First Castillo, now Ollie is finally gone as Revamp Continues for the Mets

Luis Castillo released by New York Mets on Friday was just the beginning. General Manager Sandy Alderson on Monday made the inevitable announcement and pitcher Oliver Perez followed Castillo out the door.

And with the exception of that championship run in 2006, Perez with the huge three-year $36 million contract, granted from then GM Omar Minaya, was a huge bust.  The control was gone, velocity of the fastball did not exist and Perez became an albatross to an organization obviously in the revamping process.

Simply put “Ollie”, as he was known worked his way out the door. That last game of the season at Citi Field in early October should have been the determining factor. Perez came out of the bullpen in an extra inning and meaningless game.  No control then that gave the Washington Nationals a win for the winter.

Except Perez remained as the transition to a new GM and manager started, and for whatever reason, possibly because Perez had that contract, Alderson gave him a chance in spring games.  Then down in Port St. Lucie Saturday he gave up back-to back home runs to two Washington National career minor leaguers.

Said Alderson, different from what was said when Castillo was released, “As I said during the winter our plan was to bring Oliver to spring training and give him a chance. After trying him as a starter and out of the bullpen, we felt that we needed to move in a different direction.”

The right direction because, no different from the Castillo situation, Perez would have heard a resounding amount of boos when the team comes home for their home opener at Citi Field against the Nationals on Friday afternoon April 9th.

Ownership, similar to the Castillo situation approved the decision even as they struggle with financial issues and owe Perez the remaining $12 million of a three-year contract that Perez signed in 2009. Last season Perez went 0-5 with a 6.80 ERA after going 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA the year before. Perez commented before he left the Mets spring training complex, “They have me the opportunity. They were fair to me.” He said the team gave him the opportunity, “and I didn’t do anything great.”

Well at least Perez admits he was not great. The contract was not deserved and Minaya may have made him one of his reclamation projects as Perez showed he had something in 2006. And Minaya could not get the big guys that were available for free agency including CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett who went cross-town to the Yankees.

Perez had tow stints on the disabled list and made things worse by refusing to take a minor league assignment in attempts to get back to form.  “Ollie made every effort,” commented Alderson. Yeah but not enough to earn him at least a role out of the bullpen and those in the know have said that Perez believed he was a starter and not one to come out of the pen.

So for now, the Mets have relieved themselves of two headaches with Castillo and Perez gone. In the end payroll flexibility can still be an issue with the financial issues of ownership as the team continues this revamping process.

Acquired by the Mets from the Minnesota Twins on July 30, 2007, for two minor leaguers, Castillo was to then GM Omar Minaya a perfect fit for a team that had playoff aspirations. A perfect fit at second base, a position now in baseball that has become known more for a good glove rather than production at the plate.

Though Castillo had the ability to get on base and drive in runs. That is, until he came to New York during the Minaya regime. He arrived in New York at a time when the Mets did not spend their money correctly and Castillo became an abomination, a cancer in the clubhouse and on the field.

So now the Mets eat the remaining $6 million of his salary, another loss of money not wisely spent during the Minaya regime.  Castillo is also saved from hearing boos of fans at Citi Field, though that never seemed to bother him. There was a time last season when Castillo was asked if the fans got to him?

“I just play the game,” he would say in the Mets clubhouse at Citi Field. And he had little to say about the blunder that never disappeared, a ninth inning dropped ball at second in 2009 at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez hit a pop up allowing Mark Teixeira to score the winning run, and the cross-town Yankees stole a win from the Mets. Closer Francisco Rodriguez showed his frustration on the mound.

That play will always be the legacy of Castillo in a Mets uniform. Outside Yankee Stadium that Friday evening, even Yankee fans would sympathize with a Mets fan. But the Mets fan would never forgive Castillo and Alderson, the new sheriff in town, had to take the fans into consideration when making the decision.

The GM commented, “Don’t think there’s any question that there’s some linkage between the situation and a perception of the Mets that has existed at this point.”   He added, “It is something taken into account.”

And if it were not for the contract, four-years and $25 million, perhaps the release would have come sooner. The 35-year old Castillo batted .235, with no homers and 17 RBI in 247 at bats last season. Limited playing time for a lack of production, and his work ethic at times may have been questioned.

Castillo said Friday he was not given a chance to compete for the second base job this spring. The Mets were obviously going in another direction and last season used a combination of players at the position while Castillo and his salary sat on the bench.

