My Offseason Wish List: Give The Front Office A Chance

An article by posted on October 18, 2011

The World Series has not ended yet, and already we’re coming out with off-season wish lists.

We want Reyes, we don’t want Reyes, pay CJ Wilson whatever he wants, let Wilson go to the Yankees. Get a closer, trade Wright, keep your draft picks, hire Omar, fire Sandy, hire Riggleman, move the walls in. As they say in Seinfeld, yada, yada, yada.

Now I’m not saying I don’t find these conversations valuable. I do, I like intelligent discussion about the possibilities of the future of this franchise.

What I am incredibly tired of as a Mets fan is this constant, and I mean constant debate and argument about the front office and how they evaluate talent.

If you as a fan want to discredit Sandy Alderson and his methods, that’s fine. Why is it that whenever anybody speaks about the man, they seem to have nothing but the utmost respect for the way he operates? Why is it that you never heard a bad word about the man? If everything he does is worth complaining about, how come nobody who has ever worked with him has come out and said “he’s not the right guy.”

Here was Kevin Towers on Alderson, “I trusted Sandy Alderson, and in this game, that’s huge… You always knew where you stood with Sandy, [and he] was always one of those guys who wasn’t afraid to think outside the box… He was all about making sure you think through everything before making the decision. Sandy is a smart guy. He’ll have a network of people he’ll bring in who will make that organization better if he gets the job.”

When the managerial hiring process went on the critics seemed to be all over him when it came to hiring Terry Collins. Everybody looked to Collins’ past as though they had a shred of knowledge about what went on in Los Angeles or Houston, and they judged Alderson. Now, I doubt anybody would question that hiring Collins was the right move at the right time. In reality the easiest move Alderson could have done was hire Backman. Yet he didn’t rush it, and he didn’t make a decision just to appease the fans for the short term.

I can’t remember a time with any sports team that I follow (or my friends follow), where a fan base expected 100% success of all acquisitions, and a complete turnaround in W-L within 1 year. Did Alderson fail with some of his moves? Absolutely. But here’s a little secret for you.

Every GM does.

Whether you agree with how stats are used or not used, you have to take a step back and look at the longterm goal for this franchise is to re-tool it so that they don’t just have a 3 year window to win a championship. It doesn’t happen overnight.

-Hired Terry Collins when the pressure from the fan base dictated he hire Backman.

-Declined contracts for John Maine and Chris Carter.

-Replaced amateur scouting director Rudy Terrasas with Chad Macdonald, and hired Dick Scott as Minor League Field Coordinator.

-Signed Ronny Paulino to a 1 year deal.

-Hired Dave Hudgens at hitting coach and retained Dan Warthen as pitching coach.

-Signed Chris Capuano.

-Promoted Teufel and Bones to the AAA club. Promoted Backman to AA Binghamton.

-Extended R.A. Dickey with a 2 year deal.

-Signed Jason Isringhausen.

-Grabbed Pedro Beato from Rule 5 draft. A rare big league find in the draft.

-Released Luis Castillo. Released Olvier Perez.

-Dumped the K-Rod contract when they had no guarantees of avoiding paying a closer $17mil.

-Traded an eventual free agent for what is now rated by many their #1 prospect.

That’s a lot of good moves for 1 GM to make, all of which in some way shape or form had an impact on the future of the Mets organization and in all likelihood for the better.

So my off-season wish list has a bunch of items on it, but #1 is for Mets fans to stop this civil war. Realize that for 25 years the franchise we love hasn’t won a championship. Alderson isn’t coming into a franchise that has been showered with success. The phrase “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” doesn’t apply here, because it is broke (no pun intended).

Whether you like it or not, Sandy Alderson is the General Manager of the Mets. He’s not going anywhere, and complaining about what he eats for breakfast or how he spreads the butter on his toast isn’t going to change 25 years of no championships.

If the Mets don’t have money to spend, it’s not because Alderson would rather spend $40million when he has $100 to spend. It’s because there is something seriously wrong with the ownership of this club. His job is to make the best decisions for the Mets within the budget he is given.

People speak highly of him because he’s a leader, and runs each franchise he’s employed by with dignity and class. He isn’t a guy who rushes decisions and he’s not here to sign a bunch of free agents, try to win next year and get praise for a year. That type of plan has a shelf life, just ask Minaya.

He’s here to get the Mets to a point where they are competitive year, after year, after year. Not because he builds a team based FIP, OBP, LOL, or JFK or whatever stats you like.

He’s the General Manager of the Mets because the Mets have been a mess for years, it’s just taking some of us a long time to realize it.

So my wish list starts with jumping on board, and not expecting miracles from Alderson, and giving him a chance and to stop bickering about every single bad thing that happens in your life and find a way to blame Alderson.

It seems every single time there is a negative discussion about Alderson is centers around sabermetrics, and a book written about a team he wasn’t even employed by.

Yet Alderson has never been quoted listing specific sabermetric stats as his foundation for evaluation with the Mets, and he’s never said he wants to replicate the Oakland A’s.

Some people turned on Alderson when he dealt K-Rod, when just last August everybody wanted the Mets to find a way out from K-Rod’s deal because of his actions that lead to an arrest.

Then he traded a 34 year old free agent who some people loved, but we all know he wasn’t coming back. What did he get? A highly rated pitcher, who whether he pans out or not, to get a highly touted prospect pitcher for a rent-a-player is a feat not many GMs pull off lately.

Some people knew they didn’t like Alderson the second they hired Terry Collins, and I’d say that move turned out to be the right one. Yet those same people never changed their view of Alderson.

I’m not a fan of Alderson’s, or Ricciardi’s or DePodesta’s. I’m a fan of the NY Mets and that hasn’t been something to brag about in almost my entire life. So I embrace somebody coming in here and actually leading the way towards a better franchise and not selling me a bill of goods that may make me feel warm and fuzzy for 6 months. 

I’m tired of the civil war, and the constant back and forth. This man is here to fix the franchise from the ground up, not to put a bandaid on the wound because it makes us feel better for a few hours.

The sooner people understand that, the happier we’ll all be.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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