Archive for the ‘Omar Minaya’ Category

The Difference Between Omar & Mr. Alderson

December 7, 2011

“I think our biggest priority when we came to these meetings was to try to strengthen our bullpen.  We knew we had to rebuild it. To get it done the way it happened today, I’m amazed by it. Those were three very, very good arms — power arms. It’s going to give us huge depth down there now. And I think it’s going to make a difference. – Terry Collins

We all remember the end of 2008, no matter how hard we try to forget it.  Another chance at the playoffs wasted, due largely in part to an inept bullpen.  General Manager, Omar Minaya, fixed the problem by throwing $38 million at Francisco Rodriguez for three years.  Although Rodriguez was somewhat effective, no one can argue he was $38 million effective.

Flash forward to 2012.  The Mets again are dealing with bullpen issues.  Instead of investing 12 plus million on one player, Sandy Alderson invested almost the same amount on three arms (when comparing the single season salaries).  Granted, Ramon Ramirez, Jon Rauch, or Frank Francisco aren’t the same caliber reliever as what K-Rod was back in 2008.  However, I argue the combination of the three improve the Mets bullpen ten fold compared to the K-Rod fix.

Before you start to think this is a post about how much smarter Sandy Alderson is compared to Omar Minaya let me stop you.  I don’t believe this to be the biggest difference in the two.  Just like anything in baseball it eventually comes down to dollars and cents.

Omar Minaya filled rosters during the “who gives a shit about fiscal responsibility, let’s invest a bunch of money with Bernie Madoff, and spend frivolously on free agent band aids” era of the Wilpons.  Sandy Alderson is doing his job in the new era of “holly shit, we are broke and need to stop the bleeding” era of the Wilpons.

Keeping this all in mind, I don’t have a lot of patience with people who bitch and moan about “small market Sandy” and he didn’t make a solid offer to Jose.  Look at the reality of what the Mets are now.  Once I did, I feel the front office is doing everything they can to be as competitive as they can with the budget they have to play with.

Good  Bye Angel

A quick thought on the Angel Pagan trade.  I dig it.  Pagan wasn’t happy playing for the Mets.  I don’t really care why, but it was pretty obvious.  This unhappiness probably lead to all of the mental errors we saw during his tenure.

Andres Torres isn’t anything to write home about, but he is serviceable and at least won’t consistently miss the cutoff man or make little league-esque base running errors.

My Take On The Mets

I’m bummed Reyes is gone, but surprisingly enough, I am pretty much over it.  I’m glad the front office stayed true to their plan and improved the bullpen rather than committing mass suicide because they don’t have access to trillions of dollars like the Miami Marlins.  Pitching will always outweigh hitting in my opinion.

I can’t say I’m expecting a playoff caliber team.  However, I believe the Mets will be competitive (middle of the pack competitive).  Who knows?  Maybe Johan Santana miraculously comes back as a true ace, David Wright plays like he did in 2006-2008, Ike Davis will pan out to  be the slugger we have desperately been missing, and Mike Pelfrey will be a consistent #2 (enter double entendre jokes here).

The bottom line is I am genuinely interested to see how this team will perform with an average team and a solid manager.  One thing is for sure, I’m not going to spend time whining about the Mets not spending money they don’t have.   Regardless if they are from New York or not, facts are facts and they don’t have the dough.  Blaming the current roster or the front office for anything wrong with the franchise is a mistake.

Blame the Wilpons, because the shit associated with this franchise has clearly rolled down hill.

What Don’t We Know?

August 6, 2010

Yesterday, we discovered that Omar Minaya has been given a vote of confidence and will remain the General Manger of the Mets in 2011, much to the dismay of many fans.

Quite simply put, Omar has been an average GM during his tenure with the Mets. He has been able to attract high priced free agents during the off-season, but consistently fails at making mid-season moves.

To be fair, I would imagine that there are a number of franchises that would love to have him manning the phones. However, average doesn’t fly in New York.

Minaya and manager, Jerry Manuel, have been whipping posts for the New York media and the Mets fan base. It seems clear, that Manuel will not be around for 2011. Why is it that Minaya keeps his job? What don’t we know that he and the Wilpons do?

In this day and age of instant information and total access, we tend to forget that we are not privy to every detail of the Mets organizational plan. The Mets, like any other organization, release just enough information to the public to try to appease us.

