Were Mets Moves a Diversion?

OK, who out there is a conspiracy theorist?

Here’s the case: within hours of losing superstar shortstop Jose Reyes, Mets GM Sandy Alderson schedules a press conference to announce the signings of two ho-hum relievers and a similarly unexciting trade with the San Francisco Giants. Coincidence?

Telling reaction: when asked about Reyes’ departure, Alderson answers with a condescending reprimand reminding the journalist that the press conference is about the Mets’ trade of Angel Pagan and has nothing to do with Jose Reyes. A nice attempt to be cute, but glaringly defensive.

So what say you? Was this flurry of mediocre activity a knee-jerk reaction suggested by the Wilpon puppet-masters — who in previous years, made similar demands to Omar Minaya that led to the signings of Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez (for example)?

Or, is it possible that this was a well-planned splash by Alderson, who had these deals in place and ready to announce at “just the right time” to create a diversion from the inevitable Reyes news?

Or, do you not believe at all in such conspiracy theories, and believe instead that it was mere coincidence that the Mets had three separate player personnel announcements immediately after losing Reyes?

Separately, these moves would barely be a blip on the radar screen of the winter meetings. But clumped all together, it was enough to at least distract Mets fans for a moment from their frustration over the loss of Reyes. Or is that a silly idea?

BTW, it was also strangely ironic that an inane Mark Buehrle – to – the – Mets rumor sprang up just hours before the Marlins-Reyes press conference; was that planted by a “source” from the Mets front office?

Post your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Walnutz15 December 8, 2011 at 10:40 am
    Not sure about the various timeframes – and whether or not they were strategically timed…..it’s inconsequential to me.

    I DO like that they’ve been active in trade talks…..with almost everyone on the roster “being discussed” (according to the press, anyway).

    I’m not enamored with what’s been coming up – in terms of who they’ve signed or are targeting – per these same snippets. You can take ‘em or leave ‘em, though —- considering “anything goes” in terms of a “story” during the Winter Meetings.

    I still can’t believe how Reyes’ contract was structured with the Marlins. He’ll be making $10MM in 2012 and 2013 – less than what he made here last year; and a mere $500k more than what we’ll be paying Frank Francisco ($6MM) and Jon Rauch ($3.5MM) next year.

    Maybe, in lieu of “setting aside $10MM to reconstruct the bullpen — they should have attempted to negotiate with Reyes.

    They’ll be just as bad either way, IMHO.

    That Reyes’ deal is largely back-loaded…..is a pretty big slap in the face to Met fans; considering Santana and Bay are off the books, post 2013.

    • Metforlife December 8, 2011 at 11:51 am
      All of this is a diversion, Alderson job is to cut as much payroll as he can without it being to noticeable to the fans.The Wilpons ideal dream is for Fans to come out in droves over the next 2 years and pay thru the nose for a trimmed down roster. Thus giving them time to recoup financially. They are hoping Alderson can put together a team that can play 500 baseball for a few years. But IMO they will never be players for big FA again, no more multi year mega contracts.. We either grow our own superstars or we won’t have any.
    • Marathon Met December 8, 2011 at 7:51 pm
      I agree 100%.
      Paying jose 10 and with the deals the mets did, they would have stayed within their budget, become a better team and took a step in the right direction.
      I don’t think the wilpons are capable of conspiring so my conclusión is that alderson only wanted reyes on his own terms: (he gets paid if he plays), which at least shows courage to follow a project.
    • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:23 am
      “I DO like that they’ve been active in trade talks”

      Ha! The diversion worked! You took it hook, line, and sinker!

      ;-)

      • Walnutz15 December 10, 2011 at 3:41 am
        Gotta lay some groundwork somewhere…unlike w/Minaya – I’m confident that teams will deal with Alderson.

        ….and this time, I couldn’t care less who goes!

  2. Joe December 8, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Conspiracy?

    This is totally unsurprising. Team loses big star, tries to show they are still relevant/doing things to make the team the best they can given the resources they have or are willing to spend. But, it’s Sandy Alderson and the Mets, so we have to put this big sneaky gloss on it.

    Also, how exactly getting a closer, losing your CF and getting two relievers, at least one reasonably seen as a useful part, is “mediocre activity” is unclear to me.

    Of course, maybe the Mets can do what they did in the past, and spend this money and more on one overpriced part (like Bay).

    • Joe December 8, 2011 at 11:35 am
      If “mediocre” means the talent level, that’s debatable (the discussions tend to suggest people think at least one of these guys are a good addition), but fine, it still is a major move for the team to get a closer, lose Pagan and get to relievers that will change the dynamic of the pen in some unclear fashion, at least what faces we will see.

      What W. said about the structure of the Reyes deal is striking though they still would have to beat the Marlins’ offer. And, bottom line, did Reyes actually want to stay on a losing team? I still remain dubious that the Mets had a chance. It might underline how screwed up the team is financially and so on, but we know that.

      • Izzy December 8, 2011 at 11:59 am
        Getting the closer, who is unknown to the lack of talent in the signees who will be the worst closer in the divisoion, or I’m sure Sandy would tell us is the 5th best closer in the 5 team division is not a major move unless one needed reinforcements to conclude that the Mets are not about putting a winning team on the field. Same with Torres. He’s your centerfiuelder??? A 34 year old guy with all of one pretty good year (I know the Sandy crowd acts like 2010 was a an MVP season, but in reality was a good season only for guys like him and Pridie) who at age 33 showed major deterioration is at best a real team’s 4th outfielder. This is not a major acquisition unless you are heppy to follow a horrid team.
  3. MikeT December 8, 2011 at 11:31 am
    I really feel bad for people who are conspiracy theorists. Everything is a rouse, everything means something, there a room with a huge round table with people plotting around it while rubbing their hands together deviously.

    I don’t buy it.

    Even if true, I’m too much of a cynic to believe that these things happen (people often believe cynics ARE conspiracy types, but that really is an oxymoron since it would require me to trust that they are capable of plotting together…but I digress). Instead, I think it is entirely reasonable that Alderson was waiting for the Reyes thing to resolve itself before diverting the money set out for him elsewhere i.e. the bullpen. I’m not even sure why there is a debate here. This is the most obvious and simplest answer (perhaps I’m not a cynic, but instead an occam’s razor-ist).

    • HobieLandrith December 8, 2011 at 11:57 am
      Why would Sandy have to wait for the Reyes thing to resolve itself? He already knew for certain Reyes wasn’t returning because he never made him an offer.
      • MikeT December 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm
        A formal offer, you’re arguing semantics. He was in contact with his agents on what the Marlins were offering. Once Miami upped their offer he said no thank you. Not sure what the drama is, he just did not put it in writing.
        • derek December 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm
          does anyone really belive that alderson has had no contact with reyes agents since the end of season and parameters werent thrown around….come on people…reyes said it was a business too…so u think alderson business plan was not to talk to his agents..lol..

          bottom line alderson who is a very smart baseball mind didnt think he was worth it…if we were talking about an albert puhols type player im sure they would have pressed harder…in 9 yrs..reyes best yrs was when he was young surrounded by alot of talent…now he is supp to get paid like a star, choke in sept, and breakdown like his history suggests? not to mention…in yr 6 does he still get those infield hits? does he walk more when legs fail to get bunt hits? i dont think that in his 15th yr in the league he changes…

        • HobieLandrith December 9, 2011 at 12:13 am
          wow lots of people drinking the moneyball koolaid … lol … semantics shemantics … what you aldersonlovers are conveniently ignoring is the fact that the “smart” GM’s first chat with Reyes’ agent was the night before the winter meetings … gee what a great effort! you do know the mets had all last winter to extend him and then an exclusive period to negotiate and then another few weeks in which to make an offer, right? lol

          alderson is smart all right — smart enough to pull the wool over YOUR eyes!

          a formal offer was never made because the wilponzis were terrified that Jose might just accept even a low-ball offer and they couldn’t even afford that.

          face it gentlemen this is all about cutting payroll to the bare minimum. they’ll have it down to $60M by this time next winter

  4. Forrest Gump December 8, 2011 at 11:39 am
    This nahce mayun naymed Sayn-dee sent me a bawx a’chokluts yesta-dayh.

    In fayct, the Mets are LIKE a bawx a’chokluts……you just nevah know whut you gunna gey-ut.

