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Minaya gets contract extension

NEW YORK (AP) -- Omar Minaya is staying as general manager of the New York Mets. Jerry Manuel is likely to remain as manager. Players, however, could be on the move.

Following the Mets' second straight September collapse, fans are angry with the team, the front office and the players.

"They all work hard. They all prepare. They all care. All those ingredients are there. So what is it that we lack? What is it that we need to get across that finish line?" Minaya said Thursday when his new contract was announced. "When we bring in personnel into New York, into this environment, are they able to handle the pressures that go with it? Those things do have to be considered."

Minaya became general manager in 2004 and was signed to a five-year deal. He was given three additional guaranteed seasons in a new contract that runs through 2012. It includes club options covering 2013 and 2014.

"We felt he's the right person to lead our baseball operations today and through the extension period here," chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. "You know, listen, we failed this year and we want to get the redemption that we need and move forward, and we thought Omar and his staff was the best group to put us in that position. We obviously were not a very good team when Omar came aboard, and he's turned this thing around, and we think he deserves another chance to keep getting us to where we want to be."

The Mets made it to Game 7 of the NL championship series in 2006. The next two years they missed out on the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.

New York failed to make the playoffs after leading the NL East by seven games with 17 games left in 2007 and by 31/2 games with 17 to go this year.

Does this group of players lack what it takes to win?

"Hopefully, the fans understand that as owners, we're here as the voice of the fans, and we're asking all these questions," Wilpon said. "And after some intense review this offseason, we're going to find out why we fell short the last two seasons. And it's up to Omar and his staff to correct that. But we are asking those tough questions."

Fans and management are wondering whether winning intangibles are lacking in a clubhouse where young stars such as David Wright and Jose Reyes have been supplemented by veterans.

"It has to strengthen that suspicion. So, as Omar has said, there might be some addition by subtraction," Wilpon said.

Credited with adding Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana, Minaya also has been criticized for bringing in old and injury-prone players such as Moises Alou, Orlando Hernandez and Luis Castillo.

"It comes with the territory. I think when you take these jobs, if you're going to have polls done after teams lose, you're not going to be popular. If you have polls when the team wins, you'll be popular," Minaya said.

Minaya said Manuel is the only current candidate for manager. Manuel took over on an interim basis when Willie Randolph was fired on June 17. New York was 34-35 when Manuel took over and it finished at 89-73.

"My hope is that we're able to get that done," Minaya said. "Right now, we're just focusing on Jerry." Notes: Minaya said the Mets intend to exercise Carlos Delgado's $12 million option for 2009 before their deadline, which is the later of five days after the World Series or Nov. 5. Following a slow first half, Delgado hit .308 with 27 homers and 80 RBIs in 84 games from June 27 on. Overall, he batted .271 with 38 homers and 115 RBIs. ... Wilpon said demolition of Shea Stadium is to start Oct. 13, but that major structural pieces won't be removed until bear the end of the year. ... Minaya said the Mets are awaiting results of a police investigation of pitcher Ambiorix Burgos. Police in the Dominican Republic said Burgos was driving an SUV when it hit two women who later died of their injuries.

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