BFF?New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon are scheduled to be in-studio guests on 660 AM WFAN with host Mike Francesa at 5:05pm today.   A live-blog of sorts will appear below.
  • 5:07pm - they are late, Mike expects them on the air within 10 minutes or so.
  • Wow, can I really get 2 Twin Draft Guards AND the ceramic over-the-door hook for only 1 easy payment of $19.99?
  • Jeff & Omar are "in the building" and getting set up, giving me one last chance to choose between the Twin Draft Guard or the Ab Rocket or the Air Hog.
  • Bonus guest David Howard in the house.
  • Jeff describes the 2009 season as "unnaceptable" and feels very confident with Omar at the helm moving forward.
  • Omar says it was a "trying" year.   Felt he had a "championship team" in place.
  • Jeff exonerates "the medical people."   Says they had information coming to them from "other team's doctors" and that they "didn't get these players back to NY to visit our own medical staff quickly enough."   He blames himself for the poor communication regarding the injuries.
  • Jeff regarding the Mets finances:   "no pullback, no effect on the Mets as a business regarding Madoff.   We're operating the same as we did in the past...whatever Omar wants to do will be up to him and his staff...we will have one of the highest payrolls in baseball again."
  • Omar believes the minor league system "is average" and that "we have talent."   That talent is "at the lower levels."
  • Jeff says "Omar's responsibilities will not change one bit."
  • Omar will be adding a "field coordinator" to communicate with Adam Wogan (sp?) in the context of evaluating/overseeing the minor leagues, and is looking to add someone whose primary responsibility will be to communicate with him (Omar) about the minor league system.
  • Omar decided to bring back Jerry, that it was not fair to him to dismiss him considering the injuries, he felt Jerry deserved another chance.   Jeff agreed.
  • Why did they design Citi Field the way it came out considering the roster they had under contract?   Jeff says they designed the park in consultation with the front office who stressed the team would be built on pitching, defense and speed.
  • Omar believes, despite sighting the contrary example of the Philadelphia Phillies, that it is hard to win consistently in a ballpark that favors hitting. He prefers a ballpark that favors pitching/speed/defense.
  • Jeff accepts blame for the lack of "Met-presence" in Citi-Field and David Howard states that they are now working on a "Met Hall of Fame Museum" in a "prominent location" at the ballpark.
  • Jeff has not received any of what he considers to be "unfair criticism" regarding the team itself.   The only unfair criticism he feels he's received is regarding the ballpark.   He doesn't believe that it is too "Dodger-centric" but is nonetheless striving to alleviate that impression.
  • Omar understands the criticism that he favors Latin ballplayers, but he disagrees with it and believes it is untrue.   He understands it because he is the first Latin GM.   His stated philosophy is to acquire "the best players" regardless of heritage.
  • Jeff disagrees that in regards to player acquisition that the Mets don't "go the extra mile."   He stated that he believes the team compares favorably in that regard to the rest of the league.
  • Omar believes the players "did not quit on Jerry."   He explains the lack of fundamental soundness of the players on the fact that, unfortunately, many of the players getting playing time were players who would ordinarily be back ups but that they "got exposed."
  • Omar was pleased with the performance of Jeff Francoeur.   As the season crumbled around the organization, Francoeur's performance was "a bright spot."
  • Commercial break - chance for me to order The Windshield Wonder!
  • Ticket prices - Per David Howard, every season ticket holder will have a lower invoice for 2010, average discount 10%.   Discounts will be more aggressive where fewer seats were sold/filled.   Howard hopes everyone understands that the team can't be in financial trouble or they would not have lowered ticket prices.
  • Wilpon - "we are a results town and we are in a results business."     He will "give Omar the resources necessary to put a championship team on the field.   Last year we started at $135 million and finished at $147 million.   This year will depend on who's available."
  • Omar - "when we left spring training we felt this team had as good a chance to get to the World Series as any of our previous teams."
  • Omar - "we still believe in Oliver Perez.   Lot's of guys have bad years, look at Verlander last year.   I believe Oliver will turn it around."
  • Omar - "we see Daniel Murphy getting better, this is his first year.   We anticipated his easing into everyday play with the full lineup healthy" thus relying less on him.   He compares Murphy to Kevin Youkilis in terms of how Youkilis was eased into a lineup filled with viable hitters and allowed to grow.
