Omar Minaya has been the target of considerable criticism in this space throughout the Mets’ injury-plagued 2009 season, but for once, he’s deserving of some small credit. Asked by OF Gary Sheffield for a contract extension yesterday before the Mets’ 3-2 loss to Atlanta, Minaya replied with the only answer a sane person might give (ie. NFW). I’m not sure how much drama you can really coax out of a punchless Amazins roster who are about to endure another 5 weeks of garbage time, but yesterday’s misinformation campaign will have to suffice. From the New York Daily News’ Peter Botte and Bill Madden :
Claimed on waivers earlier this month and pulled back by the Mets, Gary Sheffield – who was on the original lineup posted yesterday afternoon — is unhappy that he “essentially is being held hostage” from moving on to a contender for the remainder of this season, according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke last night on the condition of anonymity.
Once Sheffield’s nameplate was removed, a series of contradictory quotes from the veteran and manager Jerry Manuel suggested something was brewing concerning the outfielder’s status with the team. Word circulating among players in the clubhouse before the game was that Sheffield was on the verge of being given his outright release.
Upon arriving at the clubhouse around 4 p.m., Sheffield coyly told reporters he is “100% healthy.” He also indicated it wasn’t his decision to be scratched from the lineup.
“Why’d I get pulled out? It’s just the best thing for this (game)….It’s just the best thing to let somebody else play today,” Sheffield said.
About an hour later, Manuel agreed that Sheffield is “OK” physically, but contended that the slugger “asked for a day off to clear some thoughts and things.”
“He’s done what we asked him to do and he’s played very well and just needed a break,” Manuel said.
Asked if Sheffield asked out of the lineup as a protest about his situation, Manuel replied, “Has he come to me and said that? No.”
In Sheff’s defense, if you never ask for something, you might never receive it. And with that in mind, there’s no harm in Wally Backman applying for the GM position, Fran Healy lobbying for Gary Cohen’s job or yours truly sending A.J. Daulerio a form letter about link exchanges.