  5. gary s. December 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm
    I just read about the terms of JR’s contract and almost choked on my breakfast.The part about Reyes taking a mill less than he was making in 2011 for the first 2 years in miami tells you everything you need to know about the Wilpons and Alderson.They are lying every time they move their lips and all they care about is holding onto the franchise no matter what.They are conducting a fire sale of every asset on the team to recoup money for their personal use.Met fans are down and when you read about the terms of the Reyes deal, that is the kick in the teeth.If i was david wright i would start packing a bag.Alderson and company are just a bunch of modern Donald M. Grants.They never wanted Reyes back for a second.What a disgrace
    • Joe December 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm
      Reyes actually has a chance to get to the World Series in Miami. Would he do the same thing on a team destined to hover around .500 (if the stars align)? I think not.

      As to a “fire sale,” well, the Marlins should be a model there. Not seeing evidence of it myself.

      • HobieLandrith December 9, 2011 at 12:23 am
        The Marlins who have won two more World Series than the Mets in the last 20 years?

        Or are you pointing that out as a good thing for the Mets to emulate? i’m thinking no since you don’t “see” the fire sale everyone else does. hard to figure you, son.

        • Joe December 9, 2011 at 10:51 am
          I guess that is a way to go — WS … fire sale … years pass … WS … fire sale … years pass …

          People here don’t seem to LIKE that. See the sneering at “five to six years” for them to be in contention. So, no, that doesn’t seem to work for the NYM. They continuously had to have some chance to compete, an off year something to shrug off, not accepted as a 2-4 year plan.

          This at times resulted in dubious choices to “win now.” See, e.g., Bay. I see them not doing that when they are structurally a mess a good thing myself. Others see this as loser talk, but I see it as reality.

          So, maybe, the Marlins do have something to teach — sometimes, it takes a few years to get back and if you rush it, you have year after year of “almost.”

        • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:26 am
          I’m as confused as Hobie. Do you want the Mets to win, or do you want to be a perpetually suffering Mets fan martyr?

          If the latter, it would have been easier be an A’s fan, as you’d feel smarter and less embarrassed about it.

        • Joe December 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm
          “I’m as confused as Hobie. Do you want the Mets to win, or do you want to be a perpetually suffering Mets fan martyr?”

          Gary alleged the Mets will have a fire sale. Well, if that is so, the team Reyes went to would be a model there, since they had one after each WS win. I then said I didn’t see evidence of a true fire sale.

          Why this is confusing is unclear. But, then, it was mentioned that the Marlins won the WS twice, apparently suggesting they did better. Does that mean we should emulate them?

          But, that didn’t work for the Mets as a policy, in part because people like you remind us that we aren’t a small market team, so a few years of being out of it can’t be acceptable. So, like an older house, it was patched up here & there, never giving a total re-haul ala Marlins. As I said, maybe the Marlins had something to tell us about the need of waiting to fix things up.

          I don’t know why you assume I’m trying to be a martyr or need to be “embarrassed” or something. Confusion, yes.

        • Joe Janish December 11, 2011 at 12:18 am
          Now I’m even more confused. Going to the World Series twice while the Mets didn’t is “apparently” better?

          Uh, yeah. The entire point of playing a 162-game season is to go to the World Series. If it isn’t, then what am I missing?

          And as for “waiting to fix things”, again, I’m confused. The Marlins didn’t “wait” to fix anything — they’ve been building their farm system and developing young players for at least a decade. Their main issue was an inability to afford to keep them once they became stars (i.e., Miggy Cabrera).

        • Joe December 11, 2011 at 1:51 am
          >Now I’m even more confused. Going to the World Series twice while the Mets didn’t is “apparently” better?>

          The Mets went to the WS once, the playoffs a few times, missed the playoffs by a game a couple times and were in the hunt a few times. At no time, did they have some sort of fire sale that made it clear they would be out of competition for a few years. What are you saying in confusion now? That just going to the WS twice and nothing else would be obviously better? That is, two moments of glory surrounded by years of a lull?

          >Uh, yeah. The entire point of playing a 162-game season is to go to the World Series. If it isn’t, then what am I missing?>

          That having a chance each year is for some people better than having a couple moments of glory and then having to wait a few years to have a shot after they have a WS, fire sale, start again, repeat.

