Jeff Wilpon Throws Down the Gauntlet

Perhaps lost in all the excitement and ballyhoo of Terry Collins and Dan Warthen receiving two-year contract extensions were the quotes of Jeff Wilpon. Particularly this one:

“The pressure is on all of us to win. I don’t look at it as pressure, but look at it as an opportunity, how Sandy has looked at it.”

Wait, what? So, is it pressure, or isn’t it pressure?

I think Jeffy was saying that the organization feels the pressure to win, but are choosing to accept it as an opportunity. I also believe this perspective comes from a self-help book — which is cool, as I have read a number of those in my time.

Whatever, it sounds like Jeffy realizes that everyone is expecting some kind of forward movement, after five straight losing seasons, and more specifically, a won-loss record that has gotten worse, worse, and worse again in the three years of “not rebuilding” under Sandy Alderson.

This proclamation is eerily reminiscent of one made in 2009 — when Omar Minaya’s tush was similarly simmering. Yes, I do believe it sounds like Sandy Alderson is on the hot seat. Shouldn’t he be, after three years of seeing a team perform progressively worse? (Hmm … can anything be “progressively worse?”)

During Monday’s presser, much was made about the suddenly dissolved financial constraints, mainly due to the contract of Johan Santana and Jason Bay coming off the books. Alderson made clear that the Mets were in position to make a $100M offer to a player, if it was the “right” player. (We’re not privy to the advanced algorithm denoting what players might be “right,” but we’ll trust that Alderson and co. have that figured out.) Though, from the other side of his mouth, Alderson also said this:

“We’d be in a position to do it, whether it were the right player. But would it be prudent to do it, even for the right player? It’s not out of the question. Will we do it, that is more of a strategic question, not a matter of resources.”

I swear to God that this sounded a lot better to my ears than it looks in type. I swear.

Regardless, even through the doublespeak, it sounds like the Mets have the financial resources to obtain expensive players, and the Mets are expecting a winning season in 2014. Go back to that link a few paragraphs ago and click on it, if you didn’t already. Ironically, that was the same winter the Mets signed the aforementioned Bay.

See what I did there?

Looking back to the past to predict the future, here’s what I’m seeing in my orange and blue crystal ball: the Mets overpay for a free-agent this winter to make it appear as though they’re serious about winning next season. Or, roughly translated, they’re going to sign someone like Shin-Soo Choo or trade for a high-priced talent like Troy Tulowitzki for the express purpose of selling season tickets.

Am I nuts? Or do you believe history tends to repeat itself? And/or that someone other than the GM has been in charge of the Mets ever since Nelson Doubleday was pushed out.

Fire away in the comments.

Mets Item of the Day

How about a New York Mets Mr. Potato Head? I swear it was a completely random choice, and in no way associated with the editorial content. Really.

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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. Former Met October 2, 2013 at 7:47 am
    So let me see if I’ve got this right. If the Mets spend a lot of money on a free agent to fill a position of need that’s bad because they don’t really want to win, they just want everyone to think they’re trying to win so they can to sell tickets. But if they don’t spend a lot of money on a free agent, they’re cheapskate liars who don’t want to win and don’t care about their fans. Did I miss anything?
    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm
      No, not right.

      Though, if you’re suggesting that they can’t win no matter what they do, then yes, correct.

  2. James Preller October 2, 2013 at 8:05 am
    Yes, on the doublespeak, it’s almost hilarious.

    However, I think getting either Choo or Tulowitzki would help the team on the field. But only Tulowitzki would impact ticket sales, IMO. Further, I think selling tickets — generating excitement among the fans, bringing in revenue — should be a goal of this organization. It would be a good thing, not something to sneer at.

    I don’t believe Sandy has it in his constitution to win a bidding war on Choo. I also think Troy’s contract gets more and more reasonable as each day passes. Last season, the Mets basically had Tim Spehr at shortstop.

    JP (“2 Guys”)

    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 1:40 pm
      Generating revenues is THE goal of the organization.
  3. DaveSchneck October 2, 2013 at 8:20 am
    Joe,
    Alderson is an expert at saying the obvious but then “sandyspeaking” about actions to be taken. I know he is balancing “gamesmanship” with “being truthful to the paying customers”. However, his language is still concerning to me, and I will only believe actions (or inactions). There is a lot of talk about pegging a payroll budget, but the real test is how many holes are on the team when the take the field opening day 2014. As Sandy admitted, the 2013 team (and 2012 as well) had a ton of holes, ie below average players, from the get go. He knew this as well as you or me, but he spun it differently because of the Wilpon Benjamins hitting his bank account every two weeks. Anyhow, they are very close to the vest about how much “freed up” cash they have. The problem here is that everyone in MLB has anothe $15 to $20 mil to spend this year because of the new TV money. So, the 2013 payroll was about $95 mil, that would project the 2014 payroll to be $110 mil. They are tied to about $55mil given contracts and arb projections, so saying they have $30 to $35 mil to spend gets them to $85 to $90 mil, barring a trade of Ike or Murphy. They will have a hard time filling all these holes in a marketplace that has the other 29 teams with extra money. The Choos of the world will cost big time given the laws of supply and demand. Ultimately, I could care less what the spend on payroll – the true test is how many replacement level players they have on the roster. My fear, they sign someone, say a Choo, or swing a deal for Cargo or Tulo, and then cheap out on the other needs – a legit SS, a vet arm in the pen, a quality MLB starter as Harvey insurance, and they spin it as an upgrade when they go to battle with a thin squad. Maybe it will be different, but all the body language I see is that they are still going on the cheap.
    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 1:43 pm
      Makes sense, Dave.
    • JOHN HERLING October 2, 2013 at 7:50 pm
      Thank you, Dave. That was well-reasoned and informative.
    • William Martin October 3, 2013 at 12:13 am
      Can we all remember that Choo is not exactly the second coming of Roberto Clemente? Hell, he’s not even the second coming of Darryl! He’s a decent little player that should be considered a finishing piece more so than the center piece of a team’s off-season moves. If Boras is going to get Hunter Pence numbers, HE’S NOT WORTH IT! We tried out-bidding everyone else in the past; where did it get us?
      • DaveSchneck October 3, 2013 at 8:00 am
        Agreed – between his age, mediocre glove, and inability to hit lefties he is not worth much more than the Bourn contract. No big loss if someone else overpays.
  4. DanB October 2, 2013 at 8:55 am
    The Wilpons seem to be more interested in “meaningful games” then actual winning. When I hear Jeff Wilpon and his people speak, I never hear the words of someone who hungers for winning. Like Dave, I don’t care about one big signing, I care about putting out a winning team. If the Wilpons hadn’t completely screwed up their business plan (Madoff, poorly financed CitiField, the SNY contract), the Mets could use their surplus of money to creatively add players, vets and prospects. Instead I can’t help think the Mets are more focused on paying down debt rather then winning games.
    • md924 October 2, 2013 at 11:35 am
      Sandy’s qualified statements are much more palatable to me than Jeff and Fred’s disingenuous drivel. Alderson hasn’t been anywhere near a perfect GM, but at least he’s been available for comment and held himself accountable for his failures. He’s also been able to stockpile arms and accomplish the budget cutting task he’s been given. When he makes statements like those above, It feels like he’s trying to keep his options open, which is smart; it doesn’t feel like he’s twisting his handle bar mustache.

