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Mets name Omar Minaya Special Assistant to the GM

The former GM should bring an eye for scouting

NLCS Game 7: St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

This morning in a surprising bit of news, the New York Mets brought back Omar Minaya, who was their general manager from 2004-2010, to be a special assistant to current general manager Sandy Alderson. In his years since his departure from the Mets organization, Minaya has stayed involved in the sport working as Vice President of the San Diego Padres and special assistant to the executive director of the MLBPA, Tony Clark.

Minaya’s seven years at the helm of the Mets had their fair share of highs and lows. Some of the highlights of Minaya’s tenure were his signings of players such as Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran. The 2006 NL East Champion Mets team was built mostly on players that Minaya signed or traded for. Possibly his most famous move as general manager was trading for and extending two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana in the middle of his prime. But, there were also some extreme disappointments under Minaya with the signings of Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, and the extension of Oliver Perez.

Near the end of his time in office, Minaya faced more and more controversy. His most infamous move was his firing of manager Willie Randolph, pitching coach Rick Peterson, and first base coach Tom Nieto midseason in the middle of the night during a west coast road trip without any warning. A little over a year after that came the still memorable “has lobby” press conference in which Minaya went after Daily News reporter Adam Rubin for breaking the news about the Mets Vice President of Development, Tony Bernazard, challenging players to fight him due to Rubin’s prior interest in a player development position.

Bad memories aside, from a purely baseball perspective, this isn’t really a bad move for the Mets. Before becoming a general manager, Minaya was praised for his scouting acumen, and his front office prioritized scouting over analytics. On the current team, Juan Lagares and Jeurys Familia were both signed as amateur free agents and pitchers Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz were all drafted by the Minaya regime. That said, he also drafted players in the first round like Eddie Kunz, Reese Havens, and Brad Holt, none of whom made an impact on the team in the long term. For a team without much action going on in the farm system, a scout like Minaya may have the ability to bring in some talent that otherwise might’ve gone unnoticed.

This move is not without controversy and, like many things involving the Mets, the controversy starts with the ownership. According to reports, Minaya was brought in by ownership, seemingly Fred Wilpon, against the better wishes of members of the front office. Even under the best of circumstances, a former general manger who left under less than great terms working as an assistant to the man who replaced him is definitely a weird situation.