Over the past few days or so, we have heard a number of conflicting reports on the future of our embattled General Manager Omar Minaya. This season has been especially tough on Omar in terms of fan backlash to due a rash of injuries that allowed other areas of the franchise to become open to ridicule and scorn.
The farm system, not exactly known to be strong before the season started, is now looked at more as a graveyard with a few flowers trying to grow from nothing but the dead and buried.
The entire medical staff that was brought in for the team has been just downright awful, leading to setback which in turn has forced Omar to try to defend them and try to explain the injuries without tipping his hand as to how screwed the team really is.
To me there is one man who I know can step into this situation and would be able to fix the issues quickly and turn this team around for the better. That man is current Tampa Bay Rays General Manager Andrew Friedman.
Friedman has been able to, in only 3 years as the team’s General Manager, bring in a winning manager in Joe Maddon. He would draft guys like Andy Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann, as VP of Player Development and as GM draft top guys like Evan Longoria, and David Price.
He has even made good moves on the trade front, picking the likes of Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler (Remember him?), Willy Aybar, Gabe Gross, Edwin Jackson and Dioner Navarro.
Then to top it all off, he goes out and locks up Carl Crawford, the Rays franchise player and brings in Carlos Pena on a flyer to play first base, not a bad little resume for the 31 yr old now isn’t it.
To me, the one issue many people bring up is that Friedman has never really had to deal with a lot of money before and has worked with such a tight budget. In turn the one time he was able to spend a little cash, he got a guy like Pat Burrell who has been stinking it up. I think that is a fair point, and yet, I still think it’s a pretty stupid one.
With the fact that the Wilpons are already moaning and groaning about the fact are up against the luxury tax threshold, they have put somewhat of a cap on what Omar can do. He isn’t used to something like that, as he likes to throw money around like it’s on fire.
It seems to me, a guy like Friedman who is a thinking man’s GM would be able to handle a somewhat slowing down of cash flow from above because he hast dealt with it for most of his years as a GM and has an AL Pennant to prove he can win that way.
Omar Minaya is watching his 2009 season in the brand new ballpark go right into the toilet and he doesn’t seem to have a clue as to what he needs to do to fix it. It seems simple enough that when someone doesn’t know how to fix a problem, you bring in someone who can do that.
Bringing in a young baseball mind like Andrew Friedman would be a brilliant fit for a team that needs a bit of retooling by a person who knows how to evaluate talent, to put together a winning team. Friedman is the kind of guy who knows what kind of team he needs to create with the pieces he already has and is able to fit in the rest, big name or small, with exactly what is needed.
Case in point being the Garza and Bartlett trade, where he brought in a Shortstop who can pick it and a young pitcher that was able to win ALCS MVP last October.
Andrew Friedman is the man the Mets need to bring in to replace Omar and get this sinking ship back on track. If this guy is scooped up by another big time ball club, especially in a place like the Bronx, where he would also fit in to replace Brian Cashman, it would be a missed opportunity by the Mets to get a brilliant mind for the GM spot.
The Omar era has come and gone and he has done wonders to take a 90 loss team and at least put a product on the field that has a chance to win normally, sans injuries. In the end, I don’t think that Omar has the baseball mind to put it altogether to make the Mets from a contending pretender to a World Champion.
That guy in Andrew Friedman and if you don’t believe me, why not take a look in Left Field at Tropicana Field sometime and you’ll see the League Championship banner hanging right there as proof as to just how good Friedman is as a GM. I don’t see one in Queens since Omar jumped on board, do you?