      The Wilpons are a different story. I’ve always felt they consider fans an inconvenient truth of owning a baseball team – something they have manage risks about rather than listen to. There’s a sleazy, snake-oily feeling to both father and son that I don’t feel about Alderson.

      Either way, I expect them to put on a show this offseason that they can point to and say, “see? we got this guy,” but when it comes down to really committing to winning, rather than “competing,” they will once again fall short. It’s simply not in the Wilpons’ nature to go for the jugular. Never has been, never will be.

      • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm
        The only difference between the current situation and the one four years ago is the mouthpiece, and the mouthpiece is much more articulate than the previous one.

        Otherwise, pretty much agree with all you state.

        • md924 October 3, 2013 at 3:54 am
          As I’ve said before on Metsblog, I think the main reason the Wilpons hired Alderson was because they knew Sandy would be a better buffer during a house cleaning than Omar. I can’t even imagine what a media mess this team would have been if Minaya had been the mouthpiece – it just wasn’t his forte.

          All of this points to the calculating, risk managing nature I spoke of earlier, and of the idea that winning was never the priority. The Wilpons knew a storm was coming and wanted an articulate, respected voice who could diffuse and deflect problems. To their credit (sort of), they hired the perfect guy.

    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 5:48 pm
      For most of the last 25 years, the Mets have had one of the game’s top payrolls.

      It’s not that the Wilpons don’t want to win. They’re simply bad at it.

      (Right now they may also be broke, but I don’t know what to believe on that score.)

      • William Martin October 3, 2013 at 12:18 am
        Very good point. And for as much as we want to knock Omar, let’s not forget that Omar is the only GM we’ve had that got Fred to write a check. His plan was to be proactive with star free-agents, then use international signings to off-set the loss of draft picks. Two problems occurred; Fred would write a check for the stars, but not the international kids; Omar spent for the sake of spending. The Ollie signing was absolutely ridiculous; What other team was going to give 12 over three for that head case?! He over-bid on Bay when Bay wasn’t the player to overpay. Sandy has a lot of Frank Cashen in him. and we could do a whole lot worse.
        • TexasGusCC October 3, 2013 at 10:03 am
          William,

          Scott Boras wanted more. The Mets signed Perez in February because they needed a starter, and while the only two good ones were Derek Lowe and Perez, Boras represented both. He knew the Mets would take Erez back, so he signed Lowe with the Braves. If they didn’t sign Perez, they would have nothing.

        • argonbunnies October 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm
          …and if Perez didn’t sign with the Mets, he would have nothing.

          If Omar had held fast at half the $ Perez got, no one would have topped it. That is why it was a terrible signing. Pay Ollie what he’s worth, and you can cut him when he tanks and still have $ to spend. Instead, Omar sank a big chunk of the team budget into him. Inexcusable.

    • JOHN HERLING October 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm
      They have to pay down the debt to prevent bankruptcy.
  5. Sidd Finch October 2, 2013 at 10:00 am
    I think Alderson’s main target this off-season will be Carlos Gonzalez, and with a third team involved, there’s the possibility of Tulowitzki being included. I could see Wheeler and/or TDA being involved. Though in TDA’s case it would be to any third team pulled into the transaction since the Rockies seem set behind the plate with Rosario.
    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 5:51 pm
      I’d do Wheeler for Tulo, but I think CarGo is a mirage. Despite his pretty swing, he waves at everything, never walks, strikes out a ton, and is slump-prone. Away from Denver, what is he? A slightly above average hitter, fielder, and baserunner who’s streaky and injury-prone.

      I’d love to have him, but not for anywhere near the price he’ll command.

  6. Darrell October 2, 2013 at 10:49 am
    JW could tell me it’s sunny outside and I would still pull back the shades to see for myself. I have been a MET FAN since 1962 , and I have not seen this kind of BS since The days of M , D. Grant. and Grants Toumb.
    It is the end of days for F and Jw. They don’t have the money to run a MLB team. Their holding on to the team is doing more damage then good.
    They are running this once proud franchise into the ground
    While I’ll allways be a MET FAN , It hurts me to see my team in such sad shape for so long.
  7. Patrick October 2, 2013 at 10:52 am
    It is next to impossible to believe or probably better said try to understand the actual meaning of anything that Sandy Alderson says, and certainly Jeff Wilpon.

