State Of The Mets: Sandy Alderson’s Actions Will Point The Way

Your intrepid columnist got a little jolt this morning. He clicked on MetsBlog.com to read that there is a very strong possibility that the Mets will be buyers at the trade deadline.

Really? Buyers? After going from the extremely high mountaintop of sweeping the Yankees to the deepest of valleys in being swept by the Marlins? After even Matt Harvey got roughed up by a gang with a statistically worse offense than the Mets? Why on Earth would the Mets be buyers in this season which so closely resembles a combination of urban blight and dandruff?

As with most things about this team, the answer is comes down to the owners. According to Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog, if they’re not buyers, GM Sandy Alderson – once the great hope to a downtrodden fan base, now edging towards being the symbol of front office futility – is likely to leave after his contract expires after the 2014 season; he “wants to significantly move the franchise forward in the next year or so.” If he won’t be allowed to do that – to swing a deal for a big bat in the outfield or take on a decent amount of salary – he’ll bolt. And who could blame him? Alderson would only be tarnishing his reputation by spinning his wheels for any length of time beyond the expiration of his contract. He built his credentials decades ago, and has nothing to gain by sticking around if the purse strings aren’t loosened and some bold action hasn’t taken place. The veteran Met-watcher – the pessimist, glass-half-empty, Charlie Brown-ish segment of the fan base, of which your intrepid columnist is sometimes a card-carrying member — already kind of knows how this is going to play out.

If Sandy Alderson doesn’t re-up, the message to the public is as depressing as it is clear: this is Jeff Wilpon’s team now. The Mets could bring in the best GM around – they could animate the ghost of Branch Rickey and team it with the spirit of Ed Barrow – and it wouldn’t matter a whit. If an owner is unable or unwilling to provide a General Manager the resources to put a competitive product between the lines, the identity of the person in the chair is of little consequence. And Jeff Wilpon has not — so far — shown that he has the chops to be a successful owner in this town. From his disheartening-at-best remarks when honoring Mariano Rivera to the ridiculous behind-the-scenes machinations that left the Mets with their AAA team nearly 3,000 miles away, playing in substandard conditions and facilities, to the stories of his meddling up and down the organization, Jeff Wilpon seems to be forever cast as the buffoon. Until or unless owning the team becomes unprofitable for him somehow, we’re all stuck with him.

Let’s go Mets…

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

21 comments for “State Of The Mets: Sandy Alderson’s Actions Will Point The Way

  1. Jerry Grote
    June 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Hold on, hold on, hold on Charlie.

    Everybody in the organization has stated over and again that they will have the resources to do something in the next 12 months. Let’s not get too terribly depressed about the nearer term. I mean, heck, I read that article and got pumped.

    Right up to the point where apparently post 30 became a standard for “young, under contract sluggers” or where Andre Ethier would be considered as anything but a step backward even for this limited lineup.

  2. Chris F
    June 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    If Sandy can be duped into taking on Ethier anf paying for more than pennies on the dollar, he should be run out of flushing. If Cerrone is right, and I hope he’s dead wrong in what would be about the worst prognostication for a Mets fan imaginable. Taking on a 31 yo guy with 4 HR 50 points below career BA and 100 points below career OPS sounds like a pure suckers deal. If the Dodgers paid 95% of the salary and we gave them nothing near Syndergaard etc. it might be worth a look…just to do them a favor to get him off their 25 man. I think he was just resigned to a long term deal north of 75M$, and he’s in his first year.

    Im ready to listen to CarGo options though.

  3. Jim OMalley
    June 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    The Wilpons are the reason this team is in the shape it’s in. It’s sad, because he cam into power in the eighties and helped establish the club as a power house but he’s lost his way so badly it makes me cringe.

    • kjs
      June 5, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      they were beancounters, not decison-makers in the 1980s.

      Jeff Wilpon is a tad “slow,” as we used to say. He’s also too friendly with the players. Remember he used to socialize with Trachsel?

      Alderson’s complicity has already set the Mets back years. This org, save for a few talents, has zilch. Don’t see .500 til 2015..2016…?

      Lets just hope they stumble onto decent and fast-tracked draft picks.

  4. June 4, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Who is out there that has the potential to change this inept team and their attitude? We need a stud center fielder who will take the pressure off the current starters and can bat either in front or behind David Wright.
    To Jim OMalley. The Wilpons didn’t lose their way. They lost their money!
    To Jerry Grote. Can we stop drinking the Kool-aid please? Can you believe anything Sandy says? What happened to his promise of spending slightly above last years payroll? I think he’s dying inside because in truth he’s just being used by the Wilpons and their false promises just to keep the Met fan base off their backs.

