By: Clayton Collier
The inevitable has finally happened. Mets ownership has fired manager Jerry Manuel and relieved general manager Omar Minaya of his duties earlier today. This coming on the heels of the Mets closing a mediocre 2010 season. In 2010 they once again failed to reach .500 and the postseason. The Wilpon's stated they would like to go in a "new direction" and have a winning atmosphere in the franchise.
Minaya joined the club in 2005 replacing Jim Duquette as the GM. In his first off season he made a big splash signing Carlos Beltran, Billy Wagner, Pedro Martinez and trading for Carlos Delgado. These moves payed off as the Mets made it to the postseason in the 2006 season, falling to the Cardinals in 7 games of the NLCS. Unfortunately, that would be the only success Minaya would have. Despite acquiring Fransisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana, Jason Bay and J.J. Putz among others since the 2006 season, the Mets have failed to make the playoffs since, resulting in Minaya's termination as GM. Minaya could return with the organization in 2011 in a different position.
Manuel came on board as a first base coach in 2005 and later a bench coach in the 2006 season. He became the manager in June of 2008 replacing Willie Randolph. Manuel went 55-38 as manager in 2008, falling one game short of a playoff berth for the second year in a row. In the 2009 season, the Mets were predicted to be in the World Series. But Manuel's first full season ended heavily below expectations. The Amazins finished in fourth place with a 70-92 record due to a ravage of injuries. With almost a fully healthy team the Mets did not do much better in 2010, ending yesterday's season in fourth place again with a 79-83 record, ending his career with the New York Mets.
Ownership wants to hire a GM from outside the organization that will bring in fresh and new ideas. Assistant GM John Ricco will assist in the selection process for the position. Today the Mets drew up a list of roughly 30 candidates and have already narrowed that number to about half of a dozen.
Whoever the new GM is going to be will select the new manager. The candidates are vast but the first man for the job appears to be Wally Backman. Backman is a former Mets 2nd baseman and managed the Brooklyn Cyclones this past season to a 51-24 record, best in their Single-A league. Backman has no major league experience as a coach except only one day with the Diamondbacks before rumors surfaced regarding his personal and legal issues that got him fired soon after.
With a franchise without a certain direction to go, the Wilpons, players, and fans alike all hope the new management can right this sinking ship that is the New York Mets.