On WFAN: Mets’ Jeff Wilpon Talks Firings, Future
NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – Jeff Wilpon, COO of the New York Mets, joined Boomer & Carton Tuesday to talk about the organization’s future after firing manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya.
Wilpon is eager to get the “family business” back on track.
“We had an opportunity over the last 3 or 4 years to get it done, and we didn’t get it done,” Wilpon said. “We said we’d give [Omar] and Jerry the year, and we stuck to that.”
“We have to take responsibility, the owner owns the bad news. We have to change the culture and change the direction of the entire organization, top to bottom.”
Now comes the hard part for an organization that repeatedly has stumbled: cleaning up the mess.
Starting the season with a $133 million payroll, fifth-highest in baseball, the Mets finished 79-83, 18 games behind the Phillies in the NL East. Left-hander Oliver Perez is often the subject of frustration for Mets fans.
“We tried to get the best contract we could with [Perez], obviously it hasn’t worked so far,” said Wilpon.
Could Wilpon see a scenario where Perez isn’t with the club next season?
“It could happen.”
Bobby Valentine, who led the Mets to the 2000 World Series, and Wally Backman, a second baseman on New York’s 1986 championship team, might be potential replacements for Manuel.
There were reports this past weekend that Wilpon was spotted dining with Valentine and Backman in Connecticut at Italian restaurant Quattro Pazzi – reports the Mets’ COO denies.
“I’ve never been to Pazzi.”
False reports aside, is Valentine on the Mets’ preliminary list?
“I’m sure he would be on the list, yes,” Wilpon said.
“Eventually it comes down to wins. We need more wins.”