Dear Mr. Alderson,
A little more than two & a half years ago, you took over as the GM of this rollercoaster franchise. With the team coming off back to back sub .500 seasons which had been littered with failed expectations, injuries and disappointments prior to your arrival, most of us are generally aware – and were back then too – that you inherited a challenging situation: A rather high payroll that didn´t perform like one, a farm system that wasn´t exactly loaded with high upside & major league ready talent, and a difficult financial situation influenced by various factors outside of your control, certainly didn´t give you & your assistants a great starting point.
I understand that a few difficult decisions had to be made in the meantime with the “greater good” of the franchise‘s long term in mind – both in terms of finances and roster construction. Even if they certainly hurt the quality of the team in the shorter term.
Scott Boras stated that these apparent financial restrictions forced you to go shopping in the “fruit & nuts” section of the “supermarket” instead of the expensive “meats” section. Regardless of whether it´s even a good idea to invest a lot of money in expensive meat or veteran high profile free agents, sometimes even “fruit & nuts” appeared a bit generous and actually it seemed you mostly had to plod through the waste bin behind the supermarket, searching for disposed assets beyond their date of expiration for virtually no cost.
In spite of these mostly inevitable measures, you never ever mentioned the “R”(rebuilding) word to the fan base. Maybe this happened in an effort to keep fans motivated to come to the park and / or watch games on TV and thus help to avoid the franchise losing even further revenue. Instead you decided to refuse to acknowledge that any season was going to be “punted” while stressing how much the focus supposedly is (or was in terms of 2011 and 2012) on competing in that respective season. Even if most measures – like stockpiling prospects and draft picks, holding them back a bit longer in the minors to get them better prepared for a hopefully long & productive major league career, trading or letting go quality veteran players, avoiding any sort of financial risks in free agency and spending very little on shorter term veteran replacements – clearly pointed in that “R”-word direction. Whether it came out of financial necessity or Baseball necessity or both.
While I understand that you can´t go out and say “we´re going to be terrible because we´re rebuilding – please come back in a couple of years”, I believe it´s important and the right time to get us fans back into the “boat” and make us “believers” (again ?). Maybe it´s time to share at least part of “The Plan” you apparently shared with David Wright in depth. You don´t have to lay out in detail which players you´ll target. But more in general how you expect the next Mets contender to look like and when you expect that team to be in place.
In retrospect there´s no way around it and no denying that we are currently right in the middle a major “REBUILDING” process – and already have been for a couple of years. And I believe we´re all grownup enough to hear the truth.
Especially since patience is not only wearing thin with your critics (they didn´t have it in the first place anyway) but also with those who were generally supportive of that idea but are now asking for leadership as we´re watching mediocre Baseball at best for yet another season.
However, please be more specific of your plan going forward. And please don´t try to sell intriguing pickups from the waiver wire as the supposed remedy for the Mets´ woes. Because while I´m sure you mean well and believe there´s some upside left in the Rick Ankiels, Marlon Byrds or Jeremy Hefners of the world, it does somewhat insult the intelligence of the “believers” and at the same time reinforces the skepticism of the critics who can rightfully point out that supposed “Moneyball” pickups have largely failed to make up for the loss of several star caliber players and the quality of the major league roster has gradually deteriorated. Which shouldn´t come as much of a surprise to anyone as there´s usually a good reason why such players are generally available for next to nothing in terms of Baseball economics. And while I´m sure you hoped for a better end result and are rightfully disappointed, you couldn´t seriously expect a much better outcome, or did you?
We are able to see the large number of promising young arms up & down the farm system and we are able to see that 2014 payroll obligations for 2014 – as of now – merely figure to be in the low 50 million $ range including all the arbitration eligible players, thus suggesting an enormous amount of available funds even if the payroll is to remain at the current – for a large market team rather modest – level of roughly 95 million $. However, a statement that you acknowledge that there´s a major need to add impact major league talent and that you´re not only able to but very much determined to get it and get it soon – be it via free agency or trades would certainly help us feel a bit better and remain understanding of the process. Just some more frankness and candidness about the current situation and what you plan to do in the future would be much appreciated.
I am afraid that the “honeymoon” phase will be over by the end of the 2013 season. From 2014 on, even those who have remained patient, understanding & optimistic throughout the past three years will expect results on the field. And even if that´s quite a challenge, at the very least we expect direction from the person in charge of steering this ship going forward.
Eager to hear from you and hoping our patience will be rewarded.
André D. (a caring & generally optimistic fan and member of the MMO team)