11/30/11

Q and A With Mack and Company - Wilpon

6 comments
Okay…
Let’s put the question out there that everyone is beginning to hint about.
We all have a pretty good idea about the massive amount of money the Mets owe ($600mil+) legally. We also know the stadium isn’t big enough to turn this trend around, no less pay the interest.
In your opinion:
1. Did the baseball Gods influence the hiring of Sandy Alderson?
2. Will Alderson replace Bud Selig when he retires?
3. And, will baseball step in within the next three years and force a sale of this team?
Michael Freire of Mack’s Mets:
Hey, Mack. Hope your Thanksgiving went well. As far as your question(s) are concerned, I think the Sandy Alderson move was most definitely "suggested" by Bud Selig.   I mean, he was just getting comfortable in his previous job (cleaning up the mess in the DR) and all of a sudden, he is the Mets new GM.   What's more telling is that Sandy hired DePo and JP, as well.   At first, it seemed like a great team, but the more I think about the move, it seems like it was orchestrated.   More specifically, Sandy (who can handle the GM thing by himself) stabilizes the ship financially (cuts a bunch of salary) and has a big enough name/reputation to withstand the backlash.   Once Sandy's initial work is done (a year or two), he moves on (to become the next Commissioner) and one of the underlings takes the reins (DePo is my first guess). Having Sandy as the new Commissioner will be beneficial after being our GM for a few years.     With that said, I also see a "forced" sale being executed behind the scenes (not publicly messy like the Dodgers deal), once the Madoff situation resolves itself.    MLB cannot afford to have a big market club, (in a new stadium, with a large fan base and a lucrative cable television deal) continue to crash and burn like it has over the past five years.
Jack Flynn – Mack’s Mets:
Did the baseball Gods influence the hiring of Sandy Alderson? That depends - what is Bud Selig calling himself these days?
The three flagship franchises in the National League are a mess. Chicago has tried righting the ship by hiring Theo Epstein, but the former Boy Wonder is currently in the unenviable position of still trying to figure out who to trade from his 40-man roster to compensate the Red Sox for ... well, himself. Selig has blood on his hands for taking out Frank McCourt in L.A., but any jury could easily be convinced that it was a mercy killing. Think Farrah Fawcett in The Burning Bed.
And then there are the Mets. The Wilpon name is so disgraced these days that it's easy to forget that franchise's downhill slide began over a decade ago, when Fred began turning over the reins to his son Jeff. To call Jeff Wilpon a buffoon is to insult perfectly good buffoons everywhere else in the world.
(Jack always pulls his punches…)
Bernie Madoff simply delivered the death blow to a franchise that had slowly been dying from the poison administered by Young Master Jeff. (And don't start with me about 2006 - if there's one thing the former GM understood when he first got here, it was that you pay premium prices for premium free agents and try to get lucky with anyone else who isn't already in your farm system.)
Selig, to quote a great Tammany Hall man, simply seen his opportunities and he took him. Fred is too stubborn to realize how stupid his son is, and under normal circumstances would have never hired anything more than a company man that would never seriously challenge Jeff's authority. A looming debt of half a billion dollars has a way of changing minds, however, and Wilpon was in no position to argue with Selig's "recommendation" that Alderson become the GM with true autonomy - certainly not with his hand out for a $25 million loan.
Commissioner, though? I don't see it. Why would the owners want to select an intelligent, well-respected baseball man who won't let them do whatever they want? No, better to pull someone from their ranks, who will understand the golden rule - the owners may do unto others that which they would not want done to them.
No, Sandy will be in charge in New York right up until the moment that the Wilpons get out from under financially - if that sad day ever comes. If the old man pulls off the miracle and gets his franchise back in the black, Alderson will quickly be ushered out the Carl Furillo Side Door at New Ebbets Field and some new puppet will be brought in to dance on Jeffy's strings.
The Wilpons are safe for as long as Selig is in charge - under no circumstances will Selig run Fred off into the night, even if payroll drops to $60 million and attendance caps out at 18K per night. But if the used car salesman retires or unexpectedly ascends to that Great Used Car Lot in the Sky, don't be surprised if Wilpon is given six months to right the ship or get lost.
(God, I miss him…)
Michael Scannell 0f Mack’s Mets:
1.  I think it's more likely than not that Sandy was 'placed' with the Mets.
2.  I would put it at 50/50.  Sandy is likely a leading candidate for the job if not the favorite.
