Should be an interesting off-season in Queens. FanHouse's Ed Price:
- There has been little doubt for a while the Mets will not bring back Jerry Manuel as manager, and a source confirmed reports that general manager Omar Minaya is likely out as well. Ownership seems to be leaning toward hiring an experienced GM, as they are not inclined to promote assistant GM John Ricco, and Wally Backman -- a popular ex-Met who was nearly manager of the Diamondbacks before the team discovered some off-field issues he didn't disclose -- as manager.
As Craig points out, there don't seem to be a great many candidates for Minaya's job. There's Kevin Towers and ... well, that's about it if the Mets are looking for someone with plenty of experience and a winning record. And Towers is considered one of the top candidates for the job in Arizona.
Which is to say, I don't have any idea who's going to get the job. I do think the problem's been ownership as much as general managership, but maybe the next guy will prove me wrong.
Last season, Bell led the National League with 42 saves. This season, he's got 41 saves and hasn't blown a chance since late May.
Of course, not so long ago Bell was a Met and Minaya gave him away.
Well, that's not completely true. Minaya traded Bell and Royce Ring to the Padres for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson. Since then, Adkins and Johnson have combined to appear in 14 major league games and Heath Bell has 85 saves and a 2.51.
How did this happen? I wasn't there. Maybe Bell was biting the heads off chickens and spitting their blood at elderly clubhouse attendants. But my guess is that Minaya placed too much faith in Bell's short time in the majors and not enough faith in his minor-league performance.
In 2005 and '06, Bell pitched 64 games for the Mets -- 84 innings -- and gave up a whopping 107 hits. At the same time, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was excellent: 3.25 with plenty of strikeouts.
Since joining the Padres, Bell's strikeout-to-walk ratio has stayed roughly the same. He's given up slightly fewer home runs. The big difference has been the hits. Which might have been predicted, considering his (apparent) bad luck with the Mets and his solid numbers in the minors.
Granted, there was no reason to think Bell would become this good. But if Minaya had held on to Bell for just one more season -- in 2007, he pitched brilliantly as Trevor Hoffman's setup man in San Diego -- he might have been dissuaded from spending $47 million on Francisco Rodriguez, who a) hasn't been as good as Bell, and b) is now in a big bowl full of trouble.
If Minaya had trusted the numbers, today he would have Bell and $47 million of baseball players not named Francisco Rodriguez.
Everybody makes mistakes. But this was a real doozie.