  • Mike F:   "what does Murphy do well?"   Omar - "he's making a good effort, he's learning and improving.   He definitely has to improve his OBP."
  • Mike F:   "aren't you limited by having Murphy in your everyday lineup?   Don't you have to have a 40 HR hitter in LF?"   Omar -   "we do feel we can field a good team with him playing everyday."
  • Omar believes he is "going to have to look at the trade market as well as the free agent market" in terms of building the roster.
  • Omar believes the team has "some core players that are special" but that we have to look at everyone and everything in the context of improving the team.
  • Mike F:   "Jeff, do you have any players that are untouchable?"   Jeff:   "only those that are untouchable."   Interesting answer.
  • Omar:   "we believe when healthy we have a solid team to build around.   Remember, many people picked us to win a lot of games before the season started."
  • Jeff:   "how would you do it (build the team) Mike?   We're open to suggestions."   Mike:   "you need a big power hitter and a solid #2 pitcher."
  • Jeff & Omar both believe "David will go back to being David" regarding David Wright.
  • Omar:   "I don't believe we need a major reconstruction."   He then added with a big laugh and smile "I don't have time for a reconstruction."
  • Jeff:   "I have to listen to my staff.   My opinion is we don't need a major reconstruction.   Omar believes he has '2 or 3 holes' to fill.   The combinations for doing so are endless."
  • Omar:   "we don't know how the free agent market is going to unfold financially.   This is not a great market in terms of talent."
  • Jeff:   In the context of the free agent market "I think the market lags so that it will be softer this year than last year."
  • Omar believes in the high quality of all his division opponents, the competition will be tough "for the next couple years."
  • Jeff:   on the draft "we signed our 1st draft pick this year over slot and still took a lot of grief because we didn't pay him even more.   We felt we got a guy who slid to us, who should've gone higher, and we were comfortable paying him over slot.   The picks after him our scouts didn't believe they were worth more than we offered and they refused our best offers that's why they weren't signed."
  • Commercial break - Damn, the Ab Rocket is cheaper than the Twin Draft Guard?   How can that be?
  • Jeff:   "some gates and other portions of the park will be re-named."
  • David:   "the most positive feedback we got was on the intimacy of the ballpark.   The biggest negative was some feedback we got on the sightlines.   In bringing the seats lower and closer we were aware that some portions of the OF would not be visible" and that was a fair trade-off to get lower & closer.   He is pleased with the overall feedback and the organization's responses to that feedback (i.e. lowering the ribbon boards).
  • Omar:   "I don't feel pressure, I feel a challenge, a challenge that we have to put a winning baseball team together.   The first part of that challenge is to get everybody healthy."
  • Jeff:   "the team doctors are looking at every single aspect of training.   Pregame, postgame, everything.   We have done a lot of work on the medical front and we need to do a lot more."
  • Omar:   "the process of evaluation of who we do and don't want to keep on the roster has already begun.   I have been talking to my staff about it for months, we have already met with the coaching staff as well to discuss that.   What we are already working on is what we have, what we think we need, where what we need exists and how to get it."
  • Jeff:   "who has said we are out of money?   Why do people feel that we have no money, we have never said that."   Mike:   "a large portion of your fanbase feels that way and won't stop feeling that way until you sign a big free agent."   Jeff:   we will improve the team, it may or may not be with a big free agent."
  • Jeff:   "the process of roster improvement is going to be slower this year.   We have to wait for the market to set itself."
  • Mike:   "if it were my team I would feel like I have to something big to excite my fanbase."   Jeff:   "if Omar feels he needs to do something big and can do something big he will."
  • Mike:   "you feel you will be as aggressive as you have in the past in terms of acquisitions?"   Jeff:   "yes."
  • Omar:   "trades will be tricky, some of our players are not at their highest value.   How is it all going to come together?   That is the challenge, I expect we will be able to do it."
  • Omar:   "we are already working hard.   The ownership is committed, the front office is committed, the coaching staff and the players are committed to winning."
  • David:   "we will be back, and your (the fans) loyalty will be rewarded.   Met fans have tremendous character."
  • Jeff:   "I want to thank the fans who came to the park and supported the team.   I have faith in Omar and Jerry, otherwise they wouldn't be back, and I am going to support them in any way I can."
The end