          >And as for “waiting to fix things”, again, I’m confused. The Marlins didn’t “wait” to fix anything — they’ve been building their farm system and developing young players for at least a decade.

          They spent the time to do this even if some would try to rush things by giving up on prospects for people who can win right away or for some other short term gain. They thought in the long term.

          >Their main issue was an inability to afford to keep them once they became stars (i.e., Miggy Cabrera).

          I didn’t say the two situations were the same in all respects but at the moment, the Mets have money limitations too.

    • Izzy December 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm
      Indded gary s, kose gave the fish a perfect contract for a team in financial difficulty at the moment. Too bad Sandy Alderson was sleeping on the job or searching in vein for the next Ronny Paulino. Who will be the next pickup with the 50 game suspension.. Surely he’ll be on Sandy’s get list.
    • BCA December 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm
      I have to agree
  6. derek December 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm
    kudos for alderson…let reyes walk. he is not worth 6 yrs or that salary….

    now we get to hear reyes play the respect card…i love hearing that card esp from the players that dont do a damn thing till there walk yr….reyes they respected u by not trading u at deadline, and by letting u wimp out and take u out of lineup to win the batting title…the mets have done plenty for u..and reyes was the main culprit in the september failures..so why should we sign him to that deal?

    “During the 162-game schedule era, which began in 1961, only 13 shortstops have averaged 140-plus games per season from ages 29 to 34. Not surprisingly, none of them had the extensive injury history that Reyes has had prior to their age-29 seasons.”

    yeah jose, now u see why someone as smart as alderson did what he did….not to mention, why pay him more than david wright? jose reyes sulks, and is not the media face (talking to reporters) that david is…and im not even a huge wright fan either…i think he should be more vocal instead of tryn to be a quiet jeter…

    good riddence jose

    • Izzy December 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm
      derek you obviously have not watched Jose Reyes play baseball idf you really think he only performed well in his walk year. You are just lying….kind of like Sandy alderson has done since the day he took the puppet job for frddy jeffy and the saul. Explain what he did successfully without cheating derek? Without Jose Canseco taking the lead in baseball on using steroids and teaching it to most of the A;s Sandy Alderson would have been nothing but a total failure in baseball. To write stuff like he’s a god or at least a baseball god is just amazin…… Jose reyes is the most exciting player ever developed by the Mets and of course he ain’t Sandy”s kind of guy. Sandy is clueless just like the man pulling the strings freddy. One got his money thur ponzi schemes and the other won with players on stuff. What a team. Sandy and fred perfect together.
      • derek December 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm
        izzy,

        i have watched jose play baseball…there is a differ between “exciting” and winning. I never said alderson is the greatest. but at least he isnt making the same mistakes as in the past. signing bay, ollie just to sign someone. he has a plan and is sticking to it. he didnt lose wilpons money. he is executing a plan as best he can. I hope to god the wilpons sell the team but it isnt happening…so at this pt in time alderson is the best option we have. He did pretty good getting wheeler this past yr. when almost every source said no way he gets a top prospect for beltran.

        to go into a steroid rant…come on…i guess u knew braun was on it too? so what about cashman? he had roided out guys on his team…considering our 86 team was on god knows what. youre the pot calling the kettle black on that one.

        Gooden and Straw were pretty exciting players as well that WON a champ in NY. my arguement was yeah jose is exciting but u sound like a mkting rep. you want exciting. i want winners. i want a guy to stand in front of reporters when we lose and take acocuntability. reyes never did any of that.

        there is alot to be said for guys like tebow that you hearform all coaches get the best out of his teamates. reyes never got the best out of anyone..we just hoped he wasnt hurt or was in a happy go lucky mood that day. reyes is not a leader in my book. i would love to hear any stories about reyes taking the reins of the team. instead we have this…..

        http://www.csnbayarea.com/sportsnetBayArea/search/v/40197102/7-13-jose-reyes-and-his-sunglasses-address-the-media.htm (it looks bright in there)

        he signs with the marlins for more money then god and all he does is bash mets at press conf…

        but hey he was very exciting as the mets continued to suck…

    • HobieLandrith December 9, 2011 at 12:26 am
      no player is worth 6 years at that money. but that’s not the point. that’s the cost of a superstar / game-changer / fannies-in-the-seats guy. if you don’t want to pay extra for a superstar then you will never ever get one or keep one because it will never make fiscal sense on paper.

      in short, you become the Oakland A’s.

      how many World Series have they gone to since Billy Beane took over?