Is it possible that Minaya has met or exceeded the expectations of the Wilpons with the resources he has been provided?

What if the Mets truly have budget issues? The only way they were going to improve this year was by adding payroll as they picked up high salaried veteran players. If there was no money in the wallet, then there were no moves to be made.

Maybe it is possible that going into this season Minaya explained that the Mets had a .500 ball club and he needed to add more talent. The Wilpons informed him he could not add any salary or change coaches in the middle of the season because they did not want to pay the remainder of a fired coach’s salary.

After the first half of the season ended, maybe they discussed the team’s future, and Omar convinced the Wilpons that Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Fernando Martinez, and Jennry Mejia, would be ready by 2012. His long term plan was to combine these players with Wright and Reyes and find pitching with the money that would be opening up when the contracts of Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, and Oliver Perez expire.

I’m not sure how the Wilpons can be convinced of these points, but I’ve never actually met Omar, nor do I have all of the information in my possession that he does. I hope there is a chance he has a grand plan and he cannot fill us in on the details because it would ruin the results.

Minaya relied on expectations that Carlos Beltran would boost the offense when returned. He relied on an aging second basemen in Luis Castillo who’s average is too ghastly to speak of. He signed Jason Bay to a huge contract that has netted him a decent average, above average fielding, only six home runs, and a mild concussion.

Whatever the case may be, Omar is staying. Many of us may not agree with that fact. The reality of the situation is that he has convinced the only people that have the ability to make a change.

Originally published on Mets Gazette.

AL Dominance: A Sign The Mets Are For Real

June 28, 2010

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It has been a well established fact that the American League has had the upper hand for quite some time when comparing the two leagues.

Take a look at All-Star Game results and inter-league records if you don’t believe me.

After another home-series clinching win over the Minnesota Twins, the Mets have completed the 2010 inter-league schedule with a very impressive 13-5 record.

They are by far the cream of the crop in terms of representing the National League.

To put it into perspective, the San Diego Padres (NL Best 45-30), own a 9-6 record.  The defending NL Champion Phillies finished up with a 10-8 record.

Granted, the Mets were fortunate to face the Baltimore Orioles and the Cleveland Indians, two of the worst teams in the American League.  I argue that the Amazin’s 6-0 record against these basement dwellers is still impressive based on the fact that all six games were played on the road.

The Mets were also charged with the task of playing the Yankees, Tigers, and Twins, three teams that are perennial playoff contenders.  They more than held their own, sporting a 7-5 record against these talent laden teams.

How Did They Do It?

The answer to this question is also the answer to how they have improved their team over all.  It comes down to two huge factors.

1.  Wright and Reyes have returned to form in every facet of the game.

As of today, David Wright is sporting a .300 batting average, fourteen home-runs, and is leading the National League with sixty-one RBI.  People also tend to forget he is one of the league leaders (currently seventh) in on base percentage.

He looks like a completely different player than he did a month ago.

After the “let’s bat Jose third in the lineup” debacle, Reyes has gotten his legs underneath him (literally) and is wreaking havoc on opposing pitchers at the plate and on the base paths.

His .279 average can be deceiving to opposing teams, especially considering his horrid start to the season.  He is second in the NL with six triples, second in the NL with 19 stolen bases, and fifth in the NL with fifty runs scored.

2.  Omar and Jerry have made the right decisions in terms of fixing the problems they had with their roster early in the season.  I’ll be the first to admit, most of the issues were of their own doing.  They deserve credit for recognizing that and making changes quickly.

We are quick to ask for their heads on a silver platter when things are going wrong.  It’s time to recognize what they did right.

  • Signed Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to do the catching.  Both are strong defensively, and work very well with the pitching staff.  They have provided more offense than anyone expected in the first half of the season.
  • Removed Oliver Perez and John Maine (due to injury) from the starting rotation.  They’re hand was forced here, but I applaud Manuel for having a quick hook on Maine and demoting Perez to the bullpen instead of trying to fit a square peg in a round role.
  • Inserted R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi in the rotation.  Dickey has been one of the best stories in all of baseball with his 6-0 record in his first six starts.  Takahashi has been effective and eaten up plenty of innings for the Amazin’s.
  • Called up Ike Davis.  Ike Davis has cemented himself in the lineup and has been so effective that he is batting cleanup.  He has shown power, flashed the leather, and carries himself like a five-year veteran.