  5. Name
    June 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I don’t believe the critisim of the owners is fair or justified.
    First thing’s first. The Payroll is being used as a scapegoat for the whole situation. If the team was winning, no one would give a damn whether the team has a payroll of $10 million or $200 million. People think more money greatly correlates to higher winning percentage. Maybe in the late 90s and early 2000s that was true, but the correlation is becoming smaller and smaller. Recent examples are the Angels, Dodgers, and Jays attempting to pay for wins not working out while teams like the Orioles and Rays are able to do much better with their budget. This year, we’ve had the unfortunate event of having most of our dollars sitting on the DL. It would be foolish to place the onus on the owners; we all knew that this was going to happen when we first signed Johan just like we know how bad it is for the Yankees and A-rod and how bad it will be (or already is) for the Angels and Pujols. It’s the cost of doing business in baseball right now.
    Second point is that the owners have shown their willingness to spend. Right now, it’s obvious they don’t have the resources. They were duped by Madoff. So were millions of others and even the government. No one saw it coming. They are not at fault more than anyone else who invested with him. How is it fair to run them off when they suffered an unfortunate setback that was pretty much out of their hands? They are the victims, yet it seems like they are being treated like the criminals. They deserve to have the oppportunity to get their situation back in order, in a reasonable amount of time. If they don’t start to spend in the new few seasons then you can start complaining again.

    Scapegoating the owners is just a cheap way out in my opinion. There are a multitude of factors of why this team isn’t performing and solely blaming them isn’t right, so i will continue to defend them. Like i said earlier, none of this matters if the team is winning.

    • June 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Let’s see how much of the money coming off the books (Bay, Johan, etc.) and the new TV money (~$10-15 million) gets reinvested in the product on the field and how much goes to pay of the Wilpons’ debts (massive) and line their pockets. I bet the majority of it will end up the latter.

      • Name
        June 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

        It is a business first and foremost.
        No one is complaining how Steve Jobs or Bill Gates is lining their pockets, why should it be any different for the Wilpons?

        • June 6, 2013 at 1:14 pm

          Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are (were) running operations that are very successful in their field. The Wilpons are not. Yes, baseball is a business, but you have to have something on the field that people want to watch, or you won’t be in business very long. That requires investment in the on-field product, not using an MLB team as a personal ATM — see the McCourt Dodgers for reference.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

      Name:

      I really have no sympathy at all for the ownership when it comes to Bernie Madoff. If you have even the slightest knowledge of investing … and I do mean slightest … what BM did was blatantly clear.

      That said, eventually a fool and his money are in fact parted and the band stops playing. Agreed, I find blaming the current state of affairs on some presumed unwillingness to spend as inappropriate. This ownership has spent pretty heavily in the past, and for now they get the benefit of the doubt.

      • Name
        June 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm

        “That said, eventually a fool and his money are in fact parted and the band stops playing. Agreed, I find blaming the current state of affairs on some presumed unwillingness to spend as inappropriate. This ownership has spent pretty heavily in the past, and for now they get the benefit of the doubt.”

        Glad someone else is able to understand this viewpoint.

  6. June 5, 2013 at 11:05 am

    In response to Name. When an investment returns unimaginable profits year after year, red flags in ones mind should start to go up. Sticking your head in the sand and choosing to ignore warning signs when SEC investigations were going on speaks volume about Met current ownership. You know the one rule of thumb in investments is never to put all your eggs in one basket. Just for the record San Francisco won last years World Series with a payroll of 131 million. All teams carry dead contracts(even the Giants). Most of our dollars is on the DL? Other than Johan and his 25 million there is no one on that list who is making any significant dollars. The NEW YORK Mets payroll sits at 81 million this year. The same as the KANSAS CITY Royals and the MINNESOTA Twins! You see what product the Mets are putting on display don’t you? Are you not embarrassed by the outfield? By the bullpen? By the lack of quality players in the line up day in and day out? This team as it is constituted right now is not a winning team. You trade your ace and lose your number 2 starter before the season begins so where are your expectations? Take a look at your divisional leaders and look at their payrolls. Only the Braves have a payroll under 100 million. If your tying Sandy Alderson’s hands and making him the scapegoat in the public eye then shame on ownership. The truth is they just don’t have the means to operate a team in the number one market in America.

    • Name
      June 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Don’t want to get into Madoff, but hindsight is 20/20. If everything were as clear as you (and others) claim it to be, he would not have gotten away with it for so long.

      Take a look at this for payroll break downs. http://metsblog.com/metsblog/2013-mets-payroll-breakdown/

      “The truth is they just don’t have the means to operate a team in the number one market in America.” You’re right, they didn’t have the means for last few years, because of Madoff, but why shouldn’t they be allowed to regain the means? They were quite willing to spend pre-Madoff, don’t they deserve the opportunity to fix their situation?

  7. NormE
    June 5, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I would like to recommend an article by Matt Balasis from Jan. 2013 found at the Mets Merized Online site. It pretty much sums up the Wilpons and the Mets. Not a positive picture.

