In a move sure to please fans who have spent all the offseason so far complaining that the the team has done nothing to improve upon a 92-loss squad, the Mets announced on Friday that they have brought back former general manager Omar Minaya in a front-office advisory role. Minaya, officially a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson, will "be a resource on scouting and player development, will consult on player acquisitions and will serve as a community ambassador," according to a statement from Alderson.
Minaya, 59, spent 2004 to '10 as the Mets' GM, a period marked by on-field success and plenty of off-field chaos. He helped build the Mets into a contender, signing Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran in his first offseason and constructing a team that came within a game of winning the National League pennant in 2006. But those Mets also blew late division leads in '07 and '08 before collapsing to the bottom of the NL East. In that time, Minaya was forced to contend with a shrinking payroll on the orders of the Wilpon family, which owns the team and was caught up in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, but he also stepped into his own messes. His most notable blunder was the firing of manager Willie Randolph in 2008, which was done in the middle of the night on a West Coast road trip, with Randolph learning about it through a press release. Minaya also fired VP Tony Bernazard in 2009 after reports emerged that Bernazard had challenged members of the Mets' Double A team to a shirtless fistfight—reports that Minaya angrily denied and that led to a brief war of words between him and New York Daily News beatwriter Adam Rubin.
In short, Minaya's tenure was very on brand given the Mets' perpetual status as one of baseball's more eccentric freak shows. And while his return isn't necessarily inexplicable—he's always had a good eye for talent, particularly in Latin America—it's still an odd move, and one likely pushed by Fred Wilpon, a supporter of Minaya's even after his firing. As the Daily News reports, Minaya's return to Queens is part of Wilpon "re-asserting himself," particularly in the wake of the new contract extension given to Alderson—one the elder Wilpon pushed back against. And while Minaya wasn't the main reason for the Mets' post-2008 malaise, the reaction at Citi Field to his hiring wasn't exactly positive.
So, to sum up: The Mets are bringing back a former GM as part of a power play by one of the owners—who refuse to spend money on a team with a rapidly closing window, by the way—and potentially as a reaction to the current GM getting a new deal, and that's upset a lot of people in the front office. Even amid a very quiet winter, the Mets still have a gift for being absurdly loud.