There are plenty of examples of teams afraid to make changes early in a season much to the dismay of their fans.  Omar and Jerry, in an effort to save their jobs, made adjustments until they found the right combination for success.

Off Day Observations: Jennry Mejia, Johan Santana, and More

June 21, 2010

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I find that on off days I like to reevaluate where the Mets stand in the baseball world.

Even thought they haven’t played inspiring baseball in their last two games, the Mets have put themselves in a nice position this month.

They are 2.5 games behind the Braves in the East and are leading the Wild Card chase.

Wild Card Teams W L PCT GB E# L10 STRK
NY Mets 39 30 .565 - - 8-2 L2
LA Dodgers 38 30 .559 0.5 94 4-6 L3
San Francisco 38 30 .559 0.5 94 6-4 W1
Cincinnati 37 33 .529 2.5 91 3-7 L3
Philadelphia 35 32 .522 3.0 92 4-6 L2
Colorado 36 33 .522 3.0 91 6-4 L1

Honestly, how many of you truly thought they would be in this position on June 21st at the end of May?

I know the end of the Yankees series was disappointing, particularly offensively.  That being said, I don’t believe the Mets recent winning streak was an aberration.   I still feel confident about this team.

Expectations For The Upcoming Home Stand

There is cause for relief in the fact that the Mets will be returning to Citi Field where they own a 24-10 record.

The next six games will be no cake walk, however.  Detroit and Minnesota are a combined 78-59.  They are fighting each other for first place in the AL Central and have established themselves as perennial playoff contenders.

It is time my friends.  We need to raise our expectations a bit.

Based on the fact that the Amazin’s play outstanding at home and they are a confident bunch, I expect the Mets to go 4-2 on this home stand.

Jennry Mejia Down, Bobby Parnell Up

Last week,  I wrote about Mejia and how he was being developed on the major league roster.

Apparently, those lessons have been learned and the Mets have decided its time to lengthen him out and have him develop his secondary pitches in the minors.

Bobby Parnell will take his place even though he hasn’t exactly burned it up in Buffalo.  He comes to the Mets with a 4.24 ERA in 40.1 innings.

The Mejia situation is another example of why the Mets appear to be without a plan when it comes to certain situations.

Is this a case of Jerry Manuel holding on to him as long as he could until Omar Minaya finally said enough?

It’s not like Mejia’s role has changed over the last few weeks.  Why now?  A complete head scratcher in my book.

Here’s what everyone involved had to say on the matter:

Jennry Mejia
I’m going down, but I don’t have to put my head down, because I’m going to continue to work hard.  I don’t think they’re sending me down because I didn’t do my job.
Omar Minaya
He has a focus, he knows what he wants to do and he knows where he wants to get.  He sees himself as a starter down the line.
Jerry Manuel
We felt that the development and the progression had leveled off here.  It was a tremendous experience for him and he did everything we asked, but we felt to get him to the next level he needs to pitch on a regular basis and work on a regular basis.

What’s Going On With Johan?

I have to admit, I am  baffled on what to think about Johan Santana.

I am officially on the fence folks.

Normally, when I am in this spot my heart and my head are at odds with one another.

My heart wants to believe in Johan so it agrees with Jerry Manuel’s assessment,

He’s historically been a second-half pitcher. I think he’s starting to gear up for that.  That’s been his history, but I’ll take what he’s been giving us. I still see a guy that competes.

My head is telling me that Johan is starting to show signs of decline.

Normally, I try not to read other blogs while I am in the middle of writing a post.  I don’t want them to influence what I see.  My normal operating procedure has me reading other work when I am finished posting.

As far as the Johan situation is concerned, I deviated from the norm.  In this case, my heart was fighting with my head.  It was telling me to look for ways to explain Johan’s decline.

Instead,  I found an excellent post that actually summed up my head’s perspective.  Sorry heart.

Tom Greenhalgh from The (Happy?) Recap wrote yesterday how he no longer expects greatness when Johan takes the mound.  He just hopes for a win.

Santana’s fastball has lost velocity. Therefore when he throws his change up, the differential in speed is smaller. The result? Unless he has pinpoint control, swings and misses are far and few between. Couple that with the fact that he hasn’t been compensating for his lack of “stuff” with great control, and you get statistics like this:
In his last four starts, Johan Santana has struck out a grand total of ten batters.

If my head’s perspective is correct, than what is the cause?