  8. Metsense
    June 6, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Name, I agree that the Mets have spent money in the past; that money seldom buys championships; that the Madoff mess has resulted in a the current 102M expenditure of salary which apparently is all the Wilpon’s could afford (?) to spend and make a profit; and that the Wilpon’s are entitled to make a profit so they get some leeway in the current salary structure.
    I do blame the Wilpon’s for hiring poor management which resulted in signing off on some poor free agent contracts (Castillo, Perez and Fransisco) overspending on others (Bay, Santana) and stripping the minor league system. I do blame them for poor public relations and the AAA team being in Las Vegas. I do blame them for being bad business managers and being involved in a ponzi scheme; for being bad baseball managers for not having an overall plan, and in general bad owners. I would prefer they sell the team because they make it difficult to be a fan.

  9. Name
    June 6, 2013 at 9:40 am

    “I do blame the Wilpon’s for hiring poor management”
    -I would rather blame the poor management for not doing their job well.

    “I do blame them for poor public relations and the AAA team being in Las Vegas.”
    -That’s fair.

    “I do blame them for being bad business managers and being involved in a ponzi scheme”
    -Again, i have stated over and over this is unwarranted.

    “for being bad baseball managers for not having an overall plan”
    -I don’t want an owner who meddles. That should be left to the people running the baseball operations, in this case, Sandy.

    “in general bad owners. I would prefer they sell the team because they make it difficult to be a fan.”
    The owners don’t make it difficult. Not winning makes it difficult. If the team were winning you wouldn’t give a hoot who owned the team.

    Again, i think that too many people are placing blame on stuff the owner has little control over and which there is absolutely no causation between.

    • Jerry Grote
      June 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      Here is what ownership does the responsibility for: dictating culture, and what is and is not acceptable.

      At some point, and on some level, what we see on the field represents a failure to quickly assess and react to what you are seeing … and that is part and parcel of this organization’s culture.

      Some examples:
      * The Mets and healthcare. Some of this is truly bad luck, but at some point the hilarity of what is going on with the Mets and the health of their players reflects on a team not being sufficiently pro-active in this arena. Thankfully, the recent move on Wheeler’s collar seems to indicate a change. But for Pete’s sake, how long were we going to be laughingstock on this area?

      * Madoff. When there is even a hint of an SEC investigation into someone that manages that much of your fortune, just when is it that you are going to react? You don’t want to hold them to that issue, but it gets to what I see as a problem with the highest level of management questioning the information they are getting.

      * The front office handling of Willie Randolph firing (in which Tony Bernazard had a handle), the Tony B on a bus/Tony B without a shirt embarrassment, and everything which stood for Omar Minaya? How is it that ownership allowed the team’s pride to be so thoroughly steeped in feces?

      * Back to back ultimate collapses. Ok, this is thin ice, but as Met’s fans do we really think Steinbrenner would put up with that even once?

      * The Mets play this year. You are going to tell me we had to wait until now, to find out that four pivotal Mets that were horrifically underperforming (Tejada, Hefner, Gee, Davis) would react so well to having their jobs threatened? What in the world is Terry Collins doing down there?

      Ownership has a requirement to pro-active, engaged and involved in knowing whether or not the information they are getting is valid, and whether or not alternatives are actionable.

      I will give credit to this regime for having basically an open pocketbook when the money was available. It seems as if some members of the ownership is becoming involved. I don’t know if that’s going to be a good thing (I think not) but at least when they get information, they’ll be able to assess it on their own terms now.

      Wow. That’s a lot of pixels I just burnt up.

      • Name
        June 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        “Here is what ownership does the responsibility for: dictating culture, and what is and is not acceptable”

        “Ownership has a requirement to pro-active, engaged and involved in knowing whether or not the information they are getting is valid, and whether or not alternatives are actionable

        I have to disagree here. That is not something i want an owner to meddle into.
        In my opinion, owners in baseball should act like absentee owners. They people that they hire to run the business for them are pretty much responsible for most of the issues you listed there. That’s not to say they just hand over the keys to the GM and just walk away and collect the profits at the end of the year, but for the most part their invovlement should be behind closed doors and only about management stuff. Leave the decisions up to the professionals.

        • Jerry Grote
          June 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

          Probably what we can agree on is this: there shouldn’t be someone with the title of “CEO” and the last name of Wilpon … at least, if they are going to be the laissez-faire ownership you are talking about.

          I have no problem with ownership keeping their hands off and allowing seasoned baseball executives do their job. But if Fred wants to be the CEO, then he needs to do the job and that job doesn’t necessarily mean making out the lineup card or helping decide what represents value for in trades.

          He does not represent a quality CEO. Not in the least.

      • June 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

        Bravo! Couldn’t have said it better myself. Yes, the Wilpons have spent, but they have not spent wisely and there are 2 glaring examples of when they did NOT spend and THAT was unwise, as well: not signing A-Rod in 2001 and not signing Vlad Guerrero 2003 when they had the opportunity and the means both times. Thus the “Freddy Coupons” meme was born.

        They are not. Good. Owners. They need to go.

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