OMAR MINAYA: I asked Charlie
(Samuels) about that, he went pretty much right
down the list, looked at roster, the rooming list and
he went down, somebody asked him, "how are you
doing that?" I'm pretty sure, I trust Charlie, he's
been in the business for over 20-some years. He's
done this before. I think the best way, at least in
his judgment, the best way to do it is just go down
the list, this group goes here and this group goes
How does the process take place?
Was there no rooms booked or was it because
of the rainout?
OMAR MINAYA: The process takes place
that the fact that we got rained out and we did not
know we were going to get rained out until like
about 5:00. Hotels here, like any other places,
they have reservations already booked. We're
staying nearby, I believe it's called the Westin.
You know, they have previous reservations. If I'm
not mistaken, there were some people here, too.
There's a hockey game going on today. So one of
the hockey teams was there. So that's how it
But when it's all said and done, once the
game is decided -- but we talked about it before. I
started giving Charlie a heads up, "Listen, we
might get rained out here, start making some plans
and some arrangements."
Charlie is one of the best in the game as a
clubhouse guy and being in the business for so
How viable is El Duque to pitch for
you in the World Series if you make it?
OMAR MINAYA: Viable. Viable. He had
a bullpen, if I'm not mistaken, two days ago that
was somewhere in the range of 70 pitches. You
know, one thing about El Duque, I will never -- this
guy, there's nothing that I wouldn't, you know, with
El Duque, anything is possible. Here is a guy that
has a long history of being around big games and
being around comebacks, just his overall defection
from Cuba and coming here. So I would not put
nothing physically, that's going to be impossible
with El Duque.
How are you going to handle some
of your coaching staff who are going to
interview for positions? When would you like
them to do that or how did you feel about their
chances, Manny and Manuel?
OMAR MINAYA: I've encouraged and I've
actually called for some of our coaching staff. I
think it's great that clubs have interest in some of
our coaches. I have not officially gotten permission
for none of our coaches. I use the word "officially"
whereby they go to the Commissioner's office and
they send me an e-mail and, "We want official
permission." I have been contacted by clubs and
they have interest in some of our coaches. I have
told some general managers that they can
interview them even as we go during this run, or
interview between series, it's fine. What I do not
want is an interview during the day of the game.
If the guys want to call, I'm hopeful some
of these guys -- we have some very good
candidates to be managers on our staff.
When you took the job here with the
Mets, did you have a vision of how long it
might realistically take to get to the World
Series, to get to the LCS and hopefully the
OMAR MINAYA: Yeah, it's fair to say I
thought when I took the job in the end of 2004,
knowing what the team was, knowing the farm
system, knowing the issues of convincing players
to come and play in New York, knowing the
division that we're in, and I still feel we're in a very
good division with the Braves, and of course the
Marlins. They were good at the time. They kind of
broke off and did a great job with their front office.
You're looking at taking a team that's last
place or next to last place, to get to where we are
today, because what happens beyond with injuries
and all those things, it's going to take somewhere
between three and four years. So I guess we're
ahead of schedule.
As you go through this, do you
already have an eye at the same time and start
preparations towards the off-season and
looking at the Zitos and Sorianos and starting
to approach things in terms of trades?
OMAR MINAYA: We are looking at
potential free agents, yeah. I've been looking at
potential free agents now since probably August,
September. I've been looking at potential free
agents, and as we go through September and here
we are in October, yeah, we are pretty much
focusing on guys we want, who are we going to
highlight, who are we going to go after. I've had
conversations with Sandy Johnson and John
Ricco, Tony Bernazard and Jeff Wilpon. We sat
down and had some coffee this morning and have
a better idea of who we're going to focus on that
are going to be free agents.
With managers being hired, you start
getting a feel which manager, who is going to go
for that guy, who is going to go for that guy. So it
changes on you a little bit, too. But we're pretty
much -- we feel comfortable that as we focus on
the postseason, we've also been focusing -- when
the bell rings, we're going to have a plan like we've
done the past two years. We're going to be
focused on who we want and we're going to go
after those guys.
A lot of general managers are high
strung and you don't seem that way. What's
your stomach been like this series as you've
gone through the rainouts and the ups and
downs, winning and losing, and here you are
OMAR MINAYA: Well, I may not be high
strung, but I can tell you there's an internal
nervousness of going through the postseason. If
somebody tells you that they are not, I don't know,
this is my first postseason as a general manager.
I've been one as an assistant general manager. I
was just thinking, we've played I think seven
games in two weeks. So you think about that.
But there is an internal nervousness that
goes on. But the fact is, as a general manager,
there's only so much you can do. There's not a
pitcher that we can go get. The only thing we
could do is hopefully get ourselves ready for the
Look, it's tense. I will tell you, I'd
rather just play the games. Those rainouts, there's
only so many places you can go to dinner during
those rainouts. (Laughter.)
That being said, Walt (Jocketty)
recommended me a nice place to eat here in
St. Louis, so Walt did a pretty good job.
Your role players' contribution is
high, how much do you think is being in
Montreal and working trying to get more from
less? How much of it is your ability to scout
OMAR MINAYA: I think it's a combination
of a lot of things. It's a combination of, yes, when
you work in Montreal, that's how put your team
together. There was no other way around it. But I
think it's a credit to our scouts and our front office
people, especially our professional scouts that are
able to recommend these guys. As a general
manager that has a scouting history, I think the key
is to listen to your people. Do I have some input?
