Why did the Yankees hire ex-Mets GM Omar Minaya?

Omar Minaya and his wife Rachel are watching his son Justin playing basketball in Old Tappan, N.J.

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The Yankees are adding another experienced baseball executive to power their operations team. On Thursday, they announced the hiring of Omar Minaya as the team’s senior advisor for baseball operations.

The move to hire Omar Minaya comes two days after the Yankees announced that they had hired Brian Sabean to help and advise general manager Brian Cashman. Omar Minaya, who has worked in the front office of a baseball team for almost 40 years, will also assist Cashman.

Omar Minaya grew up in Queens, and after he finished playing in the minor leagues, he went into scouting. He worked for the Rangers, the Mets, and the Montreal Expos, and the Padres. His most recent term in the Queens was his third stint for the New York Mets.

From 2002 to 2004, he was the general manager in Montreal, and from 2005 to 2010, he was the same for the Mets.

The baseball executive with a lot of experience most recently worked as a consultant for domestic and international amateur scouting projects for Major League Baseball. As a scout for the Rangers, Omar Minaya helped find Sammy Sosa and Ivan Rodriguez, which was one of his greatest milestones.

In recent years, the Yankees’ front office has been criticized for relying too much on statistics. By adding Brian Sabean and Omar Minaya, the team now has two executives with strong scouting backgrounds.

“It’s an honor,” Minaya said. “This is a successful organization, but the goal every year is to win the World Series. I’m looking forward to doing whatever Brian and the staff want from me.”

Omar Minaya said that he thinks that both his and Sabean’s additions could make the Yankees’ operations more “balanced.” In sharp contrast to the Yankees’ pivot to analytics, Omar Minaya and Sabean both believe in analytics, but they are also expected to use old-school scouting methods.

“You’re looking at somewhere close to 70-plus years of experience in different roles,” Omar Minaya told, “I think what we’re going to bring to the group is experience in scouting, leadership, and team-building because we’ve done it. We started off as scouts; that’s what we like to do. We’re blessed to be where we are in our careers, to be able to scout from top to bottom.”

Omar Minaya was also the Padres’ vice president of baseball operations from December 2011 to January 2015. From 2015 to 2017, he was the executive director of the MLB Players Association’s senior advisor.

“I think we all agree that the game has changed,” Minaya said. “I think we all have to be open to new information. I’m a big believer in the human element. I’m a big believer that the human element counts. Any time you make a decision, it’s got to be a balanced decision. But we always want to get better. I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

He’s still an old-school guy when it comes to building teams, but in his first press conference as the Yankees’ new special advisor to baseball operations on Thursday, Omar Minaya said, “I’ve never met a good baseball man who didn’t fight for what he or she believed in.”

But he knows now, after more than 30 years in a baseball front office, he has a lot to offer. Since he used to be a scout, Omar Minaya said that “finding the guys no one’s thought about” is what he’s most proud of. This is something that Brian Cashman and his front office love to have.

He wouldn’t say where that balance is with the Yankees, but Omar Minaya did say, “I think this organization has done a great job based on the wins, but we want to always get better, and I’m honored and look forward to being a part of that.”

But he’s ready for the challenge, even though Omar Minaya knows that decision-making has changed over the years, both in terms of the information used and the people who make the decisions. He knows assistant GM Michael Fishman, who was at the forefront of the “analytic” department of the Yankees and is expected to help integrate both sides of the game to power the team.

“He played with my mentor, Sandy Johnson, so we had a lot of conversations, and he was ahead of his time in his ways of thinking about certain data,” Omar Minaya said of Michael. “He was a hell of a baseball man but he knew that it’s not just the eye, you have to use the info you have, too.”

In recent years, the Yankees have been criticized for hitting too many home runs, striking out too often, and other things. Omar Minaya’s ability to look at things from a different point of view might be able to help bring the team back into balance.

Cashman is upbeat after hiring Omar Minaya and Sabean

Omar Minaya is known as one of the best and most successful scouts in the game. At a time when the Yankees’ overdependence on analytics is drawing ire, Sabean and Minaya are expected to give the front office a balance. This was echoed by Brian Cashman to The Athletic when he talked following the hiring of Sabean:

“He’s a good baseball scout and manager He has been in my seat and knows how the game works, how things change, and what you should go all in on and what you should hold back on. He has been very good at all of those things.”

Given all the different jobs Omar Minaya has had, it’s clear that this is true. He has been a scout, worked in a front office, and been a consultant and advisor.

What do you think about Omar Minaya? Leave your comment below.

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