(l-r : Da Edge — who might be available — and Mr. I Love My Gutless Team Just The Way They Are)

On Thursday, Mets GM Omar Minaya told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, “there is a smile on David Wright’s face, a smile on Jose Reyes’s face. But there is not an edge to them.” Prior to New York’s 7-4 defeat of the Phillies last night, the New York Daily News’ John Harper gave Minaya ample opportunity to clarify his remarks.

No doubt realizing how his words sounded, Minaya backpedaled here Friday, saying that he believes his team has strong leadership and plays with passion.

“I’m very comfortable with our leadership,” he said.

Minaya insisted that he wasn’t being critical in saying players such as David Wright and Jose Reyes don’t have an edge, only that there are different styles of leadership. Furthermore, he repeatedly said he was happy with the makeup of the ballclub.

“Let’s be clear,” he said, finally. “We have an edge.”

Minaya was doing his best to sound convincing, but you got the feeling it was simply damage control. After all, this comes at a time when the Mets, 10-12, are again having the problems hitting in the clutch that haunted them in their September collapses.

The Rosenthal story said that Minaya essentially put Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado as Reyes and Wright in the same category, and Mets fans surely would agree with him. The problem with Minaya saying it, however, is that it’s an indictment of him as well.

He must have had these feelings in the offseason, and if so, he should have made moves to change the personality of this team. It would have taken a bold move of some kind, trading one or more of his key players, but in the offseason, Minaya insisted that he didn’t believe toughness or clutch hitting was an issue.

Friday, however, he said he believes acquiring Gary Sheffield was significant because “there’s a presence about Sheffield.”

OK, but Sheffield fell into Minaya’s lap only because the Tigers released him, eating his $14 million salary. If Minaya thought he needed such a presence, why didn’t he acquire one over the winter?

Which, depending on who you believe, might bring us back to Madoff, Bernie. I know it doesn’t address the Mets’ RISP problems, but surely the acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez qualifies as bringing in someone with a presence?