Mets GM gets a vote of confidence. Why?
By Andy Roth
Where Politically Correct Opinions Get Rejected
New York, NY (Sports Network) - Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon was asked last week by a New York Post reporter if Omar Minaya would remain the team's general manager beyond this year.
"Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?" Wilpon responded.
Unfortunately for Mets fans, the answer is yes. I'd like to give my own vote of confidence to Minaya, but it's not quite in the same regard as Mr. Wilpon. I'm very confident that as long as Minaya remains in his present post, the Mets will continue to wallow in mediocrity.
How can you look at his track record with the Mets, and even go back to his days with the Montreal Expos, and feel any sense of confidence in him? The only trade Minaya has made during his reign with New York that had a significant impact was the no-brainer deal for Johan Santana. Incredibly, there are no other trades made by Minaya that has benefited the Mets for any extended period of time. He helped the San Diego Padres out significantly by trading the live arm of eventual All-Star closer Heath Bell in exchange for two players who are household names in their household only (Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson).
The free agent market also has been a nightmare for Minaya. His first big signing was Pedro Martinez, inking the three-time Cy Young Award winner to a four-year, $53 million contract when he was coming off the worst season of his career and there was some history of arm problems. From 1997-2003, Pedro's ERA was 2.20. In 2004, it ballooned to 3.90. That should have been a major red flag for Minaya, but he was desperate to add a marquis name to the roster and was hoping to attract other Latin stars by bringing Martinez to New York. Sure enough, Pedro's Mets career was marred by injuries as he averaged just less than 122 innings per season and won a mere 32 games.
Martinez turned out to be the first of a number of bad free agent signings and a waste of a whole lot of money. Between Pedro ($53M), Moises Alou ($15M), Luis Castillo ($25M) and Oliver Perez ($36M), the Mets GM threw away $129 million.
Just as Fred Wilpon is exhibiting completely poor judgment in retaining Minaya, he did the same by hiring him in the first place. While GM of the Expos, Minaya made one of the worst trades in baseball history when he sent three promising prospects by the names of Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore and Brandon Phillips, along with veteran Lee Stevens , to the Cleveland Indians for a half-season rental of Bartolo Colon. He also didn't fare very well in the draft in Montreal. His biggest blunder came in 2002 when he selected pitcher Clint Everts with the fifth overall pick. Everts' major league career consisted of pitching 16 innings for the Nationals.
When Minaya drafted Everts, he passed on some players who might be a little more familiar to you: Prince Fielder, Zach Greinke, Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Nick Swisher and James Loney.
Maybe Minaya should consider changing his first name to Oh My, because that's probably the reaction of many Mets fans after Omar makes a move.
I wasn't surprised by Brandon Morrow's near no-hit, 17-strikeout performance. He has a very live arm with a mid-90's fastball and a plus-curve. Although he certainly hasn't put everything together yet to become a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, he has the stuff to eventually reach that level. He's fifth in the AL with strikeouts, but on the flip side he's also fifth in walks. Improving his control will be the key to how good he'll be.
The Padres' Mat Latos continues to force my hand to acknowledge him as he continues his terrific run of excellent outings. San Diego's 22-year-old righty threw six shutout innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday to improve his record to 12-5. That marks his 16th straight start in which he's allowed three earned runs or less. He now ranks fifth in the NL in ERA (2.36) and first in WHIP (0.99).
Tim Lincecum is having a good year by most pitcher's standards (11-5, 3.15 ERA), but he definitely is not pitching up to the level that led to consecutive Cy Young Awards over the previous two seasons. His fastball doesn't seem to have the same life we're used to seeing and, as a result, most of his numbers in the major pitching categories are not as good as they were over the last two years. This includes ERA plus hits, strikeouts and walks per nine innings. He's given up more home runs (12) this season than he did in his two Cy Young years.
Andy Roth covered the Knicks for NBC Radio and AP Radio for eleven years and was an NBA Columnist for Celtics Pride Magazine for two years. He's covered many of the major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, U.S. Open Tennis and Golf.