Oct 02

Minaya: “Something is missing.”

Minaya: Has a lot of work to do.

Minaya: Has a lot of work to do.

One of the first things Omar Minaya said this morning on a conference call to announce his contract extension through 2012 (with club options for 2013 and 2014), was to admit something is wrong with the make-up of his team.

“There is something there, something missing, that the club needs to get over,” Minaya said.

Minaya singled out the bullpen as the area of main concern, but did not name and possible FA replacements.

“One of the top areas we need to address is the bullpen and the closer,” Minaya said. “There’s only a few guys in the game what we say can, ‘lock-out an inning,’ so we’ll have to look in the market place, or look internally, because for a championship team that is very important.”

To fill that void, and the projected starting pitching void without Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez, Minaya said he would listen to trade offers for anyone, and that includes core players David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.

Minaya called the trio, “winning players,” but added, “we owe it to ourselves to look at all areas. I’m going to be open-mined all winter.”

Minaya, however, isn’t shopping these three, and I got the impression this was GM clichespeak, in that all GM’s say they will listen to any proposals that could improve the team.

Minaya also said:

-Discussions are on-going on a contract extension for manager Jerry Manuel. It’s believed the Mets have a two-year deal on the table but Manuel is thinking three.

-The team is interested in bringing back Carlos Delgado, and has told his agent this.

-He’s interested in having Oliver Perez return and said he made progress.

-Said the team is waiting to complete its investigation and let the legal process take its course before making a decision on troubled reliever Ambiorix Burgos.

Oct 02

Wilpon: “Omar is our guy.”

``We believe in Omar.''

``We believe in Omar.''

Mets COO Jeff Wilpon defended the decision to extend GM Omar Minaya’s contract at this time. Minaya was signed through 2009. He was given a three-year extension through 2012, with club options for 2013 and 2014.

“We failed this year, and we want to get the redemption we need and move forward, and we feel Omar and his staff are the best group to put us in that position,” Wilpon said. “We were not a good team before Omar took over. … Omar is our guy. We believe in Omar.”

Wilpon also said the current economic crisis in the country has not impacted the construction project at Citi Field: “We have not requested funds above what we have budgeted for.”

Wilpon would not say whether this year’s payroll of $143 million would be exceeded next year, but did not say Minaya had a ceiling.

I’ll have Minaya for you in a few minutes.

-Minaya said negotiations are on-going with manager Jerry Manuel on an extension.

-Minaya said the team is leaning toward bringing back Carlos Delgado. He has already spoken with his agent.

Oct 02

Minaya conference call in progress ….

Omar Minaya and Jeff Wilpon are on currently on a conference call. Some highlights so far:

-Wilpon on why Omar: “We were not a good team before Omar took over. … Omar is our guy. We believe in Omar.”

-Omar is extended through 2012, with club options for 2013 and 2014.

-Minaya said negotiations are on-going with manager Jerry Manuel on an extension.

-Minaya said the team is leaning toward bringing back Carlos Delgado. He has already spoken with his agent.

Sep 30

Do you want Delgado back?

Delgado: Wants to return. Few other options.

Delgado: Wants to return. Few other options.

In early June there was no way Carlos Delgado would return to the Mets. The team would undoubtedly give him a $4 million buyout as opposed to picking up his $12 million option.

Then he had a week in one afternoon at Yankee Stadium and never looked back. While the Mets floundered in September, Delgado sizzled, hitting .340 with eight homers and 22 RBI. He finished the season batting .271 with 38 homers and 115 RBI.

Those numbers warrant a return for 2009.

“I’d like to be back. I like this group of guys,” Delgado said. “I think they’re a great team. There’s a lot of talent here. In my stage, you don’t want to be bouncing around any more than you absolutely have to. The decision is in their hands.”

Since the Mets would pay Delgado $4 million regardless because of the buyout, it’s really only an $8 million investment they would be making. That’s not much in the grand scheme of things. The Mets have five days after the World Series to make a decision.

Delgado said he’d like to play several more years, but considering his off-year in 2007 and how long it took for him to get started this season, the Mets would be wise to make him earn the extension and not do anything until the end of 2009.

