Sandy Alderson Is The Teflon GM
There is rampant evidence that the Mets’ 2012 season is officially over. Just like the smell of fresh cut grass and tender green foliage signals the beginning of Spring and the start of another baseball season, the Mets second half fade is also filled with tell-tale happenings that you come to expect whenever the end is near or in this case here.
The anti-ownership brigade starts to stretch their limbs like a hungry grizzly waking up from it’s long slumber. Howard Megdal and Mike Francesa are already hitting the airwaves, one as usual to blast ownership with everything he’s got, and the other replenishing his YES Network funded gasbag to blast anything and everything Mets.
It’s the dawn of another Mets bashing era. It seems like each year they start earlier and earlier, just like when you see the Christmas Dept. at Target all setup in September. Usher in six new months of unabashed bias and get ready for your fill of angst from the same old people spouting off their same old speculation cloaked under the guise of objectivity. Oh, brother…
I didn’t get a chance to comment on what Mike Francesa said or what Howard Megdal wrote on Friday. I’ll go more into Megdal’s attendance piece on Tuesday, but I’ll briefly share a couple of thoughts on Francesa in a minute. First I want to comment on something I read on MetsBlog this morning.
Today on MetsBlog, our friend Michael Baron said something that a large contingent of Mets bloggers and readers say all too often. In response to a quote from a David Lennon article on Fred Wilpon, Michael wrote:
I understand what Sandy is trying to do here, and it’s important he stays the course and succeeds. No matter how anyone spins the situation, this is a rebuilding phase from top to bottom for the Mets. Despite this very disappointing stretch, they have kept to their philosophy and approach and have begun to stockpile their minor league system with promising talent (although most of that talent is in the lower levels of the system). That is progress, even though it doesn’t seem that way right now.
What course is Michael Baron talking about? If this is a rebuilding phase, where is the evidence of that?
He says they (Alderson and Co.) have kept to their philosophy and approach, but what philosophy and approach is that? And if that is indeed a fact, then the fact that Alderson and Co. are sticking to their approach should have no negative impact or bearing on Fred Wilpon who allows them to manage and run the team as they see fit, right?
If you believe that for the last two years everything is going according to plan, then what we have is the non-meddling owner that most fanbases can only wish for, right?
You can’t burn both ends of the same candle. You can’t blame Wilpon when things go awry if Sandy Alderson is “staying the course”, right? It seems too many fans want it both ways. Not only is that hypocritical as well as biased, but you lose all credibility in the process.
Now, here’s the thing… I actually agree with Baron and Cerrone and many of my Mets brethren about this front office sticking to their philosophy, but with one big exception… I don’t use the Wilpons as a crutch when things go wrong like so many of them like to do.
If Sandy Alderson is a great GM then it goes without saying that the owners made a great decision.
If you believe that Sandy Alderson is not a puppet and is leading this team to a better tomorrow, than Mets ownership is tied into that and in fact largely responsible for that better tomorrow as well.
You see my point?
Now, with that out of the way, let’s discuss this so-called plan, or so-called course, or this better tomorrow…
I don’t see it… I don’t see this better tomorrow… I don’t see this course that everyone wants to stay on… I don’t see a plan….
I see the Mets doing what all small market teams do.
They show up on draft day, select about 40-something players, sign them, or in the Mets case sign half of them, and hope 2-3 of them could become quality major leaguers someday.
That’s not a plan, that’s a rudimentary summary of what all teams do.
What team’s dont build from within and draft players they spent countless weeks scouting and analyzing in the lead-up to draft day?
Even the Yankees do that, and quite frankly they do a better job of it than most teams.
So when you throw out phrases like “stay the course”, what exactly are you talking about?
When you say things like “stick to the plan”, what plan is that?
One thing I thought was very clever in that Francesa rant was when he suggested the Mets 2013 slogan, “We’re one step closer to 2014″.
I gotta admit, it gave me a chuckle. But seriously, what happens in 2014?
If we are the same old, dreary team comprised of utility and platoon players with everyday jobs, or players trying to comeback from injuries, does Sandy Alderson continue to get a free pass?
Or do we just blame Fred Wilpon again if and when that happens?
Despite Francesa’s ratings driven tirade on Friday, his focal point of “What’s The Plan”, rang true.
What is the plan?
What happens in 2014 when Sandy Alderson’s contract is up?
Do we give him a big fat extension for staying the course?
With regards to building from within, all teams do that now. It’s a death-knell to any organization not to build from within and that’s why all teams do it. That’s not a course, that’s just basic common sense approach employed by all MLB teams.
Avoiding big contracts on declining players? That’s not a course either. Most teams don’t set out to do that, it just happens because the game is so unpredictable. To think otherwise is foolish.
Before Jason Bay there was George Foster by Frank Cashen and Bobby Bonilla by Steve Phillips. It happens to the best GMs and none of them planned for those painful outcomes. The game is unpredictable and in that unpredictability is it’s true beauty.
The tragedy is when a front office fails to realize that there is risk with any free agent signing and they become gun-shy and do nothing instead – like M. Donald Grant.
The tragedy is when a front office avoids signing any free agents to big contracts because they misfired on one of them. It puts the team at a competitive disadvantage.
The Mets are operating under a cloud of fear. They are afraid of moving any minor league chips, even fringe prospects, because they are afraid that one of them may prove to be a quality player and bite them on their fat, overpaid asses. Again, this puts the team at a competitive disadvantage.
Fear to make any moves that can help a team is not a good strategy.
And saying publicly that we won’t make any moves unless we believe it to be a substantial improvement and a big win for us, is pure ignorance and yet another terrible philosophy. Trades are consummated when both sides feel they’ve met their objectives. The point is not for one team to hammer the other, it’s to make a deal that is equitable for both. A progressive GM knows that.
Saying other teams players are “too pricey” while demanding a team’s top three prospect for Scott Hairston is a bit much and a huge red flag. It tells all the other GM’s that you are out of your element and that the game has passed you by. It signals to the other teams that negotiating with the Mets is a fruitless endeavor and a waste of their valuable time.
Think about the hundreds of trade and free agent talks you’ve seen reported on MetsBlog in the last 22 months. Think of all those great names that could have helped the team. And yet none of them panned out and the Mets were left to rely on some Rule 5 players and dumpster diving in January to fill out the rest of the roster.
If that’s the course, then I don’t want to stay on it.
Do you really believe David Wright will want to stick around for more of that? I’m almost certain that Wright will get his $130 million dollars elsewhere at the end of 2013.
I’ll leave you with this… I enjoyed this comment yesterday, by longtime reader Mookie who wrote:
Even when the Yankees brought up Jeter/Rivera/Posada they already went after and installed Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Wade Boggs, David Cone, Jimmy Key and John Wetteland. They didn’t just bring up their core and voila! Who is Nimmo, Wheeler and Cecchini joining in 2014? Duda? Thole? Torres? Parnell?
Good question and the perfect ending to this Sunday rant…
About the Author: Joe DeCaro
I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.
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