Published October 01, 2010
NEW YORK – The New York Mets are braced for a shakeup.
Manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya both said Friday they have not been notified they are losing their jobs following another season filled with injuries rather than accomplishments.
Sports Illustrated, citing unidentified sources, reported on its website earlier in the day that the team will announce after the season that the pair won't return in their roles.
"This is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately town, and lately it hasn't been good," David Wright said Friday night before a season-ending series against Washington began with a 2-1, 10-inning win. "I think everybody that signed up for this, everybody that's in the organization knows that in New York you're expected to win, and that when you don't get it done, there's going to be fingers pointed and, obviously, that's where we're at now."
Speculation about their futures has swirled for weeks. The guaranteed portion of Manuel's contract expires at the end of the season, and Minaya, completing his sixth season, is due two more years.
"Nothing has been told to me other than, just like every year, you discuss it at the end of the year," Manuel said. "Obviously, I like what I'm doing. I love, obviously, the city. I love this environment. But I look forward to hoping to get the opportunity to help turn the franchise around. It's had a couple tough years, obviously."
Jeff Wilpon, the Mets chief operating officer and son of owner Fred Wilpon, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
A former AL Manager of the Year with the Chicago White Sox, Manuel hoped that he would hear a decision on his fate before it is made public.
"That would be the honest thing or the integri-ous thing to do. No question," Manuel said. "It sounds like everybody got me written off, but nobody's told me off right now. Kick me to curb — I haven't even seen the curb."
Still, he knows there's a chance change will occur.
"Going in, you know when you come to New York bottom line is you have to win," he said. "So that tells you some things right there. But you, obviously, would like for the people just to let you know before it comes across the screen."
After coming within a win of reaching the World Series in 2006, the Mets have slopped through four sorry seasons.
First, they blew a seven-game lead with 17 to play in 2007 by going 5-12 down the stretch. Then, after manager Willie Randolph was fired in June 2008 and Manuel was promoted from bench coach, they wasted a season-high 3½-game lead with 17 remaining by sliding to a 7-10 finish.
Last year, they sank from 89-73 to 70-92 as players spent a major league high of more than 1,480 days on the disabled list, according to STATS LLC. This year, they entered the final two days 78-82 and finished with ace Johan Santana, closer Francisco Rodriguez, and outfielders Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay all hurt.
Santana is likely to miss at least the first half of 2011 following shoulder surgery. Rodriguez also faces an uncertain future after a tearing a ligament in the thumb of his pitching hand during a fight with his girlfriend's father outside a family lounge at Citi Field in July. He faces criminal charges, and the Mets withheld more than $3 million of his salary, prompting a grievance.
"We definitely were hit very hard. I think would be probably the only thing that I regret — is that I never really had the pieces that we had put together to last for a significant time," Manuel said. "That would be the toughest thing for me."
Manuel thinks he knows what the Mets need to turn around. They haven't won the World Series since 1986 or even reached it since 2000.
"I kind of feel like it's close, but obviously some things have to be added and some things have to be subtracted," he said.
Impending change is overshadowing the end of the season. Bat orders for spring training already were being placed Friday afternoon.
"I don't even know if I'm going to be here next year," Jose Reyes said. "Let's see what happens."
Reyes said he understands baseball is a business. With the Mets' struggles, players understand a shakeup could be ahead.
"It's kind of weird to say, but I've been here now already for three managers, for two general managers," Wright said. "It's an unfortunate situation because obviously there's enough blame for what's happened the last couple years to go around to everybody, including the players, because at the end of the day we're the ones who go out there on the field and are not getting the job done."