Simple Changes Omar Minaya Needs to Make to the Mets

The Mets are a good team.  They’ve got a lot of good players, lots of character, and have a real chance at going far this season.  However, they could be better. There are some very simple things Omar Minaya can do that will make the Mets a better team.

Fixing Oliver Perez is one of the most popular discussions these days.  This one obviously isn’t as black and white.  Where has his velocity gone for instance?  Oliver Perez, unlike most pitchers, is a guy that need some guidance and oversight.  Manuel and Warthen seem to be two of the worst guys to provide this, choosing instead to give up on him rather then try to help.  Maybe they don’t know what to do, which would actually be worse.  Regardless, Oliver Perez has the talent to be a good pitcher.  Someone needs to grow a brain and figure out how to proceed in this regard.   There have been signs, even this year, that he can be very solid..

Replace Frank Catalanotto on the roster.  Even though his failure is over a very small sample size, his upside isn’t exactly that of a superb pinch hitter.  Failure is still failure, and there are dozens of decent replacements to his position on the roster.  Right now he almost never plays the field anyway, so you don’t even need an awesome defender to replace him.  Nick Evans, Chris Carter, Mike Hessman all seem like suitable replacements.

Gary Matthews Junior.  He’s had more at bats than Frank, and has gotten more than a fair chances worth of starts to prove that he can be worthwhile.  He’s failed at just about every opportunity.  It’s a shame Manuel ever chose to start him over Pagan, who’s hit right around .300 for his Mets career.  The major reason cited for keeping him is that he can play center field.  (Besides the somewhat undefinable ‘experience’ factor that Manuel always throws out there)  Pagan is just fine, so do we really need to have a legitimate center fielder to  back him up?  If so, you’ve got guys like Jason Pridie and Jesus Feliciano in the minors.  If not, then just go with Pagan full time and on the rare day he gets a day off, both Frenchy and Bay know what to do in center field for one game, even if it’s not ideal defensively.  This opens up the possibility to any corner outfielder as a backup.

Jenrry Mejia.  I’ve been semi-supportive of the idea to keep him up in the majors if he can help the team win.  However, he’s struggled at times and it only seems to  be hurting his development of his other pitches.  The bullpen has been pretty good, and since starting pitchers are so much more valuable, it’s time to send Mejia back down to the minors to work on being that starting pitcher.

Fernando Tatis is another player that doesn’t seem to have much value.   His best value is his ability to play multiple positions adequately, but the Mets aren’t in any great need in that regard.  Bay and Francoeur play basically all the time, as does David Wright.  Cora’s got 2B.  Ike Davis could probably do with a day or two off occasionally if he hits an extended rough patch, but the Mets have plenty of adequate 1B guys that can fill Tatis’ role better than him.  When Daniel Murphy is fully healed I think he’d be a much better guy to play the role.  He’s younger, has much power, and is a better defender.  He’s got no real spot to play on this team, and right now doesn’t have a ton of value.  If he could be a super-utility guy on this team, the Mets could probably get something of value for him in the off season.  No one else even wanted Tatis last off season, so he basically has zero value on or off this team.

Fire Jerry Manuel, Dan Warthen, and Howard Johnson.  It’s hard for fans, especially on the outside, to evaluate what role these types of guys have.  It’s pretty obvious Manuel does not know how to handle a  baseball team, from wearing out bullpens, to giving up outs while down runs late in games, to playing guys out of position.  He seems to undermine his players to the media, and always seems to show no faith or confidence in his players that need it, excepting washed up veterans who he plays way too much for some reason.  It’s not an easy situation replacing a manager and finding a suitable replacement.  They screwed it up last time they went through this, and they’re still paying for it, but it’s something that could definitely help this team.

Dan Warthen and Howard Johnson may be easier.  They each seem to have had some marginal success with some players, but for the most part the bullpen and starters have underperformed under Warthen, and excepting Pagan and Francoeur, no player has really hit their career numbers or better with Johnson.  It may be time for a fresh perspective on all this, and there is no time like the present.

Not all of these need to be done.  There are different solutions to the problems I’ve presented, and some of the problems might not be as dire as they seem to me.  However, all good teams make adjustments to the roster, and the Mets have reached the point where it’s time to cull some dead weight, and give some new guys a chance.  Hopefully Omar is already discussing which moves he should make for the upcoming games.

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  • stickguy

    reading my mind baby, reading my mind!

  • Justin

    Umm… so regarding Ollie. What about Rick Peterson? He is only one of the best pitching coaches in the game. Maybe 2nd only to Dave Duncan and we still had good and bad Ollie with him.

    What more would you suggest doing besides criticizing the coaches to “grow a brain”?

  • I really don’t know how to evaluate a pitching coach, although I really think Warthen is bad. I did have issues with Peterson as well though, I felt he was too rigid and too anti-curveball (How would that play with Niese?)

    Leo Mazzone?

    I feel this is on Omar to replace and evaluate said coaches who seem not be getting results. Maybe I’m misreading things when I say it seems like Warthen/Manuel have given up on Perez, but it’s on them to get him to perform well too, not said let him struggle and say “well, we’ll think about replacing him in the rotation” after every start.

