Archive for May 10th, 2009

Does Minaya Deserve a Free Pass?

May 10, 2009

At the completion of last Saturday’s game, a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets were sitting in third place with a record of 10-13. Prior to that defeat, their fourth in the last six games, news spread like wild fire regarding comments that were made by their general manager, Omar Minaya. Minaya sat down with Ken Rosenthal of and responded to accusations that his team had lost its edge or better yet, never had one to begin with. Ever since the firing of former Mets manager Willie Randolph last June, the ballclub has been heavily criticized for not having enough players willing to stand up and be held accountable. Those who cover the team suggest that the Mets have the physical talent in getting the job done but lack a certain intangible which is conducive to a World Series-caliber club. Leadership, for starters, is one. Minaya, on some level, agreed. His comments were projected at Mets players, specifically David Wright and Jose Reyes. Minaya felt strongly and trusted their leadership but on the other hand was not so certain that they had the chutzpah to get the job done.

On the heels of a free agent signing about to go bust and a manager who just got word that he would be fined by Major League Baseball for delaying a previous game, Minaya could be given the benefit of the doubt for lashing out to those players who constitute the Mets’ core group. Most Mets fans would agree that Minaya, a self-proclaimed native New Yorker, possesses as much if not more passion than the average Mets fan. During last year’s off-season, he heard the outcries concerning the combustibility of last year’s bullpen. He made it his top priority to address those problems by signing closer Frankie Rodriguez and acquiring J.J. Putz via a trade. We were all thoroughly impressed and have commended him for his efforts. Rodriguez, this season, has gone a perfect nine for nine in save opportunities. Putz, until recently, was unstoppable pitching exclusively in the eighth inning setting up for Rodriguez.

Aside from last Sunday’s rainout, the Mets have won six games in a row and now sit tied atop the NL East with the Florida Marlins. During that streak, the Mets starters have accumulated a 5-0 record with an earned run average below two. The offense has exploded as well. Yesterday’s 10-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates produced seventeen hits. For the second time in as many days, the Mets were able to participate in an inning in which they batted around in the order. Leadoff man Jose Reyes went 3 for 5 with 3 RBI and a stolen base. Center fielder Carlos Beltran continued his offensive surge by clubbing a solo shot in the fifth inning, his sixth homerun of the season. He ended up going 2 for 5 on the day and raised his batting average to .378. Every Mets starter, except for catcher Ramon Castro who left the game with a tight quad, had at least two hits in the game. Serving a single-game suspension for having the brim of his cap poke umpire Bill Welke, Mets manager Jerry Manuel was made to watch all the excitement alongside his boss, GM Omar Minaya at Citi Field in his street clothes. Both were seen in good spirits. Perhaps all is forgiven between them. Like they say, winning cures everything.