Of course. I'm the last call. But you really have to
use your scouts, and even your staff, your uniform
staff and bring everyone's opinion together and try
to pick those guys.
For me, you're right, in Montreal, we
learned, that was -- basically, Montreal, when all
the free agents were signed, we said, okay, these
are the guys we have, who do we pick from these
First of all, I want to find out, which
list did you make it on, did you get to stay in
your hotel or did you get bounced to the other
OMAR MINAYA: No, I was able to stay in
my hotel (Laughter.)
In your opinion, where does Cliff
stand now and how do you define the fine line
between a guy who wants to be a gamer and a
guy who might want to be a gamer too much
and might not be able to play that much?
OMAR MINAYA: Well, Cliff's been playing
hurt a large part of the second half. There's no
doubt, we've taken him to the doctor and there is
an Achilles injury there. My understanding, Willie
told me, he was going to tell Cliff, tell me how I can
use you, and Cliff tells him how he can use him.
When he's hurt, you can't play. I don't think Cliff
wants to go in there being hurt and hurt the team.
We're very fortunate to have Endy Chavez
and come in and step out for us. That last game,
Chávez throwing that guy out at third base, that
was huge. In a lot of ways, that really kept that
inning, if I'm not mistaken, to one run. Maybe Cliff
can't make that play.
If Cliff wants to play, he can play. As far
as the gamer is concerned, that's subjective. It's
about who can go out there and play and play
Just going to follow up on Cliff: I
know you have to, if somebody's hurt, you
know, that's the way it is. But is there a part of
you knowing that this is the end of his contract
and he's been here for the hard times with the
Mets, that if he doesn't get to be as big of a part
of it as he would have hoped, just that little part
that feels for him?
OMAR MINAYA: Who is that?
OMAR MINAYA: We hope we win here,
we hope we win two out of the next three games
and we're hoping to be in the World Series and
we're hoping Cliff is going to be back to playing
every day and that's a possibility and we're hoping
for that. We still have to go out there and win the
games. I told Cliff all along, "You're going to be
big. At some point in time you're going to be big.
Just get ready, when your time comes, get ready,
you're going to be big." But then again, I tell that to
a lot of guys. (Laughter.)
I want to follow-up on something
that was said earlier about your laid-back
demeanor: Would you say you're an easy boss
to work for, a demanding boss? And how was
it that you demanded excellence from this
organization and kind of got that to happen?
OMAR MINAYA: Well, it's hard for me to
judge myself. The only one that can answer that
question would be my staff. I don't know, you
know what I'm saying. I just try to tell myself, I like
to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I
was an assistant, I was an area scout, I was a
coach. I think from the baseball part, I've done
pretty much everything and all I try to do is tell
myself, treat people the way I want to be treated.
So I can't tell you how well I am.
As far as standards, I am big on standards.
We're still not to the standards that I think we
should be and we're going to work on that. You
cannot slack down on your standards. Your
standards have to be high. Look, New York, it's
about the best. We all know that living in New
York, you've got to bring the best product to the
table because there's somebody else that's going
to -- it's a very competitive city and very
competitive business standards to me are the ones
that we should always bring to the highest level as
Just talking about the ability to drive
in runs, there's a certain kind of swagger,
something that a clean-up hitter has, ideal
clean-up hitter has and obviously does this
mean that Carlos Delgado fills those
OMAR MINAYA: Yeah, I think you're right.
Even last year, when we put the team together for
this year, we needed what is called a traditionally
true clean-up hitter. The guy that's going to be
there is the guy that -- for me, when I think of a
clean-up hitter, I think of a guy, before he's up,
people are thinking about, this guy, we've got to
get these guys out before this guy comes up. I
think, you know, I thought Carlos Delgado
personified a true clean-up hitter his whole career.
I think you see a guy that's a powerful hitter and a
smart, intelligent hitter that will take a walk, but
he's also a guy that will drive the ball and use the
To me, putting this puzzle together, I
thought of pitching, I thought of speed, I thought of
defense up the middle, center fielder. I think of
those things. But in that mix, I thought we needed
to have and continue to need to have, and in the
ideal word, I'd like to get three clean-up hitters,
that's what you want to have. David Wright could
be a clean-up hitter some day. He has the
potential to do that. Beltrán, if you want him, I think
his role is more of that third hitter. I think teams,
building championship teams, you want to be able
to have three guys that you consider clean-up
hitters and then you're talking about some very
serious offensive attack.
When you say you're not there yet,
what are your standards, what are you talking
about when you say you're not there?
OMAR MINAYA: I think you never get
there. So to me, I always believe that -- when I
think of the word "standards," I mean always trying
to excel, trying to get the best, trying to find the
best at every position, every staff member or how
you go about your work.
The truth is, your standards are high, but
you never get to say, we finally reached the
standards that we want to. I just think the model
for me in baseball is without a doubt is the Atlanta
Braves. I think that John (Schuerholz) and Bobby
(Cox), they have never let up. They have let up
this year, but they are always finding ways to
reinvent themselves and always finish in front of
the class, whether it's scouting or development,
they make changes. I think they are the model for
baseball of the highest standard that I've seen in
the front office.
Courtesy of FastScripts by ASAP Sports. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.