  7. hart December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm
    On the conspiracy front, I just watched The Adjustment Bureau the other day, and I’m thinking it sure would be nice if The Chariman helped us out with a little adjustment that forced the Wilpons to sell the team. I’m not as down on Alderson as many of you are; I think he’s doing what he can under this miserable state of affairs, where it feels like we’ve become a fan base in some podunk town.
  8. Paul Festa December 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm
    It was Sandy Alderson on the grassy knoll.
  9. gary s. December 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm
    Previous poster says he did not like reyes or wright.Pretty funny stuff.I wonder if he even knows what channel the mets play on.To be honest, i had reservations about going 6 years with Jose also, but if they showed they wanted him back and he was willing to back load the deal like he did with the fish, what does that day about the Alderson and company?Saying he was a top priority to bring back all last year.He’s full of it and than the remark about the box of chocalates probably made a few more hundred season ticket holders cancel their seat plans for 2012.How can u market this team for 2012?They better call Tom Cruise and the mission impossible team to help sell ticket plans
    • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:30 am
      I always hated watching Jose Reyes. It was soooo annoying to see him hitting line drives into the gap and then running around the bases like his hair was on fire. And those defensive plays where he’d go deep in the hole then turn and flick a 90-MPH bullet to first … yuck!

      Give me Scott Hatteberg any day of the week over Reyes. So much more interesting to watch a singles hitter who can’t run or play defense take four balls and walk to first base, then wait for a steroid-enhanced freak hit a ball over the fence. Now THAT’S baseball!

  10. DaveSchneck December 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm
    I do believe in conspiracy theories, but not in this case. Bullpen moves were planned by baseball men, not Jeffy, as contingency to Reyes defecting. Given the monetary limits, these pen moves are good, and Ramirez and Torres for Pagan a plus too. Pen is now much deeper and should not be a weakness. Now let’s see if Sandy’s arms get short or whether he can sure up catcher and starting pitching. Another $10 million can put a respectable team on the field, and a year of good health can make things interesting. This, and the Wilpons forced to sell, is the best that we can expect for 2012.
  11. Mike B December 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm
    This has nothing to do with the conspiracy theory but I would like to sign Beltran for two years 8-9 million. I dont think its crazy it fits sandy short term plans, carlos might get more money but not much and he wont get more then 2 maybe 3 years on open market and he had a great season last year and always our most clutch besides one atbat in 2006.
    • gary s. December 9, 2011 at 12:47 am
      Are you serious?Maybe we can get reyes back in a trade before the season starts too.He is 35 with 2 bad knees and wants a minimum of 10 mill a year.We are shedding assets.Beltran?Pay more attention please.
    • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:32 am
      Similarly, I would like to have a T-Bone steak and glass of Brunello at Ruths Chris tonight and pay only $10 for it.
  12. argonbunnies December 9, 2011 at 4:54 am
    Mike, I thought the same thing when I heard the Ike rumors. Trade Ike for elite pitching/shortstop/centerfield prospects, move Duda to 1B where he won’t kill your OF defense, and bring in a rental bat for RF.

    Two ideas for that rental bat: Beltran… or Manny. Manny’s as high-risk as they get, so we’d better have a back-up plan, but he’ll cost nothing.

    I’d rather have Beltran, but someone out there has gotta offer him real money, right?

    • Mike B December 9, 2011 at 10:10 am
      Yeah I would say Manny is too high risk, I dont think he anything left where Carlos Def could do 285 20hrs 90 rbi.

      CB15 If you can get 8-9 a year then it wouldnt work, but its worth a phone call. 5 million a year is a no brainer and I would go a lil higher plus we could trade you again for another prospect :)

    • Joe Janish December 10, 2011 at 12:33 am
      Manny! It was only a matter of time before he was mentioned again in regard to the Mets. I think it’s time to write a post …
  13. Carlos Beltran December 9, 2011 at 8:11 am
    “This has nothing to do with the conspiracy theory but I would like to sign Beltran for two years 8-9 million”

    I hope you mean $8-9 million PER season, my man. I ain’t signin’ no $4 million dollar deal.

    CB15