It was an acquisition that came to late for the New York Mets. But Minaya made those mistakes and at times was questioned, which ultimately cost his job along with other failures.  At one time Castillo was that quality player with a .299 career average over 13 major league seasons, 194 doubles, 59 triples, 28 home runs, 443 RBI, and 370 stolen bases.

It just did not work for him in New York, perhaps extending his stay. And Castillo had his chance. It was his job at second, and he blew it by slacking at times and not giving that proper explanation to Mets fans after that disastrous dropped ball against the Yankees.

“Its baseball,” he would say in the visitor’s clubhouse that night at Yankee Stadium. Yeah, but this is New York and fans expect more from a $25 million dollar player. They expected a better and more valid explanation. They never got it.

Two less player decisions now for Alderson and new manager Terry Collins as the Mets put the finishing touches on this spring and get ready for 2011. Second base is still up for grabs with Luis Hernandez as the leading candidate to take over. But count on this, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo won’t be there.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring 786@aol.com



Posted under Albatross, Bullpen, Fastball, Friday Afternoon, Home Opener, Home Runs, Last Game, Luis Castillo, Meaningless Game, National Career, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Ollie, Omar Minaya, Rich Mancuso, Sandy Alderson, Spring Games, Spring Training, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on March 23, 2011

Tags: ,

Collins Is The Right Man For Right Now

Flushing, NY – Put yourself in Sandy Alderson’s shoes for one moment. After being hired to resurrect the Mets, he couldn’t just write off 2011, no matter how difficult it will be with the payroll hamstrung, and the team’s best pitcher on the shelf.

And Alderson, knowing how things can turn on you in New York, knew that laying an egg next year will erase all the good will be brought to the table from just being not Omar Minaya.

That’s why he needed to get a manager to do more with less in 2011. He needed someone who could possible whip the current Mets into shape, while keeping watch for 2012 when $60 million in payroll comes off the books and the new general manager can shape the club in his image.

So Alderson went to the well and interviewed 10 candidates and came up with Terry Collins, because based on his track record, the 61 year-old will provide the short term boost to the team with his drill sergeant mentality and fiery personality.

“We can win, our goal is to win and we’re not going into spring training with the notion this is a bridge to something else,” Alderson said. “We’re going to focus hard on 2011 and do what we can to give ourselves our best shot.”

Some would say Bobby Valentine would have been the best choice for that kind of style, especially after pressing out 88 wins in 1997 with essentially the same team that quit on Dallas Green the year before. Yet, Valentine comes with baggage, such as a large salary to match his large ego. Bobby V. would have demanded a commitment from the Mets, something the club didn’t need to do with Collins.

And others – including this reporter – would have preferred Wally Backman, a strong finalist in the managerial race, but also someone who doesn’t have any prior Major League managerial experience. With that comes risk. No matter how attractive Backman looked in Brooklyn last year, no one knows if it would translate to Citi Field. Single-A players are much more eager to buy into Backman’s team philosophy than big league overpaid stars. By putting the fan favorite in that position, it could have turned ugly quickly, especially with the country club atmosphere that was present the last few years in Queens.

Frankly, Alderson probably did Backman a favor by not giving him the job. Right now, the Met job is Russian Roulette for any manager, and if Backman failed in Queens, based on his past, he would probably never get hired with another affiliated club. Even though he doesn’t know it now, he’s probably better off waiting for a few years after Alderson has a clubhouse in his image.

And that’s why Collins is the perfect man for 2011. With winning records five of his six seasons and a 444-434 record overall, the Mets got themselves someone with a track record. Although he claimed he mellowed in his old age, he still is the same fiery guy who jumpstarted the Astros and Angels, only to eventually lose both teams after three seasons. Essentially Alderson is throwing a Collins firecracker in the rook to see if there is any redeeming value to this clubhouse, and using it as an evaluation on the long term.

If Collins’s in your face style works, then the Mets could be competitive in 2011. If it doesn’t then Alderson knows that a complete facelift is needed on this club, while not spending any of the Wilpons’ money for a high priced manager or burning a dugout prospect in the process.

This is just another smart move from a smart baseball man, which may be the reason why there are a lot of skeptics, as smart baseball moves have been rare in Queens recently.

