Think Frank Wren’s maladroit? Check out Omar Minaya

We know Frank Wren can be tin-eared in matters of public relations. But it’s like Dr. Bradley always says: Better tin-eared than ham-handed. And here the doc offers a case study:

Omar Minaya, general manager of the Mets.

He received much favorable publicity in his early years on the job. Barely two years ago Sports Illustrated splashed him on its cover and gave him the gushing Gary Smith treatment inside, hailing Minaya as “Mix Master.” But the Master’s team, since coming within a Game 7 against St. Louis of the 2006 World Series, has blown two NL East titles in succession and today finds itself 10 1/2 games out of first place.

Yes, injuries have left an imprint. The Mets have lost Jose Reyes and the Carloses — Beltran and Delgado — for extended periods. But this is a roster on which Minaya has spent roughly $140 million, the second-most of any baseball team, and it wouldn’t have suffered as much from the big names’ absences if there were minor-leaguers capable of role-playing. Which there aren’t.

The Mets’ Class AAA and AA affiliates are in last place of their respective leagues. This is pertinent because the Mix Master was moved Monday to fire Tony Bernazard, the vice president for player development. Bernazard’s sacking was prompted by a series, written by Adam Rubin in the New York Daily News, of incidents regarding the VP’s bizarre behavior. To recap:

• Bernazard ripped off his shirt and challenged members of the Class AA Binghamton Mets to fight him. (Hey, doesn’t Ed Orgeron hold the patent on this?)

• Bernazard had a heated exchange with closer Francisco Rodriguez on the team bus after the Mets lost 11-0 to the Braves on Greg Maddux Night here.

• Back in 2006, Bernazard lit into the visiting clubhouse man in Lakewood, N.J., who asked the visiting VP, who wasn’t displaying proper credentials, if he was the bus driver.

And now the really weird part: In firing Bernazard, Minaya accused Rubin of “lobbying people for a position in player development.” Which Rubin claims is absolutely untrue. All he did, he writes, was wonder about expanding his TV profile. And even if Rubin had dropped 50 copies of his resume on Minaya’s desk, it didn’t make the Bernazard stories, yet to be refuted, untrue.

And now the focus in New York has shifted to the bewildering GM — remember, the same Omar Minaya let Willie Randolph fly to the West Coast with the Mets last summer before firing him after one game on the trip (a victory) — who might not be long for his job.

And if that happens, you know what that would make Frank Wren? Second-longest tenured general manager in the NL East. And the senior man — Michael Hill of Florida — has been in his position exactly 12 days longer than Wren has been in his.

Better tin-eared than ham-handed. Quote me on that.

73 comments Add your comment

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 28th, 2009
1:24 pm

I would take Wren any day of the week over Minaya. Give Wren 140 million and lets see what he can do. I’m betting it is a little better than 4th place in the NL East. MB, love the quote, I’m going to use it as soon as I figure out what the heck it means.

Chris

July 28th, 2009
1:25 pm

Mark – Please set aside the objective feelings you have as a journalist and revel in the hilarity that is the Mets. Isn’t it great to watch them fail year after year?

New York’s JV forever.

DawginLex

July 28th, 2009
1:41 pm

I have to admit, I am loving the implosion of the Mets.

Paddy

July 28th, 2009
1:49 pm

Why am I smiling so much after reading this piece?

midnite

July 28th, 2009
1:52 pm

Wren has actually done a good job. He gets unduly skewered by many bloggers for Peavy, Furcal, Burnett, Griffy not signing. He got Jurrjens and Mclouth for nearly nothing, and completely rebuilt 4/5ths of this starting rotation in one off season. Give the man some credit, it is due him. Although he was not sentimental with Glavine or Smoltz he made the right choice. Good job Frank Wren

Homer

July 28th, 2009
1:53 pm

FIRE BRADLEY!!!

Hillbilly Deluxe

July 28th, 2009
1:55 pm

My guess is that firing Bernazard is a move for Minaya to take the heat off himself. This will be temporary and a holding action at best. The hounds are at the door, Omar. The bell tolls for thee.

BubbaDaBatta

July 28th, 2009
1:56 pm

Omar “NOT, The Sultan of Swing” Los(e) Mets have gone where he has taken them…The misogny that is the Mets org has taken a once viable team (albeit, always 2nd Fiddle to NYY) to new lows. Its a shame with the New Citi Field coming online this year that the product is so bad…Mix Master? He might be the one who kills NL Baseball in NY…make everyone forget O’ Malley & Stoneham…

Mrs. Chanandler Bong

July 28th, 2009
2:01 pm

I still to this day don’t know what’s up with the hoopla about Wren. He’s done a more than decent job, I think. So he let the geriatrics go. Who cares?

