NEWS & VIEWS: Creative Mets Math, Sandy’s Bad Act, Hudson Signs, Hawkins Departs, and More

Mike:

Sandy Alderson went public that he expected the payroll number to increase in 2014. Of course, to do this he made up a new number for 2013.

Jimmy:

Yes, he said last season was $87 million. That’s the first time they’ve given us that number. They keep lowering the bar.

High hopes, we've got . . . high hopes!

High hopes, we’ve got . . . high hopes!

Mike:

I’ve gotten it for a while now, the Mets are going to continue to have a low payroll. The weak attempts to convince people otherwise are just sad.

Why don’t these guys just shut up and do their jobs?

Jimmy:

MLB owners occupy an elite stratosphere. It’s an expensive world they inhabit — that’s why there are only 30 teams. Every franchise in baseball was given an additional $26 million this year ($51 million, total), thanks to skyrocketing TV revenues. From what I can see, that’s the money the Mets will be spending this winter — and barely a dime of the payroll saved when Santana, Bay, Buck contracts came off the books.

Mike:

It was not a secret that new network television money was rolling in, therefore salaries were going to rise across the game. Every time Sandy acts surprised by the market, he looks feeble. Hopefully, for his sake, he is just putting on a bad act.

Jimmy:

I have this fantasy that going to a diner with Sandy Alderson would be a lot like bringing my grandmother to a restaurant. “What? Soup is five dollars! Are they crazy? I’m not paying these prices! I remember when I could get a cup of coffee and a slice of blueberry pie for thirty-five cents!”

Sorry about the marketplace, Sandy, but to quote Jimmy Durante: "That's the conditions that prevail." (Hat tip, faithful reader, IB.)

Sorry about the marketplace, Sandy, but to quote Jimmy Durante: “That’s the conditions that prevail.” (Hat tip, faithful reader, IB.)

 

Mike:

It’s hard to figure he is this dumb, I believe he is just a sellout. He gets paid a lot of money to front for the Wilpons.

Jimmy:

More than three years ago, the Mets signed an aging veteran, decades past his prime, to an expensive contract. To date, that veteran has been largely unproductive, with occasional hot streaks.

I am talking about Sandy Alderson himself.

The irony is that if you could slice him in half, Sandy Alderson the GM would never have hired himself to such a deal. He’s exactly the kind of person he avoids — he’d have taken a good look at himself and run for the hills!

We don’t know Sandy’s exact pay figure, since that’s a closely guarded secret. We do know that the contract is long-term, four years plus a club option for a fifth year. We also know that his old pals earn this: J.P. Ricciardi ($1.5 million), Paul DePodesta ($2.0). At least, that’s the best numbers I can find on the always-reliable interwebs. My wild guess is that our 65-year-old GM makes twice that combined number, plus. Let’s call it $4 million a year. Maybe $5 million.

Not a bad payday for an old guy thinking retirement.

NY-CR576_SP_COS_G_20131113185616

Sandy turns 66 on November 22, 2013.

In the meantime, maybe this is the contract we should be waiting to get off the books. Instead of a front man for the Emperor, hiring his overrated cronies, we might get a new, younger, more vibrant GM with an entirely new goal: winning.

Mike:

As much as Alderson aggravates people, and I do have issues with him myself, he is, as you say, a front man. The bigger problem is the folks he is in front of.  As long as the Wilpons insist on running this team like it sits in Peoria we are going to need a bold innovative GM to survive. When I picture that I don’t see a 66 year-old dude preaching baseball idioms from twenty years ago.

Make no mistake, winning while cutting payroll every single year is no small task. One thing about Sandy, I don’t envy him. I wouldn’t work for the Wilpons.

Life is too short for that.

Jimmy:

Tim Hudson, 2/$23. Not a bad deal by the Giants.

Mike:

He is coming off a rough injury, but not to his arm. It will be interesting to see what Arroyo gets compared to this.

In other news, the Mets were blown away in the LaTroy Hawkins sweepstakes.

Jimmy:

Do you think the Rockies got a bad deal on Hawkins? I mean, forget the Mets, just looking at it from their perspective?

Mike:

Not at all. I’m sorry, but that is just not a lot of money these days. That is basically Dumpster diving prices. Good move for them.

Too rich for Sandy's blood.