Posted under 60 Million, Best Choice, Bobby Valentine, Brooklyn, Dallas Green, Drill Sergeant, Egg, Ego, Fiery Personality, Joe Mcdonald, Keeping Watch, Managerial Experience, Mentality, New York Mets, Notion, Omar Minaya, Payroll, Right Man, Salary, Sandy Alderson, Spring Training, Top Story, Wally Backman

This post was written by Joe McDonald on November 25, 2010

Alderson Introduced As New Mets GM

Sandy Alderson had an auspicious debut as the new General Manager of the New York Mets Friday afternoon at Citi Field. There was the presence of a baseball veteran, knowledge and experience that obviously made an impression to Mets ownership during the interview process.

And, Alderson, 62, who at one time built the Oakland Athletics teams that played in three consecutive World Series  from 1988-1990, and won the championship in 1989, may be what the Mets need. The immediate impact to slowly begin the process of getting the Mets back to playing baseball in October, though that may take some time.

Alderson is not a new kid on the block and has his own style. That was addressed when the question was asked about how his style would be different from his predecessor Omar Minaya.  “One of the things I like about a job like this is you have to act,” said Alderson.

And act he will. With financial flexibility, to make the Mets a contender again and not being the second team in town to the New York Yankees. Though during the course of his introduction to New York, there was no mention of the cross-town Yankees. Just a commitment to be in the free agent market every year, and not immediately in 2011

He stressed more than once about the job being fun, that baseball was entertainment, and not like Minaya, constantly talked about his job being, a  collaborative effort with ownership, the players and scouting departments.

“All the elements are here, a great area to be, and great fans,” said Alderson about why he took on the opportunity of a four-year contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015.

There is a lot of work to be done from financial flexibility, player personnel, to the hiring of a new manager. There are some candidates to succeed Jerry Manuel that Alderson has in mind. But the managerial situation will begin in a few days so Alderson can have one in place for the upcoming GM and winter meetings that plans a process for the upcoming season.

There is optimism at Citi Field as a new regime takes over. And that word of Collaboration that was so often mentioned will begin in the front office. Alderson saw that happen in his four years as CEO of the San Diego Padres where he led them to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2005 and 2006 and recently working as a special consultant to the Commissioner of Baseball for Latin America.

Alderson, the 13th GM in franchise history reminds many of Frank Cashen, the Mets Hall of Fame inductee who reshaped the organization and built a championship team in 1986. On Friday that renewed spirit of seeing those days again in Flushing Queens came when Alderson spoke.

But every Mets fan knows hope has always been eternal. Since the Cashen years there have been three close opportunities at bringing the prized trophy home. More so, a 2000 Subway World Series loss to the Yankees when Steve Phillips was the GM, and the 2006 NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals under Minaya, a series that every Mets fan refuses to forget.

Will Alderson succeed in what Omar Minaya could not do the past few years?  “There is hope now,” said longtime Mets season ticket holder Eddie Lopez who sat at a table in back of the Caesars Club. “Minaya was around to long and he (Alderson) brings something to the table,” he said.

Lopez was one of the many season ticket holders that were invited to the welcome party because the Mets fan base is so important. The new ballpark, the fans, something also that Alderson reiterated in his remarks that was another reason why he took the job.

“Getting back to being a general manager was something I wanted to do under the right circumstances,” he said.  So whatever Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon said to Alderson during the interview process had to be the right circumstance.

It did not work under Minaya, even though he had the liberty to spend money. But you get the feeling there will be no favoritism played, no favors granted to player agents that Minaya had close ties with. The roster comprised from trades and a restructured scouting department that brings in homegrown talent.

Will there be an immediate turnaround?  It will be difficult turning it around in 2011 because the Mets are committed to $130 million in payroll.  Alderson won’t have the liberty to spend but plenty of roster decisions to address. Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, who get some of that payroll, and what to do with the bad image and contract of closer Francisco Rodriquez who was recently reactivated.

Alderson is just settling in. He would not provide much as to who or what for 2011, again hiring a manager he can work with is the first priority. But what every Mets fan wants to know, are our troubles and agonizing days of losing coming to an end?

Time will tell as there is hope. Jeff and Fred Wilpon did not have that concerned look, like they did a day after the season ended three weeks ago when they relieved Minaya and did not bring Manuel back.

This time the Mets hierarchy got it right bringing Alderson to New York.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Auspicious Debut, Club Option, Collaborative Effort, Consecutive World Series, Contender, Cross Town, Financial Flexibility, Free Agent Market, Friday Afternoon, Kid On The Block, Mets Gm, New Kid On The Block, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Omar Minaya, Predecessor, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Winter Meetings, World Series

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 30, 2010

Alderson Brings His Marine Code To Queens

Sandy Alderson is proud of his Marine heritage. He enlisted in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam Conflict, and served eight months over in Southeast Asia.

But even with his distinguished service to his country, the 62 year-old new general manager of the New York Mets does not subscribe to the  “Once a Marine, Always A Marine” philosophy, rather the Marine code needs to be proven in everything they do.

And now, Alderson will need to prove it again in maybe what is his trickiest baseball job, taking reigns as the troubled franchise in Queens.

“I view the job as general manager of the New York Mets,” Alderson stated, “as the best job available in baseball. It’s an iconic franchise in a great city – a city that inspires all of us to dream big.”

The Mets are hoping that when they signed Alderson to a four-year deal to take over for Omar Minaya. The man who built the Oakland A’s into a powerhouse and also was the godfather of the Moneyball era in baseball now brings his skills to Queens where the club badly needs leadership, as well as someone with a steady hand to give the team a long term direction.

Under Minaya, the club philosophy was the band-aid approach where Minaya would go out and fill what seemed to be the biggest gaping hole in the roster, hoping that would energize the fan base, while also making the club a contender.

Unfortunately, though, those Met teams were built upon a weak foundation, and much like an old car you keep putting money into, once you fix one problem, others arise. The Mets found that out over the last two years.

In 2009, everyone swore the team would contend because the biggest problem – the bullpen – was filled with Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. Ultimately though, Minaya didn’t address the aging roster, which broke down during the season.

And then last year they did the same thing with Jason Bay, and chalked up 2009 to injuries, rather than a sign of a weak foundation.

Alderson will change that by building a club with payroll flexibility. He said he plans on being involved with the free agent market every single year, but at the same time wants to build a young roster of homegrown talent. CEO Fred Wilpon described what can be characterized as a laddered bond portfolio of contracts where only a few will come due each year, thus not hamstringing the club.

That may take a couple of years, and Alderson is not ready to throw away 2011, where he feels the club can “compete.” And the Wilpons both said they would be willing to eat the contracts of certain players (Read: Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo) if Alderson asked to do so.

But first things first, as the new head honcho needs to build his staff and of course pick the manager. Alderson is reportedly looking to bring in former Oakland executives Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi to the Mets and will begin the search for a manager next week.

As for the manager, unlike what has been published in Moneyball, Alderson took a softened approach. Instead of a just a middle manager, Alderson wants to see the field boss not only to be an extension of the front office, but also an extension of the fans.

“I do believe a manager needs to reflect the general philosophy of the organization to have some sense of consistency,” he said. “At the same time the manager is very critical of the overall leadership structure of the organization. His job is very different from mine and there are certain qualities he has to bring.

“In my years I have worked with managers ranging from Tony LaRussa to Billy Martin. I can appreciate a fiery manager. He is quite desirable. A manager is representing the fans in frustrating situations and acts as a proxy for the feeling at the time.”

With that, Wally Backman still should be considered a candidate, while also looking for any qualified candidates. Already the Mets have a short list of about eight candidates, and interviews will last in the 30 day timetable.

But as for today, it’s a good start. The Wilpons look good for going with Alderson’s experience over Josh Byrnes youth, but Alderson makes Fred and Jeff look smart because of the media suaveness of their new employee.

And it also showed Alderson still is a solid Marine, proving it every day.

Posted under Aid Approach, Band Aid, Bullpen, Club Philosophy, Contender, Distinguished Service, Eight Months, Fan Base, Francisco Rodriguez, Gaping Hole, Jason Bay, Joe Mcdonald, Marine Heritage, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Sandy Alderson, Southeast Asia, Steady Hand, Term Direction, Top Story, Troubled Franchise, Vietnam Conflict

This post was written by Joe McDonald on October 29, 2010

Report: Alderson To Be Named Next GM

According to a report on SI.com, the Mets have decided to hire Sandy Alderson as their 12th general manager. An announcement could happen as early as Friday, the day off for the World Series.

After three weeks of interviews, it seems like the Mets Office of the Chairman consisting of Mets CEO Fred Wilpon, President Saul Katz, and COO Jeff Wilpon decided on the 62 year-old Alderson, who will bring instant credibility to the club after building the Oakland A’s in the 1990s as general manager, presiding over the San Diego Padres in the mid to late 2000s and having two stints in the Commissioner’s Office, most recently cleaning up the Dominican Republic.