    Insofar as history repeating itself, that certainly bears watching and again no reason to believe it won’t, the only difference all along is can the Mets get a front office that keeps the Wilpons duitifully on both eyes of the ball. Development and investment. Spend on development, spend on existing talent. That is how the Red Sox, Cardinals, Rangers, Angels (until their owner got free agent crazy) have done it. Spend on both sides of the aisle.

    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm
      I too appreciate that philosophy, but I don’t think that’s new here. Minaya said the same stuff about growing core guys from the minors and how our top prospects were untouchable etc. That’s why we held onto Fernando Martinez so long!

      I’m happy to have had the tail end of Johan’s prime rather than Guerra, Mulvey, Humber and Gomez’s growing pains.

      I don’t think the problem was giving Jason Bay $64 mil for 4 years either — at the time it seemed fair, and a healthy organization should be able to survive one FA tanking (see Rowand and the Giants).

      It’s never been about philosophy, I think it’s simply an issue of competence — picking the right players to move and keep, buying low and selling high, etc. Alderson seems the last to know when his own guys are good or bad or injury risks, and his big signing was Frank Francisco, so I’d say the problem persists.

  8. Dave October 2, 2013 at 10:59 am
    The big difference in this Mets’ team to the one 4 years ago is that we have pitching, young controllable cheap pitching. I hope Alderson will not go all in on Choo, who I think is too old to be worth Bay money much less Ethier money, and I hear him saying that also. I hope Tulo is not an option too, as he is 30 next year, signed to a big contract and has significant home/road split issues, not to mention injury problems.

    I would like to see them trade for CarGo – I’d think Duda, Flores, Montero and Lara would be a fair package. Gonzalez has had a home/road split problem in the past, but in 2013 he was better on the road, a pattern that follows what Matt Holliday did going from Colorado to Oakland to St. Louis. He’s also only 29 and signed for only 4 more years.

    And I would like to see them get Abreu, assuming their scouts like him. Add a Stephen Drew or similar player for SS and a pitcher like Phil Hughes who can start or relieve (and would be relieved to get out of Yankee Stadium – see his home/road splits) and you have a playoff team and WS contender.

    • Patrick October 2, 2013 at 11:27 am
      The Coors field splits favor Tulowitzki over Gonzales. Gonzales has a career .992 OPS at Home, .775 on the Road.

      And this past season was the only one in his career that bucked that trend. Possible that he has matured, possible it was a fluke. Taking a risk in either scenario. Tulowitzki on the other hand, he has had at least an .850 OPS since 2009 away from Coors field, that is five years of good strong evidence that he will produce anywhere. Not to mention in what is yes a small sample size, he has RAKED at CitiField.

    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:03 pm
      I agree on Abreu/Drew/Hughes. Hughes actually reminds me a little of Clippard.

      I’m with Patrick about CarGo, though. He’d be an upgrade, but not worth what he’d cost. Tulo, on the other hand, might be worth it.

  9. Lou October 2, 2013 at 11:03 am
    If I were to be as cynical as your post appears, I would give up following the Mets all together. Look, your correct in what happened in 2009 but here’s the difference. Sandy has been rebuilding the organization. He has done so by restructuring the entire farm system. Player development is everything for a team that wins consistently. Look at the Cardinals, Braves, and other teams that make the playoffs more often then not. He has changed the way the Mets draft players and he was correct in not adding to the bad contracts the former GM created. Sandy never said he planned to win the world series each year he has been here. If you listened carefully he has maintained that he is attempting to create an infrastructure where they can add players and build a winning team every season. That requires the ability to draft well and create a strong farm. The Mets system is a far cry from when Tony Bernazard ran it don’t you think? Sustained success is something this organization has never endured, or at least since the 80s. Now having said that am I concerned that Jeff Wilpon will screw it up (yes I can read between your lines)? Yes I am, very much so. But if I don’t have faith that things will get better than what’s the point?
    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm
      Well, it could be argued that Omar Minaya also rebuilt the organization by restructuring the farm system when he came on board. In fact, Minaya was very aggressive in the signing of young latin talent, and the Mets made substantial investments in their overseas operations as well as their scouting department overall.

      In contrast, under the Alderson regime, several minor league teams were cut, the overseas operations almost completely abandoned, and the scouting department was trimmed significantly. So, yes, I’d agree that the Mets system is a far cry from the Bernazard years. I’ll be the first to say Bernazard was poisonous, but as far as the investment in developing young talent, the Mets have gone backward. I don’t see anything better happening now compared to then — we’re hearing about all this pitching depth at the minor league levels, but that’s all it is: minor league pitching. Four to five years ago, there were just as many unproven “prospects” in the minors as today. We won’t know for sure if Alderson’s “lean and mean” system is any better than Minaya’s for several years.

      What player developed completely by the Mets’ farm during Alderson’s three years was on the 25-man roster? Harvey was brought in by Minaya, as was Murphy, Davis, Duda, Niese, Parnell, Tejada, Gee, Lagares, Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker, Satin, Valespin, Flores, Tovar, Mejia, Familia, Edgin …. need I go on? Point being, we won’t see the fruits of Alderson’s system, and be able to evaluate them, for a while, so it’s impossible to try to say what he’s doing now is better than what Minaya was doing before.

      • Herb October 3, 2013 at 12:50 am
        Joe, your anti-Wilpon bias and its obvious taint of Alderson comes through loud and clear here. How many draft picks come to the majors in 3 years or less, (Alderson’s tenure) especially when the focus is signing outstanding high schoolers?

