Former Mets GM Omar Minaya said he is looking forward to returning to the organization and helping with scouting and player development after the franchise announced he will take on a new role as special assistant to current GM Sandy Alderson.
"Christmas came earlier than expected," Minaya said on a conference call Friday afternoon.
Minaya, who served as Mets general manager from September 2004 until October 2010, when he was relieved of his duties and replaced by Alderson, said he had remained in contact with Alderson and Fred and Jeff Wilpon, and said he sat down with Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco a couple of weeks ago to discuss the possibility of returning.
"It's just a family to be able to come home to a Met family that is very dear," Minaya said.
Alderson, who was not on Friday's conference call, said in a press release that Minaya will consult on player acquisitions, serve as a community ambassador and assist in scouting and player development, which Minaya said is "what I love the most."
"Omar has a long history with the Mets," Alderson said in the press release. "He has served the club well in many different areas. ... We are very happy to have him back in the organization."
Minaya thanked Alderson, the Wilpons and the Katz family for allowing him to return to the franchise, and said Alderson was "on board" with the hiring.
"To be able to come back ... it's personal, almost," Minaya said. "They've treated my family so well and I know their passion about winning."
Minaya said he didn't think it would be awkward to work with the man who replaced him as general manager; rather, he called working with Alderson and Ricco "an honor."
Minaya, who is credited for bringing in several key players, including pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Jeurys Familia and Steven Matz, and infielders Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, in the team's pennant run in 2015, said he still followed the team even after his tenure as general manager ended.
"Your hometown team, the team you grew up with, no matter what job you're in, you're always paying attention," Minaya said.
However, Minaya's term as general manager also saw the Mets sign Jason Bay and Oliver Perez to multi-year deals.
"Experience means you've signed a couple of bad players along the way," said Minaya, who did not specifically name any players during his press call.
Minaya said his role is going to be a "versatile" one that would allow him to assist in international scouting and the draft.
"I love the challenge," Minaya said. "I'm going to be able to help and assist in what I love the most, scouting and development. It's in my passion. It's in my heart."
In addition to baseball operations, scouting and development, Minaya said he wanted the franchise to be more involved with youth baseball and have better relations with its alumni.
"If I can make others better, if I can get the organization in the community to be seen ... I would feel good about that," Minaya said.