Mike Freire - Sandy's Mets, er.....Mess


Over the course of the past couple of seasons, more and more Mets' fans are coming to the realization that the team is in a downward spiral and there isn't much hope on the immediate horizon (i.e. minor league prospects). On first blush, some fans would defend the organization by pointing to the inordinate amount of injuries that have taken place, while others might mention the "recent success" experienced during the 2015 and 2016 seasons as a reason to "stay the course".

I prefer to lean on facts, which in sporting terms is usually statistically based.

Since a team's history is a compilation of a variety of different initiatives, it is difficult to look at the entire body of work and draw any rational conclusions.  For example, Frank Cashen was in charge of our favorite team from 1980 through 1993 (give or take a few games), where he oversaw the "rise to power" and eventual World
Series Championship in 1986.  However, that was several decades ago and it has very little to do with how today's team is doing on a daily basis.

No, the proper way to look at the current state of affairs is to focus on our sitting General Manager and how he has done during HIS tenure since it is the most recent and relevant information to date. 

Sandy Alderson has lived a remarkable life, to put things as simply as possible.  He is a Vietnam War veteran (Marines), a graduate of Dartmouth (undergraduate) and Harvard (law degree).  He has a successful marriage and two children who also graduated from Dartmouth.  Oh and he is a Cancer survivor, as well.

Professionally, he has been the GM for three different MLB teams (Oakland, San Diego and New York), plus he was also employed as an assistant to the Commissioner of MLB for several years in between the listed stints, to include heading an important investigation into large scale corruption at the amateur baseball player level in the Dominican Republic. 

All three of the teams he guided experienced some playoff success during his tenure(s), to include a World Series Championship in Oakland with the "Bash Brothers" at the end of the 1989 season.  Plus, he is also viewed as the leading proponent of the previously popular "Money Ball" concept that took hold in MLB for a bit.

I mention these things because I don't want this to come off as a "hit piece" on our GM or as a uninformed, disrespectful article on an otherwise exceptional individual.   As a matter of fact, I have been one of the more vocal "Sandy supporters" over the years, so this is a difficult article to write.

However, I am also not above admitting when I am wrong and that seems to be the case when you take an unbiased look at our current situation.

Sandy took over as the Mets' General Manager after the 2010 season when Omar Minaya was relieved of his duties and has served as the GM from that point forward, despite changes made to his cadre of "Super Lieutenants" over the years.  One of the main tasks that he was charged with was reducing team payroll, while fielding a consistently competitive team. With the benefit of just over eight years of results
to look back upon, I think he has successful in reducing the team payroll, but fielding a consistently competitive team has simply not occurred

During Sandy's tenure, the Mets have played in 1,202 games (as of 06-17-18) and they have an overall record of 581-621, which is BELOW .500 or mediocre at best.  If you take that "winning percentage", that equates to a full season record of 78-84 and likely nowhere near "playoff contention".  If the Mets fail to make the playoffs in 2018 (near certainty), then they will have missed the same in six of Sandy's eight seasons!

The Mets have one 90 win season, one division title, one pennant and a runner up trophy to show for nearly the last decade (not counting the Wild Card loss to the Giants in 2016).  Outside of that, there have been several third and fourth place finishes within the NL East.

The lack of consistent success would be somewhat tolerable if it meant that the minor league system was teeming with talent and ready to elevate the parent squad to greatness, sort of like the Astros "model".  But, that's not the case either, since all of our minor league teams are below average and the system is severely lacking depth and talent.  Ask any of the folks that follow minor league player development and they will consistently tell you that the Mets' system is in the bottom tier.

So, if the parent club (current) is not successful and the minor league system (future) is not successful then what exactly has Sandy accomplished over the past eight seasons?  Outside of keeping a handle on the payroll, I would argue that he hasn't done much to brag about.

If we are really sharing opinions here, one could infer that his bosses are getting exactly what they want (profitability), which does not come close to matching what the fans want (wins), but that is a different topic for a different day.

If any of you reading this article performed your job the way Sandy has handled the Mets, would you still be employed?  

Why hasn't more "heat" been directed towards Sandy and his subordinates?  

Why isn't anyone being held responsible for this Mess?





Mack Ade said...

Mike -

Good morning.


Let me go over this again...

Sandy lost control of his managerial duties when he had to take a leave of absence to deal with cancer recovery.

The Mets gave the reigns to John Riccco, who, even when Sandy was there, reported directly to Saul Katz and the Wilpons.

What has happened since... trades... free agents... etc. all have either been created by, or had to be blessed by, Ricco for them to come to fruition.

So, when you read that there was discussions for an Andrew McCutchin trade for Juan Lagages that was once being discussed, what you need to do is what the real thoguht process by Ricco, Saul, and the Wilpons is "a trade between "Player making $$$$" and "player making $$$$$".

I;m sure many of the decisions and deals put together and executed were from the mind of Sandy, but I want to keep reminding everyone that not every deal is.

Rustyjr said...

So in essence - he’s just a figurehead or a willing puppet for ownership ?

Mack Ade said...

Rusty -

He has influence and some of his ideas come to fruition but he isn't Charles In Charge anymore.

And... sometimes... one of the things he proposes doesn't come to fruition and he (like a good Marine) has to fall on the sword and take responsibility for either the makings of a deal that went bad or a deal that the Mets turned down.

He's a 70+ year old cancer survivor and this is his last gig. A seven figure one, BTW.

He is not going to screw this up.

Reese Kaplan said...

If what Mack reports is accurate then I have even less respect for Sandy Alderson and I used to have. A real executive wouldn't put up for someone else making the decisions and just being a figurehead.

Mack Ade said...

Oh Reese -

Wait until your are 70+ years old, have had cancer, or live with someone that has cancer, and the younger world thinks you are invisible.

You will understand someday.

Mack Ade said...

This team is not Sandy's fault.

It isn't even Ricco's fault.

The Wilpons must take sole responsibility for the failure of this team.

Bob Gregory said...

If it is solely the Wilpons fault.....

It won't matter who is in the front office.....

This organization will remain a mess.

No reason for the fanbase to continue hitting their collective heads against the wall waiting for better.

Pablo Grullon said...

This is depressing stuff to read cuz as Bob said, it won't matter who the GM is, they will always be a puppet as long as the Wilpons own the team.

Mike Freire said...

Good info, Mack........I also agree with the other comments here that things will not likely change much until there are new owners (if that ever happens, that is).

Mack Ade said...

Bob/Pablo/Mike -

You are all correct.

And this is why I have called for (for two years now) a complete boycott of ticket sales, merchandise sales, vendor sales, parking fees, etc.

This team is run like a Fortune 500 company on a strict profit and loss situation.

There will only be a change if the fan base reduce the revenue by at least 20%. Then the Board of Directors will take over and force a sale from these dinosaurs.

Mack's Mets © 2012