Alderson’s candidacy comes with the blessing of Commissioner Bud Selig, who has had a very close relationship with the Wilpons over the years.

The new GM, though, will have his work cut out for him as he inherits a Mets club that suffered from dysfunction and bad contracts over the Omar Minaya era. Alderson will need to make decisions on center fielder Carlos Beltran, second baseman Luis Castillo, and pitcher Oliver Perez, all of whom have disappointed in 2010 and have expiring contracts next season.

But his first order of business will be the next Met manager. A pioneer of Sabermatrics, Alderson may want to hire a manger in the mold of the Red Sox Terry Francona, who will implement front office policy, rather than manage from the gut. That would seem to eliminate former Met Wally Backman will not be hired, but past reports indicate the Wilpons would prefer a manager with some Met connections.

That remains to be seen as Alderson probably commands full autonomy and the Wilpons stated publicly the new GM will pick the manager for the club.

An Alderson seems to be up to the job. He is a Vietnam veteran, who has a law degree from Harvard. Alderson’s Oakland A’s won the 1989 World Series, while his shoestring San Diego Padres were strong contenders during his years as CEO.

Posted under Carlos Beltran, Center Fielder, Commissioner Bud Selig, Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon, Law Degree, Luis Castillo, Mets Club, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, Order Of Business, San Diego Padres, Sandy Alderson, Saul Katz, Second Baseman, Shoestring, Stints, Terry Francona, Top Story, Vietnam Veteran, Wally Backman

This post was written by Joe McDonald on October 27, 2010

Mets Season Ends With Omar and Jerry Let Go

NEW YORK – New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel had some extended time in the season finale loss to the Washington Nationals at Citi Field Sunday afternoon.  With all reports pointing to his dismissal at some point Monday, the 14-inning loss may have provided him some time to reflect.

He called on seldom used pitcher Oliver Perez, used four times since August 1st. In the second year of a three-year $36 million contract, Perez hit a batter and walked three that gave the Nationals a 2-1 victory. It was a bad farewell for both Perez and Manuel

“I Felt bad we had to put Ollie in that situation,” said Manuel who still did not know about his status in his final post game meeting with the media. “I feel bad that we had to put in Ollie in a situation that we had no choice with. We had nothing left. That’s tough for me.”

There were nothing more to say. Perez in many ways epitomized the failures of general manager Omar Minaya who was expected to be dismissed or reassigned to another role with the organization. The few fans who remained in the announced crowd of 30,849 also expressed their displeasure when Perez was lifted with one out.

They also let Manuel know that they don’t want him back at Citi Field in 2011. The change in command came. Manuel and Minaya relieved of their duties Monday as the Mets finished their second consecutive losing season at Citi Field with a final record of 79-83.

Attendance at Citi Field declined this season, 2,573,173, a significant decline from the 3,154,262 that went through the gates when the ballpark opened for business last year. That was added ammunition for Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon to hand Manuel and Minaya their walking papers.

Certainly there were some positive aspects to another dismal Mets season. They were a season high 11 games over .500 on June 27th then after the all-star break a 2-9 road trip put the Mets back to reality. The chemistry may have been broken when Luis Castillo returned to the lineup off the disabled list.

Castillo had to play because a muli-million dollar contract granted by Minaya could not stay on the bench. The Mets led the National League in stolen bases, primarily because Angel Pagan was second in the league, led the league in shutouts with 19, were sixth in staff ERA, and won nine more games from the year before again finishing fourth in the NL east.

The perspective of Manuel was about another struggle, and looking at the future as he relied on numerous rookies to do the job in his daily lineup. “We struggled pretty much all year offensively,” he said. “We had some opportunities. One good thing is we have established some good young players.”

“They will be solid foundations for the future of the organization.” he said citing catcher Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, pitcher Dillon Gee and infielder Ruben Tejada, though Manuel said he didn’t know if Tejada was ready to fill the everyday role at second base.

There was Pagan who became the everyday center fielder when opening day starter Gary Matthews Jr. was released. He was perhaps player of the year on this Mets team. He may not be one of the issues that a new GM will have to confront. Pagan earned his role and was respected in the clubhouse.

Manuel in one of his final good gestures as manager gave an appropriate tribute to David Wright and Jose Reyes, two cores of the organization. They took their positions in the ninth inning and were removed so that fans could give them deserved curtain calls.