Too rich for Sandy’s blood.

Jimmy:

He was terrific for us last year, and there was almost universal agreement about bringing him back. Looks like we got scared off by 2013 prices, like Granny staring at the restaurant menu. What else you got?

Mike:

It was reported this week that Ruben Tejada is considering filing a grievance against the Mets. In September, remember, the Mets made sure to stash Tejada in Las Vegas long enough to cost him a year of free agency. This seemed petty and mean-spirited to me then, and it still does. I think Tejada will have a difficult time winning the case, but this seems like a dopey fight to have picked with him.

Jimmy:

This is a move M. Donald Grant would have made. The true believers like to compare Sandy Alderson to Frank Cashen, but Grant feels like the more apt comp. Players and agents watch this stuff, and obviously Flushing is not a good place to play right now. There’s a hardline “Screw the players!” vibe to this group.

We survived this, we can survive anything.

We survived this, we can survive anything.

Mike:

In a slightly related note, Andy Martino reported that “many Mets people” believed Marlon Byrd was overcoaching his teammates, and that was a factor in the team not attempting to re-sign Byrd.

Can’t this current front office ever just say goodbye and good luck?

Jimmy:

Martino got hired by SNY to cover games this past season, yet he also reports on the team for The Daily News. Which means: His integrity has been compromised.

The approach verbiage makes us crazy, as if Sandy Alderson is the world’s expert on hitting. He’s so damn sure that it’s his way or the highway. But what’s crazier is how, reportedly, they were worried that the second-most productive hitter on the club was going to be a bad influence on the hitters. I mean, let’s remember, no player has been praised for having “the right approach” as much as Ruben Tejeda . . . used to be. You couldn’t hear a post-game recap without somebody trumpeting his key, ten-pitch walk, or all the balls he fouled off before popping out. Now he’s public enemy #1.

The Alderson-Wilpon Mets allowed themselves to play patsies in the Cano shenanigans, all for a free meal. Sigh.

And yet, and yet.

While all of the above is true, Alderson is still going to do something. He’s still got to spend that $26 million extra TV revenue money. Maybe even a few dollars more.

It feels like a trade is the best path, taking on salary that way, since I don’t believe Sandy is eager to lose that 2nd-round pick.

Look: This can absolutely be turned around. Things can get better. The year 2014 won’t be what they promised back in 2011, but it can still be an improvement over 2013. That’s the world we live in now. I’ll take it. But so far, this team has lost ground. Lost Byrd, Buck, Hawkins. And, oh yeah, a guy named Matt Harvey.

I’m still hoping for Ryan Braun, whom we wrote about at length in early September.

The addition of one real bat, for 2014 and beyond, would help change the picture.

The addition of one real bat, for 2014 and beyond, would help change the picture.

Honestly, I can’t figure it out. Between the fog, the mist, the half-truths, the twisted facts, the “scary” prices, I’m at a loss when I look into these tea leaves. I’ve said all along that this offseason is a sliding puzzle, and that we won’t be able to see the picture until some of these pieces begin to slide into place. We’re waiting for that first move.

Which bring us back to your point: Just shut up and do your jobs.

Anybody got some duct tape?

Anybody got some duct tape?

 

 

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19 comments

  1. Patrick Boegel says:

    My favorite Gem from Metsblog founder Matt Cerrone on this $87MM from Twitter, “what difference does it make, is it dishonest because you choose to trust him”

    I swear he must have just read Animal Farm.

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      Had to go back and look to get the exact line…

      Matthew Cerrone @matthewcerrone
      @tobyhyde @tpgMets it’s only dishonest if you care to trust them.

      That is just insane rationale.

      • I don’t know Matt, but I respect a lot about Metsblog and his work there. He takes a world of shit from his readers — the comments section is open, daily abuse — and other blogs take cheap shots at him all the time. I guess that comes with the territory when you are king of the hill. That said, I’ve never viewed him as a particularly perceptive analyst. He built a hell of a structure though, which is really more important than content nowadays. Maybe it’s always been that way.

        You can be the greatest shooting coach in the history of basketball, but if you don’t have keys to a gym, you are worthless. There’s nowhere to practice. But if do have keys to a gym, you can find a few pretty good coaches to give lessons all day long. That’s the lesson of Metsblog and commerce in general. It could be publishing or whatever. If you have the structure, you’re in business, because you can always find a few “content providers.”

