Oct 02

Mets to announce Minaya today

The Mets will announce a contract extension today for general manager Omar Minaya to run through the 2012 season. His current contract runs through 2009.

After Minaya’s deal is announced, the Mets will focus on an extension for manager Jerry Manuel who replaced Willie Randolph, June 17.

Minaya said he took responsibility for the Randolph administration, and although the firing was clumsy, he should receive kudos for making the move when it would have been easy to stay put and hope for the turnaround.

Manuel has the player’s endorsement. Said Carlos Beltran: “I believe he should be back. He’s a great man and he did everything possible.’’

Oct 01

Mets to announce Minaya contract tomorrow

Four more years.

Four more years.

The Mets scheduled a telephone news conference for tomorrow to announce a new contract for general manager Omar Minaya. After Minaya, the Mets are then expected to finalize a contract for manager Jerry Manuel.

I’m sure plenty of you have thoughts on this, many of them heated as the Mets lost on the final day of the season for the second straight year.

This season brought several defining moments in Minaya’s career, beginning with the trade for two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins. Minaya also traded prospect Lastings Milledge to Washington for outfielder Ryan Church and catcher Brian Schneider.

The Mets, and Minaya, were criticized for their handling of Church’s concussion, and for circumstances surrounding the firing of manager Willie Randolph.

Minaya’s first order of business will be signing manager Jerry Manuel to an extension and patching a bullpen that blew 29 save opportunities.

Sep 29

Omar searching for answers ….

It wasn't a ``thumbs up'' day for Minaya today at Shea.

It wasn't a ``thumbs up'' day for Minaya today at Shea.

Mets GM Omar Minaya held court this afternoon. He stated the franchise’s mission statement, but said he had no immediate answers on the team’s most pertinent issues.

In summary: “Our goal is to get to the World Series, win the World Series, and continue to win it, but the bottom line is we can’t even get to the playoffs so we need to find a better way to work hard at this. … It’s been two years a row now, but we didn’t get over that hurdle. You never feel good when you get this far and don’t make it.”

This didn’t come out good, but I knew what he meant. He didn’t want to go into immediate rip mode.

On getting over the hurdle: “Why is it we can’t get over that hurdle? I don’t have an answer right now.”

On Jerry Manuel’s status: “We’ll review what we want to do. We’ll discuss his whole status. That’s going to take a couple of days. I don’t see it being done with a day or two. It’s going to happen sooner than later.”

No doubt the bullpen needs to be improved, but he didn’t lay all the blame on the pen:
“I don’t think it’s one area. To put it on one area wouldn’t be fair. You have to ask yourself how can you score five runs this weekend? It’s a team effort.”

Sep 29

Manuel all but official ….

Manuel: At his first press conference. He should have another soon.

Manuel: At his first press conference. He should have another soon.

The Mets were 55-38 under Jerry Manuel, a record good enough to bring him back. GM Omar Minaya is meeting with ownership today about Manuel’s contract. An announcement could be made this week, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

Minaya on Manuel: “Jerry did a very good job in a tough situation, overcoming injuries to [John] Maine and Billy [Wagner]. … I was very pleased with the job he did.”

I’ve been saying Manuel should return. Agree? Disagree?

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.