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.

Cubs sign Brett Anderson to a $3.5 million deal

Brett Anderson
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.

Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.

When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.

Yordano Ventura’s remaining contract hinges on the results of his toxicology report

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.

What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.

The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.

Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.