Omar Minaya is out of control

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As was widely reported late yesterday afternoon, Omar Minaya went off the deep end during his Tony Bernazard press conference,
strongly implying that The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin’s reporting
of the Bernazard shenanigans was motivated by Rubin being frustrated
after not getting a job with the Mets for which he lobbied, or wanting
to get Bernazard fired to take his job, or something along those lines.
At least that’s what I took from it. However you slice it, it was
bizarre. Go watch it here if you missed it.

Rubin was livid during the presser — thanks for the split screen SNY! — and today he responds:

As I told the reporters who descended upon me after Minaya left the
press conference, I have never, ever, asked Omar Minaya for a job. Or
even career advice. Frankly, I’ve never been very close to him. What I
have done, and what Mets COO Jeff Wilpon acknowledged later yesterday,
is ask Wilpon for “career advice.” My question: Is it even remotely
feasible for a baseball writer to get into an administrative job with a
team – any team – down the road and what would I need for that to be
achieved?

Wilpon once invited me to his office at Citi Field for an advisory session. I never took him up on it.

Some people are complaining about Rubin’s potential ethical lapses
in all of this, but I don’t have much of a problem with him talking
generally with the Mets about his career prospects, if that’s all he
did. It’s a tough world out there, and the kinds of journalistic
integrity principles people cite in such situations – you can’t
possibly talk to the people you cover about anything! — seem kind of
quaint in a world where everyone is hustling to stay alive all the damn
time. Besides, this is tabloid journalism we’re talking about here. If
what they’re reporting is true — and Rubin’s stories about Bernazard
have not been questioned on that front — I really don’t care what
Rubin’s career development plan looks like. And even if that truly
matters, there is nothing short of Omar Minaya’s insane ramblings to
support the notion that Rubin wrote what he wrote out of spite or
anything. The Bernazard stories were legit news, and he got the stories
right. That, as they say, should be the end of the story.

The bigger question here is why anyone lets Omar Minaya near a
microphone. Or near the controls of a baseball team for that matter.
Bernazard was his guy, and look how well that turned out. The Mets are
his team, and look how good that’s going. Rather than take
responsibility for any of that, he’s setting the phasers for “paranoid”
and going out and attacking reporters.

If I worked for the Mets’ media relations department, I’d be
hesitant to knock down the press conference table this morning, because
by all rights there should be another one very, very soon.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.