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Thread: Heyman Article on Minaya

  1. #1
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    Heyman Article on Minaya

    Pretty good read

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...day/index.html

    Also in this column:
    'Mando has a meltdown
    Surprise RBI leader for Boston
    More news and notes

    Mets general manager Omar Minaya may be the one man in baseball batting 1.000. Minaya is going so good that you start to think every sentence contains a pearl, every game will go his team's way and every acquisition has come to Queens to be a star.

    Minaya recently phoned his beleaguered Yankees counterpart, Brian Cashman, to support his friend. Minaya advised Cashman: Stick to what you believe in.

    The Mets' GM has his own set of beliefs, and competing GMs would be wise to take notice. He interviewed for at least eight GM jobs before landing one, but once he got the one he wanted, with the Mets -- a matter of miles from where he grew up in Corona, Queens -- he has barely made a misstep. The Mets, 33-17 and suddenly up five games on the rival Braves, look so solid now that they have established themselves as the prohibitive favorite in the National League the year after barely missing out on the World Series (thanks to one errant changeup to light-hitting Yadier Molina).

    A lot of the new GMs are Ivy League educated. But Minaya, who has a high school diploma but chose a baseball career over college, is smart enough to knows what he doesn't know. So he leaves the number crunching to a team of anonymous young folks in the front office. Minaya also probably knows talent better than any of the new GMs. He knows talent in scouts, and he knows it in players.

    Minaya has made a trio of big-ticket purchases, signing free agents Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran and trading for Carlos Delgado, and all have proved worthwhile. (While Martinez has been out a year, he gave the Mets a great year and a half and brought them needed credibility.) However, Minaya has proved his real worth with the acquisitions that came without notice, players who were second names in trades, minor-league spring invites or small-potato free-agent signings. He has made so many bargain-basement finds that it is obvious who is the greatest Mets bargain. Why of course, it's Minaya, at about $750,000 a year. (He is in the third year of a five-year deal.)

    Yet Minaya doesn't grab credit as easily as he imports productive players.

    "You're only as good as your scouts," said Minaya, who once was a scout himself.

    "Was [a scout] ... and still am," corrected Minaya.

    Folks have been saying since last winter that the Mets need another top-flight starter. But their pitching today is better than 28 of 29 other teams (their 3.40 ERA is topped only by San Diego's 3.00). The Mets' makeshift rotation has been among the best in baseball, and the clamoring for new arms is down to a whisper.

    Said Minaya, "I'm always look for pitching ... Not a day goes by ..."

    Some big names could be available come trade-deadline time, names such as Dontrelle Willis, Carlos Zambrano and Freddy Garcia, three pitchers who've been linked to the Mets via rumor. But there's no guarantee that Minaya will get any of them, no guarantee he'll need any of them.

    This winter Minaya's Mets virtually passed on Barry Zito, who'll pitch against them on Wednesday night, and missed on numerous other big-name targets. Yet they still have about the best pitching in baseball, and what's more, they have four pitchers who've been out awhile and should make them even better. Orlando Hernandez has come back. Guillermo Mota is about to return. And Duaner Sanchez and Martinez may also return.

    "If everything goes well with Pedro, we're hoping he'll be our trade-deadline acquisition," Minaya said of the greatest pitcher of this generation.

    He won't comment on Willis, Zambrano, Willis or Garcia, and it's quite possible he'll find someone else out there, someone who isn't on anyone else's radar. "I like young guys," said Minaya, providing a clue (though he also has more over-40 players on his team than anyone else). "They give you more energy."

    Oliver Perez and John Maine are two young guys who ranged from second pieces to afterthoughts when they were acquired. Now they are two of the most vital ingredients on one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Minaya has a knack all right. He was right in the middle of it when Texas signed Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez, Rich Aurilia and many other stars.

    And now he's in charge, the Newtown High-educated baseball savant who leads a baseball department filled with bookworms, a nice guy from the neighborhood who made it big and never forgets the little guy. During a 15-minute interview with him on Tuesday, he named no less than a dozen scouts, assistants, coaches and a manager who deserve the credit.

