Omar Minaya is out of control

Leave a comment

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.

2017 Preview: Chicago White Sox

Getty Images
1 Comment

Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Chicago White Sox.

After a couple of years of an all-in approach with a core of Chris Sale, Jose Abreu, Melky Cabrera, Todd Frazier, Adam Eaton and friends, Rick Hahn and the White Sox finally decided to tear it all down. And they tore it all down pretty productively, actually, dealing Sale and Eaton for a boatload of prospects, leading with Yoan Moncada, who has hit .287/.395/.480 with 23 home runs, 100 RBI and 94 stolen bases in 187 minor league games.

They also picked up righthander Michael Kopech who hits triple digits on the regular, one-time top prospect and still-promising Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning. They all join existing young talent like Tim Anderson, Carlos Rodon, Zack Collins, Carson Fulmer and Alec Hansen. The system, she is stocked.

 

In addition to all that new talent, the Sox have a new manager in Rick Renteria. What he’ll have to work with at the big league level is somewhat spotty, however, and could change pretty radically as the season wears on.

Still in house: Carols Quintana, Frazier, Cabrera and David Robertson, all of who are likely on the trading block (we know Quintana is). Hahn will entertain offers for anything not nailed down which, in this case, means anyone over the age of 25 or so. We could give a blow-by-blow of the offense, the pitching and the defense like we normally do here, but if you’re an obsessive White Sox fan you know that stuff already and if you’re not, all you really need to know is that between those inevitable departures and the loss of their ace in Sale and their best position player in Eaton, last year’s 78-wins are gonna seem like a distant memory.

Beyond trading stars for prospects, the White Sox have signaled that they’re in non-compete mode in other ways as well. New in the fold: Derek Holland, Peter Bourjos and Geovany Soto. Veterans who do a task or two well, go about their business and, if they have a super nice year, can get dealt at the deadline. In short, the lifeblood of a rebuild, not the stuff of greatness. There’s nobility in fulfilling that role even if there aren’t a lot of wins to be found in it.

Where are some wins to be found? Jose Abreu had a down year in 2016 and could be better this year. Both Holland and James Shields are capable of better years than they had last year. Indeed, it’d be close to impossible for Shields to be worse. They’ll have Carlos Rodon, who took a step forward last year and could be poised for a breakout. Quintana and company will be around until July most likely before they’re traded and before Hahn begins to call young dudes up for second half cups of coffee.

And that’s what this season is about, really. The cups of coffee. Seeing what the Sox have in their young talent, particularly Moncada, who has little left to prove in the minors, even if he spends some more time there and Rodon, who is already a key part of the big club. They may lose just as many games or more than they lost the past couple of seasons, but they’ll do it with more interesting players who fans can imagine being better in a White Sox uniform one day. And, heck, if someone develops a bit more quickly than expected, it could actually lead to good baseball. At least here and there.

Prediction: Fourth place, American League Central.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

Leave a comment

On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.