Minaya Contradicts & Incriminates Himself

While at the Mets’ charity fund raiser last night in Greenwich, Teflon GM Omar Minaya was quoted in this article in today’s New York Times by Jack Curry. Minaya talks about the roster and his manager and managed to both contradict and unintentionally point the finger at himself for the current state of the Mets.

Quote #1:

“Well, .500 is not acceptable,” Minaya said. “For me, it’s not acceptable because we’re better than that. It’s not so much about the investment. It’s about what this team is about and what this team, talent-wise, is.”

OK, thats a good quote. Minaya said all the right things. But when Minaya speaks, things almost always go awry…

Minaya said he believed that the players were “giving the best that they can” and that Randolph was “doing the best he can.” After Minaya acknowledged that he was concerned about the Phillies’ momentum, he backtracked and said that the Mets needed to focus on themselves.

“I think we’ve said it before that we all feel we’re better than a .500 club and we got to go out and do it,” Minaya said. “We know we’re better. I think we’re going to do better. I think we will.”

Note to Omar:

If the roster YOU ASSEMBLED and the manager YOU HIRED are only capable of playing sub .500 baseball for an entire calendar year and you acknowledge that this group is “doing the best that they can”, then we can all point our fingers squarely at you and the lousy job you have done as Mets GM.

You are the culprit here, Omar. You and you alone. Thanks for proving what more and more Met fans have come to realize.

Just in case anyone reading this blog needs some more convincing that Minaya is to blame for this mess, check out Adam Rubin’s analysis in today’s Daily News.

Here’s a few tidbits…

Minaya used to espouse the idea of having a young and athletic roster, which proved lip service in reality. Like a college student with a credit card, he just spent and spent and spent without considering any consequences. He offered too many years – to Luis Castillo, Orlando Hernandez, Guillermo Mota and Julio Franco, to name a few – perhaps even more frequently than too many dollars. The Mets had the oldest 40-man roster in baseball in a survey conducted in March, at 29.79 years. Their reliance on players in their late 30s and early 40s in a post-steroid era goes against the grain and was up for debate from the start. Minaya, asked in spring training about his club’s age, dismissed any concern.

The decline and fragility of veteran players has been compounded by one of the worst farm systems in baseball, which has left no safety net. When Alou and Marlon Anderson landed on the disabled list in rapid succession, Mets brass promoted third catcher Raul Casanova. When they finally dipped to the minors for a young player, they called up Double-A first baseman Nick Evans and asked him to play the outfield, a position he’d manned for only 17 games in his professional career. After a three-double debut in Colorado, Evans was in a 1-for-19 rut when he was sent back down. The Mets subsequently promoted 32-year-old former Phillie Abraham Nunez, who had been released from the Brewers’ minor-league system, and who had batted just .133 in 13 games at Triple-A New Orleans. Regardless of anyone’s opinion about Willie Randolph’s job performance, and the manager certainly goes before Minaya, Randolph was handcuffed during San Diego’s four-game weekend sweep that included three one-run games because his five-man bench consisted of unusable Ryan Church (post-concussion syndrome), two backup catchers, Nunez and the non-starter among Damion Easley and Fernando Tatis.

The bungled handling of Church’s May 20 concussion exemplifies the lack of leadership and foresight. Even though the right fielder has consistently offered absolution of the front office, the situation was handled questionably at best. Church was allowed to fly from Atlanta, where he suffered the concussion, to Colorado. And even though he told reporters while in Denver that he felt like he was in a boat bobbing on the Bering Sea, Church pinch-hit twice that series. Team brass responded that Church was making his own decisions, but in how many medical settings is the patient the one prescribing the path to well-being and not the doctor? The Mets have a tradition of delaying putting players on the DL, only to play shorthanded for a week and then do what was common sense in the first place, and this case has been perhaps the worst. Indeed, Church went on the DL yesterday.

The dependence on free agency coupled with the lack of a farm system also raises the question: Has Minaya failed to recognize a seismic shift in the MLB landscape? Teams, even with large payrolls, may not be able to retool solely through free agency anymore. With even smaller-market teams flush with money, fewer and fewer attractive free agents hit the market each winter, making the upcoming class headlined by Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia a perilous vehicle for restocking.

UPDATE: Bob Klapisch adds the following in today’s Bergen Record:

…some of the blame rests with Minaya himself, as he assembled a bench that, at best, could be classified as Class-AAA caliber. One major league talent evaluator said over the weekend, “Sometimes it seems like the Mets are five players. That’s it.”

That’s a powerful core — David Wright, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Santana and Billy Wagner — but that’s not enough to take on the Phillies. The Mets have no farm system to speak of; Minaya himself admits it’s “depleted” at the Class-AAA level, and are otherwise depending on players who are too young, hitting-challenged or just past their prime.

Why, for example, didn’t Minaya better prepare for the likelihood of Moises Alou’s injuries? Without a bona fide replacement in left field and Ryan Church on the disabled list, the Mets went to war against the Padres with Fernando Tatis and Damion Easley in left field and Endy Chavez in right. And that, said the scout, “just isn’t good enough” to get the Mets’ engine running.

I am glad to see that the media is starting to expose Minaya as the bungling fraud of a GM that he truly is. Hopefully the Wilpons are paying attention as well.

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