    "I've been fortunate to be around some very good people," said Minaya, naming Sandy Johnson, Bryan Lambe, Tony Bernazard, Willie Randolph, Rick Peterson and others. Yet, it's clear that the biggest curtain call of all should be reserved for Minaya, whose moves have made the Mets the class of the National League. Here they are, Minaya's nine greatest bargain hits:

    1. Perez. He looked like a mere throw-in when the Mets desperately acquired Roberto Hernandez at last year's trade deadline after Sanchez hurt his shoulder in a freak car accident. But Minaya had been working for weeks to acquire the pitcher who was toting around a 6-plus ERA over a year and half in Pittsburgh. At first no one liked the trade, which sent Xavier Nady to the Pirates. Now Oliver has an army of supporters.

    2. Maine. Hardly anyone noticed when he came with Jorge Julio for Kris Benson. The Orioles got their throw in (Anna Benson), and Minaya got his. Folks figured Minaya was blowing smoke when he talked up Maine, a middle reliever in Baltimore. Yet Minaya remembered on Wednesday that Maine was second in the minors in strikeouts two years before the Mets got him.

    3. Sanchez. Minaya was criticized for giving up starter Jae Seo to the Dodgers for a reliever, but before Sanchez hurt himself he gave the Mets about as perfect a half season as a set-up man can have.

    4. El Duque. Julio went west for another pitcher with a 6-plus ERA, one Minaya had acquired as Expos GM and who thrived previously in New York.

    5. Endy Chavez. Another player whom Minaya liked so much that he acquired him twice. No one thought anything of it when the Mets signed Chavez. Now, after making one of the greatest catches in playoff history and becoming baseball's best fourth outfielder, he's a fan favorite.

    6. Mota. He was terrible in Cleveland. But scout Russ Bove liked his arm strength, and Mets people recalled that he did his best work throwing to catcher Paul Lo Duca in Florida.

    7. Lo Duca. He's more of a front-tier fellow than the other eight on this list, but he was still a cost saver after neither Ramon Hernandez nor Bengie Molina jumped at bookend $18 million, three-year offers. He's been a consistent threat, a steadying backstop and a clubhouse key -- not bad for $6.25 million a year.

    8. Jose Valentin. This one even surprised Minaya. A little, anyway. Coming off a year of injury, the Mets knew he was better than most folks gave him credit for. However, they still looked to deal him early last year, before he became, in Minaya's words, "one of the best defensive second baseman in the National League."

    9. Damion Easley. Right-hand man Bernazard, who himself carved out a fine career at second base, recommended Easley, who has stunned folks by being tied for third on the team with seven home runs (David Wright and Beltran each have eight, and Delgado hit his sixth and seventh on Tuesday night), despite having half the at-bats of the regulars. The Mets outbid the Yankees for Easley's services by offering $800,000, making him perhaps the second-best bargain in New York baseball.

    Around the Majors
    The Mets weren't shocked to see a 'Mando meltdown on Tuesday night. Armando Benitez's two balks scored Jose Reyes with the tying run in the bottom of the 12th inning and were followed by the game-winning home run by Delgado. Benitez, who has always been a Mets killer (first as a Met, then as a Florida Marlin), appeared to throw a fit behind the mound after balking home Reyes. "We knew we could rattle him," one Met said.

    The first call, imperceptible to the human eye, was nonetheless spied by umpire Bob Davidson, who isn't called Balkin' Bob for nothing. The Giants didn't argue, though.

    Anyone who can guess who leads the Red Sox in RBIs wins a prize. No, not David Ortiz. Not Manny, either. It's Mike Lowell with 39.

    With all the Cardinals' offensive woes, maybe it's time for Rick Ankiel. The former pitcher has 11 home runs and 39 RBis in 41 games for Triple-A Memphis (not to mention a .575 slugging percentage).

    Not everyone sees Roger Clemens as a savior. The six shutout innings vs. Toledo on Monday didn't sell everyone. Some noticed fastballs that barely hit 90 mph. Speaking of the $18 million they'll pay Clemens for two-thirds of a season, one competing executive said, "I don't get that one, I really don't."

