How much longer is Mr. Wilpon going to deal with Omar Minaya as the general manager of the Mets? What will it take for him to realize that he is the wrong man to be running this franchise?
Take a step back a couple of seasons. Minaya's bullpen wears down and the Mets collapse to finish off the 2007 season by losing 12 of their last 17 games and missing the postseason.
The Mets went into the 2008 offseason knowing they needed to make some sort of splash and Omar did just that. Stealing the best pitcher in baseball away from the Minnesota Twins when he acquired Johan Santana for four minor leaguers.
Going into the offseason, the Mets were far from the odds on favorite to be the winner of the Santana sweepstakes, due to the Mets lack of quality minor leaguers compared to the Yankees and Red Sox. However, Omar played the waiting game and it paid off.
On the flip side of that, he did the total opposite when it came to the second base situation. After making a deadline deal for Twins second baseman Luis Castillo, Omar had a choice to either re-sign Castillo or move on and find another player.
David Eckstein had been a target of the Mets to play second base during the 2008 offseason, and the Mets wined and dined the 2006 World Series MVP, trying to lure him to Flushing. The dinner went well, but it was evident that Eckstein's financial demands exceeded the Mets parameters.
So, Omar decided to go back to Luis Castillo and handed him a four-year, $25 million deal, bringing him back on average at $6.25 million per season on November 19th, 2007. About one month later, David Eckstein signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal to play for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Had Omar waited it out like he did with Santana later on that offseason, he would not have strapped himself down with a heavily-paid long-term contract, which is now coming back to haunt him.
Later on in the 2008 season, Omar made the decision to remove Willie Randolph from his managerial position -- one that he held since the offseason prior to the 2005 season. Randolph wasn't doing the job, it was clear the Mets were probably heading towards a change.
Instead of notifying Randolph that he would be given his pink slip, Omar decided to wait until after a 9-6 road victory in Los Angeles about two hours afterwards, roughly around 3:00 a.m. EST. Pretty classy, eh?
Omar notified Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto of their release and named bench coach Jerry Manuel as Randolph's replacement. The move changed the clubhouse swagger, but in the end, the Mets collapsed once again disappointing their fans for the second season in a row by missing the playoffs.
The 2008-09 offseason came and Omar decided that enough was enough. The bullpen had been a major part of the last two collapses and that it wasn't going to happen again.
Omar completely demolished his bullpen, bringing back just one player (Pedro Feliciano) that started the previous season in the bullpen. He also went out and made a blockbuster trade, acquiring relievers J.J. Putz and Sean Green from the Mariners.
Last but not least, he signed the stud closer of the offseason, Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year, $37-million deal.
With the team lacking another big name starter, Omar chose not to sign Derek Lowe to a four-year, $60-million deal that would have given the Mets a dominate right-handed frontline pitcher to counter the Mets left-handed ace. Instead, he chose to bring back Oliver Perez, who signed a three-year, $36-million deal.
The outcome? While still early, Derek Lowe is doing slightly better to start the season. Lowe is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA in five starts for the Braves, while Perez on the other hand is 1-2 with a 9.31 ERA in four starts for the blue and orange.
The Mets are currently sitting fourth in the National League East and are heading into the home of the defending World Champions with a 9-12 record to start the 2009 season. Sound familiar? Same ole' Mets.
Omar Minaya tries and tries again to fix this team and do all of the right things, but the moves are just not working. The Mets entire rotation now sits with a giant question mark with the exception of Santana because of Omar's unwillingness to give Derek Lowe a fourth year on his deal.
Instead, we are discussing the options that the Mets can do with Oliver Perez's recent struggles. Send him to the minors? Put him in the bullpen and work as a long reliever?
The Mets need to find a new baseball mind to put in the front office. I credit Omar Minaya greatly for putting the Mets back on the map after the early 2000s, but I am failing to see the greatness factor that some people label Minaya with.
Wilpon should definitely consider pulling the plug on Minaya and he should be on a short leash from here on out.
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