Alderson Introduced As New Mets GM

Sandy Alderson had an auspicious debut as the new General Manager of the New York Mets Friday afternoon at Citi Field. There was the presence of a baseball veteran, knowledge and experience that obviously made an impression to Mets ownership during the interview process.

And, Alderson, 62, who at one time built the Oakland Athletics teams that played in three consecutive World Series  from 1988-1990, and won the championship in 1989, may be what the Mets need. The immediate impact to slowly begin the process of getting the Mets back to playing baseball in October, though that may take some time.

Alderson is not a new kid on the block and has his own style. That was addressed when the question was asked about how his style would be different from his predecessor Omar Minaya.  “One of the things I like about a job like this is you have to act,” said Alderson.

And act he will. With financial flexibility, to make the Mets a contender again and not being the second team in town to the New York Yankees. Though during the course of his introduction to New York, there was no mention of the cross-town Yankees. Just a commitment to be in the free agent market every year, and not immediately in 2011

He stressed more than once about the job being fun, that baseball was entertainment, and not like Minaya, constantly talked about his job being, a  collaborative effort with ownership, the players and scouting departments.

“All the elements are here, a great area to be, and great fans,” said Alderson about why he took on the opportunity of a four-year contract through 2014 with a club option for 2015.

There is a lot of work to be done from financial flexibility, player personnel, to the hiring of a new manager. There are some candidates to succeed Jerry Manuel that Alderson has in mind. But the managerial situation will begin in a few days so Alderson can have one in place for the upcoming GM and winter meetings that plans a process for the upcoming season.

There is optimism at Citi Field as a new regime takes over. And that word of Collaboration that was so often mentioned will begin in the front office. Alderson saw that happen in his four years as CEO of the San Diego Padres where he led them to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2005 and 2006 and recently working as a special consultant to the Commissioner of Baseball for Latin America.

Alderson, the 13th GM in franchise history reminds many of Frank Cashen, the Mets Hall of Fame inductee who reshaped the organization and built a championship team in 1986. On Friday that renewed spirit of seeing those days again in Flushing Queens came when Alderson spoke.

But every Mets fan knows hope has always been eternal. Since the Cashen years there have been three close opportunities at bringing the prized trophy home. More so, a 2000 Subway World Series loss to the Yankees when Steve Phillips was the GM, and the 2006 NLCS loss to the St. Louis Cardinals under Minaya, a series that every Mets fan refuses to forget.

Will Alderson succeed in what Omar Minaya could not do the past few years?  “There is hope now,” said longtime Mets season ticket holder Eddie Lopez who sat at a table in back of the Caesars Club. “Minaya was around to long and he (Alderson) brings something to the table,” he said.

Lopez was one of the many season ticket holders that were invited to the welcome party because the Mets fan base is so important. The new ballpark, the fans, something also that Alderson reiterated in his remarks that was another reason why he took the job.

“Getting back to being a general manager was something I wanted to do under the right circumstances,” he said.  So whatever Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon said to Alderson during the interview process had to be the right circumstance.

It did not work under Minaya, even though he had the liberty to spend money. But you get the feeling there will be no favoritism played, no favors granted to player agents that Minaya had close ties with. The roster comprised from trades and a restructured scouting department that brings in homegrown talent.

Will there be an immediate turnaround?  It will be difficult turning it around in 2011 because the Mets are committed to $130 million in payroll.  Alderson won’t have the liberty to spend but plenty of roster decisions to address. Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo, who get some of that payroll, and what to do with the bad image and contract of closer Francisco Rodriquez who was recently reactivated.

Alderson is just settling in. He would not provide much as to who or what for 2011, again hiring a manager he can work with is the first priority. But what every Mets fan wants to know, are our troubles and agonizing days of losing coming to an end?

Time will tell as there is hope. Jeff and Fred Wilpon did not have that concerned look, like they did a day after the season ended three weeks ago when they relieved Minaya and did not bring Manuel back.

This time the Mets hierarchy got it right bringing Alderson to New York.

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Posted under Auspicious Debut, Club Option, Collaborative Effort, Consecutive World Series, Contender, Cross Town, Financial Flexibility, Free Agent Market, Friday Afternoon, Kid On The Block, Mets Gm, New Kid On The Block, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Omar Minaya, Predecessor, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Winter Meetings, World Series

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on October 30, 2010

Alderson Brings His Marine Code To Queens

Sandy Alderson is proud of his Marine heritage. He enlisted in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam Conflict, and served eight months over in Southeast Asia.

But even with his distinguished service to his country, the 62 year-old new general manager of the New York Mets does not subscribe to the  “Once a Marine, Always A Marine” philosophy, rather the Marine code needs to be proven in everything they do.

And now, Alderson will need to prove it again in maybe what is his trickiest baseball job, taking reigns as the troubled franchise in Queens.

“I view the job as general manager of the New York Mets,” Alderson stated, “as the best job available in baseball. It’s an iconic franchise in a great city – a city that inspires all of us to dream big.”

The Mets are hoping that when they signed Alderson to a four-year deal to take over for Omar Minaya. The man who built the Oakland A’s into a powerhouse and also was the godfather of the Moneyball era in baseball now brings his skills to Queens where the club badly needs leadership, as well as someone with a steady hand to give the team a long term direction.

