|Changes Coming for Mets||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on August 03, 2009
After all the Mets aren't a team with a reputation for standing pat at the trading deadline, especially since they are less than seven games out of the Wild Card despite a plague of injuries which has robbed them of both offensive and pitching stability.
And the cold hard truth is that it isn't General Manager Omar Minaya's fault.Â He didn't plan on David Wright's vanishing power, or the loss of Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, John Maine, J.J. Putz and Gary Sheffield.Â The team could have taken a few of those hits and remained competitive, but when everything came down at once, the replacement level players couldn't step forward enough.
Some blame Minaya for not providing enough quality backups but no team in baseball has enough depth on their bench to lose their four top offensive players (yes, I'm including Wright), their best two backups and two key starters (Maine and Perez), not to mention their set up guy.Â And while Minaya might have been able to find better backups, he probably couldn't have done so without spending a lot more money, something that probably wasn't available for anything less than a star player even before the Wilpons discovered themselves victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in US history.
Certainly that backup talent wasn't going to come from the Mets minor leagues system.Â That system was Tony Bernazard's baby.Â He was the Mets director of player development until he was fired early last week, after a bizarre encounter with players was revealed in the paper.Â Even before that however Bernazard was on the hot seat; after all, the Mets' Double A and Triple A teams rank the worst in all of baseball.Â To say that Bernazard had been failing at player development was a bit of an understatement. Â
Yet for all his eccentricities, power plays and lack of success at player development, Bernazard was one of Omar Minaya's boys.Â And maybe that was a big part of the problem too.Â After all Minaya hadn't done too well with the big team, despite the biggest payroll in the National League over the last two seasons.Â But this season has been the most frustrating of them all.
That's because Minaya didn't build a bad team, he built a team meant to win now.Â Win now didn't mean 2010 or 2011, but to be the dominant team in the NL during the inaugural season at Citi Field and to erase the bad memories of two consecutive September collapses.Â It was something that should have cleared his name and justified everything he's done in his time in New York (bad trades notwithstanding).
It would have justified how he spent the Wilpons' money.Â It would have shut up the New York and national media who've been calling for Omar to be head accountable.Â And it would have allowed Minaya to skate along on the same sterling reputation that got him hired by the Mets to begin with.
Not that he was in danger of losing his job.Â He's good friends with the Wilpons who in fact, just offered him an extension.Â They certainly seem to understand the plague of injuries that sidelined the big team this season and Minaya would not have been held accountable that the minor league cupboard was essentially bare.Â The only thing Minaya could have done to upset that apple cart would have been to do something to embarrass the organization or the Wilpons personally.
His outburst, irrational as it was when he tried to throw reporter Adam Rubin under the bus and attempted to taint his reputation by claiming that Rubin had "lobbied" for a position in player development for the team, accomplished little, except to embarrass the Mets and the Wilpons personally.Â It was so bad that Jeff Wilpon, the owner face of the Mets, felt the need to apologize to Adam Rubin and the media personally.Â He also essentially thrust Minaya back into the spotlight by saying that Minaya too wished to apologize to Rubin.
Supposedly that occurred privately by phone, but at Minaya's press conference afterwards he sounded anything but truly contrite and didn't seem to feel that he had really done anything wrong.Â Â Maybe he really didn't see it.Â We all think things that shouldn't be said and we often think we are right.
The question now is, Do the Wilpon's think what Minaya did was right?Â Or did Omar put himself squarely on the chopping block?Â Clearly something has to change in New York, the only question is what it will be, and when in the offseason we will see it happen.