Associated Press

Mets hire Omar Minaya as special assistant

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The New York Mets announced a few minutes ago that they have hired their former general manager, Omar Minaya, as a special assistant to Sandy Alderson.

Minaya, of course, helmed the Mets’ front office from the end of the 2004 season through 2010. Before that he was the GM of the Montreal Expos. In the past few years he has been a vice president in the Padres organization and as a special advisor to MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.

Minaya was a key figure in some of the Mets’ more notable — and infamous — moments in the mid-to-late 2000s. He signed Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Paul Lo Duca, Francisco Rodriguez and Jason Bay. He, most notably, engineered the trade that netted the Mets Johan Santana. He caught a ton of flak for his handling of the firing of manager Willie Randolph in 2008, which came to be known as “The Midnight Massacre” due to it taking place in a hotel room following a game and announced via a 3AM email to the press. In 2009 Minaya was involved in a heated exchange with reporter Adam Rubin during a press conference that got personal, with Minaya claiming that Rubin’s tough questioning was in part motivated by his efforts to obtain a job with the club. As with a lot of things during Minaya’s tenure, the controversy surrounding that event eclipsed the actual news that preceded it.

Which is not to say that this, in any way, marks a return to the, um, colorful Omar Minaya era for the Mets. Sandy Alderson just got a contract extension and he runs the show. The ranks of special assistants, the sort of which Minaya has been for some time, are filled with former GMs, hardly any of whom make news on their own. A lot of fuss will be made about the Mets-Minaya reunion, but it’s likely to die down quickly as he settles into the advisor role.

Still: welcome back, Omar. It was always interesting before. Maybe it’ll be interesting again.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.