Omar Minaya Has Some Explaining To Do

If you aren’t reading Joel Sherman’s Hardball Blog on the New York Post’s website, you are missing a great read.

In this morning’s entry, Sherman exposed Mets GM Omar Minaya as a clueless and/or deceitful buffoon in the aftermath of yesterday’s announcement that Moises Alou was flying to New York because of mysterious ankle problems that occurred during his rehab from hernia surgery.

Omar Minaya announced on Sunday that Moises Alou was to be flown on Monday to New York for “precautionary” X-rays. Then at another moment, he mentioned that Alou already had gone through a CAT-scan and that “something had shown up.”

When I pointed out that seeming contradicti[ng] to him, Minaya suddenly was acknowledging that Alou might have a small fracture. He said, at that point, that Alou still might be able to play through that. But when I asked him if he was serious about playing a 41-year-old with a broken left ankle in a major league outfield with any regularity, Minaya said, that Alou believes he can play.

I heard SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt talk about this during yesterday’s broadcast and even Kevin, who usually takes a moderate approach to his reporting, pointed out that the mini-press conference where Minaya made these statements was a bit strange.

Gary Cohen followed that up with a question that I had at the same exact time–how can a 41 year old, let alone one who is frequently injured, possibly play with a broken ankle?

Sherman continues:

I wish I could tell you that this nonsensical version of “Who’s on First?” ended here. But it didn’t. Minaya kept referring to the condition in Alou’s ankle as “swellingness.” When asked how Alou incurred that injury, Minaya initially said he did not know and that reporters should ask Alou. When told in a one-on-one interview that it is hard to believe that the GM would not know how one of his players got hurt, Minaya began to move away saying he would call to find out. At that point, I said, I don’t really care about how, I cared that you as the GM doesn’t know how. I said, take yourself out of it, I said could you imagine that Brian Cashman would not know how Hideki Matsui sprained his ankle or that Jerry Reese would not know how Eli Manning sprained his ankle. At that point, Minaya said that he “believed he hurt it in a game.”

It is moments like this when I am not sure if there is just a flightiness to Minaya or a lack of care about details or if he simply lets other elements in his organization deal with such matters. But the Mets New York Mets went out of their way on Sunday to remove Willie Randolph from having to talk about injuries, and made Minaya available as the so-called expert in this area. So I either have to believe that Minaya is covering up something, such as an injury incurred off the field, or he simply has no clue how a valuable player was hurt.

Minaya has some serious explaining to do. This is an unbelievably big story and I do not understand why Sherman didn’t write about this in today’s edition of the Post and that all the other local papers have ignored this story altogether.

This is WAY bigger than the Delgado no curtain call story.

What is Minaya covering up and why is he doing it? Or is he really this clueless?

Sherman has even more on this story:

It is not encouraging how little he portrayed knowing about an injury that has set back his starting left fielder. It is even more disturbing that he continues to portray it as no problem that both Alou and Pedro Martinez have returned to the Dominican during portions of their rehab “because they are not doing baseball activities. They don’t have to be under our care to ride a stationary bike.” Again, I cannot imagine another team letting valuable players go off by themselves and hoping they follow a rehab program during a season when you expect the players back.

In Martinez’s case, he returned to the Dominican to work with Angel Presinal, who has a controversial past in which he was linked to Juan Gonzalez and steroids (though never charged). Minaya said he was not worried about the association because “a lot of guys in the Dominican Republic, most of the players, go to this guy” and also because Presinal “is an institution in Latin America.”

Maybe there is nothing there. But would Minaya be fine if an American player disappeared to his hometown during an in-season injury rehab to work out with either Brian McNamee or Victor Conte? The perception here is terrible, and teams should worry about perception. There also should be a worry by upper Met management about if there is enough institutional control over their veteran players.

As I wrote a few days ago, I have to wonder if the Wilpons are paying attention to what is going on with their team. Or are they just happy that they are making loads of money?

As a fan, I have serious concerns with Omar Minaya’s performance. Do the Wilpons?

Minaya has loaded the Mets with elderly veterans while emptying the farm system of most if its top prospects. This is the ultimate “win now” team that missed the playoffs last season and has been off to a very shaky start this season.

While Alou was great last year, he only played in 87 games or 54% of the season. At this rate, the soon to be 42 year old will be lucky to play in that many games. I understand why Minaya brought exercised the option to Alou back but at the same time, Alou is an expensive risk.

So the logical question is why did Minaya go into this season with only Endy Chavez and Angel Pagan as potential Alou substitutes? I wanted to see a legit everyday LF brought in, with the expectation that Alou probably wouldn’t play all that much. As good as Pagan has been, he is probably not an everyday solution for a team with championship aspirations.

Similarly, why does this team lack a real backup first baseman? Marlon Anderson is not the answer there either.

Getting back to Sherman’s posting, I have serious concern regarding how Pedro & Moises were allowed to go home and do their own thing…and Pedro is working with a shady character to boot!

If you read between the lines, I believe that Sherman is also hinting at Omar being soft towards Latino ballplayers. Some people have a knee jerk reaction when Omar is accused of having a Latino bias. But I think there is some truth to this considering that Minaya has been on record about how he would target Latino ballplayers and his lax approach to the rehab of these two key Mets players.

Omar Minaya has set up Willie Randolph to be the scapegoat, should tte Mets continue their malaise that has spanned the last 5 months of baseball played (dating back to 6/1//07).

I may have mentioned on this blog once or twice that I do not like Willie as a manager. As much as I want to see Randolph gone for the sake of improving the Mets performance, I also cannot wait for him to go because that sets up Teflon GM Omar Minaya to be next to go.

That is, if the Wilpons care about more than the bottom line.

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