Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Archive for the ‘Omar Minaya’ Category

Fine Print

Posted by JD on October 21, 2010

Eno Sarris offered a three-part analysis on how the Mets could learn from the mid-decade Phillies, which you can find here, here and here (give it a read: even if you don’t agree with the comparison, it’s an interesting look at how a franchise can change course in a relatively short time). Without stealing his thunder, he mentions in passing trading Carlos Beltran during the season if he re-establishes his value. I agree with the strategy (as I said here) for the reasons that Sarris mentions, and for one additional factor: the Mets cannot offer Beltran arbitration.

Under the current CBA, a player who files for free agency may chose to accept arbitration if his team offers it to him. If it is offered and the player declines, the team may be entitled to compensation in the form of draft picks (if the player qualifies as a Type A or Type B free agent). Thus, teams who elect to simply let their players’ contracts expire can receive some compensation which, given the cost-effective nature of young players these days, can potentially exceed the value of the departing player.

This option is not available to the Mets because Scott Boras negotiated a clause into Beltran’s contract (scroll down) in which the Mets agreed not to offer Beltran arbitration at the end of his contract. So, Sarris’ comment about trading Beltran in mid-season isn’t just a good strategy for the Mets, it’s the only practical strategy available to them given his current, decreased trade value. Just another gift from Omar Minaya, king of the contractual clauses.

Posted in Carlos Beltran, Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Call Me Skeptical, But…

Posted by JD on October 18, 2010

There are half a dozen or so good candidates involved in the Mets’ search for a new general manager (Patrick Flood analyzes each of them here), but I can’t shake the suspicion that it doesn’t really matter who ultimately gets the job: Fred and Jeff Wilpon will still be signing the new GM’s paycheck, and no matter how many good intentions they have (or how much “autonomy” they concede) the root causes of the current malaise will still be lurking in the background.

That’s not to say that the new GM, whoever it may be, can’t breathe new life into the team. Omar Minaya had a nice run in 2005-06, before the collapses and injuries combined with his lack of a clear vision to derail the team, and Jeff Wilpon steadily assumed a higher profile in the baseball operations.  

I know I’m being unfairly negative. This is a time of change for the organization: the right hire might satisfy the Wilpons to the point that they feel comfortable distancing themselves from the day-to-day operations. The right general manager might be able to change the organizational structure in such way that it can function after he’s gone, and the team might even win a championship while it’s happening. I should at least give the Wilpons a chance to go through their process before writing it off.

But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to buy in to what they’re selling. After all, it was only five years ago that we went through this very process, and look how that turned out. Yes, all good things come to an end, and general managers (and managers) are “hired to be fired,” but the fact that the Omar Minaya era ended in almost the exact same way it began (in a state of organizational confusion) is most disheartening. Yes, ’05 and ’06 and even most of ’07 were good times for the Mets. I won’t discount that. But ’08 and ’09 and now ’10 are so analogous to ’02 and ’03 and ’04 that I cannot ignore the feeling of déjà vu.

I hope very much that I am wrong. I hope that Fred and Jeff have learned their lesson. I hope that they hire someone they trust enough to grant true autonomy, and that they then honor that throughout that person’s tenure. I hope that if it doesn’t work out, they can fire that person cleanly rather than killing them slowly with a thousand cuts of ownership interference. I hope all of these things, and there’s a chance that they could all happen. I just don’t think it’s a very good chance.

Your move, Fred and Jeff. Prove me wrong. Nothing would make me happier.

Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya, The Wilpons | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Bay Done For Season

Posted by JD on August 20, 2010

The beat writers provided the news today via Twitter (here’s a representative sample from Newsday’s David Lennon): Jerry Manuel expects Jason Bay to miss the rest of the year as he recovers from a concussion suffered back in July.

Great. As if the team’s play of late hasn’t been depressing enough, now one of the more expensive pieces of the lineup has been placed on the sidelines indefinitely. His production hasn’t matched his paycheck yet, but he gave an honest effort throughout the season (and was far more productive than his counterpart in right field). It’s a shame to see his season end this way.

Looking for a silver lining, it’s may actually be a good sign if Bay doesn’t return (I’m not bashing Bay here…stick with me for a minute). If he’s struggling with concussion-related symptoms, sitting him indicates that management is implementing their Prevention and Recovery policy. Medical science is still struggling to understand the full impact of head injuries, but one thing that we’ve learned is that they are no joke. Unlike broken bones, concussions have no timetable for recovery. Benching Bay for the rest of the season ensures that he’ll be given every chance to return to health. Even if we can’t reliably predict that he’ll return to his previous levels of performance, this will at least give him the best chance to do so. Short-term sacrifice is in his (and the team’s) best interests, and I’m glad Mets management isn’t rushing him back* needlessly.

*However, I’m not ruling out his return this season yet: after all, they did let Beltran play last September. I hope he takes all the time he needs. Pardon me for waiting to see it before I believe it.