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby2glocks

    Thanks!!!! Excellent article on how Minaya has become a top-flight GM in this league

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    Quote Originally Posted by zonajetfan
    Thanks!!!! Excellent article on how Minaya has become a top-flight GM in this league
    No problem. Btw, who is that girl in your avatar? I've been meaning to ask for a while, she is smoking.

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    I love Minaya and his 'buy low' reclamation projects, but I would hardly say he's batting 1.000. For every Jorge Sosa is a Chan Ho Park, and for every Endy Chavez is a Ricky Ledee, and for every Damian Easley is an Eli Marrero.

    But still, to hit on the percentage of buy-low reclamation projects as he has is amazing. The level of production from guys like Perez, Maine, El Duque and Chavez is as much the reason for our success as his big name signings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ven0m
    I love Minaya and his 'buy low' reclamation projects, but I would hardly say he's batting 1.000. For every Jorge Sosa is a Chan Ho Park, and for every Endy Chavez is a Ricky Ledee, and for every Damian Easley is an Eli Marrero.

    But still, to hit on the percentage of buy-low reclamation projects as he has is amazing. The level of production from guys like Perez, Maine, El Duque and Chavez is as much the reason for our success as his big name signings.
    Thats true and a good point, but like you said his overall success has outweighed the Ricky Ledee types. Good god, never thought i would have to mention Ricky Ledee again

  6. #6
    The Giants did certainly argue after the first balk call...

    One bad trade Omar made (and he's made a lot of very good ones) was trading Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom for Jason Vargas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWeaverFan
    The Giants did certainly argue after the first balk call...

    One bad trade Omar made (and he's made a lot of very good ones) was trading Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom for Jason Vargas.
    I think the verdict is still out on that one. Henry Owens doesnt impress me at all, and Vargas is still pretty young. At worst, it comes down to a swap of garbage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWeaverFan
    Giants did certainly argue after the first balk call...

    One bad trade Omar made (and he's made a lot of very good ones) was trading Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom for Jason Vargas.
    The Manager came out and talked to the umpire, but it wasn't really a heated arguement or anything. And I think the Manager came out mainly to try and calm Armando Benitez's emotions.

    And It looks bad now, but....

    A) Owens and Lindstrom are 28 and 27 years old respectively. Whereas Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick are 24 years old. If Vargas and Bostick need a year or so in AAA before they contribute they are afforded the opportunity to do so.

    B) A Good Starter is more valueable then a Good Reliever. Always has been, Always will be.

    They traded older relief prospects for younger starting prospects. I would expect Owens and Lindstrom to have the better short-term impact. However, If Vargas can turn himself into a decent #3 starter like most scouts agree he is capable of, then I think all of a sudden the Mets would win this deal.

  9. #9
    See I give Minaya props for doing great things, but the ONLY reason he was given Perez was because of injuries, control problems, and a poor work ethic.

    Minaya got him there, but IMO Peterson and whoever kicked Perez's ass saved the guys career.

    The Pirates a couple years ago would probably not have taken Reyes for Perez he was so young, talented, and dominant.

    Props to Minaya for getting the timing right and making a steal, but thats such a luck move.

    Maine is kind of the same. He's been a solid pitcher his whole minor league career with better stuff than he's been given credit for.

    Minaya pissed me off before those two moves basically. Before those real good trades, he was basically saying "I'm Hispanic, you're Hispanic, take some of my bosses money and play for us." Except "some" was "alot."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SenorGato
    See I give Minaya props for doing great things, but the ONLY reason he was given Perez was because of injuries, control problems, and a poor work ethic.

    Minaya got him there, but IMO Peterson and whoever kicked Perez's ass saved the guys career.

    The Pirates a couple years ago would probably not have taken Reyes for Perez he was so young, talented, and dominant.

    Props to Minaya for getting the timing right and making a steal, but thats such a luck move.

    Maine is kind of the same. He's been a solid pitcher his whole minor league career with better stuff than he's been given credit for.