Under Minaya, the club philosophy was the band-aid approach where Minaya would go out and fill what seemed to be the biggest gaping hole in the roster, hoping that would energize the fan base, while also making the club a contender.

Unfortunately, though, those Met teams were built upon a weak foundation, and much like an old car you keep putting money into, once you fix one problem, others arise. The Mets found that out over the last two years.

In 2009, everyone swore the team would contend because the biggest problem – the bullpen – was filled with Francisco Rodriguez and J.J. Putz. Ultimately though, Minaya didn’t address the aging roster, which broke down during the season.

And then last year they did the same thing with Jason Bay, and chalked up 2009 to injuries, rather than a sign of a weak foundation.

Alderson will change that by building a club with payroll flexibility. He said he plans on being involved with the free agent market every single year, but at the same time wants to build a young roster of homegrown talent. CEO Fred Wilpon described what can be characterized as a laddered bond portfolio of contracts where only a few will come due each year, thus not hamstringing the club.

That may take a couple of years, and Alderson is not ready to throw away 2011, where he feels the club can “compete.” And the Wilpons both said they would be willing to eat the contracts of certain players (Read: Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo) if Alderson asked to do so.

But first things first, as the new head honcho needs to build his staff and of course pick the manager. Alderson is reportedly looking to bring in former Oakland executives Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi to the Mets and will begin the search for a manager next week.

As for the manager, unlike what has been published in Moneyball, Alderson took a softened approach. Instead of a just a middle manager, Alderson wants to see the field boss not only to be an extension of the front office, but also an extension of the fans.

“I do believe a manager needs to reflect the general philosophy of the organization to have some sense of consistency,” he said. “At the same time the manager is very critical of the overall leadership structure of the organization. His job is very different from mine and there are certain qualities he has to bring.

“In my years I have worked with managers ranging from Tony LaRussa to Billy Martin. I can appreciate a fiery manager. He is quite desirable. A manager is representing the fans in frustrating situations and acts as a proxy for the feeling at the time.”

With that, Wally Backman still should be considered a candidate, while also looking for any qualified candidates. Already the Mets have a short list of about eight candidates, and interviews will last in the 30 day timetable.

But as for today, it’s a good start. The Wilpons look good for going with Alderson’s experience over Josh Byrnes youth, but Alderson makes Fred and Jeff look smart because of the media suaveness of their new employee.

And it also showed Alderson still is a solid Marine, proving it every day.

Posted under Aid Approach, Band Aid, Bullpen, Club Philosophy, Contender, Distinguished Service, Eight Months, Fan Base, Francisco Rodriguez, Gaping Hole, Jason Bay, Joe Mcdonald, Marine Heritage, New York Mets, Omar Minaya, Sandy Alderson, Southeast Asia, Steady Hand, Term Direction, Top Story, Troubled Franchise, Vietnam Conflict

This post was written by Joe McDonald on October 29, 2010

These Days There’s Joy in Metsville

Bronx, NY – Jeff Francoeur is enjoying this.

Not only are his Mets on fire, but they are embroiled in a race with his former club, the Atlanta Braves.

“I’ve spoke to [Braves catcher Brian] McCann and the guys,” Francoeur said. “But we are just concerned about winning here. As long as we win, the standings will take care of themselves.”

Winning they have been doing. Eight in a row and 12 out of 13, the Mets have made themselves a force in the National League East, doing it the old fashioned way, by pitching and timely hitting.

It’s true the club went through the dregs of the American League last week and may be catching the Yankees at the right time, as the Phillies put them into a slump earlier in the week, but to a man they will take it.

You play the schedule you are given and remember, no one complained when the Yankees were feasting on Indians and Orioles earlier in the year, nor does anyone in the NL East give the Mets a break when they are forced to play the Bombers six times a year.

All of this doesn’t seem to bother this club.

“It looks like we have a real good team here,” said this week’s designated hitter Chris Carter.

With nine rookies on this club ranging from 20 to 35 years old, they may be too young and inexperienced to realize where this team was picked to finish dead last in the east. Too old and too dysfunctional to be considered a contender, with last Thursday being Jerry Manuel’s witching hours, the two year anniversary of Willie Randolph’s ouster and his ascension to the Mets managerial office.

For a while there, it looked like the prophecy will come true. Just a month ago, Jeff Wilpon took an emergency flight to Atlanta in order to rally his minions, with a firing on the horizon. But Manuel turned it around, first by crushing the competition at home and now becoming the Mets road warriors.

It’s still just June 19th and there’s plenty of baseball left to play, but right now everything seems right in Metsville as the team trails the Atlanta Braves by a half a game, with their best pitcher in Mike Pelfrey on the mound later today at Yankee Stadium.

Now the Mets have a chance to keep it going or as Francoeur said, give him a chance to “kick the bleep out of the Braves the next month.

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Brian Mccann, Bronx Ny, Chris Carter, Contender, Designated Hitter, Dregs, Emergency Flight, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Wilpon, Joe Mcdonald, Last Thursday, Minions, National League East, New York Mets, Nl East, Ouster, Road Warriors, Rookies, Six Times, Top Story, Willie Randolph, Witching Hours

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 19, 2010