“I said today that I would try to show them how much I appreciated what they done and how they played and performed,” he said. “I thought it was opportunity to show them some class and I’m glad I did it for their sake.” He also had starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey come out of the dugout and take a bow after being lifted after seven innings.

Pelfrey finished the season with a career best in victories (15), in strikeouts (113) and ERA at 3.66.”If anything I learned from the adversity,” he said about the season. And if the Mets are to win again they need consistent outings from Pelfrey, and another front line starter,

“I’m very appreciative first of all, that Jerry would even think about doing it especially what he has been through the past couple of days,” commented Wright about what his manager did for him and Reyes in the ninth inning. “At the end of the day it’s tough to really enjoy anything talking about we finished under .500 and don’t make the playoffs again.”

Manuel commented that he never lost the team as the Mets continued to slip away after the break, into August, and all of September. He sounded like it had come to an end after 2-1/2 years at the helm. “I have to clean up do all that type of stuff and find out what direction the organization wants to do, then head to Sacramento and pick up the rocks.”

“I would hope that going forward that the Reyes’ and the Wrights’ have become a different type of player,” he answered hesitantly when asked about his legacy, though as of Sunday Manuel still had his job. “I would hope the young players established would become core players, foundation players.”

Now it is official. Manuel won’t be a part of that foundation. And neither will Perez who quickly left and was out of the building before reporters could get to him.  An ugly ending and (0-5) record in a season of futility for Perez.

The lockers were cleaned and bags packed as the Mets went home for the winter.  Who will lead the new regime, set the foundation and make Citi Field a place to be for October baseball?

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under All Star, Ammunition, August 1, Back To Reality, Decline, Displeasure, Farewell, Inning Loss, June 27, Losing Season, Luis Castillo, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Ollie, Omar Minaya, Road Trip, Season Finale, Sunday Afternoon, Top Story, Walking Papers, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 4, 2010

Despite Win, Everyone is Talking Minaya and Manuel

NEW YORK-  There were multiple reports coming from Citi Field Friday evening that team general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel will be replaced when the season concludes Sunday afternoon. The moves have been rumored for the past month.

With the Mets once again finishing their second season at Citi Field below the .500 mark, there is every reason to believe there will be a new regime running the show next April.  Prior to the start of a three game season finale series with the Washington Nationals, won by the Mets 2-1 in 10 innings, Manuel was asked about reports he would not be returning next season,

“I have not discussed anything,” said the Mets manager regarding his situation. The talk about Manuel not returning for a third year has been a constant topic of discussion since the all-star break. “Nothing has been told to me,” he said,

He added “Just like every year you discuss it, you discuss it at the end of the year. I haven’t been told anything.”  Though Manuel may have not been told anything about his status there is every reason to believe his regime with Minaya will conclude Sunday,

Minaya, general manager since 2004 has seen minimal results during his tenure. The Mets once again this year, with high expectations and third highest payroll in baseball, failed to make the postseason again since their 2006 loss in the National League Championship Series to the St Louis Cardinals.

On the field the Mets tried to play for something as they finish out the string. Against the last place Nats, starter Pat Misch went eight innings, gave up three hits and struck out 10.  Michael Morse hit a solo home run to center in the seventh, the lone run surrendered by Misch that tied the game at 1-1.

“I know I can pitch,” commented Misch (0-4) who did not figure in the decision, “Obviously the record doesn’t show it and maybe the numbers aren’t the greatest.” Manuel, speaking like he will be in control next season said, “He can possibly give the organization some depth next year.”

The game stayed at 1-1 until the bottom of the tenth when catcher Josh Thole hit a 3-1 pitch to the right field stands that gave New York a 2-1 win. It was the third home run for Thole as the Mets got another walk-off win. It was their fourth hit of the game off Nationals Tyler Clippard (11-7) tagged with a loss out of the pen.

“I didn’t know what to do when I got to home plate,” said Thole. As was the case with rookie Ruben Tejada, who got a walk-off wining double against the Brewers Tuesday night, Thole was mobbed by teammates when he reached home.

It was his first ever game winning home run. Thole is projected to be the Mets starting catcher next season. “Just wanted to get out of here with a win and get out of here on a positive point,” he said about the win and final games of the season.

