09.24.09

Minaya’s Remaining Friends : Disguised As Empty Seats At Citi Field

Posted in Baseball at 12:37 pm by

Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Atlanta was the Mets’ 13th in their last 16 games, the club’s midseason flirtation’s with .500 a distant memory in what Newsday’s David Lennon projects will be the Amazins’ worst campaign since finishing 66-95 in 2003. Though GM Omar Minaya (above) and manager Jerry Manuel have received (qualified) votes of confidence from ownership, Lennon suggests the noose around the former’s neck has begun to tighten.

Ramon Peña, a Minaya confidant who was in charge of the Mets’ operations in Latin America, is the second of the team’s high command to lose their jobs in the past two months after Tony Bernazard, the vice president for player development, was axed on July 27. Bernazard was removed for his embarrassing behavior, which reportedly involved challenging minor-leaguers to fights and berating other team officials in public.

As for Peña, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday that his firing was the result of both poor performance and questionable conduct. When asked to elaborate, the person said, “There can’t be any more Tony Bernazards.”

But just as Bernazard was close with Minaya and COO Jeff Wilpon, Peña also was tight with the GM, though it ultimately was Minaya’s decision to fire him – under some pressure from ownership.

The Wilpons have been simmering behind the scenes about the Mets’ terrible performance this season and this week’s firing of Peña is the first of what is expected to be a bigger housecleaning within the organization.

Perhaps Omar’s personal assistant, Leonor Barua, previously trotted out for an embarrassing Sports Illustrated puff piece on her boss, might be considered for Pena’s role?

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