A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Stipped Down

Duquette has officially been demoted. The GM of the New York Mets is Omar Minaya.

"That was part of the arrangement when I first signed my three-year contract that it was a one-year commitment as a general manager," Duquette said. "They had the right to reassign me and reduce my pay if they wanted to. Thankfully, they didn't reduce my salary. They kept me at the rate I would be paid as GM the next two years."

Look, I'm glad that Minaya is here, but they could have had him last year and not demoted Duquette and gone through this mess. Also, Duquette did know of there was a possibility of leaving his post since it was in his contract. In his defense, he would have needed more than 1 1/2 years to implement a plan and I personally think he was not given a fair shot. I think he was strong armed in deviating from his plan, but that is part of the problem that needs to be solved. The Mets need someone who stands up for what he believes in is best for the team and is not afraid to stand up to the background voices and I do not think Duquette is that guy. Maybe Duquette was for the moves or maybe he's just the fall guy, we do not know for sure. Either way, his head should have been on the block. Either he made a horrible move or was bullied into complying to make a horrible move. Would Minaya have vetoed the deal? Who knows what the outcome would have been. We do know that Duquette said he was publicly behind the much maligned moves, but it was very much against what he said in the spring about building from within. So something definitely smells rotten in Denmark. One thing that is clear to me is that Duquette is a professional.

"I was disappointed in their decision and their assessment of what they needed to do in terms of a reassignment. Whether it's fair or unfair at this point doesn't really matter. Having said that, I understand why they did what they did and I'm supportive of it because they've been talking about it for a while. It would be selfish of me to resign or leave because of a title. I still have a significant role and significant say in the organization, so I'm not going to get caught up in a title. I will say this: I feel like there's unfinished business and [I'm] looking forward to working with Omar."

If what Minaya and Duquette are saying is true, I think this can be a good thing.

"When I took this job, most important thing was that I wanted Jim to be my right-hand man," Minaya said. "He's going to be a big part of this. He's going to be right there next to me. And I say 'I,' but I really mean 'we' when it comes to the front office. I believe that the front office has to work together. I was an assistant GM for a long while, so as a GM I know a large part of my success will be dependent on Jim Duquette."

Minaya was given a five-year deal do shape the club as he so desires. Omar is in charge of hiring a manager to naming front-office personnel to deciding on a coaching staff. The key phrase used by Wilpon was complete autonomy. Minaya is supposedly going to have full autonomy in the baseball department and Duquette will be his right hand man and still hand in shaping the way this team looks. We will not have to wait too long to see what happens as most of the big prizes of the off season are off the table by the end of December just in time to start selling season tickets. That means the manager will be employed by mid to late October since many players need to know who they are coming to play for. The next three months will be anything but boring for Met fans. The hot stove is going to be smoking hot for the Metropolitans.

* * *

  • Adam Dunn set the undesirable record for most strikeouts in a single season. He passed Bonds' previous mark of 189 in 1970. Dunn currently has 191 and still has four games left play.

  • I must have been sleeping when I missed some important info on Phil Humber.

    Mike Moye, the agent for first-round pick Phil Humber, told MLB.com on Friday that he and the Mets are "not close to a deal but anything can change." Other than that, he had no comment, per his firm's policy on negotiations. Sources confirmed that Humber, the third pick in the draft, is asking for a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $3.5 million and is looking for a Major League-type contract in the $6 million range.

    Damn, I guess I can see why Humber is not signed yet. He is asking for a major league contract. I think he has all the future in the world and is a solid major league prospect, but a guaranteed major league contract? Coming into 2004, Baseball America had him ranked behind Jeff Neiman, Justin Verlander, Jared Weaver, Wade Townsend, and Jeremy Sowers in terms of college pitchers. After the 2004 season, not much changed and they were all still highly regarded prospects. They are all solid prospects, but is anyone worth a major league contract out of that bunch? Weaver is going to hold out for one, but he is not projected to be better than a #3 starter at best. Read here about my thoughts on this situation if you have not before. The system needs to be overhauled, I feel like Humber knows he has the Mets bent over after they dealt Kazmir and Peterson. Humber knows that they need him and they are trying to get as much as they can. I cannot fault him, but I blame the Mets and I blame the system. The Mets can afford to sign him to this contract if they cave, but some small market teams cannot allocate that much to an unsure thing like a prospect. The playing field is not level in terms of drafting players and Humber does not deserve a guaranteed major league contract in my opinion.