Jim H.

July 28th, 2009
2:07 pm

Anybody that would trade for Frenchy needs to be fired.

MiltonDawg

July 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

Wren’s approach is by far way above Minyaya’s. But thats typical in NY. Pay a lot for overhyped players. Granted they had their fair share of injuries. Wren is more cut throat–even it means departing from Braves legends. Keep it up Wren!! THWMETS

Chris

July 28th, 2009
2:11 pm

Look at the idiotic smile on the face of Oliver Perez on the SI cover. Sure was fun watching him and the ever-worthless Mike Pelfrey get shelled at Turner a couple weeks ago.

My brother and I heckled the crap out of every Mutt in left field before the 11-0 smoking. They heard us, and we got to them. The grass cleared out quickly, but we just yelled louder.

Fat jokes to Livan Hernandez…Geriatric jokes to Fernando Tatis (can you believe he’s on the vaunted Mets roster?)…Thanks-for-your-fine-performance-last-night yells to Perez…”Who the hell are you?” jokes to Jeremy Reed…

I can’t believe they didn’t throw us a ball!

Good times

Barnesy

July 28th, 2009
2:13 pm

Omar wasn’t honest when he fired Willie and certainly hasn’t been honest with Bernazard. If you have to be a liar, be a good one.

Paddy

July 28th, 2009
2:23 pm

Bernazard does not have all the spots on his dice!

Benjamin

July 28th, 2009
2:24 pm

I hate the Mets so much I find myself hoping the Rockies beat them in their current series and we gain our ground on the Wild Card another day. lol

Glenn

July 28th, 2009
2:25 pm

Look at what Omar Minaya got out of the Montreal franchise when they were folding . Before that final season silly season where they played half their season in Puerto Rico , The Expos had winning records the two previous seasons . Actually I think they played their last two seasons there . Anyhow , he had a competitive franchise that not only had a silly low payroll , they really didn’t have a home . The Mets have problems but I question as to how much are because of him . Mark don’t you think to a degree Minaya is a puppet GM to the Mets ownership ?

Loud Mouth

July 28th, 2009
2:32 pm

FIRE HOMER!!!

Lifetime Braves Fan

July 28th, 2009
2:39 pm

The Braves need to worry about the Mets. Frenchy is finding his Stroke and they are going to be a Beast in the east ……………………. next year ha ha ha ha. Go Braves we have to make it to playoffs this year.

dap01

July 28th, 2009
2:42 pm

Excellent point Jim H. Omar traded for Frenchy! Enough said.

Mike K

July 28th, 2009
2:49 pm

To be fair, when I took my shirt off and challenged my co-worker to a fight, I got fired too.

RobertNAtl

July 28th, 2009
3:02 pm

I think Wren is one of the few sane GMs left. I was watching one of the recent Mets games, and the announcers said that they had signed Perez for $12 million a year, and I about fell out of my damn chair. What are people thinking? Whatever it is, I bet they won’t be thinking it anymore after the recession empties all the suites in the stadiums, and the clubs are all in the red. Ticket prices are too high as it is, and one of the reasons is things like the Mets paying Perez $12 million a year. I am glad Wren refused to pay top dollar for a guy like Smoltz, who is sucking up in Boston, and Glavine. Get rid of the expensive old guys and put in young guys like Hanson who are much better. OK, I’m rambling now.

Hedley Lamarr

July 28th, 2009
3:06 pm

Well done on the Orgeron reference Bradley. I’ve covered the Rebels for quite some time and such stories as Coach O ripping his shirt off get more amusing with each telling.

Mr. A

July 28th, 2009
3:06 pm

I was the first to be critical of Wren and the job he was doing. It looks like the team he assembled might be pretty good. He is looking better and better on Smoltz and noone has picked up Glavine. It’s never fun having to be the one that gets rid of legends in your city.
As far as Minaya, I hope he stays because he will before long be the laughing stock of MLB.
But in truth he really should be fired!!!!

Ashley

July 28th, 2009
3:13 pm

Great story!

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 28th, 2009
3:21 pm

When I took my shirt off and challenged my co-worker to a fight, he quit and so did my boss.

Supes

July 28th, 2009
3:25 pm

Mark, Omar is on the HOT SEAT big time. Although the injuries are NONE of his fault, it’s gotta land somewhere. They fired the manager last year after another disaster of a season. Who do you think is next? I watched the “exchange” between him and the writer he tried to throw under the bus (for doing his job btw), and his bodylanguage and poster looks deflated and defeated. Like he’s already resigned that he’ll be FIRED or forced to RESIGN.

Too bad, as a Braves fan I’d like to see him stay the Mets GM. He’s given away their top tier talent, assembled a bunch of aging vents and injury prone players. Plus they have the biggest FAILURE of a new baseball stadium…EVER.

