Mets GM Omar Minaya needs "big finish" to keep his job

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Mets owner Fred Wilpon hinted otherwise earlier this month, however sources tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that the team will likely need a “big finish” in order for Omar Minaya to retain his job as general manager.

But that doesn’t mean Minaya is going to be fired. Because he is respected within the organization — and, uh, under contract for two more seasons — he will likely be reassigned to another position.

As far as potential replacements for Minaya, Heyman names former Padres general manager and current Yankees consultant Kevin Towers, as well as in-house candidates John Ricco and Wayne Krivsky. He calls veteran general manager Pat Gillick “an interesting thought if he’d do it,” though there’s nothing to suggest he’d be interested. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the possibility that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels could exercise the out-clause in his contract over the winter, but it would be awful tough to pry him away from what they’re building in Texas.

One candidate Heyman doesn’t name is Josh Byrnes, who was fired as general manager of the Diamondbacks in July. Not saying he should be the guy, necessarily, but a general housecleaning would probably boost the morale of Mets fans more than Ricco or Krivsky simply inheriting the job. Maybe this is unfair, but it would feel too much like Jim Duquette Part II.   

Yankees sign top two draft picks

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The Yankees signed first-round draft pick Clarke Schmidt and second-round pick Matt Sauer on Saturday, per a team announcement. Schmidt, a right-hander from the University of South Carolina, is set to earn a signing bonus of $2,184,300. According to MLB.com’s Oliver Macklin, that’s much lower than the typical $3+ million allocated for a No. 16 overall pick. The opposite is true for Sauer, whose projected $2.5 million signing bonus tops the suggested $1.2 million reserved for a No. 54 pick.

Schmidt, 21, boasts an impressive four-pitch repertoire and profiles as a front-end or mid-rotation starter, according to reports from Yankees’ VP of Domestic Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer and ESPN’s Keith Law, among others. He carried a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2017 and turned in a 1.34 ERA before undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery last month to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. While the Yankees won’t see him pitch at any level until late 2018, they seem confident in his makeup and ability to rebound over the next couple of years.

Fellow right-hander and Righetti High School senior Matt Sauer is a different story altogether. The 18-year-old hurler appears destined for the bullpen with a polished fastball-slider combo and a promising curveball and changeup. He dazzled on the mound this year, going 9-1 with an 0.98 ERA and two shutouts over 78 1/3 innings. While the Yankees seem most interested in his pitching skills, Sauer showed some pop at the plate as well, touting a .427 average with 24 RBI through 135 plate appearances.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.