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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sherman: Clock is ticking on Alderson’s honeymoon

“Bet A Million” Wilpon: No comment until the time limit is up!

The 2013 season is Sandy Alderson’s final Mulligan.

This is the last year the Mets general manager gets to explain away a worsening major league product in the name of cleansing the old, building the new and waiting for money to drop from heaven — or at least from a Wilpon.

...Indeed, Alderson has followed the right course in trying to find cornerstones while shunning the patchwork route that undermined Minaya: Attempting to plug one roster flaw while holes arose everywhere.

It is possible an ownership fearful of further disenchanting the fans prevented Alderson from trading Jose Reyes and David Wright, too, to deepen the pool of young, high-end, inexpensive options. But when Alderson was hired he was viewed as having the tools — gravitas, maturity, fortitude — to successfully navigate ownership issues.

The other element expected with Alderson was ingenuity — that he was one of the smart guys in the room. He was a pioneer in bringing Moneyball philosophies to the majors while with the A’s. Thus, the belief was that while restocking the system, Alderson’s creativity would find pieces at the margins to a) help short-term competitiveness, and b) be part of a brighter future.

...Yet, though not responsible for all the heartache, Alderson cannot expect unlimited

tether to get this right. This feels like the last year his administration will be given a major league pass to expunge the bad, continue to sow the good.

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:29 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, mets

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   1. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4385485)
So two seasons is all the time one needs to rebuild a farm system and have it bear fruit at the major leagues all while having an owner that isn't spending money? Is the writer delusional? Why are writers writing about anyone other than the owners when writing about the Mets. Everything else is just meaningless.
   2. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4385491)
Clock ticking on honeymoon? Talk about performance anxiety ...
   3. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4385492)
It's been pretty obvious that the plan has been to wait for the Bay and Santana contracts to be over before really trying to add to the team through free agency. It's not fun to wait but that's what needs to happen with the financial issues the Mets have.

I have been uninspired by their inability to find better outfielders. I know they don't have a ton of money but you should be able to find guys with bigger upsides than Mike Baxter and Cowgill.
   4. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4385499)
Maybe it's a different story with a more untested guy in charge, but you would think you'd have to be willing to give a guy like Alderson at least 5 years. Eventually everybody has to be held accountable, even a proven guy like Alderson, but certainly I think he's earned a little extra benefit of the doubt, particularly since the problems he's facing were not at all of his creation.
   5. billyshears Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4385505)
So two seasons is all the time one needs to rebuild a farm system and have it bear fruit at the major leagues all while having an owner that isn't spending money? Is the writer delusional? Why are writers writing about anyone other than the owners when writing about the Mets. Everything else is just meaningless.


I think the point of the article is that this is last season when the MLB team can be bad without the blame falling on Alderson, so the author is really giving Alderson 3 seasons to fix things. I think that is more than fair. Alderson has done some really good things - the Dickey signing plus the Beltran and Dickey trades. But he has been as poor at plugging holes in the roster as Minaya, and his drafts have not been inspiring. But if after three years of rebuilding there isn't a clear, reasonable path to the next good Mets team, there is a problem.
   6. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4385511)
And when the guy holding the purse strings refuses to open the purse why would you blame the GM for failing to do anything? The directive from the top has been to cut all costs now and that is what Sandy is doing.
   7. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4385521)
It's been pretty obvious that the plan has been to wait for the Bay and Santana contracts to be over before really trying to add to the team through free agency.


I hope that's the plan, but right now all that's obvious is that the plan has been to spend as little money as possible without blowing up the team Astros-style and torpedoing the luxury box sales. We don't know what next year's payroll will be.
   8. The District Attorney Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4385524)
Isn't the conspiracy theory that Alderson is Selig's man sent to watch over the team, and thus it's presumably not up to Wilpon to fire him? (Unless Selig believes that Wilpon has righted the financial ship, but Selig is not stupid.)

Regardless of whether that's the case, my worry is that if you bring in another GM, it will be back to the bad old days when players, assistant GMs, etc. routinely went over the GM's head and the hierarchy collapsed. Alderson does put a clamp on that just by virtue of being Sandy Alderson, highly respected figure in the business of baseball. A whiz-kid youngster replacement better be brilliant (and as mentioned, "brilliant" means "can figure out a way to beat the Nationals on a really tight payroll"), because otherwise it could be a return to organizational chaos, which is really worse than merely having a bad team.
   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4385525)
And when the guy holding the purse strings refuses to open the purse why would you blame the GM for failing to do anything? The directive from the top has been to cut all costs now and that is what Sandy is doing.

Agreed. People forget that Sandy isn't merely presiding over a smaller budget than the one Omar had; he's dealing with one that is still shrinking.
   10. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4385554)
da

i don't think that's a conspiracy at all. it's pretty obvious that is mlb's means of keeping a close watch on the mets.

anderson is going to get all kinds of time to do whatever.
   11. Swedish Chef Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4385561)
What I don't get is how the former GMs they recruited to the front office can be content with their jobs there now. Solitaire isn't that fun.
   12. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4385584)
It's been pretty obvious that the plan has been to wait for the Bay and Santana contracts to be over before really trying to add to the team through free agency.



That hasn't been the plan, though. The plan is clear: do whatever is necessary to keep the Wilpons afloat. Everything else truly is irrelevant. Now, within that imperative, if you know your payroll is going to be 90m or less for the forseeable future, then, sure, 40m going to two unproductive players means you aren't going to be able to assemble a contender, barring enormous luck, so why try to squeeze out the money for someone like Bourn? When Bay and Santana's contracts are done with, though, the payroll is only going to remain in the 90m range if it's part of what keeps the rest of the Wilpon's empire afloat. If they can cut payroll to 50m and only lose 10m overall in revenues, I can't believe there's any doubt they won't do that.