What makes this situation entirely unappealing is Manuel’s (and, to a slightly lesser extent, Omar Minaya’s) roster management of late. I have no doubt that if the medical staff gave Bay a green light, Omar would throw him out there (and bat him clean-up, to boot). It was just a few weeks ago when we were told Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada would be receiving increased playing time. That turned out to be a pipe dream: not only has Tejada been replaced by Luis Castillo at second, but Mike Hessman has seen an increase in playing time at the expense of Ike Davis and Rod Barajas has returned, sending Josh Thole to the bench and Martinez back to Buffalo.

Why? Because Manuel is desperately trying to save his job and, in doing so, he’s advanced the near-ludicrous notion that the Mets are still in contention for a post-season berth. 11 games behind the Braves, 8.5 games behind the Giants, only 41 games left to play, and our lame-duck manager is harboring dreams of reaching the playoffs. And management (and ownership) is allowing it or, even worse, encouraging it. Absolutely ridiculous, yet that’s what we’re left to deal with for the short-term future.

Losing Jason Bay for the rest of the season is disappointing. What’s absolutely crushing is watching near-useless veterans receive the bulk of the playing time in a vain attempt finish in the playoffs. While I applaud this implementation of the Prevention and Recovery mantra, it makes me wonder: how did the Mets get this one instance right while in the midst of making so many other fundamentally bad decisions?

Cliches are worthless, but I keep circling back to an old standard: “It is what it is”. The Mets will continue to spin their wheels, I’ll continue to watch (as will you), and the organizational inertia will continue to mire the Mets in mediocrity. I hope Jason Bay gets well and has a monster season next year, yet I seriously doubt it will change much.

———-

Update: I really should edit my posts better before publishing them. Upon re-reading this post, I realized I failed to make one key point: Jason Bay has done nothing wrong here. His effort on the field lead directly to his concussion: he ran face first into a fence to make a catch. Sure, I think we would all like to see more production than “6 home runs, 47 RBI”. Heck, Jason Bay probably wouldn’t argue that point. But he gave a consistent, honest effort in each game he played and you can’t ask for anything more than that. Maybe the numbers weren’t there, but it wasn’t from lack of effort.

My issue is with how the Mets have approached the past 20 or so games since he’s been injured, and how they appear to be approaching the rest of the season. The announcement that Bay is likely done for the season triggered my frustration with the Mets’ (read: Jerry Manuel’s) insistence that they are still fighting for a playoff-berth. At this point that’s utter nonsense, and it set me off. Allow me to summarize:

1. Bay’s injury is unfortunate
2. The Mets appear to be handling it correctly, however;
3. They are handling just about every other roster/lineup decision incorrectly.

Apologies for any confusion, and let’s all hope Bay returns to full health as soon as possible.

Posted in Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jerry Manuel, Luis Castillo, Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The End Of An Error

Posted by JD on August 8, 2010

Well, that’s done: the Mets have released Alex Cora. The move, in conjunction with the demotion of Jesus Feliciano, was made to free up space for the return of Ruben Tejada and Fernando Martinez. It also comes after his 62nd game, leaving him 18 games shy of vesting the 2011 option on his contract, saving the Mets another $2 million next season.

I love these moves. Cora was well past his prime and the thought of bringing him back for more next year was aggravating me to no end. I’m sure he’s a good guy. He’ll probably make a good manager someday, too. But watching him play was seriously testing my patience, so I’m glad that’s no longer a problem.

Of course, these moves aren’t going to make enough of an impact this late in the season. Even if you factor in the decision to bench Luis Castillo and (maybe) platoon Jeff Francoeur and F-Mart, the Mets would still need returns to full health from Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran (and a return to form from Jose Reyes) to make a run of any kind. When you consider how far they’ve fallen behind, it would also take some seriously average performances from the teams in front of them to make it a serious run.

No, these moves do not a contender make. But they do make our team a little more competitive and a lot less frustrating to watch. Considering how this season has developed, I’ll take the good news when I can get it. And on that note, I’m going to make myself a nice cold drink and get ready to watch one of the more intriguing pitching match-ups of the season: knuckle-ball tossing revelation R.A. Dickey versus hard-throwing Roy Halladay. Let’s go Mets!

Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mets Sign International Free Agents

Posted by JD on July 8, 2010

The Mets announced the signing today of two international free agents from Venezuela, OF Vicente Lupo and IF Leon Jackson Canelon. Remember the caveat I gave in my post about the amateur draft? Well, it applies to these two even more. I literally know nothing more about them than has been reported here, but I’m excited nonetheless.

Omar Minaya has had a decent eye for international free agents, and that track record is encouraging. What’s more encouraging (to me, at least), is that the Mets are investing in young talent. I recently wrote a post scolding them for “sticking to slot” in the amateur draft. Foolishly, I never considered that they might turn around and spend that money elsewhere.

Granted, I’d love to see them loosen the purse strings and sign high-quality talent in the draft and international free agency, but I understand that they have budgetary considerations. Given that the draft is a crapshoot, they might feel that it’s a better allocation of assets to spend at slot and there and spend the difference in the international market. I can’t argue with that: I don’t know their budget. I’m just happy to see them continue to invest in young talent, and hopefully we’ll see them sign a few more.

Posted in Mets, Omar Minaya | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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