Reese Kaplan -- I Come to Bury Sandy & To Praise Him

According to Webster’s the word multitasking is defined as “the performance of multiple tasks at one time.”  If you peruse any executive’s job description you will see that multitasking is usually in the first line or two of the requirements as tunnel vision and a singular focus is not the role for someone in management.  No, they have to see the big picture, juggle different priorities and plan for both good and bad outcomes. 

This week Sandy Alderson held a meeting with members of the fourth estate and showed he was a true maverick, bucking the trend of multitasking, and instead would handle one task at a time.  Apparently, therefore, he’s not going to make any personnel changes until the outfield situation is settled (but he even backed off on that one saying that it’s possible to go into the season with the team’s outfield as it is).  He added he doesn’t expect to add a position player, content to enter the 2017 season with unsettled and less than ideal solutions in centerfield and at catcher.

Friday he surprised us when in a fast flurry of last minute negotiations several of the Mets arbitration cases got settled.  The whole process is less than ideal with the team left to parade negative statistics in front of the player and arbiter which will no doubt serve to damage the relationship between the two of them.  In a business situation it is usually more positive with the employee making his case and the employer making his decision.  The injection of an arbiter is what turns what could be a stressful but productive situation into one with potentially lingering side effects.

By the way, anyone want to bet Wilmer Flores is now on the trading block?  Sandy doesn't like it when people defy his wishes and he has the audacity to ask to be paid more than the likes of Ruben Tejada.  

While I harp on the negatives of Sandy Alderson, I’m also quick to point out the times I feel he was justified in his actions.  To wit, I will continue to defend the price he paid to obtain Jay Bruce from Cincinnati last year when the club was desperate for offense.  The deal made sense at the time and Bruce having an option for 2017 at a relatively low price. 

Now there are some revisionist historians saying that it was a mistake to obtain him AND a mistake to pick up his option.  However, at the time the option was exercised Yoenis Cespedes was not yet signed to a contract, so without his bat in the lineup Bruce became a critical fallback position.  It is the same reason they foolishly signed Neil Walker but the difference is that there were a multitude of alternatives to play 2B but few proven options for the outfield. 

I’ll also defend Sandy Alderson in the current kerfuffle regarding Wally Backman.  Without proof, I think Wally comes off as a bitter man seeking a scapegoat.  Remember, he did not have a long list of suitors prior to the Mets taking a chance on him in 2009 and he did not get people knocking on the door asking for his services despite winning big in Las Vegas and elsewhere.  Sure, I’d rather see him managing the Mets than the Skipper, but then anyone with a pulse could probably motivate the players more.  However, until and unless Wally can produce an email, a Tweet, a transcript or something else to substantiate that Sandy Alderson has blackballed him, he’d be better off closing his mouth and proving himself on the field because no one wants to hire someone who badmouths his former employer.  If he did it to them, then he’ll likely do it to you, too.

In fact, when you think about it, it’s kind of laughable to imagine Sandy Alderson making a concerted effort to do something in this regard when his MO for the entire off season has been to sit on his hands and wait for the phone to ring.  But hey, let’s not judge too harshly.  After all he did offer a minor league contract to a guy with less than 27 innings of big league experience this week.  That’s progress. 


bgreg98180 said...

Alderson may have been exactly what he Mets needed when he was first hired.

He was not what the "out-of-financial-crisis" Mets needed when his contract was extended.

Like in other sports the ways of managing an organization has changed.
Just look at the successes of so many younger general managers, managers, and coaches.

Mack Ade said...

I have soured on Alderson since... wait a minute... is the Alderson we see now have anything to do with the cancer that have gone through him?

My wife has cancer. And everything about her has changed.

bgreg98180 said...

From what I have noticed....Alderson has not changed from the day he became Met GM.

This is unfortunate since the Met organization's situation has.

That Adam Smith said...

I have been a fan of Alderson's steady focus on strengthening the farm system. I am not a huge believer in his team's talent evaluation, nor the success of the organization's hitting approach, nor their willingness to stick with a terrible game manager seemingly because he doesn't rock the boat and works cheap. Overall, Sandy doesn't give me the heartburn that Minaya (let's not even talk about Steve Phillips) gave me, but even working within a difficult situation, (and giving credit for some recent success) he's been a flawed GM.

Reese Kaplan said...

He's not alone in his stagnation. Terry Collins has not adapted to what to do when he has promising young players to use. He still goes back to the "proven" veterans even when their days in the sun have long passed. He still manages his bullpen as if it's game 7 of the World Series.

Mack Ade said...

Adam -

I could debate you for days on your comments about Alderson's strengthening the farm system.

bgreg98180 said...

I do believe Alderson's focus was on TRYING to strengthen the farm system.

I simply don't agree that he was as successful as others could have been.

Tom Brennan said...

Good afternoon, everybody. I have nothing to add today but that :)

That Adam Smith said...


And I'd probably agree with most of it. But at least ha stopped the bleeding when he got here. More recently, i've found myself wishing he had waited that last fifteen minutes to see if he could've gotten Cespedes for anyone other than Fulmer, and I hated the Herrera for Bruce deal. But he has, for the most part, resisted the temptation to trade every promising prospect for immediate help. I've also been critical of their drafts, but that falls under talent evaluation.

Mack Ade said...

Adam -

I'm re-writing about the Alderson drafts in an upcoming Q and A post.

Mack's Mets © 2012