They are playing out the string, the Mets are. Manuel is still in control as is Minaya, at least until Sunday. The final two games won’t make a difference as the Mets even with a sweep over the Nationals will have their second consecutive losing season finishing under .500.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under All Star, Baseball, Friday Evening, Game Season, High Expectations, League Championship Series, Mets, Michael Morse, Minimal Results, National League Championship Series, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Pat Misch, Payroll, Regime, Season Finale, Second Season, St Louis Cardinals, Sunday Afternoon, Tenure, Top Story, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 2, 2010

Reports: Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel On The Way Out

NEW YORK – With three days left in the season, the Mets are coming to a decision.

Multiple sources reported today the club will fire general manager Omar Minaya as early as Monday and also decline the option on manager Jerry Manuel’s contract.

The move comes as the Mets close out another disappointing season, where they will finish under the .500 mark for the second year in a row.

In his six years as general manager, Minaya had a number of highs early on which quickly turned to lows with the signings of Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez to bloated and under-producing contracts. The club struggled as the top heavy salaries blocked the team from overcoming injuries.

COO Jeff Wilpon will begin the search for a new general manager as soon as the season ends. He is expected to interview a wide variety of candidates, including former Oakland A’s general manager Sandy Alderson and Tampa Bay Rays VP Gerry Hunsicker.

As for Manuel, his tenure ends in utter failure. After an impressive run in 2008, after replacing Willie Randolph, the season quickly ended in failure when the Mets collapsed for the second year in a row. That was followed by two under .500 seasons, which triggered the coming moves.

Although, Brooklyn manager Wally Backman remains the front runner, Wilpon will wait until a new GM is named before bringing in a manager. Former manager Bobby Valentine will also be considered, but there may still be open wounds from his last go around which was highly successful in 1999 and 2000 but ultimately his outspokenness got him fired in 2002.

Any announcement is expected Monday at the earliest.

Posted under Bobby Valentine, Brooklyn, Gm, Jeff Wilpon, Lows, Luis Castillo, Manager Bobby Valentine, Mets, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, Omar Minaya, Open Wounds, Salaries, Sandy Alderson, Six Years, Tampa Bay Rays, Tenure, Top Story, Utter Failure, Vp, Wally Backman, Willie Randolph

This post was written by Joe McDonald on October 1, 2010

Mets To Play Out String Without Johan

New York – Johan Santana is done again in September. It does not matter for the New York Mets now. They started to play out the string a month ago as their playoff chances continued to fade for one reason or another.

But once again, Santana, the ace will not finish the season. The two-time CY Young Award winner has been shut down after an MRI exam result showed a torn antenor on the front and bottom of his pitching shoulder. It was last September 1st when he was shut down to remove bone chips from his left elbow.

“I just hope to recover and hope this will be the end of it,” he said prior to the Mets 8-4 loss to the first place Phillies at Citi Field Friday night. “Get everything fixed,” he would say.  But this was not what the Mets envisioned when GM Omar Minaya signed him to a six-year $137.5 million dollar contract.

It is baseball, the aspects of injuries and a definite risk when signing players to the long term and lucrative deal. However there is that definite opinion that the Mets organization is beset with a hex and not a miracle. All based of course on a recurring string of injuries, last season and now.

Santana again, Jose Reyes more than once, John Maine shut down, and of course the concussion symptoms that may or may not have ended the season for Jason Bay.

In the case of Santana, blame medical personnel of the Mets organization? Perhaps, or it is the case of a pitcher who had thrown too many innings in Minnesota before coming to New York. Whatever the reason, Santana is done and the Mets once again move on to next year.

“I feel he will fulfill those next three years,” said Minaya about the contract. He observed Santana speaking to the media at the pre game press conference.  Again it is another dismal September for Minaya, the Mets and their fans at Citi Field.” Hopefully, we’ll have him back sooner than later,” said Minaya.

Santana will have surgery soon and hopes to recover by January. That may be pushing the button. He will get a second opinion from famed orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.  But we should have known that there was more trouble for the Mets ace when he was lifted after five innings in Atlanta last week because of stiffness.

The Mets said later it was a strained pectoral muscle and Santana would be listed as day-to-day.  Sounds familiar? Have we not heard and seen this before from Mets brass when it comes to the extent of an injury, more so to one of their high profiled players?

So in September again the Mets will show off their home grown talent on the field, and on the mound. In place of Santana is Dillon Gee who made his Major League debut down in Washington D.C. this week and flirted with a no-hitter.

Rookie pitcher Jenrry Mejia (0-4) failed once again to get his first Major League win Friday evening. He remains in the rotation, for the remainder of the string in the stretch of September. A lot to learn and minimal pressure without a pennant race to be concerned about.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said he has no other options now that Santana has thrown his last pitch in 2010. “At this point we’ll see how he does,” he said about Mejia who observed there needs to be adjustments made when he faces a lineup the second time around.

