The Red Sox Model and the Audacity of Hope
New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said the 2014 budget has already been discussed, and Sandy Alderson said he could have enough resources at his disposal to offer a $100-million contract, which seemed unthinkable last year at this time.
Alderson also said it is conceivable the Mets’ payroll could be even smaller next year. Their payroll this season – excluding what they owed Jason Bay – was $88 million. The Mets will have roughly $40 million coming off the books, which leaves them financial flexibility should they choose to use it.
“Would it be the right player?’’ Alderson said. “And, would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? Factor in what’s left to do the kind of things we want to do. But is it out of the question? It’s not out of the question.“Will we do it? That’s more of a strategic question than a resource question. At this point, it’s not a matter of resources.’’
However, are any of them worth $100-million? Are any of them truly elite? Will any of them be a difference maker? Probably not.
In addition to the outfield, the Mets are looking to upgrade their bullpen, shortstop, first base and with Matt Harvey probably out, there’s a need to add one or two starters.
“We could go after the perfect player, at the perfect price and for the perfect number of years,’’ Alderson said. “And, we won’t sign anybody.’’
Alderson said the Mets could spend, but won’t spend just to make a splash. The Mets have not been active in the free-agent market in Alderson’s first three years – they only spent $5 million this season – and this year’s spending depends on the market.
“The bottom line is yes, it’s conceivable we won’t sign a player,’’ Alderson said. “But look, we have to be realistic about the marketplace, so I’m hopeful we’ll get some things done.
“It’s great to say, well, we have financial flexibility, and then blow it on players’ deals that don’t work out and put yourself right back in the same situation you were in before. At the same time, at some point, you’ve got to go for it. Having flexibility is great, but at some point, you’ve got to put yourself on the line.’’
Thoughts from Joe D.
One of the things the Mets front office has been very good at, is molding many in the fan base to look at success from a dollars point of view rather than by wins and losses.
One of the cheesiest lines that often gets used whenever the Mets are outbid on a productive player or when the front office bails as they so often do, is the new standby of. “Well, we’d still win just 78 games with or without that player” or the other Alderson Era classic, “Who cares, that player is not a difference maker.”
I see those two lines at least 3-4 times a day in our comment threads and everytime I do I think with a smile, “Wow, Sandy has his base well conditioned.”
The latest trend is this notion that the Mets will utilize a Red Sox model this offseason. Poppycock… If only that were true…
You see the Red Sox don’t have this mindset of targeting a “difference maker” like the front office and most Met fans do. Not at all. Instead, the Red Sox simply upgraded at various positions in one fell swoop. That is why they are playing in the post season while the Mets watch on TV. Again.
The Red Sox didn’t go after Troy Tulowitzki, they went after a barely above average option like Stephen Drew and paid him $9.5 million for one year. They didn’t go after an elite option in the outfield, they went after a player with declining skills in Shane Victorino and gave him a three year deal worth $39 million dollars. They also gave Jonny Gomes a two year deal for $10 million and paid Ryan Dempster $27 million for two years.
Most of those deals may look good in hindsight, but a year ago none of them would have appealed to this front office or the majority of this fan base. Lets call a spade a spade.
I see people arguing today that Carlos Beltran shouldn’t get a two year deal worth $28 million… Really? You want Stephen Drew for two years and $20 million?
While a scant few of you would say, yes, bring them on. The majority is simply saying, “Not worth it.”
So lets cut this pretense of using the Red Sox model because the truth is if you want a Red Sox model you’d need to fire our front office and hire their front office – or employ their intense focus on winning to get it done. And the fact of the matter is that this entire organization and most of its fan base is still too hung up on accounting and ledger book decisions – which suits the Wilpons perfectly fine.
About the Author: John Delcos
I am an active member of the BBWAA and have covered Major League Baseball in several capacities for over 20 years, including ten in New York working the Mets' and Yankees' beat. I covered the Baltimore Orioles for eight years and the Cleveland Indians before that.
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