        Would you give him the fact that he has stocked us with some outstanding young talent with the Beltran, Dickey and Byrd/Buck trades? And I see that Dominick Smith was just namad the #4 prospect in the GCL and Amed Rosario #1, Robert Whalen #15 and Chris Flexen #19 in the Appy. Nimmo and Cecchini are looking better and better. Consider Gant, Gsellman, Mazilli, Boyd, Plawecki, Lugo, Lawley, Bowman, Taijeron, Dykstra, Montero, Muno, Mazzoni, and a host of quality relievers too numerous to mention.

        All in all, I’d give Sandy pretty good grades in building this organization in his 3 years here.

        • TexasGusCC October 3, 2013 at 10:05 am
          Herb, can he get those players and not totally abandon the major league roster? The Wilpons own the Mets, not the Sand Gnats, and not the B-Mets.
        • Joe Janish October 4, 2013 at 9:53 am
          Herb, thank you, I’m glad there’s no cloudiness or confusion about where I stand. Imagine if communication from the Mets could be that way.

          I don’t need to give Alderson any credit here, as he gets plenty of it at every other major Mets blog. Consider this site the FOX News of the Mets blogosphere — fair and balanced.

          As I stated previously, it’s difficult if not impossible to judge what Alderson has done in regard to drafting and acquiring talent, because the players remain “prospects” and “projectable” but until they start playing at the MLB level, it’s all hot air. All the names you mention, I’m sure, are skilled players with great potential. However, they’re no different from the Mets minor leaguers people were raving about 3 years, or 3 years prior to that, etc.

  10. Scott October 2, 2013 at 11:04 am
    He should try throwing down the wallet instead.
  11. TomG76 October 2, 2013 at 11:09 am
    ” I do believe it sounds like Sandy Alderson is on the hot seat. Shouldn’t he be, after three years of seeing a team perform progressively worse?”

    So let me get this straight: Teams usually loose while they are rebuilding. Sandy Alderson comes in with a plan to rebuild the organization. He executes that plan incredibly well and the expected by-product of that plan, the team losing during the rebuilding period, has in your estimation put him on the hot seat? How does an expected outcome of doing your job well make you in danger of losing your job for not doing your job well?

    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm
      1. Why does a team have to lose while rebuilding? I keep asking this question yet no one ever answers it.

      2. What makes what Alderson is doing so “incredibly well”? Based on what?

      3. I didn’t say he was on the hot seat. I was inferring he was on the hot seat based on Jeff Wilpon’s statement that the team is under pressure to win in 2014. If the owner of a company says the company must succeed, then to me that means his first report is responsible for succeeding — ergo, on the hot seat.

      • DaveSchneck October 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm
        Joe,
        May I take a stab at answering.

        1. A team does not have to lose while rebuilding. Only losing teams have to lose while rebuilding.
        2. School is out as to how well he has done it, and that depends on how the players he has drafted turn out. At the MLB level, he has done nothing more than trade stars for prospects, reduce salary, and deploy replacement level players to bide time for three years. You, me, and thousands could have done what Alderson has done to date.
        3. Sandy is not on the hot seat, he is in the driver’s seat. The Wiplons (specifically Jeff) are in the hot seat. Sandy will have made $12 million in 4 years, is nearing retirement age, and can fall into either the commissioner’s job, a high paid suit job, or a comfortable retirement. On the other hand, if Alderson has a bad winter and the Mets continue with sub-.500 play, and he flees, the worth of the Mets will take a huge hit, much bigger than it has to date with the declining attendance and TV ratings. Jeff can say whatever he wants, if 2014 is a failure, he will be the biggest loser by far.

        • Joe Janish October 4, 2013 at 9:54 am
          Thanks. You make really good points here. Hadn’t thought of it that way, but you’re right — it IS Jeff on the hot seat.

          Nicely done.

  12. Matt October 2, 2013 at 11:13 am
    The Wilpons don’t have any money. Sandy Alderson has to do the best with what script he has. I think the Madoff thing was way worse for the Wilpons than the news let on (like, tip of the iceberg bad) – they were bolstered by favors from friends (i.e. Sandy Alderson via Bud Selig) and they are just waiting it out, hoping for the problem to dissipate. If the team becomes competitive again – which is more than one or two contracts and seasons away, the Wilpons are going to ratchet things up in terms of ticket prices, everything. They’re not baseball people, they’re money people. Especially that awful son of theirs, the heir apparent. I almost hope the Mets have yet to hit rock bottom because change of ownership would be the best thing for the team right now.
  13. Andrew October 2, 2013 at 11:21 am
    Is this post a joke? (Like, making fun of Mets fans who are impossible to please?)

    Because it’s a little hard to believe that someone who is paid to follow the Mets could honestly believe that the 2013 off-season is in any way comparable to the 2009 off-season.

    For a clue as to why, try reading the first sentence of Dave’s comment above. Then come back and tell me that the acquisition of a top-tier free-agent hitter would be nothing more than a scheme to sell more season tickets.

    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm
      This post is about the Mets, therefore, yes, it’s likely a joke.

      Where do you get the idea I’m PAID to follow the Mets? This blog is a losing proposition, to the point where it may be shut down due to lack of revenues. Maybe I can get 20 investors to keep the site running, if I promise them a tour of my studio apartment and a seat on my couch as they watch me blog.

      • Quinn October 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm
        “This blog is a losing proposition, to the point where it may be shut down due to lack of revenues”

        I hope this is not true

        • Joe Janish October 4, 2013 at 9:56 am
          Thanks, Quinn, but, unfortunately, it is true. I’m frantically trying to figure out a way / ways to keep it going at the same level of accessibility.
      • chris October 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm
        ESPN should be kicking in for the finance. You bring a loyal following and provide erudite commentary on a large market franchise that plays a 162 games a year + spring training + hot stove. That seems like great value to me.
        • Joe Janish October 4, 2013 at 9:57 am
          Thanks Chris, I appreciate the kind words.
    • JOHN HERLING October 2, 2013 at 8:21 pm
      I’ve been a Mets fan from the team’s very beginning, and I was very pleased in 1969, 1973, 1986, and yes, even 2000. When a team plays in the World Series, win or lose, its fans are pleased.
  14. Timothy Frith October 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm
    The Mets have $811 million. The Wilpons will look to refinance their $250 million in debt, so the Mets can decline Johan Santana’s 2014 club option, non-tender Omar Quintanilla, Scott Atchison and Brandon Hicks’ contracts, sign Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Matt Capps and Michael Morse via free agency, acquire Giancarlo Stanton and cash from the Marlins in exchange for Eric Young, Jr., Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter and prospects Michael Fulmer and Cory Mazzoni and trade Ruben Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and prospects Brandon Nimmo and Rafael Montero to the Indians for Asdrubal Cabrera and a player to be named later.
    • Bryan October 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
      “acquire Giancarlo Stanton and cash from the Marlins in exchange for Eric Young, Jr., Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter and prospects Michael Fulmer and Cory Mazzoni”

      is that an attempt at a joke?

    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm
      This may be the first time I’ve seen a ridiculous underpay (for Stanton) and a probable overpay (for Cabrera) in the same post. Whoa!

      Can we also trade Murphy, den Dekker and deGrom for Mike Trout while trading Harvey and Syndergaard for Justin Masterson?

  15. crozier October 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm
    Joe, I take no issue if you want to say the Wilpons are bad at what they do. Your concluding thought, however, takes cynicism to new heights. If you think the Wilpons don’t desperately want to win, you need a new crystal ball or something.

    Years of financial constraints may have been the result of their bad faith and/or incompetence, but they were real. What they now face is a vicious cycle: they need decent players to lure talent, but that talent is unlikely to join a team that may be years away from competing.

    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm
      Depends on what you mean by “win.” If “winning” is keeping ownership of the Mets, then yes, I agree, the Mets are desperate to do that.

      If you mean win games and compete for championships, then no, I disagree and will look on eBay for a new crystal ball.

      Of course, no one wants to lose, but people have priorities. Winning baseball games is nowhere near #1 on the list for the Wilpons, and never has been, in my opinion. Based on their actions and comments over the past 30 years, it seems to me that it’s always been about being “sports moguls” and re-living Fred’s childhood romance with Ebbets Field.

      • crozier October 2, 2013 at 5:31 pm
        If you aren’t serious about putting together a competitive club, you don’t need a Sandy Alderson type. Any sports analyst with a business degree would do. I know this dude Steve Phillips who works for The Sports Network who would probably go for it. But I have this weird feeling his first deal would be Syndergaard for Zito.
        • Dan42 October 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm
          Remember that Alderson is here because of Selig, not because the Wilpons wanted him. I suspect his mission was (is) to keep the Wilpons from making Selig look foolish after bailing out the team. God knows what Jeff et. al. would have done on their own.
      • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm
        I’m with crozier 100%. Until Madoff, the Wilpons always spent and spent to win. They just weren’t good at it.
        • Joe Janish October 4, 2013 at 10:09 am
          Another point at which we’ll have to agree to disagree.

          Again, based purely on actions I’ve seen through the years, and conversations I’ve had with people directly involved, the Wilpons spent JUST ENOUGH to create the appearance of “winning at all costs.” There were several opportunities from 2005-2008 to pick up one or two of the right “final pieces,” but the decision not to pull the trigger was due to dollars — and we’re not talking hundreds of millions, either.

        • argonbunnies October 4, 2013 at 11:50 pm
          Outbidding everyone for Pedro, Beltran, K-Rod and Wagner (plus paying Santana top dollar) while refusing to spend $5 mil to close the deal and host playoff games in ’07-’08 sounds nonsensical to me.

          Whether that refusal is a lie or ineptitude, it doesn’t sound like “spending just enough for appearances” to me. Can’t you come in second on one of those free agents if that’s your goal? Can’t you dump Glavine to clear payroll and spin it as a youth movement? I dunno, man.

          I was going to mention 2002′s splurge as well, but then I looked it up and saw that Doubleday wasn’t out until late 2002. So I suppose the Wilpons’ track record is shakier than I first thought.

          For years the Wilpons flexible payroll, though confusing, was pitched as a way to add if needed. Minaya told reporters every year that he’d been approved to spend, but there were no good deals to be made. Were these all 100% lies?

  16. DanB October 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm
    i don’t buy that Alderson has done a good job lowering the payroll. Red Sox did a good job lowering payroll, They did it in less then a year. Four off seasons and the Mets are still waiting for contracts to just end. How about trading a Santana when he has value? How about packaging a bad contract in a trade? How about not signing a Francisco to a bad contract in the first place?
  17. Jujo October 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm
    The objective next year should be to compete for a wild card. They have the pitching and depth. Their issues are the everyday lineup. This offseason will show whether Alderson is the genius people said he was or not. He has made some good moves:
    Trades-Wheeler for Beltran
    Buck, Darnaud and Thor for Dickey
    Signing Byrd
    Trading for EY
    He has made bad moves as well – drafting Nimmo when Jose Fernandez was the pick right after him
    Trading Pagan for crap
    Letting Reyes go for nothing
    So far Alderson’s draft picks have not developed

    So we need a Power Hitting OF – Sign Beltran and Byrd again short term 2 years
    We need a solution at 1B – Sign Abreu 5 years
    We need a solution at SS – Sign Peralta or Drew 2 years
    This way we leave our pitching depth alone and fill gaps with spending…which we were told they should be able to do and if they don’t we know its time to look for another team to root for unless the Wilpons are dumped…

    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm
      Agreed on all counts. That wouldn’t break the bank of any team that’s serious about competing, and should be a WC contender if Harvey can miraculously avoid TJ. Without Harvey, we probably also need another good pitcher.

