Sandy’s Conundrum and Surviving In Baseball’s New Market

An article by posted on November 28, 2013 0 Comments

Sandy Alderson is suffering from sticker shock. He’s so shocked you could slam a baseball bat against a wall he’s sitting by and he wouldn’t even flinch. He’s so shocked you have to tazer him just to get him to blink. He’s so shocked … eh, you get the idea.

Nelson-Cruz

Lets see…  $75 million for Nelson Cruz? Jhonny Peralta for $50 million? Both coming off of PED suspensions? Mind blowing.

MLB’s new TV contract (a $50 million dollar windfall per franchise) may certainly prompt teams to splurge a little, but what’s boggling Sandy’s marbles are the prices for what appear to be mediocre performers. These guys aren’t superstars, they are flawed and risky players getting paid like superstars. What are these second rate cantaloupes doing in the organic bin?

So Alderson stands his ground and doesn’t overpay. OK, I concede the argument on principle, but how do you compete then? This is a competitive league right? It’s not like like T-ball where all the kids get a trophy. Do you curl up in the fetal position with your Mets blankie and hope the Scott Boras zingers will just go away?

Holding true to your value estimates only works if it somehow gives you a competitive edge. The hope is that other teams will make bad spending decisions down the road at which point your patience will pay off like an ant with plenty of crumbs for the winter.

The only problem is that baseball is a summer sport that exists in the perpetual here and now world of endless sunny days, ice cold beer, and instant gratification. Also, there are way too many crumbs to go around, so you’ve got to go for it, you’ve got to believe, and you’ve got to give the people a reason to go to the ballpark, no?

You can’t just keep kicking the can down the road hoping you’ll eventually come out ahead right? Wrong, you can certainly try, especially when MLB keeps coming up with new ways of generating absurd amounts of revenue while your ownership keeps falling deeper into debt. Which brings us back to Sandy Alderson and his sticker shock.

Fred WilponSandy is so shocked he needs a defibrillator to calm his nerves. He’s in so much shock you could slap a couple of electrodes to his bald head and power East Elmhurst.

But seriously, I think New York fans are smart enough to understand that the money may simply not be there with the banks and the massive debt payments and whatnot. That doesn’t mean management can’t take steps to ignite the fan base.

Sandy needs to shake it off, remind himself what got him here, pat down his formidable cranium and get to work. If $22 million or whatever is still left in the coffers, it is still a nice chunk of change.

Ervin Santana would be a fantastic outside the box sign that could pay huge dividends. Yeah that wouldn’t leave much for a bat you say, but pitching is what wins in the NL East and hitting is really overpriced at the moment (as are shortstops). Trading Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis would also free up another $9 million or so, add that to the $5 million that’s left and you could conceivably sign or trade for one more impact player — perhaps an Andre Ethier (sure would be nice to have someone who could hit for average), and maybe one decent reliever.

It’s not like this can’t be done Mr. Alderson! I fell for your “We’re not trading Buck,” spiel in Minnesota so I know you sometimes bend the truth, but surely you understand you’ve got to make it happen already. It’s been three years for crying out loud. You can’t keep promising something, never deliver, and think you’ll remain competitive, I mean this is still New York right?

Here’s to a great holiday season and to hoping that the Mets can finally turn a corner beginning this offseason and culminating in meaningful games again in September.

About the Author ()

I’ve been a Met fan since August 1969 when a fire resulted in the Red Cross placing my family on the 6th floor of a building in Willets Point. I could see Shea from our balcony and I knew something big was going on. I followed them through the dark years and the resurgence of the 80’s only (sadly) to miss the fall of 86 because I was in Boot Camp. I've been serving penance ever since in Minnesota where I'm an SLP. I've written a lot about the Mets in an effort to share with my kids (and anyone else who might listen), a sporting tradition that made much of my childhood worthwhile. Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewBalasis