NEW YORK- There were multiple reports coming from Citi Field Friday evening that team general manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel will be replaced when the season concludes Sunday afternoon. The moves have been rumored for the past month.
With the Mets once again finishing their second season at Citi Field below the .500 mark, there is every reason to believe there will be a new regime running the show next April. Prior to the start of a three game season finale series with the Washington Nationals, won by the Mets 2-1 in 10 innings, Manuel was asked about reports he would not be returning next season,
“I have not discussed anything,” said the Mets manager regarding his situation. The talk about Manuel not returning for a third year has been a constant topic of discussion since the all-star break. “Nothing has been told to me,” he said,
He added “Just like every year you discuss it, you discuss it at the end of the year. I haven’t been told anything.” Though Manuel may have not been told anything about his status there is every reason to believe his regime with Minaya will conclude Sunday,
Minaya, general manager since 2004 has seen minimal results during his tenure. The Mets once again this year, with high expectations and third highest payroll in baseball, failed to make the postseason again since their 2006 loss in the National League Championship Series to the St Louis Cardinals.
On the field the Mets tried to play for something as they finish out the string. Against the last place Nats, starter Pat Misch went eight innings, gave up three hits and struck out 10. Michael Morse hit a solo home run to center in the seventh, the lone run surrendered by Misch that tied the game at 1-1.
“I know I can pitch,” commented Misch (0-4) who did not figure in the decision, “Obviously the record doesn’t show it and maybe the numbers aren’t the greatest.” Manuel, speaking like he will be in control next season said, “He can possibly give the organization some depth next year.”
The game stayed at 1-1 until the bottom of the tenth when catcher Josh Thole hit a 3-1 pitch to the right field stands that gave New York a 2-1 win. It was the third home run for Thole as the Mets got another walk-off win. It was their fourth hit of the game off Nationals Tyler Clippard (11-7) tagged with a loss out of the pen.
“I didn’t know what to do when I got to home plate,” said Thole. As was the case with rookie Ruben Tejada, who got a walk-off wining double against the Brewers Tuesday night, Thole was mobbed by teammates when he reached home.
It was his first ever game winning home run. Thole is projected to be the Mets starting catcher next season. “Just wanted to get out of here with a win and get out of here on a positive point,” he said about the win and final games of the season.
They are playing out the string, the Mets are. Manuel is still in control as is Minaya, at least until Sunday. The final two games won’t make a difference as the Mets even with a sweep over the Nationals will have their second consecutive losing season finishing under .500.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]