      Nice nickname for Syndergaard, BTW. :)

  18. DanB October 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
    Crozier, do you think for the last five years that winning has been a priority for the Wilpons? Don’t you think holding onto the team is their top priority and they have been opting for financial solutions over baseball solutions for quite some time? Or did I misunderstand you?
    • crozier October 2, 2013 at 5:40 pm
      “Wanting to win” and “having the financial capability to compete” are different areas altogether. Santana was in theory a fantastic acquisition, and with a little luck (yes, luck – the ’08 team didn’t lose its title by much) they’d have been playoff bound with him. Should they have sold the team after the Madoff disaster? Easy for you or me to say yes, but would either of us have done so?

      I’m no defender or apologist for the Wilpons, but they aren’t Jeff Loria, either.

  19. Dave October 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    I don’t think Sandy is on the hot seat. He was brought in to cut payroll and help the Wilpons with their debt. He was never brought in to build a WS caliber team. He was also brought in to help stock the minors.

    As bad as the Mets have been under Sandy he can hardly be blamed. If given no money to spend how can he really build a contending team? Even trading can add to payroll. His hands are tied.

    Plus I believe October 2014 his contract is up. So I don’t see him being fired. He was simply brought into slash payroll, help with the debt and put together a bit of a miner league system. Assuming the Wilpons pay off or pay off a good portion of their debt the next GM will have more of a budget to sign players plus enough of a minor league system to pull off trades. So really Sandy is setting up the next GM to build a winner

    • Joe Janish October 2, 2013 at 2:12 pm
      You might be right that Sandy isn’t on the hot seat. But publicly, right now, it sounds like he is.

      In other words, Jeff is blowing smoke up our you-know-whats.

      • TexasGusCC October 2, 2013 at 8:23 pm
        Joe, not only is Jeff blowing smoke, but he’s blowing smoke during the last year of Alderson’s contract when coincidentally the commissioner is retiring and Alderson will be considered for his job.

        Jeff never seems to have credibility because he makes empty sounding comments, and this is the latest example. Alderson was never brought here to win now, but it seems like he was brought here to build a cheap winner for the long run.

        The Wilpons have always, always taken the cheap fix to things and so they are quite happy waiting for the money to start coming via the Tampa/Oakland method. Imagine for seven years of contention and 3.5 million customers at about $60 a head, but always having rookies come up so your payroll is about $75-85MM.

  20. James beck October 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm
    Sooner or later you have to take a step forward instead of keep picking garbage up off the scrap heap and hoping they work. My opinion is sign Choo and another top FA and trade them for MLB ready prospects. Bubba starling, Arcia, Soler, Tavares, Baez, Sano. Well if you do that then you can win some games and by next year you’ll have 2 very good hitters. You’ll also add Harvey, Syndergaard and Montero. With then having Money to sign Abreu and a shortstop.
    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:24 pm
      I would love to get Baez and Sano, but there is zero chance the Cubs and Twins trade those guys for anything other than equally promising prospects. Think Syndergaard and (because the Mets don’t have a second elite minor leaguer) Wheeler.
  21. marty mcfly October 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm
    Same old same old double talk from Alderson, they’re not going to improve this team anywhere near enough to compete in 2014. I think many will be shocked at how little they do, expect six months of equivocation, quakifying this and that and a lot of excuses.
  22. Ms Met October 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm
    Talk is cheap. Sandy is a natural politician. I would like to think that the wilputz are tired of empty seats. I agree that they will bring in one high priced star to sell tickets.
  23. Anthony decesare October 2, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    I think they will do whatever it takes not to put our top prospects in a deal. So that could mean Parnell for Ethier at half his contract, Mejia for Aoki, their talking about moving Braun in RF and putting some kid in LF making aoki the odd guy out. Using Murphy to get Cuddyer from colorado, Murphy could play 1b, 2b or 3b for him, could mean young to 2b for us. Love to have arroyo and Nathan, but I think a lot of teams will be in on them, thats why with 35 mil to work with Mujica and Haren seem more realistic, I think Peralta comes for SS. If mets don’t get aoki for mejia and don’t get cuddyer for murph then maybe I could see Justin Morneau.
    • argonbunnies October 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm
      This sounds realistic and pretty interesting to me. So let’s see:
      2B – Young
      RF – Aoki
      3B – Wright
      LF – Cuddyer
      SS – Peralta
      1B – Duda/Satin/Davis
      C – d’Arnaud
      CF – Lagares

      That’s an acceptable NL lineup, though the Young-Peralta defense will probably cost us.

      I dig buying low on Haren, but only with a strong defensive team. The man doesn’t walk people, but he does give up a lot of hard contact.

      Mujica is an above-average reliever, but paying him Proven Closer money would be waste. Frasor + Hughes might be better.

