As he enters his
second full season as general manager of the Mets, Minaya would like to make it
clear that he has not been given the combination to the Wilpon family vault. It
just looks that way. Ownership's riches have allowed Minaya, 47, to outspend
his competitors and lasso many of the game's top players, including ace
righthander Pedro Martinez, centerfielder Carlos Beltran, first baseman Carlos
Delgado and closer Billy Wagner.
Dominican-born executive (his family moved to Queens, N.Y., when he was eight)
has received much attention--and some criticism--for his lavish spending and
"Latinization" of the Mets. Indeed, in the last 18 months he has turned
over nearly three quarters of the 40-man roster, shelling out $220 million in
free-agent contracts and upping the Latin head count from seven to 17 in the
process. But as Braves ace John Smoltz says of the NL East race this year,
"It's the Mets and then us."
that off--"Until proven otherwise, the Braves are the class of the
division," he says--but there's no denying that the Mets have become a
thoroughly Minayan vision, and one on which his abilities will be judged.