The Yankees on Thursday announced the hiring of former Mets general manager Omar Minaya as a senior adviser in the baseball operations department.
Minaya, 64, becomes the second high-profile front-office addition general manager Brian Cashman has made in the last three days. On Tuesday, Cashman hired former San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean, a three-time World Series winner, as an adviser.
The two newbies combined have more than 70 years of baseball experience, including their time as scouts. The hires could be seen as Cashman trying to bring more shoe leather scouting perspective to the Yankees’ analytics-heavy front office. Or it could just be Cashman bringing in two veteran executives he has always been close to and fond of.
Minaya, the Mets’ general manager from 2004-10, built a squad that came within one victory of reaching the World Series in 2006. Many of the players he signed, traded for and developed formed the core of the Mets’ 2015 World Series team.
During the last six years, the Queens native worked for the Mets as a special assistant to the GM (2017-20) and then as a Mets ambassador. He also worked as an amateur scouting consultant for Major League Baseball in 2022.
“Me and Brian have been friends for many years competing against each other,” Minaya said on a Zoom call. “But we just have a good friendship and to me, this is one of the reasons that I’m here.”
Minaya said Cashman tried to interview him for a position last March, but he decided to stay with MLB at that time.
“For me, it’s a great start for the new year to be able to be with a team — a local team,” he said. “As a kid that grew up in New York his whole life and grew up on the east side of New York City and Queens, to be able to have this opportunity to be here with part of a storied organization like the New York Yankees, for me and my family, it’s great. I’m looking forward to being part of the Yankee family.
“And for me, like I said, when you’re from Queens, you go into the Bronx, I do remember one thing: I do remember as a kid going to Yankee Stadium and they used to have bat days and helmet days and I used to have a Horace Clarke bat. If you grew up in those days, it was Channel 11 and everybody used to raise their bats.
“But it’s an honor when it’s all said and done. This is a successful organization, but the goal every year is to win the World Series, and I’m looking forward to doing whatever Brian and the staff wants from me. Basically, just assist. I’m honored to be able to be here today and I’m looking forward to it.”
Minaya revealed that when the Mets were looking to trade Zack Wheeler in 2019 under then-GM Brodie Van Wagenen, it was Minaya who had the conversations with Cashman that almost led to a rare intracity deal. The Mets ended up not trading Wheeler.
Minaya said there were some Yankees players he today regrets that the Mets passed on in a potential Wheeler deal. He wouldn’t confirm who the players were, other than that Aaron Judge was not one of them.
Minaya began his career in the Texas Rangers’ scouting department in 1985 before joining the Mets as a fast-rising front-office executive. In 2002, he became baseball’s first Hispanic general manager with the Montreal Expos.
Minaya also spent four years as the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and worked as a senior adviser to the MLB Players Association.