    Minaya pissed me off before those two moves basically. Before those real good trades, he was basically saying "I'm Hispanic, you're Hispanic, take some of my bosses money and play for us." Except "some" was "alot."
    The Hispanic thing may be true but he got real quality with these hispanic players. I bet a lot of other GM's wished they had taken "These hispanic players"...
    Last edited by FloridaJet; 05-30-2007 at 04:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SenorGato
    See I give Minaya props for doing great things, but the ONLY reason he was given Perez was because of injuries, control problems, and a poor work ethic.

    Minaya got him there, but IMO Peterson and whoever kicked Perez's ass saved the guys career.

    The Pirates a couple years ago would probably not have taken Reyes for Perez he was so young, talented, and dominant.

    Props to Minaya for getting the timing right and making a steal, but thats such a luck move.

    Maine is kind of the same. He's been a solid pitcher his whole minor league career with better stuff than he's been given credit for.
    I'm sure Rick Peterson watched a decent amount of film on both pitchers before any deal took place to see if Peterson had something in his arsenal to help the guy or not.

    And only when he gave Minaya the okay is when the deals took place. You don't always have to be the great scout, as long as you have great people working under you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWeaverFan
    The Giants did certainly argue after the first balk call...

    One bad trade Omar made (and he's made a lot of very good ones) was trading Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom for Jason Vargas.
    The manager's technically not allowed to argue a balk call. "Balker Bob" called the first one, but not the 2nd, which was more damaging.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Ven0m
    The Manager came out and talked to the umpire, but it wasn't really a heated arguement or anything. And I think the Manager came out mainly to try and calm Armando Benitez's emotions.

    And It looks bad now, but....

    A) Owens and Lindstrom are 28 and 27 years old respectively. Whereas Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick are 24 years old. If Vargas and Bostick need a year or so in AAA before they contribute they are afforded the opportunity to do so.

    B) A Good Starter is more valueable then a Good Reliever. Always has been, Always will be.

    They traded older relief prospects for younger starting prospects. I would expect Owens and Lindstrom to have the better short-term impact. However, If Vargas can turn himself into a decent #3 starter like most scouts agree he is capable of, then I think all of a sudden the Mets would win this deal.
    Venom - you are right about Bochy, that's my mistake. I saw it again and realized that was the case. The reason, by the way, is that if you argue with an ump about a balk, you are immediately kicked out of the game - just like arguing about balls and strikes.

    Agreed about a good starter being more valuable than a good reliever, but I don't think Vargas will be any good. The other guys should be decent relievers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffWeaverFan
    Agreed about a good starter being more valuable than a good reliever, but I don't think Vargas will be any good. The other guys should be decent relievers.
    I'm not sure what to make of Vargas. I think he has the stuff to be an effective Major League pitcher, he just needs some more polish. We'll see though. Im not expecting him to make much of an impact this year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SenorGato
    See I give Minaya props for doing great things, but the ONLY reason he was given Perez was because of injuries, control problems, and a poor work ethic.

    Minaya got him there, but IMO Peterson and whoever kicked Perez's ass saved the guys career.

    The Pirates a couple years ago would probably not have taken Reyes for Perez he was so young, talented, and dominant.

    Props to Minaya for getting the timing right and making a steal, but thats such a luck move.
    I'm not sure I follow you. You're saying "the ONLY reason he was given Perez...etc." Shouldn't that disuade a GM from trading for this guy in most cases? Minaya and his scouts obviously thought they could do something with his talent.

    Also, what are you trying to say with "Minaya got him there, but IMO Peterson and whoever kicked Perez's ass saved the guys career?" Did you expect Minaya to step in as pitching coach and turn things around?

    "Luck move?" I'm not so sure about this either. Do you think Minaya had no idea about this guys talent? Do you think he got him despite his troubles because he thought the Mets organization COULDN'T turn him around?

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    Minaya is great for two reasons:

    1) he's an experienced talent scout, so he doesn't just rely on what the scouts say, or what the numbers say (see Cashman, post 200_)

    2) he's amassed a skilled coaching staff. Peterson deserves a ton of credit for turning careers around, refining pitchers' abilities, and dealing with all the mental quirks that pitchers have.

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