.

Finally, go to TheRopolitans to see an up-close look at Max Scherzer’s heterochromia (as well as those crazy eyes of his). I think he’s part Alaskan Malamute.

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