For the past five years the New York Mets have been a sleeping giant in the National League East. Armed with an endless budget, a top-of-the-line ace in Johan Santana, and two cornerstone studs in Jose Reyes and David Wright, few would have expected that the Mets could have managed just one playoff appearance in the past five seasons.
The Mets should have succeeded. They had bright young talent and the pockets to supplement it for years to come. However following their 2006 NLCS appearance the club has found themselves in a downward spiral of failure and collapses which has left Flushing Meadows in ruins. The blame has been passed everywhere. First to manager Willie Randolph for the late season collapses, then to the players for their injuries or off field distractions, and now finally it is going right to the top.
As the decade comes to a close in New York, likely so will the era of Omar Minaya with the Mets.
Most will tell you that his departure is long overdue. Never mind that he screwed the Expos/Nationals franchise during his time in Montreal, Minaya has taken a New York franchise that was stock full of legitimate prospects and surrounded them with players that were either injury prone, over-the-hill, or just plain overpaid. The Mets are still paying off ludicrous deals for players like Gary Matthews Jr., Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz, and are stuck with huge multi-year deals with players like Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Jason Bay.
Mets fans may have been in more misery than Nats fans over the last four seasons.
The Wilpons appear to have hit the breaking point and are reportedly interested in hiring an experienced general manager this offseason to help tap their full potential. Two names that have been mentioned are the Texas Rangers current general manager Jon Daniels and the Oakland Athletics' Billy Beane.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Daniels has the ability to walk away from his contract with the Rangers due to their recent ownership shuffle. The Rangers dont want to see him go, but after the incredible season he has helped Texas to this year he knows that he is a hot commodity going into the winter. Daniels is also a native New Yorker and Rosenthal believes he could be brought in with the right offer.
Billy Beane is currently under contract with the Athletics but is in a no-win situation. The man used moneyball to his advantage in the late 1990's to help him beat teams with a larger payroll, however since his ways have been adopted by those same teams and Beane has been unable to adapt. He has nothing left to prove in Oakland, but perhaps could redeem his name by showing the league what he can do with big-market money. This would be his chance.
Either way the departure of Minaya is bad news not only for the Nationals but for all of the National League East. The Braves, Phillies, Marlins, and Nats all have drafted/signed and developed great young talent over the past five years, but will they be able to compete with an awoken giant like the Mets? Mike Rizzo may very well find his hands full over the next several years if he tries to bring in top of the line talent into a division with the likes of Jon Daniels or Billy Beane.