The Yankees continued their efforts to bulk up the front office Thursday bringing in Omar Minaya, the former Mets general manager to work as a senior advisor to baseball operations.
Minaya, who grew up in Queens after coming to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a child, becomes the second former general manager to join Brian Cashman and the Yankees this week, following the hiring of longtime former San Francisco Giants executive Brian Sabean on Tuesday.
The move has been in the works for a long time as the two have enjoyed a friendship and a friendly working relationship throughout the years, with Brian Cashman having approached Minaya about a role within the organization in the past.
Cashman asked for permission to interview Minaya last March but at the time, the executive was working on various international projects with the league, including an international draft, and wanted to see some projects through. Now, he’s ready to join Cashman and bring his experiences to the Yankees.
“There’s a lot of connectivity, a lot of people and I’m a big believer that it’s about people,” Minaya said on a Zoom call with reporters Thursday afternoon. This game is about the human element.”
The 64-year-old Minaya has over 30 years of experience in scouting and baseball operations with the Mets, Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres. He became the first Latin American general manager in MLB history in 2002 when he was named executive vice present and GM to the Expos.
But it’s the human element and his scouting eye that he has long been known for, and he’ll use those strengths to help the Yankees balance out their analytics-heavy approach.
“What you’re going to see more and more is balance,” Minaya said. “I think we all agree that the game has changed. I think we all have to be open to new information, all kinds and forms of new information. But when the decision is done, when you’re talking about team building and organizational building, balance matters.”
Minaya has held various roles throughout the baseball but says he’s still a scout at heart and that hasn’t changed throughout his career. And while it sounds simplistic, good scouting is still the core of any successful professional organization and Minaya believes he can offer valuable input when it comes to player personnel.
Another thing that hasn’t necessarily changed throughout his 30-year career is his willingness to speak up, even if he goes against what others want.
“I’m not one of those to conform to what the industry is saying or what people say,” he said. “Now, of course, you’ve got to sometimes be right when you go against the grain, but I hope that I’m able to bring new ideas, bring different ideas and kind of off the offer outside-the-box ideas to any situation that I’m involved with.”
In three stints with the Mets, the team he grew up watching, he worked as a GM, an assistant general manager, a special assistant to the GM and an ambassador. He most recently worked with the league as an amateur scouting consultant. He was first with the club from 1997-2002, working under general manager Steve Phillips. He was the general manager from late 2004-2010. He returned again in 2017 and briefly was one of the acting general managers after Sandy Alderson stepped down from his position to receive treatment for cancer.
The winner of the 2022 Baseball America Trailblazer Award, Minaya has been credited with helping to bring many of the game’s Latin American and Caribbean stars to the major leagues. A longtime champion of diversity in the game, the Newtown High School grad helped the Mets celebrate the culture and brought several high-profile Spanish-speaking players to Queens, like Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana.
Known for having a keen scouting eye, he drafted several of the players that led the Mets to the 2015 World Series, including pitchers Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz.