If Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry were able to have triumphant second acts by switching from Flushing to the Bronx, then why not Omar Minaya?
As general manager, Minaya came within an Adam Wainwright curveball of getting the 2006 Mets to the World Series. With Minaya now under strong consideration to join the Yankees in Brian Cashman's front-office rebuild for 2015 -- as club sources told Newsday's Erik Boland -- the Dominican-born Queens native could get another chance at hometown glory on the other side of the RFK Bridge.
Returning to New York seems fitting for Minaya, whose tenure as Mets GM crashed in 2010 with the club on a downhill slide since that gut-wrenching loss to St. Louis in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. During the past two years, he has been the senior vice president of baseball operations for the Padres, and for a while was part of a three-headed GM role in San Diego after Josh Byrnes was fired in June.
But now that Cashman, a longtime Minaya pal, has significant holes to fill in his own front office, he could be a natural fit, though it's unclear at this stage exactly how Minaya would be deployed. With the Yankees needing to improve on the scouting and development front, it could be a spot for Minaya, who still has his fingerprints on a Mets organization that has been maturing under Sandy Alderson's stewardship during the past four years.
Minaya's time in Queens ended badly, with the Mets crumbling from the inside out and a regrettable confrontation between Minaya and a reporter over the firing of his disgraced assistant GM, Tony Bernazard.
But through international signings and the draft, Minaya did stock the franchise with younger talent such as Matt Harvey, Lucas Duda, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Jon Niese, Jacob deGrom, Dillon Gee, Juan Lagares and Daniel Murphy. You also might remember that Minaya found R.A. Dickey, who went from obscurity to Cy Young Award winner before Alderson turned him into Noah Syndergaard and Travis d'Arnaud.
When the Mets appeared to have money and the Wilpons opened their checkbook for Minaya's arrival from the MLB-owned Montreal Expos, he helped lure Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner to Queens. That was a time when the Mets seemed on the verge of taking back New York from the Yankees, reminiscent of a period of prosperity in the mid-to-late '80s.
But as quickly as the Mets climbed under Minaya -- from 71 wins in 2004 to 97 in 2006 -- they also collapsed in spectacular fashion, and their steady decline eventually led to his ouster. Considering Minaya's growing discomfort in the spotlight with the Mets, he might be best suited for more of a supporting role. The perfect pairing could be with Cashman, who has a great handle on New York's unique media challenges, something that Hal Steinbrenner listed as one of his GM's strengths before giving him a three-year extension last Friday.
For Minaya, this represents a great opportunity to go head-to-head with his former employer -- if not in the same division or league, at least in the same market, a place that's going to get only more competitive between the Yankees and Mets in the coming years.
Minaya's days as a Sports Illustrated cover boy may be behind him, but he's well-respected within the game and would be an asset to the Yankees' front-office makeover, whether it's finding complementary bench pieces or some building blocks for the future. After missing the playoffs the past two seasons, the Yankees could use the help. And for Minaya, there would be nothing sweeter than winning again in his own backyard.