And for the Mets, adjustments once again in September as they plan for next year with or without Santana on the mound.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Antenor, Bone Chips, Citi, Concussion Symptoms, Cy Young, Cy Young Award, Cy Young Award Winner, Dollar Contract, Exam Result, Game Press, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jose Reyes, Last September, Lucrative Deal, Mri Exam, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Phillies, Playoff Chances, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on September 11, 2010

Keep Pagan In The Mets Ring

New York – Go figure the game of baseball. On the night New York Mets outfielder Angel Pagan ties a career game high in hits, four, there is talk that soon he could be one of the Mets outfielders out of the equation when Carlos Beltran returns to the lineup.

Prior to their game Tuesday against Detroit at Citi Field, Mets GM Omar Minaya addressed the media and said Beltran will begin his minor league rehabilitation assignment Thursday with the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League.

So here we are in the Mets clubhouse a half hour or so after the Mets pound the Tigers 14-6.  “You guys waiting for me,” said Pagan with a smile that has been seen more this season from him and his teammates. The waiting time for Pagan is over.  He has matured as a player and he will be the first one to admit that.

And despite Pagan’s continued references to just being a player holding his spot in the lineup until Beltran returns, the Mets should consider options for him with the expected return of Beltran to the lineup prior to, or after the all-star break.

There is every reason to believe that the Mets can use four outfielders. And hard to conceive manager Jerry Manuel not playing Beltran often, assuming he is healthy enough to play often.  Jason Bay, with the huge contract can’t sit on the bench despite his inconsistency to drive in runs.  Jeff Francouer has proved to have that ability to sit well at the bottom of the order and the arm ability to command right field.

Pagan could be the odd man out, not deserving of the talk about being a guy the Mets could use in a trade to obtain another front line starting pitcher. Nor should Pagan be part of an equation of a possible fourth outfielder used by Manuel.

Simply put, Pagan is now an everyday player. He has proved to be deserving of holding his spot in the Mets lineup, showing no signs of becoming the player that made constant mistakes at the plate, on the base paths and in the outfield last season.

Manuel has yet to address the issue of a possible outfield dilemma and surely there is reason to understand why the manager avoids the issue. The chemistry in the clubhouse is in place. More so, Pagan is one of the reasons for the improvement of these 2010 Mets.

“Angel is getting big hit after big hit, he’s been big for us,” commented Manuel late Tuesday evening.  No questions at the moment as to how the situation will be handled with the eventual return of Beltran who has to play with his huge contract in place until the end of 2011.

Pagan can’t be the odd man out here.  “What’s in my mind is to help the team offensively or defensively,” said Pagan when asked about his four-hit night. He will be the first to admit that covering Beltran’s spot has been a big responsibility.

He does not check to see if Beltran has left a text message.  Pagan is going about his business and helping the Mets win ballgames. And if indeed he is left out of the equation, as an everyday player, there has been no talk about being unhappy.

“Right now I am very confident because of the opportunity from last year,” he says, “just concentrating on staying healthy and helping this team.”  He extended his hitting streak to 10 games in the opening series against the Tigers and was a home run shy from becoming the Mets tenth player to hit for the cycle with his 4-for-6 night and four runs batted in.

There were times during the misery of a season lost in 2009 when the name of Angel Pagan became a target of bad news. He was making the Mets worse and not better.  He certainly has closed the door on many of the skeptics and is a valuable commodity in Manuel’s every day lineup. The injury prone Pagan is healthy, seeing the ball well at the plate, batting .304 with 35 RBI, five triples, 14 doubles and five home runs second in the order behind Jose Reyes.

Manuel and Minaya have decisions to make.  Four outfielders soon, three spots, and someone will be the odd man out as an everyday player. Certainly it should not be Angel Pagan who would sit and rust on the bench, though one way or the other it is inevitable that Pagan will play often

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Base Paths, Career Game, Carlos Beltran, Everyday Player, Florida State League, Fourth Outfielder, Inconsistency, Jason Bay, Jeff Francouer, Mets Clubhouse, Mets Gm, Mets Outfielder, New York Mets, Odd Man, Omar Minaya, Outfielders, Rehabilitation Assignment, Rich Mancuso, St Lucie Mets, Starting Pitcher, Top Story, Waiting Time

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 23, 2010