Is it simply the fact that Santana is getting older?  Could it be that he is still not completely recovered from his surgery?

Will it be heart or will it be head?  Only the second half of the season will tell.

Midwestropolitan’s Take On Jennry Mejia

June 15, 2010

One of the few issues I have with the game of baseball, and all of professional sports for that matter, is the copy cat/unoriginal way teams handle situations.

Everyone wants to follow the leader.  Straying from the norm is hugely unsupported by fans.

Until it works.

Are the Mets truly hampering Jenrry Mejia’s development by keeping him in the bullpen?  That has been a question that has been asked countless times this season.

At the beginning of the season, Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya were challenged for their decision to use  Mejia in the bullpen rather than letting him learn how to be an effective starter.

The detractors all said it was a waste of his development and that they were mortgaging their future on futile wins in the present.

I’m not buying it.

I have yet to read any concrete evidence that what the Mets are doing will actually ruin Mejia’s future as a starter.   If he can help the team now, then keep him in the bullpen.  In fact, I contend that he is actually being developed in ways he could never be in the minors.

Before I get into how Mejia is being developed in the bullpen, let me take a second to remind everyone that he has been working with the Mets since he was seventeen.

Mejia has logged 210 innings in the minors already, which includes forty games as a starter.  Its not like the Mets just signed him and placed him in the bullpen.

Just because he is in the bullpen now, doesn’t  mean he will forgot everything he has learned in the last three seasons in the minors.

Now, on to why I think he is gaining extremely valuable experience with the major league club.

There is a huge difference between facing hitters in the minors versus facing hitters in the show.  There is a reason why these players have made it.  They are the best in the world.

The notion that Mejia is toiling away to nothing by being in the bullpen is absurd.  He has faced 122 major league hitters this season.  That is 122 more major league hitters than he would have faced in the minors.

Let us not forget some of the valuable things he is learning while on the big league roster.  On a daily basis, he has the opportunity to watch, learn, and listen to Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and Francisco Rodriguez.  Just by watching Johan’s preparation alone, he is gaining extremely valuable knowledge.

Mike Pelfrey’s confidence and competitiveness has to have made an impression on the young prospect.

He has also had an opportunity to watch how not to do things.

He has observed Oliver Perez’s selfishness, lack of focus, and me first attitude earn him a demotion to the bullpen as well as public enemy number one status to many Mets fans.

Mejia has witnessed John Maine’ struggles and surly attitude garner a quick hook from Jerry Manuel and Dan Warthen.

Speaking of Dan Warthen.  It is a fair assumption to make that he, along with other members of the coaching staff, work with Mejia on a regular basis.  The coaching staff doesn’t just hangout in the coaches office and then suit up for games.

They are constantly working with their pitchers as they throw on the side and make adjustments.  Sometimes it seems people forget about all of the work and preparation the players go though prior to the games.

Every time Mejia does side work, it is an opportunity to learn and get better.  He  has the luxury of doing this work with Dan Warthen, rather than the minor league coaching staff.

Everyone communicates differently, even if it is the same message.  Jennry doesn’t have to make the adjustment of learning how differently Dan Warthen communicates.  He has already learned that by now.

This may sound boring, but Mejia also has also been learning what the day-to-day schedule is like for a big-leaguer.  He understands the travel and all of the other details associated with it.

The public relations demands for major league players can be a distraction for younger players.  Mejia has built a foundation on how to handle these demands.  This will be extremely helpful if he becomes the great starting pitcher that everyone thinks he has the potential to be.

He is a part of the clubhouse culture and is learning how each player interacts with each other and where they fit in.  He bares witness to the circus that is the New York media as he watches players like David Wright and Jose Reyes handle their constant demands.

Being a successful major league baseball player is much more than just having the talent.  The talent part is a given for everyone on the roster.  The best players learn how to thrive in all of the non-baseball areas as well.

Jennry Mejia is most certainly developing with the Mets.  Not only is he learning how to get the best hitters in the world out, he is getting plenty of experience in the areas that don’t show up in the box score.

Ask And You Shall Receive

June 5, 2010

Yesterday, I felt as if I had a direct pipeline to Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel.  I decided to write about three things that needed to change with the Mets’ offense.

The post was produced first thing in the morning.

By late afternoon, the Mets had made some roster moves that made two of the changes I suggested.