Should the Mets go the buyout route, there aren’t many appealing options in the free-agent market. Here’s what’s available:

Rich Aurilia (37)
Hank Blalock (28) – $6.2MM club option for ’09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Sean Casey (34)
Tony Clark (37)
Carlos Delgado (37) – $12MM club option for ’09 with a $4MM buyout
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Jason Giambi (38) – $22MM club option for ’09 with a $5MM buyout
Wes Helms (33) – $3.75MM club option for ’09 with a $0.75MM buyout
Eric Hinske (31)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Kevin Millar (37)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Teixeira (29)
Daryle Ward (34)

Should the Mets bring him back or not?

Sep 29

Issues, issues and more issues ….

The Mets have as many issues as a year of Sports Illustrated. They also have a general manager, Omar Minaya, poised for another four years to answer them. Here’s what I see as the most pertinent issues facing the Mets.

1. JERRY MANUEL: Will Minaya bring back the manager who took over a floundering team and guided them into contention until the final day? And with him, his coaching staff? The Mets were fading under Willie Randolph when Manuel replaced him in June. With pretty much the same talent, the Mets turned it around. MY OPINION: Manuel should be brought back. This team worked hard for him and hustled. Talent issues beyond his control is why they failed.

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?

Delgado's hot second half could bring him back. Or could it?


2. CARLOS DELGADO: The struggling first baseman transformed into the slugging first baseman shortly after Manuel took over. Coincidence? Delgado says no and is annoyed with the suggestion. But, his numbers were impressive enough to merit MVP consideration. The Mets could pick up his option for $16 million or offer a $4 million buyout. Was Delgado’s second half a fluke? That’s a tough one. MY OPINION: If the Mets believe they are a contender and make some early moves to fix the pen, then Delgado should be brought back. It would be one less hassle. Should they go this route, there should not be an extension. Make him earn it. HOWEVER, if the Mets remain stagnant and believe they are in a rebuilding mode, then give him the buyout and go young. In this case, I would send Daniel Murphy to the Arizona Fall League for instruction at first. Nick Evans, too.

3. SECOND BASE: Ramon Martinez was a spark the final week of the season, but in the end, he’s still a retread player. Damion Easley is a role player I want back. Luis Castillo is not the answer. MY OPINION: Castillo can’t play here. I would try to trade him with the understanding of eating most of his salary. If they can’t do that then dump him and eat the whole thing. If this is a platoon position next year, so be it.

4. LEFT FIELD: Moises Alou can’t go in a time machine. The Mets finished the season platooning Daniel Murphy, Nick Evans and Fernando Tatis, with Endy Chavez coming in late for defense. I can see them doing that again, but acquiring a full time outfielder would be better. MY OPINION: Whatever they do, it should not be Manny Ramirez. I think they should look for a full time outfielder, but don’t overpay because they have more pressing issues.

5. STARTING PITCHING: They have two spots that are in question, Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez. Martinez was never completely healthy and was lost with the death of this father. His fastball faded and he proved to be a five-inning guy. Half of Perez’s 34 starts were no-decisions and he finished at 10-8, the numbers for a fifth starter. MY OPINION: Perez won’t come at a fifth starter’s salary. With agent Scott Boras, he’ll demand a lot. If the Mets want him, they should make their best offer during their negotiating window and sign him before CC Sabathia sets the market. If Boras says no, then fine and move on. I don’t see Perez ever becoming a No. 1. As far as Martinez, he wants to pitch and I’d bring him back as a fifth starter.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.

Heilman: Could be time to make a deal.


6. BULLPEN: With the exception of Joe Smith, I can see a complete housecleaning. Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis are under contract, but so what? Twenty-nine blown saves should mean everybody is vulnerable. MY OPINION: Minaya won’t bring back seven new arms. I’d look at Brian Fuentes before Francisco Rodriguez as the closer because of economics (they are already paying Billy Wagner $11 million not to close next year). The bridge is essential. I’d give Eddie Kunz and Bobby Parnell a shot in spring training to close. Winter ball might not be a bad idea, either. Brian Stokes, Smith, Luis Ayala and Pedro Feliciano I can see coming back. They’ve listened to trade offers for Heilman before. Now is the time to do it, because he’s gone once he’s a free agent. It’s one thing to think overhaul, but it’s another to actually do it. They have to realistic in that the entire pen can’t be replaced.

This will be the offseason Minaya earns his money.