    Maybe talk to Pelfrey’s baseball shrink to work with Perez (a guy employed by Boras, who is also Perez’ agent)?

  • MetsFan4Decades

    What I like about this article is not only did you point out problem areas, you presented a viable solution. Many times, most just want to complain about the problems without looking for a solution.

    I think replacing Cat/GMJ/Tatis and sending Mejia down are all doable, in the very near future – if not some right now. Have to wait until Murph is ready to come back and sending Mejia down probably won’t be discussed until Iggy is back.

    Firing Jerry/Warthen/HoJo is another matter. As much as I agree, it probably won’t happen until we’re so far out of contention, it won’t help. Which, if you think about it, is reactive instead of proactive. I’ll be that’s the path Omar and Jeff take though.

  • Yeah, the reactive instead of proactive thing seems like the Mets and is one of the problems.

  • Frank

    I think the Oliver Perez experiment is nearing an end. I’d give R.A Dickey Ollies next start. Gary Matthews tenure should be also coming to a close. Frank C is another matter. 25 AB’s isn’t enough. Call up Chris Carter and cut Tatis.


  • JM

    To insinuate the Mets coaching staffs and management have not mentored OP or been patient with him, that they have given up on him is absolutely, the single most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard a Mets fan say. Look at the contract they gave this head case. No one else in baseball considered giving him close to that many years and that much money. That contract alone shows the Mets’ commitment to him. There comes a time in a player’s career when his potential doesn’t translate into ability. That time has come for Perez.

  • Come on, first off Manuel and Warthen had nothing to do with Ollie’s contract.

    Perez’s potential has translated into ability plenty of times. As recently as his 6.2 IP performance prior to yesterday. Manuel and Warthen seem ill-equiped, for many raesons, to maximize his ups, and minimize his downs.

    Manuel has shown this tendency with other people, from the way he mistreats the bullpen, to the way he treated guys like Church and Murphy and Castro, and overused aged crappy veterans like Sheffield, Tatis, Gary Matthews Jr, Omir Santos and many others.

  • tarheelcoach

    Ollie has been through three teams and at least four pitching coaches and no one has had any success in figuring him out. At this point, its time to stop blaming the coaches and blame the player.

    I really don’t think the coaches are the problem. How much effect does a coach at the major league level really have? From what many say, including Keith and Ron, very little.

    The issue is Omar. Jerry is playing the cards that he is dealt. Any manager is going to want to keep Mejiia because he gives him a chance to win NOW. The front office’s job is to see the big picture and overrule the field guys in situations like this. The same with Cat and GMJ – they are on the roster, so what choice does Jerry have but to put them up there?

  • Jerry’s the one that wanted GMJ and Cat and Jacobs. He doesn’t have to play them with the frequency he does and did. There is no reason to play Castillo only four games in 9 days when he’s healthy. Jacobs should never have batted fourth, GMJ should never have had the start above Pagan, with the very rare exception of a day off for Angel. Mejia is not helping the team win, as he’s already lost a couple of games. He’s not obviously better than other options.

    Teams wouldn’t have coaches if they didn’t matter. Some matter more than others, some players need them more, but they matter, or they wouldn’t be getting paid. Coaches and managers jobs are to maximize their players, and none of the Mets guys seem to be doing that. Perez is up and down, and right now he’s more down than up under Warthen.

  • Ericloz

    Perez is one of those guys who is what he is. One word that will never be wore out when describing him is “enigma”. You would hope that he will mature into a Lefty Grove “next year”. The problem is that w/ Perez it’s always “next year”. His potential lies in the future, the issue is that his problems reside in the present.

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  • I agree with everything on here except your assessments of Ollie and Tatis.

    Ollie is a lost cause. He’s been “on the brink of greatness” for how many years now? Regardless of his exorbitant salary, we need to use him as little as possible (bullpen) and start exploring other options.

    Tatis, as the numbers will prove, has been a solid pinch hitter this year. He’s valuable to the team for the sheer fact that we need pinch hitters that produce late in games. Check fan graphs or one of those stat sites and highlight his pinch hitting stats this year. He’s doing very well and is definitely worth keeping.

  • matthew cromartie

    Omar please place Pagan in right field and bat him second behind Reyes and in
    front of Beltran . Together they can steal over 120 bases. Plus they are all
    switch hitters and place great pressure on the defense. You can then bat Bay 4th , Davis 5th , Wright 6th, Barajas7th Cora 8th. We can’t afford to give the
    opposition 700 strikeouts year. These are free and unproductive outs. Next we need to try and obtain Cliff Lee. He would give us a solid number 3 starter behind Santana and Pelfry. Next season switch Wright to second base and bring in a solid and productive everyday 3rd baseman. This would add depth to the lineup and versitility. Many players have change position and have had great careers. I believe that we can win the wildcard if the right decisions are made.

    Thank You
    Matthew Cromartie
    646-725-2644 , 945-0284