That place is where power hitters careers go to die. Yeah, I can see the line of FA power hitters lining up to go to the NY Mets.

NY Mets = EPIC FAIL

I have to admit, I’ve been extremely hard on Frank Wren for his handling of the Braves “vets” and some of the moves he’s made as far as banking on KJ and Jeff and rushing Schafer up here before he was truly ready. However, for the most part, he’s hit on a lot more of his moves and has shown that he is NOT afraid to make the hard decisions and go with YOUNG talent and make moves to make the team younger, better and more dynamic.

LKS

July 28th, 2009
3:30 pm

MB

I don’t think you give enough credit to the job Frank Wren has done. In my opinion he has done an awesome job with the amount of holes we had in the offseason. Yeah, there were some gliches but the team he has put on the field is good right now!

Mrs. Bernazard

July 28th, 2009
3:31 pm

Has anyone seen my husband? He went out for a cheese steak last night and never came home. If you find him, please tell him the Atlanta Spirit keeps calling.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
4:00 pm

Good one, Mrs. B.

Herschel Talker

July 28th, 2009
4:01 pm

Mark – Omar may be one of the few GMs keeping Frank Wren off the hot seat. He is a complete clown. He loves overpriced, overaged, overworked players. He has singlehandedly put the Mets in the crapper. What a boob.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
4:01 pm

Thanks, Hedley. And now I want you to go do that voodoo that you do so well.

HeywardTheFuture

July 28th, 2009
4:02 pm

Omar Minaya is the best thing that’s happened for the Braves. Braves fans better hope he never gets fired.

Coach (2010 or Bust)

July 28th, 2009
4:08 pm

I don’t give a damn about the Mets, enough said.

As for Frank Wren, the man is a competent baseball executive. He also has all the etiquette of a bull in a China shop. Dumping Smoltz and Glavine were both correct moves, it’s the way it was done which reflects badly on the Braves as an organization.

As they say, sometimes the best trade or free agent signing is the one you don’t make.

As in Rafael Furcal’s .263/.334/.368 line compared to Yunel Escobar’s .307/.370/.477 numbers. not to mention the Peavy deal ( Jake is on the DL) where we almost dealt Escobar away.

How about Ken Griffey .jr’s line of .211/.325/.375 compared to Garret Anderson’s .292/.325/.431 numbers.

Wren is smart but as we can clearly see, he isn’t exactly brilliant. O yea, remember Cal Ripken .jr? Wren is making a habit of ticking off Hall of Fame ball players which cannot bode well for the Braves in the long run.

Skeezix

July 28th, 2009
4:09 pm

Mark: Yes, in comparison to Omar- Frank looks good–but that surely isn’t a reason for us to be happy with Wren. Wren has embarrassed and been incredibly clumsy with some of the all time Braves greats. Also, he has flabbergasted a lot of us by pursuing crazy deals like when he went after Furcal ( thankfully that bum Furcal backed out, or he would be our SS today versus Yunel!!). In other words, I guess we can say that Frank is an idiot, but Omar is an even bigger idiot.

Mark Bradley

July 28th, 2009
4:22 pm

Which team would you rather have today? The one that cost $98 million or the one that cost $40 million more?

Scoots

July 28th, 2009
4:23 pm

If Mets fans weren’t obnoxious, I’d feel sorry for them. They are a dysfunctional mess, and they have no crop of young talent to look forward to in the future. They have some good talent currently, but the two Carlos’s are approaching the end of their primes and they don’t have starting pitching outside of Santana. It’s kind of a now-or-never situation for them, and the ‘now’ is slipping through their fingers.

The Braves, whether or not we make the playoffs, are in great position for the future. Our outfield should be outstanding, and our pitching should be even better. Vasquez has been an unexpected surprise, and I can only see Jurjjens and Hanson getting better over the next couple years. That’s two young aces, two traditional aces (Lowe & Hudson), and a super-solid starter that would be 1 or 2 on most rotations (Vasquez). Even Kenshin has been pretty good, and it’s only half a season into his introduction to American baseball.

The Braves have owned the Mets (save 1 or 2 seasons) since moving to the NL East, and it looks like that will continue.

Mr. Wren, keep doing what you do. I’m sold now

Lew

July 28th, 2009
4:23 pm

No one in sports should allow a Sports Illustrated reporter within a mile of them. Maybe Omar acquired Francoeur so they could go on a SI search and destroy together.

BravesFan79

July 28th, 2009
4:25 pm

Omar reminds me of the liberal leaders of Europe. Creating a big mixing pot of CRAP!
For you can only bring o so many people in from 3rd world countries…. before you turn into a 3rd world country yourself!

HeywardTheFuture

July 28th, 2009
4:26 pm

How can you guys hate Frank Wren? He’s the best baseball mind that’s been in charge for the last 20 years. He got rid of Smoltz who is showing how bad he is. e got rid of Glavine who can’t find a job. He traded for Jurrjens, McLouth, Vazquez. He’s held onto Hanson, Heyward, Freeman, and Escobar. He’s one of the best GM’s in the bigs.

LKS

July 28th, 2009
4:27 pm

I’m pretty sure that Furcal would not have taken Yunel’s spot. Wasn’t that the reason Furcal decided not to come to the Braves? He would be playing 2nd base?

Bank Walker, Texas Ranger

July 28th, 2009
4:29 pm

Who is/was the worst GM for the Mets Omar or Steve Permature Grey Phillips?

Skeezix

July 28th, 2009
4:32 pm

It has been loads of fun watching this latest Mets meltdown. Not only do we get to watch the Mets team folding again, but now the total disintegration of Mets management. Also, there is more fun as we get to watch the NY media piranhas eat their flesh.

Fish Bisch

July 28th, 2009
4:41 pm

Thanks El Marko! Now the mets will be 1st place by this time next month

wildcardbound

July 28th, 2009
4:42 pm

Wren is reaping the fruits of redemption right now. 4 months ago he was the most hated man in Atlanta sports, now he’s getting the last laugh, Hats off to him, I was definitely one of his naysayer’s.

Hedley Lamarr

July 28th, 2009
4:46 pm

I’ll try Bradley. As you know, my mind is aglow with whirling, transient nodes of thought careening through a cosmic vapor of invention.

And I’ll leave you with this Orgeron gem:

“The key to our recruiting class is Brent Schaeffer. He’s going to be our quarterback. There will be no quarterback controversy at Ole Miss.”

This, of course, before Schaeffer stepped foot on campus.

Mitch C

July 28th, 2009
4:48 pm

Excellent analysis as always, Mark. As you may know after reading some of my posts, I despise the New York Mutts worse than just about anything on the face of the earth.

The problem I see is this: Yes, the Mets are definitely a disappointment this year, but, even if they finish under 500, and behind the Braves, Phillies, and even Marlins, devil’s advocates will point to all their major injuries, and talk about how much “better” they would have been, had Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, et al been healthy.

The Mutts problems go back far longer than this season, to a wonderful September two seasons ago, when, (I’ll say it again, just to rub it in!) as we all know, the Metropolitans staged one of the greatest collapses in baseball history, blowing a seven game lead, with seventeen games to go, and then blew a lead again last September, allowing the Phillies to win the NL East for the second year in a row.

I dont think the Mutts would have won the East, or maybe not even the wild card, even if they had been healthy. Philly has a much better team, and so do several others.

So, Minaya fires his underling. Hopefully, Mr Minaya will be the next one on the Mets train to be shown the door.

Mitch

Derick Richards

July 28th, 2009
4:51 pm

Whatever happened to that Met’s fan who was always on the blog prior to the season’s beginning? I’d like to hear what he says about the New York Mess — I mean the New York Mets.

Patrick

July 28th, 2009
4:57 pm

The Braves, without a doubt, are looking very good for the future. I’m not holding my breath, but they’ve even got a chance to make the playoffs and hey, they’re fun to watch again. Especially with the way they’ve played lately, there aren’t a lot of people that can complain about the makeup of the team, as a whole, and perhaps that reflects well for Wren, but let’s not forget the trades that DIDN’T happen.

You can’t give Wren credit for Peavey, Furcal, Griffey NOT signing here; had he been able to pull off what the bologosphere felt like he should have we’d have those three, but without Lowe/Kawakami/Vazquez (pick one of those three, probably Lowe), Escobar and Anderson.

Lowe started off the season very well, had a rough stretch of games but seems to have it turned around. Escobar now seems to have his head on straight and once Anderson got over his injuries, he’s been one of the best contributors.

Granted, this team is the one Wren put together, but how do you think they’d be doing if it was the one he originally wanted to put together? My guess is we’d be where the Mets are and we’d have an article about Wren instead of Minaya.

If there’s any one thing he does deserve credit for though, is having the cojones to not sign Glavine and Smoltz. That one was all him and it’s why he’s in his position and not Atlanta fans by proxy.

PS, Mets can kiss my you-know-what. I love reading about all this disfunction in their organization.

Skeezix

July 28th, 2009
4:59 pm

Mark: I wouldn’t take a Mets team if their entire payroll was two bits.

MatthewH

July 28th, 2009
5:04 pm

Well, Bank Walker, if you listen to Steve Phillips on TV, he is the BEST they have ever had, at least in his head. It has now become a game-how many times does he mention that he was a GM during the game?