  • The Wild West is shaping up to have an amazing weekend. The people that made the schedule could not have done a better job. Anaheim will be traveling to Oakland for a three game series that will decide the division. This could all come down to their last game on Sunday to decide the division and the last AL playoff spot.

  • The NL Wildcard is turning into quite a showdown as well. The Astros and the Giants both lead the Cubs by 1 game. The 'Stros have a series at home against the Rockies, the Cubs have an Atlanta team that will resemble the Richmond Braves at home, and the Giants will have to travel to Dodgers Stadium. This one is probably going to play down to the final day of the season as well. An amazing finish

  • I was reading an ESPN Insider article on John Smotlz yesterday, and I came across this paragraph.

    Smoltz spent 27 days on the DL, gritted his teeth to get through the playoffs, then submitted to a fourth surgery on his right elbow, this time to remove various flotsam and significant jetsam. He says the damage was directly related to the repetitive stress of closing, not to residual effects from years of starting. "I'll counter anyone's argument if they say this is better for my arm," he says. "This is way harder on my arm. Not even close."

    Flotsam and jetsam? What in hell? He has ship debris in his elbow?

  • Cleveland Indian pitcher Kyle Denney was shot and possibly saved from further injury by wearing cheerleader boots. You cannot make this stuff up. It is great that no major injuries were suffered after the bullet struck Denney in the calf and grazed Ryan Ludwick.

    "Our trainers said the boots may have saved Kyle from further injury," spokesperson Bart Swain said.

  • Wilpon on next year's payroll:

    "My presumption is the payroll will be higher."

    Damn skippy, pay up sucka.

  • Talk about uncomfortable photos:

    I was kind of pulling for a cat fight here. Some hair pulling, biting, etc. Nothing!

    Prefect opportunity for a joy buzzer or something....just wasted.

  • This wise crack is great. It is an excerpt from the Daily News:

    Most of the questions for Minaya were about the new Mets manager. He said he had a list of five or six names. He wouldn't give away the names. But there is no doubt, Fred Wilpon told us, that Minaya, and Minaya alone, would pick the new man.

    Which led one wise guy to ask Wilpon, "What if (Minaya) likes Art (Howe?)"

    Wilpon didn't hesitate. "Then we'll have Art."

    No, that's too much autonomy.

  • Jeff Wilpon on the Kazmir trade:

    "I was the lone dissenting vote on whether to do the trade," he said. "I thought he had a special arm. But I agree with it and I stand by it now."

    Fact or fiction?

  • The Baseball America's top 20 prospects in the Florida St. League are out. Two Mets made it…well, one really. The give that keeps on giving keeps up it’s generosity, Scott Kazmir made the list as a St. Lucie Met just to rub it in everyone's faces. Kazmir stepped in at #4 and Yumeiro Petit got the screwgie getting listed at #13.

    4. SCOTT KAZMIR, lhp, St. Lucie Mets

    Not many managers got to see the Kazmir who caused an uproar when the Mets foolishly traded him to the Devil Rays in July for Victor Zambrano.
    By that point, Kazmir was back to the fireballing lefty who blows away batters with a 95-mph fastball and a nasty slider. A month and a half later, he was out dueling Pedro Martinez in Fenway Park. But while in the FSL, Kazmir was bothered by a rib injury that limited his velocity and his command.

    Kazmir pitched at 90-95 mph in St. Lucie, compared to 93-97 in the majors. His slider also had more bite once he was fully healthy, and his changeup potentially could become a third plus pitch. Command and durability are the biggest question marks with Kazmir, but no lefty in the minors has better pure stuff.

    13. YUSMEIRO PETIT, rhp, St. Lucie Mets

    Though he led minor league starters with 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings and finished second with 200 strikeouts, Petit isn't a flamethrower. He gets his swings and misses with a 88-90 mph fastball that peaks at 92. While his fastball is average at best, his command, late life and deceptive delivery ensure that hitters rarely get a good swing at it.

    "He keeps the ball down, and the ball seems to explode onto bats," Teufel said. "He's fun to watch operate. He's a surgeon on the dish."

    Of his three minor league stops in 2004, Petit did his best work in St. Lucie. He also features a changeup that is a plus pitch at times but is still inconsistent. His slider has potential, but he doesn't yet fully command it and sometimes it flattens out too much.


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