Mets ownership backs Minaya
NEW YORK - Mets general manager Omar Minaya is expected back next season.
The New York Post reported yesterday that owner Fred Wilpon said Minaya will return in 2010 despite the failings of his $136 million team on and off the field this year.
Minaya in turn told the newspaper that if he's back, manager Jerry Manuel will return as well.
"I always felt I had ownership's support and I'll continue to work to do my job every day to the best of my abilities," Minaya told the Associated Press yesterday.
Manuel said he appreciated the support, but he was focused on winning games. Manuel had received the backing of Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, the owner's son, in July.
"Jeff has already given us a vote of confidence before," Manuel said before New York played the Phillies yesterday. "I appreciate these things, but we're still trying to win games and that doesn't really change any way how you go about anything. You're still trying to do the best you can."
Manuel and Fred Wilpon spoke at length in the outfield during batting practice Saturday, but Manuel declined to discuss what was said.
Decimated by injuries, the Mets have slipped to fourth place in the NL East. Last season, they missed the playoffs following their second consecutive September meltdown. Afterward, Minaya was given a 3-year contract extension that runs through 2012. The deal contains club options covering 2013 and 2014.
"Am I going to bring Omar back next year? Absolutely. That's a fact," Wilpon told the Post.
Manuel is signed through next season, with a club option for 2011.
The Mets came into this season with an $800 million new ballpark and hopes of supplanting the Phillies atop the NL East. Instead, long-term injuries to Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, John Maine and, more recently, David Wright, depleted the lineup and sent the team into a tailspin that has left it out of playoff contention.
The injuries also exposed a lack of depth in the Mets' farm system, and Minaya failed to make any major moves at the trade deadline.
Minaya was in the middle of a front-office debacle, too. The club fired vice president of player development Tony Bernazard, a longtime friend and top Minaya lieutenant, for a series of publicized blowups. At a bizarre news conference to announce the move, Minaya questioned the motives and credibility of a beat reporter who wrote several damaging stories about Bernazard. Minaya later apologized.