In case you missed it, here are the changes they made:

Luis Castillo Needs To Be Placed On DL or Traded

The Mets placed Castillo on the DL and brought up Rueben Tejada, who wound up starting last night’s game and driving in the eventual winning  run on a fielder’s choice.

Toby Hyde does an excellent job writing the Mets Minor League Blog.  For a nice writeup on Tejada, click here.

Tejada is actually a very good defensive shortstop and has shown he can perform at second base.  He is only twenty so it would be wrong for us to expect that he becomes an offensive superstar right away.

Tejada’s Recent Offensive Statistics

G AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG SF BB% SO% XBH% BABIP
08 FSL 131 497 114 19 4 2 41 77 8 5 .229 .293 .296 4 7.39 13.87 4.50 .265
08 HWB 24 86 20 3 1 0 7 14 2 2 .233 .284 .291 2 7.29 14.58 4.17 .270
09 AA 134 488 141 24 3 5 37 59 19 3 .289 .351 .381 2 6.69 10.67 5.79 .319
09 AFL 17 59 15 4 0 1 6 9 4 0 .254 .338 .373 1 8.82 13.24 7.35 .280

Gary Matthews Jr. Is Not an Option

Apparently, Henry Blanco is a little banged up, so the Mets used this opportunity to designate GMJ for assignment.

In his place, will be Omir Santos, giving the Mets a third catcher.

Frankly, I don’t quite understand the move.

If Blanco is banged up why not place him on the DL for 15 days?

It would have been interesting to see Jesus Feliciano brought up and how they handled the 40 man roster.

Beggars can’t be choosers.  I am much happier with Santos on the bench than GMJ.  Omir was able to come up with some big hits last year so he is a better option as a pinch hitter.

Mets Shake Up Their Bench: Chris Carter Gets The Call

May 11, 2010

Chris Carter

Omar Minaya has answered the fans once again.

The Mets have called up Chris Carter and designated Frank Catalanotto for assignment.

I like the call.  The bench definitely needed to be shaken up.  Carter comes to the Mets after performing well in Buffalo.  He is hitting .339.

Catalanotto was very ineffective going 4 for 25 with his opportunities at the plate.

Carter looked pretty good in Spring training batting .393.  Many believed he should have made the team to start the season.

David Wright appears to like the call:

Chris, he’s a competitor. He’s a workaholic. He’s usually the first one here, last one to leave, and really outworks pretty much everybody in the game. Hopefully, it’s a shot in the arm for us. You know he’s going to go out there and give you everything he has every day.

I understand the decision to use Catalanotto, the veteran presence over Carter, who is unproven in the bigs.  Catalanotto had enough of a chance.

He was very ineffective going 4 for 25 with his opportunities at the plate.

Impressively, Catalanotto handled the news with class:

Chances are this is the end of my career.  I’m very happy to have had the opportunity to play for the Mets. I always wanted to play in New York, and it’s a great organization and group of guys.

Barajas and Blanco Are Making Minaya Look Like a Genius

May 8, 2010

All winter long I read about how  the Mets were going to sign Bengi Molina.

Yesterday, news broke that Molina is still bitter that he didn’t wind up with the Mets.

I am still trying to understand his rationale for complaining, when he turned down the Mets’ one year 5 million dollar offer and wound up accepting a one year 4.5 million dollar deal with the Giants.

Instead of Molina, Omar Minaya decided to stick to his guns and not offer a two year deal to Bengie Molina.  He chose to sign Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco to handle the pitching staff instead.

Handle the pitching staff, they have.

I will be the first to admit that I don’t understand all of the nuances that go into calling a game behind the plate.

However, I do get the feeling that both Barajas and Blanco have a plan for every situation their pitchers face.  More importantly, their pitchers appear to believe in the plan that B Squared has provided.

If you would have told me that Barajas and Blanco would have helped straighten out this pitching staff at the beginning of the year, I would have gladly accepted it, without a care about their performance at the plate.

Not only have they helped straighten out the pitching staff, they have become an integral part of the offense.

Barajas especially.

He is leading the team with nine home runs and is starting to convince fans that he is a legitimate clean up hitter.

The much maligned Minaya needs to be given credit here.  Instead of giving in to an over-priced veteran, he came up with a better solution that has improved the Mets both offensively and defensively.

Barajas and Blanco have placed an exclamation point on how right this move was.  They have given the Mets back to back wins with walk off home runs.

Right in front of Molina’s eyes.


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