Who's Running the Show?

Much has been made of the New York Yankees' warring factions of its front office, but it's looking more and more like the Mets are starting to have the same problem.<br> <br> Given this is Jim Duquette's first full year as general manager, it seems ill-advised that right before the all-important trading deadline, his role is being being circumvented by others in the front office.<br> <br> Yet, it appears that's exactly what is happening. <b>(Free Preview of Premium Content)

In Yankeeland, where the team's once-proud farm system has fallen into disrepair, the Tampa group, led by Gene Michael, Billy Connors and Gordon Blakeley, are constantly fighting for the attention and favor of the team's bombastic owner, with GM Brian Cashman and Joe Torre on the other side.

Things aren't so different in Flushing, unfortuantely, as sources indicate that Fred Wilpon is starting to tune out Duquette at the worst possible time of the year.

"Superscout" Al Goldis is the man that Wilpon is apparently listening to, and the rumored trade of promising right-hander Matt Peterson (along with Ty Wigginton and a prospect that may be supplied by the Chicago White Sox) has his fingerprints all over it.

According to sources close to the situation, Goldis has become increasingly active in the team's day-to-day activities, including constant criticism of the team's scouting and minor league development people, as well as pushing for the trade of some of the team's top prospects for a all-out run at the NL East.

Peterson and left-hander Scott Kazmir are the team's top pitching prospects, yet each are being bandied about in trade talks, only months after being considered untouchable. Duquette, widely known throughout baseball circles as a patient man _ especially when it comes to the club's farmhands _ is rumored to be against trading either player.

Yet, somehow, Peterson may very well be on his way to Pittsburgh, while Kazmir is supposedly the lynchpin that would net the Mets' righty Victor Zambrano from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

For a team that spent much of the offseason selling its fan base on the future and it's so-called "Plan", this chain of events is alarming to those who believe the Amazin's only hope of consistent playoff contention is the minor league system.

Duquette, the lone voice opposing ex-GM Steve Phillips' the ill-fated deals for Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn, has suddenly appeared to have changed course.

"No one is untouchable" said Duquette, who appeared as a guest on ESPN 1050AM on Thursday.

The "win now" mantra that is emanating from Shea Stadium the past few weeks makes the non-signing of Vladimir Guerrero, on his way to a possible MVP season for the Angels, now seem ludicrous.

If Fred Wilpon thought highly enough to hire Duquette in the first place, why allow Goldis, who is supposed to a special assistant to the general manager, to have such sway in the team's makeup?

Along with Gary LaRocque and Minor league coordinator Guy Conti, Duquette have presided over a complete overhaul of the team's minor league system, now considered one of the best in baseball.

Having failed to offer a significant deal to first-round pick Philip Humber, and the possible dealing for Peterson and Kazmir, it's highly unlikely that Duquette is this eager to change his modus operandi this quickly in his first year.

More likely, it is Wilpon's shortsighted belief that marketing and selling tickets (for a fairy tale "playoff run") that is fueling this latest detour from the "Plan".

It's not to say that Goldis doesn't have an impressive resume, as he helped draft Jack McDowell, Alex Fernandez, Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura for the Chicago White Sox back in the 1990's.

Rather, it's the lack of trust being shown Duquette, whose opinions are being shunted aside in favor of a "subordinate", who just happens to have the owner's ear.

Time to stop being the good soldier, Jim, as these deals will have your name on them, not Al Goldis'.

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