Your claim depends entirely on the idea of hard payroll numbers. If there's one thing we know, though, it's that payroll isn't hard. Payroll is entirely contingent on other factors entirely unrelated to baseball.


I hope that's the plan, but right now all that's obvious is that the plan has been to spend as little money as possible without blowing up the team Astros-style and torpedoing the luxury box sales. We don't know what next year's payroll will be.


That's more like it. We just don't know.
   13. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:43 PM (#4385593)
Isn't the conspiracy theory that Alderson is Selig's man sent to watch over the team, and thus it's presumably not up to Wilpon to fire him? (Unless Selig believes that Wilpon has righted the financial ship, but Selig is not stupid.)


Maybe so, but there isn't any reason to fire Alderson. He's not insisting the Mets spend more money than they're spending. He's done nothing against the Wilpons' interests. He's perfectly happy to bullshite the press with payroll numbers he almost certainly knows are nonsense just to string things along and minimize discontent.

Jeffy thinks Alderson has to come to him to get approval for every single FA deal. He's said so. Alderson knows what his job is. He's getting 4m a year to front for the Wilpons. He's doing exactly what he was paid to do. He wasn't going to resign if payroll dropped to 70m, or 50m.

Regardless of whether that's the case, my worry is that if you bring in another GM, it will be back to the bad old days when players, assistant GMs, etc. routinely went over the GM's head and the hierarchy collapsed. Alderson does put a clamp on that just by virtue of being Sandy Alderson, highly respected figure in the business of baseball. A whiz-kid youngster replacement better be brilliant (and as mentioned, "brilliant" means "can figure out a way to beat the Nationals on a really tight payroll"), because otherwise it could be a return to organizational chaos, which is really worse than merely having a bad team.


Once Alderson leaves, the Wilpons will go back to doing what they've always done: pick weak GMs who will do what they're told. They'll be permitted only the laundry list approach to signing free agents, and will be kept on a very short leash. Once the Wilpons are reasonably solvent and the MLB is out of leverage, Jeff Wilpon will hire whomever he likes. He hasn't given any indication, ever, of having learned anything about running a major league team; he'll do what he's always done. As fans our only hopes are

1) the Wilpons go under and have to sell;
2) they get well, financially, and the GM they hire isn't too bad and has $160m a year to spend, which in a lucky year might make up for as bad a pair of owners as there are in the game meddling in the assembly and running of the team.

What I don't get is how the former GMs they recruited to the front office can be content with their jobs there now. Solitaire isn't that fun.


To some degree didn't both DePo and Ricciardi have to repair their reputations? I don't recall any demand for either as GMs. They both probably found jobs that represented the best career paths open to them at that point.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4385603)
To some degree didn't both DePo and Ricciardi have to repair their reputations? I don't recall any demand for either as GMs. They both probably found jobs that represented the best career paths open to them at that point.


These guys are making decent money, they live in NYC, they have a great boss, there is no pressure because the team sucks. I'm sure both yearn to run their own teams again, but otherwise I think they must be sitting pretty.
   15. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:21 PM (#4385615)
PF--how was it when Ricciardi left the Jays, and DePo left LA? My recollection is that both were under clouds, and were not getting offers from teams, but that may be faulty.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4385620)
PF--how was it when Ricciardi left the Jays, and DePo left LA? My recollection is that both were under clouds, and were not getting offers from teams, but that may be faulty.


Ricciardi had more than enough time in Toronto, he just didn't do much (not terrible, not terribly impressive.)

DePo got run out of LA without having enough time. He went to work in SD as an assistant, then moved on to NY.

Now it may be as meaningful as Buehrle's claims that he was going to retire early to spend time with his family (currently 1,000 miles away in Fla.), but I seem to recall DePo stating that he's not terribly interested in being a GM again. He likes the kind of role he has.
   17. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 10, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4385635)
These guys are making decent money, they live in NYC, they have a great boss, there is no pressure because the team sucks. I'm sure both yearn to run their own teams again, but otherwise I think they must be sitting pretty.

"Sitting pretty" might be an understatement. I don't believe either of them live in NYC — last I had read, DePodesta was allowed to live in So. Cal. and Ricciardi in Massachusetts — and the rumor when they were hired was that both are among the highest-paid AGMs in the game (if not the highest paid).
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4385648)
Alderson -- Minaya is an interesting comp but the comp is probably better if it's Minaya with the Expos. That's essentially what the Mets are now, a team in receivership being watched over by MLB (and the banks). At least Alderson hasn't traded Lee, Sizemore and Phillips in a sorely misguided attempt at a playoff run.h

Ex-GMs always find new FO jobs just not necessarily as GMs.
   19. Lassus Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4385691)
Mets fans have neither the patience nor good nature required to read a clock.
   20. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 10, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4385868)
After awhile Mets fans will expect the general manager to actually do something, other than just serve as the yes man for ownership. If Alderson takes paychecks from Wilpon, then he will have to put up with criticism from fans over almost nothing being done.

Alderson did make a smart move in trading Dickey for D'Arnaud (he should have done something similar with Reyes), but he needs to make some other tangible moves, like trading vets for younger players, or signing minor league free agents, or making a good waiver wire pickup along the way. That's what a good GM is expected to do, regardless of payroll constraints.
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4385920)

Whose idea was it to trade Angel Pagan for Andres Torres?

I agree Alderson should get more than 2-3 years but also agree with many of the criticisms.
   22. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4385944)

Whose idea was it to trade Angel Pagan for Andres Torres?


They also got that reliever who was very good for SF but sucked for the Mets. It was a defensible trade that didn't work out.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2013 at 12:47 AM (#4386030)
Whose idea was it to trade Angel Pagan for Andres Torres?

Bernie Maddoff

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