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.

Reds acquire Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers

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The Reds acquired utilityman Darnell Sweeney from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports.

This is the second time that the Dodgers have traded Sweeney. The club sent him to the Phillies along with John Richy in August 2015 for Chase Utley. The Phillies sent him back to the Dodgers this past offseason with Darin Ruf in exchange for Howie Kendrick.

Sweeney, 26, made his major league debut in 2015 with the Phillies, hitting a meager .176/.286/.353 in 98 plate appearances. With Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, he hit .227/.290/.412 in 131 PA. While Sweeney’s bat hasn’t proven to be anything special, he has played second base, third base, shortstop, and all three outfield positions, so his flexibility will make him useful at some point.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.