3.  One can only hope so.  I think it's likely as the hole seems to get deeper all the time.  Every day that goes by the Wilpons look like sore losers who are desperately trying to hold onto a team that they have proven they are incapable of running.  MLB is not going to allow them to run the team for multiple years while they vainly attempt to pull themselves out of this.
Charles Thompson of Mack’s Mets:
Listen, it’s obvious that Alderson's hiring was totally masterminded by Selig.  It was known at the time that Selig wanted Sandy interviewed for the job and logic states that a man like Alderson who has held higher positions in other organizations, wouldn't jump into a lesser role with the Mets unless persuaded by Bud.  Sandy was definitely selected by and placed into the General Manager role for the Mets by the Commissioner.  The Mets are, in my mind, the biggest mystery in baseball.  It’s obvious that they're broke, yet won't tell the public.  It’s obvious they're trying to keep payroll down despite having fifty million plus freed up, yet won't tell the public why.  It sure seems that once Selig retires, Sandy will indeed jump into his role as the head cheese, and then one of Sandy's deputies will get promoted into his vacated position; either Depodesta or Riccardi, and yet, for some reason, they WON'T TELL THE PUBLIC!!! WHY NOT?  Are they that self centered and arrogant that they believe this whole entire situation calls for Pentagon type secrecy?  I mean, really, who gives a shit who the Commissioner is?  Who cares if the Wilpons are broke?  If they're all out of money, just say it and save the fans from the false hope you're trying to dish out.  I personally, do not believe they are going to sell the franchise unless forced to.  Otherwise, why would you go through the trouble of selling off fractions of it now, when you could just sell off completely and actually walk away with something?  They love the power and stature of being the owners too much to walk away.  Face it, they don't love the team enough to walk away, despite knowing it is what is best for the team.    
Frank Gray of Mack’s Mets:
Mack, my initial reaction to these questions is "yes" on all three fronts. However, when I truly ponder it, I believe the answer to question #1 is "yes", but the next two questions go hand-in-hand. I don't believe Alderson will take over as Commish, but that will hurt the Mets in the long run. If Alderson did take over the league, he surely would be more merciful on the lowly Mets than a new Commish would be. Alderson, due to age and the stress level the position entails will either not be in the running or turn it down. The new guy (or woman) would then have no partiality toward the Mets or Bud's buddy Fred Wilpon
Erik Hudson of Mack’s Mets:
I think there is no doubt Bud Selig "influenced" the Mets choice of GM.  The Wilpons have supported Selig and he is bending the rules to keep them in place. Alderson seems a logical successor.  He's well respected and held a number of different positions- GM, Padres CEO, MLB exec, and now "big market" GM (without the budget).  The Mets experience rounds out the resume. I would hope baseball forces the Wilpons to sell.  They just need to enforce existing team debt limit rules.  I don't see Selig doing it.  I could see Alderson being more pragmatic and doing it.  Invoke the best interests of baseball clause.  It's better for baseball to have a Mets team that actually has money to spend.  I would think the players union and Scott Boras would love to see that too. There is no way they can get out from under all that debt, unless the real estate market comes roaring back soon.  Will selling the team even be enough to cover it?  I hope it doesn't take three years.

(editor's note: I sent this out to 41 various Mets writers, including other bloggers and beat writers... it was interesting that only my staff would tackle this subject...)

6 comments:

Charles said...

Whatever happens to this team, as long as there are smart men making the baseball decisions, it'll get better at some point. Sandy Alderson or DePo, are great at what they do and despite a decreasing payroll which will continue to plummet, the farm is strengthening and will eventually help the Mets become formidable again.

Mack said...

you have a comment on your comment???

:)

Wasadeyo said...

I think Joe Torre might be in the running for commish. I know it's difficult but everyone just has to try and relax and let this play out. The top heavy org. didn't work creating this house of cards that we're going through. Let's try creating a solid foundation with reasonable contracts for players and a solid Minor league system.

Phlavio said...

@ Wasadeyo, I think I heard that Torre rumor on WFAN a year ago. He makes a lot of sense.

Charles said...

I just can't shut my mouth. So I even have to comment on my own comments. ;)

Hobie said...

Didn't respond to your kind invitation, Mack, because I really don't know and my guess + $2.50 gets you on the #7.

OK, my guess: Herman Cain is the next commish and forces the Wilpons to sell in 8 slices.

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