      • Dan42 October 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm
        Haren would be a poor risk, considering age, injury, and downward spiral. An occasional decent start isn’t worth the inevitable downside.
  24. Anthony decesare October 2, 2013 at 7:20 pm
    Argon, I’m agreeing with u, if that’s the team and I agree with on Mujica too, I guess the one other I would look to add is Joe Nathan, their already talking about re-signing hawkins, shortening the game and having hawkins, parnell and Nathan 7, 8, 9 might not be bad.
  25. JOHN HERLING October 2, 2013 at 7:36 pm
    Actually, their 2013 won-lost record was exactly the same as it was in 2012 (74-88).
  26. JOHN HERLING October 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm
    Maybe you can figure out how George Steinbrenner got his tons of money’s worth for the free agents he signed, while the Mets have gotten nothing but grief for doing the same.
  27. Anthony decesare October 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm
    Whether its murph for cuddyer or murph for ethier and the dodgers pay half his $$ I got a feeling murph could go, I orgionally didn’t but I could now.
  28. DanB October 3, 2013 at 8:15 am
    Sorry Argon and Crozier but I don’t believe that just because the Met payroll was high during the Omar years that it means winning was their highest priority. The business plan during Madoff years was to generate as much revenue as possible (through acquiring stars) and then invest that revenue into Madoff accounts. Even if the Mets lost a few million, the Wilpons were making tens of millions off Madoff. They also backloaded their Citifield and SNY deals so to get more money in Madoff. Records show an excessive amount of deposit and withdraws. But when it came time to spend money behind the scenes to win, they didn’t. (Evidence #1 being the Wagner trade). Then Madoff goes away and the Mets are losing money and face over half a billion dollars in loans. Alderson is hired (either by Wilpons or Bud) and told to fix the finances. Payrolls are cut AND player development budgets are cut. Focus is on 2014 not for baseball reasons but because that is when ballon payments are due on their loans. (Evidence #1 being the Jason Bay refinancing. Why else was he given extra millions to defer money not ten or twenty years but three years?). I understand wanting to make money, but the Wilpons seem okay with making money at the expense of not winning. The bottom line, if you think the Wilpons do not prioritze winning or if you believe the want to win and just make bad decissions, either way it means the Mets will never have prolonged success with Wilpons owning the team.
    • NormE October 3, 2013 at 10:52 am
      DanB, your statement is right on the money. Couple it with Joe J’s statement that the Wilputz (thanks for the term, Ms Mets) are more interested in owning the Mets as a way to satisfy their vanity than they are in investing money, time and effort to build a winning organization.
      Let’s forget the Mets for a few weeks and enjoy the playoffs!
    • DaveSchneck October 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm
      Dan,
      I agree with most of you points, but not all points.

      1. My understanding is that they did not give Bay more money. They reached an agreement with him to spread payments over 3 years instead of paying him the 2013 salary and buyout in 2013. In turn, Bay got his release and a change to reignite his career elsewhere. It was a win win, and Bay got more money out of it based on being paid from his new team as well as the Mets so long as he could maintain a MLB job. The Met motivation provided some cash flow benefit, but it also gave Alderson some 2013 flexibility should the Mets actually compete (however unlikely) and need an addition.

      2. Focus on 2014 is clearly for baseball reasons. The Mets will be able to refinance the $250 mil loan coming due simply because they still have plenty of collateral in their baseball assets…based on the Dodger sale and YES sale to FOX, the Mets franchise plus SNY is worth over $2 billion, and their debt is under $1 billion, so banks will have no problem refinancing. The only issue is the bleeding from consistent operating losses, due to declining revenues and high interest payments. The banks may actually spend more time questioning the business plan going forward to make the team profitable. The fix is to have a better team, which requires more spending, so the banks may actually cause pressure to spend more, which will hopefully be good for the fan base.

      3. Unless any of us personally know the Wilpons, and I don’t, is is somewhat of a guess as to how badly they want to win. I think Jeff would like nothing more than to ride down broadway in a victory parade as owner of the Mets. The problem is that, as you stated, they were very smug with the Madoff situation and the illusion of beating the investment marketplace, and they made other bad business decisions like overleveraging themselves to build Fred’s Palace in combination with starting the TV network. Despite the mess and the debt, these guys are collectively net billionnaires. They need to spend there way out of the mess, and that begins now.

    • argonbunnies October 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm
      Dan, most of your post makes sense to me, but what’s “Evidence #1 being the Wagner trade”? The Mets traded Billy with a few weeks left to go in a lost season so he could pitch on a playoff-bound Red Sox team — how does that say anything about the team’s willingness to “spend behind the scenes to win”?
  29. DanB October 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm
    Dave, 1) the reports I read had Bay getting an extra million or two to accept deferred payments.allowed him to make one million from Seattle (Bay owes his agent a nice bottle of wine for that!). Also, the Mets might have equity to refinance but as anyone who ever refinanced their mortgage knows, the interest rate, amount financed, and debt to equity ratio matters more. If the Wilpons canpay down the debt, not only will their terms be better, but their monthly nut will be low
  30. DanB October 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    3) many real estate investors are capital wealthy but liquid poor. The Wilpons could be billionaires but lack the cash to properly run the team. Then again, a lot of times you have been right and I have been wrong.
    • DaveSchneck October 3, 2013 at 3:24 pm
      Dan,
      There’s no right and wrong, it’s really just wild-eyed speculation at the end of the day about the Wilpons’ finances. Pretty sad that we Met fans hang our sorry hopes their wallet, but the unfortunate reality is in recent years this speculation has been more entertaining than the baseball.
  31. DanB October 3, 2013 at 5:39 pm
    I agree with NormE, let’s just enjoy playoff baseball for now. Speaking of which, who likes the one game wild card playoff and who doesn’t? I really dislike it.
    • DaveSchneck October 3, 2013 at 8:46 pm
      Agree with you and NormE, also hate the one game WC…it needs to be best of 3.
      • NormE October 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm
        Amen!
    • argonbunnies October 5, 2013 at 12:05 am
      I’m still undecided, but I think the cost of “wild card isn’t really a playoff spot until you beat the other wild card” is worth the benefit of division races mattering again.

      You simply have to look at it that way: a wild card is not a playoff spot, it’s just a chance to play for one. That’s fine, whereas “we made the playoffs and were eliminated in one game” isn’t. It’s not a format issue, just a presentation issue. They just need to rename it GAME 163.

      As for division races, that part didn’t pan out so hot this year as 5 out of 6 division leaders ran away with it. But at least I got to root for the Pirates to catch the Cardinals — in 2011, I wouldn’t have cared, because both were in the playoffs for real regardless of who won the Central.

