Rumors swirl around Minaya, Manuel
Team could announce futures of GM, manager on Monday
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya will not return to their current roles after this season, according to a Friday report on SI.com.
The Mets declined to comment on the report.
"We have nothing to announce until after the season," a team spokesman said, noting that any announcements may come as soon as Monday.
Manuel, whose two-year contract will officially expire Monday, entered Friday with a 202-212 record in two and a half seasons at the helm of the Mets. The team holds a one-year option on Manuel's contract for 2011.
"It sounds like everybody's got me written off, but nobody's told me I'm written off," said Manuel, who said he had not discussed his status with his superiors. "They kicked me to the curb and I'm not seeing the curb."
Minaya is under contract for another two seasons at more than $1 million annually. According to the SI.com report, he will have an option to remain with the club in another capacity. At the time of that report, according to a team source, the Mets had not informed Minaya of his status for next season.
Seemingly inevitable throughout the second half of the summer, the reported shakeups will mark the beginning of what should be a busy offseason for the Mets, who presumably must soon begin the process of interviewing and hiring replacements. Among the possible candidates for Manuel's job are former Mets second baseman Wally Backman and Bobby Valentine, who managed the Mets from 1996-2002. For Minaya's job, SI.com named former D-backs GM Josh Byrnes, White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn and former A's GM Sandy Alderson as possible replacements.
Taking over from Willie Randolph in the early morning hours on June 17, 2008, Manuel quickly endeared himself to fans with his forthright nature and philosophical approach. After leading the Mets to a 55-38 record over the final three and a half months of that season, Manuel dropped his interim tag and earned a two-year contract with a third-year option to remain in New York.
From that point forward, team health issues and inconsistencies marred Manuel's body of work. Considered one of the top squads in the National League entering the 2009 season, the Mets endured injuries to almost every regular on their roster, finishing with a losing record for the first time in five years. Though the Mets improved in 2010, flirting with a .500 record nearly all season long, they apparently did not make enough progress to appease upper management.
"I think as the manager of the team, I've never ran from blame or anything like that," Manuel said. "I'm the manager of the team. I managed the pieces and the resources the best way that I could, and it didn't work out. We didn't finish where we wanted to finish, so I take responsibility for that."
Manuel's dismissal, if and when it indeed comes, would hardly be unexpected. Joking constantly about his tenuous job status throughout the summer, Manuel often deferred when asked about specific plans for the Mets beyond 2010.
Even so, Manuel said he believes there is a chance he may stay on as manager, and questioned whether it was "honest" for the Mets to leak a report about his status before personally telling him the news.
"You obviously would like the people to let you know before it comes across the screen," Manuel said.
Manuel, the 2000 American League Manager of the Year, is 702-683 in nine combined years managing the White Sox and Mets. Between those posts, he spent time as a bench coach for the Mets under Randolph. Prior to his managing days, Manuel also served as bench coach for the Marlins under Jim Leyland and third-base coach for the Expos under Felipe Alou.
Minaya joined the Mets prior to the 2005 season, initially making splashes with the free-agent signings of outfielder Carlos Beltran, right-hander Pedro Martinez and closer Billy Wagner, and the trade for first baseman Carlos Delgado.
Minaya also engineered the deal to bring Johan Santana to Flushing prior to the 2008 season.
Those who have played under him and Manuel were hesitant to comment on Friday's report, due to its unofficial nature.
"It's too soon to talk about that," shortstop Jose Reyes said. "They're still with us at this point."