The Mets clean house

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It’s a mystery to me why the Mets don’t want to fire Omar Minaya, but maybe getting rid of everyone who works for and advises him may be the next best thing. The Daily News:

The Mets have fired Ramon Pena, the organization’s top official in
charge of signing Latin American talent, the Daily News has learned. In
addition, vice president of scouting Sandy Johnson intends to retire,
and minor-league field coordinator Luis Aguayo has been let go, sources
said.

Tony Bernazard, who was fired on July 27 after a series of
over-the-top clubhouse antics, and Johnson were Minaya’s two top
lieutenants. More turnover could be coming since only Rudy Terrasas,
who oversees the amateur draft, is believed to be under contract beyond
this season.

Pena’s dismissal signals displeasure with the performance of a
number of high-caliber Latin American prospects signed as teenagers.

The Latin thing is interesting.  For the past couple of seasons, I have noticed increasing resentment among Mets fans about the team’s heavy interest in Latin players under Omar Minaya. My first impulse was to write much of it off as misplaced grousing at best, something more ugly at worst. After all, who doesn’t like Johan Santana and K-Rod? Wouldn’t Mets fans rather have someone besides Daniel Murphy getting so many at bats, even if his name was Gonzalez or Martinez?

But the Daily News article really does a good job of describing the failure of the Mets’ international operations under Minaya.  Jose Reyes was a Steve Phillips signing. No one else has made an impact, despite the Mets’ far greater need to make waves on the international market due to their constant forfeiture of draft picks due to free agent signings.  There’s nothing wrong with focusing so heavily on Latin players per se, but if you’re going to put all of your huevos in one cesta, you had better be good at it.

Assuming all of these guys getting axed were Omar Minaya hires — and assuming that Omar isn’t going to be trusted to pick their replacements — one wonders why Minaya still has a job himself.

Report: Diamondbacks acquire Steven Souza from Rays in part of three-team deal

Tampa Bay Rays
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Update (6:35 PM ET): This is a three-team deal also involving the Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The Diamondbacks will receive outfielder Steven Souza from the Rays and second baseman Brandon Drury will head to the Yankees. Lefty reliever Anthony Banda will go to the Rays, Piecoro adds. The Diamondbacks will also receive prospect Taylor Widener from the Yankees, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post. MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert adds that the Rays will get two players to be named later from the D-Backs.

Souza, 28, is earning $3.55 million in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility, so the Rays are presumably saving money in moving him. Last season, Souza hit a productive .239/.351/.459 with 30 home runs, 78 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 617 plate appearances. Souza’s arrival almost certainly pushes Yasmany Tomas out of a starting gig.

Drury, 25, has played a handful of positions in his brief major league career. Last year, he played second base in Arizona, batting .267/.317/.447 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI in 480 PA.

Banda, 24, made his major league debut last season, posting an ugly 5.96 ERA with a 25/10 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The peripherals suggest he pitched better than his ERA indicated.

Widener, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2016 draft. This past season with High-A Tampa, he pitched 119 1/3 innings and posted a 3.39 ERA with a 129/50 K/BB ratio. MLB Pipeline rated Widener as the 14th-best prospect in the Yankees’ system.

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that the Rays will acquire second base prospect Nick Solak from the Yankees. The Yankees’ return is presently not known.

Solak, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the second round of the 2016 draft. He spent last season between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, hitting a combined .297/.384/.452 with 12 home runs, 53 RBI, 72 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases.

MLB Pipeline ranked Solak as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system and the fifth-best second base prospect in baseball, praising him for his ability to hit line drives as well as his speed.