  32. Anthony decesare October 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm
    Listen they could be real boring in terms of the off- season too and say their going to bring Corey hart in for 1b at 4-5 mil, Jason Kubel for LF at 2-3 mil, Peralta for ss at 8 mil. As well as Murphy to the dodgers for Ethier(4.825 salary difference if dodgers pay half of ethier’s$$$) Haren for 5 million.lineup:Ey-2bD’arnound-cWright-3bEthier-RFHart-1bKubel-lfPeralta-SSLageras-CFHarvey, Wheeler, Neise, Gee and Haren, Mejia for Harvey if Harvey gets hurt.Torres, Hawkins, Parnell
  33. Vinny V October 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm
    It seams to me that the mets will do everything to make it look like they are in pursuit of high priced talent but will always fall short of signing one. Make it look good for the fans Sandy ie: Michael Bourne
  34. Anthony decesare October 5, 2013 at 4:15 pm
    I think their is a good chance of Murphy for Either and dodgers pay half his money. I think their is a good chance we get Peralta too, I would not doubt us getting Aoki from the Brewers for Mejia. With needing 2 starting pitchers I can see us getting Dan Haren and Phil Hughes. Duda and satin man first Ey and Flores man 2b. Probably bring back Hawkins, maybe bring in a lhr like Scott Downs. Probably get a vet backup C also. We only have 30 million to spend, this is not going to be a Yankee like spending spree.
  35. Anthony decesare October 6, 2013 at 7:02 am
    Why would free agent hitters come to a team that has been bad for 5 yrs who plays in a pitchers park unless ur going to overpay in terms of money and years? Pitchers u can attract. U have no choice but to trade for offense.
  36. Bob Primosch October 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm
    Your point, I take it, is that Alderson doesn’t have much more independence than Minaya did, so whatever role the Wilpons had in the demise of the Mets will continue, and the kind of thinking that delivered Jason Bay will rule the day. But you’re forgetting that unlike Minaya, Alderson doesn’t need the job and was essentially hired by Bud Selig, not the Wilpons. He can and will walk if Jeff orders him to repeat past mistakes. Fred knows Bud gave him a mulligan on the Madoff thing, and he won’t risk getting crosswise with him. All the skepticsm is perfectly fair, but if Alderson fails it won’t be because the Wilpons are telling him what to do.
    • Dan42 October 11, 2013 at 7:08 am
      Failure will be ensured by financial constraints more than anything else, a Jason Bay redux will not happen for that reason. Given financial constraints, and Jeffie’s tendencies, I suspect that there would be a severe lack of top level talent clamoring for the opportunity to replace Alderson or Collins.
  37. Anthony decesare October 15, 2013 at 11:57 am
    Mets are not getting Choo, mets will only offer 4 yrs and he will get more then that from another team. Not giving choo 15 mil per.

    This is what I see:

    That’s why I am saying don’t get over emotional about this team and don’t expect a star-studded off-season. Not when the Wilpon’s are your owners and u have 30 mil to spend. It scares the hell outta me when I read the other day that Johan and Dice-k have a strong chance of coming back to this team, the mets are on the hook for 5.5 mil already for this year on Santana this year, it would not shock me for them to throw a mil or 2 at him and bring him back for the year. When I hear Dice-k is a Terry Collins favorite, I almost threw up, but that tells me he’s coming back and they don’t want to spend 1 dollar more then they have to on SP, because they want to spend on offense. But with only a 30 mil spending limit, I see Ethier coming whether its for Murphy straight up (50-50), Parnell straight up (25% chance) or Mejia and Flores (better then I thought), I see Marlon Byrd coming back, he owes the Mets for giving him a chanceb when no one else would, he will be a cheap price also around 2 yrs 8 million and I see the SS Peralta coming 2 yrs 16 million. It will either be Young at 2b and either Murphy or Duda at 1b. Ike will be dealt for a backup C, rp or a prospect, they probably bring back Latroy Hawkins and they get a backup c. I thought the mets had 30 million to spend this off-season, if its 40 mil and I have another 10 mil and this uncertainies with Parnell’s neck are real then I would sign Joe Nathan 2 yrs 20 million, 10 million per, But I think Dan Haren is the guy they get. That’s their off-season.

    Lineup-Byrd in Lf, Lageras in CF, Ethier in Rf, Wright at 3b, Peralta at SS, Young at 2b, 1b-Murphy or Duda

    SP-Wheeler, Neise, Gee, Haren, Mejia

    RP-Parnell, Black, Hawkins, Rice, Edgin, German, Famila

    Bench- Backup C, Tejada, Turner, Den Dekker, Satin

  38. Anthony decesare October 15, 2013 at 5:52 pm
    I’m altering this slightly:

    I’m still projecting a 30 million spending limit, if its true, someone pointed out a bargin OF that could be someone the mets go after and that’s Nate Mclouth. We may not trade for Ethier because of it, but were still going to the flee market when it comes to free agent shopping and not Tiffany’s. I could see

    LF-Nate Mclouth 2 yrs 10 million
    Rf-Marlon Byrd 2 yrs 10 million
    SS-Jhony Peralta 2 yrs 16 million
    Dan Haren 1 yr 8 million or 2 yrs 16 million
    Rp-Latroy Hawkins 1 yr 2 million
    Backup C 1 yr 2 million.

    Their determined not to give up their top pitching prospects and their also determined not to give up their draft picks 1st and 2nd for any free agent. Plus Alderson always talks about flexibility and short term deals, these 5 guys are no more then 1 or 2 yrs.

    If they had 10 million more to spend and their spending limit was 40 million, yeah why not sign Joe Nathan 2 yrs 20 million, 10 mil per.