        Matt brilliantly pulled something off. He was there early and did it the best. But mostly, I respect that he ignores the ankle-biters and does his own thing.

        • Patrick Boegel says:

          I’ve generally been at the defense of Matt and Metsblog over the years. But with each passing day, week and month they drift further from valued content to a lame cross linking site with embedded promotions for SNY clients. And to be sure I hold him no ill will for taking it by the reigns, turning into something and making money.

          I just see the current state of things as bland, incoherent and beginning to lack any serious credibility. The Braun piece from yesterday, that was extremely dangerous. And his insistence on hiding behind the “I’m just a blogger, just a fan” is not reasonable.”

          In many ways Metsblog is becoming a metaphor for so called “new media”. As you said, he was never a particularly perceptive analyst, however, at some point a content engine has to be more than as many incoherent ramblings of data points as plausible that fits the day. Content has to have a discernable flow.

          Content also generally survives based on one of two things developed attributable ideas and/or strong opinion based ideas.

          If you think as Metsblog as a television show, it is in that awkward arc where the creator and writers don’t know where to go next and possibly how to admit it has run it’s course.

          Professional sports is a topic filled with heated debate and passion, can’t sit on the fence. Opinions do not always need to be right. Lord knows, there was a time when I used to think people were crazy with their jabs at the Wilpons. But if you have no opinions or no story arc you sort of just become the Yellow Pages. That thing dropped on the door step repeatedly each year that we scratch our heads and wonder, what do I do with this?

          Right now Metsblog is surviving based on the fact that site readers are more interested in lampooning the content and the contributors than on the content it tries to serve up.

          • Over the past year of this blog, we’ve learned a lot about how the internet works.

            Metsblog began as a self-proclaimed “grand central station” of Mets news. They linked to everything, so it was one-stop shopping. That’s always been their thing. Without generating much original thought, they became “the source.”

            The analysis has always been secondary, and weak.

            Then there’s the few blogs that are content providers, with original thoughts. Mets360 does this, for example. Eddie Kranepool Society. So do we. The kitchen table blog, where we are shooting the shit.

            Most sites nowadays are sucker fish, they take what Adam Rubin writes and in less than 5 minutes turn it into the headline of their site. We see this over and over again. They are all chasing hits, chasing eyeballs, but providing nothing of value.

            It’s not just sports blogs, it’s the internet at large. Cheap stunts to attract eyeballs, often riding on the back of the real reporters. Gawker meets The New York Times.

            For example, Mike and I know that we could get more eyeballs if we did the same thing. Posted something quick after every news item, with a brief “opinion” tacked onto the bottom of it. To us, well, we’re just not interested. There’s nothing satisfying about it. But to someone else, that’s how you build the empire.

            I look at a guy like Metstradamus and think, That’s what I respect the most.

            In the end, if we only have the hit-chasers, we’ll be devoid of fresh thought entirely. If the New York Times disappears, who is going to cover the board meetings, the distant wars, and so on?

            I’m not complaining. It’s fascinating to watch. For our part, Mike and I have had to figure out how it works, and what role we want to play within it. Still figuring that out. Back to Metsblog: When they are truest to their core mission, the one-stop shopping for Mets information, they are their most valuable. It’s why I click on them everyday.

          • Michael Geus says:

            I’m in it for the money and fame.

          • Michael Geus says:

            At one time a place like Metsblog was the way to get news at what seemed to be a very fast clip. And it was, compared to waiting for the next days paper.

            But one thing about technology is that it never stops evolving. Last night when the Texas/Detroit trade took place five separate Apps on my phone beeped to notify me. I don’t have to look for news anywhere now, news looks for me.

            And opinions on that news hit Twitter seconds later. I believe fairly soon blogs need to either have very strong in depth content, or they will die. They just won’t be needed to deliver information any more.

            In other words, Jimmy and I are on borrowed time!

  2. James Preller says:

    That’s pretty metaphysical. J.P. Ricciardi had a famous quote that was eerily similar, back when they were booting him out of Toronto. Best recollection: “It’s only lying if you believe me.”

  3. James Preller says:

    Correction, looked it up: “it’s not lying if we know the truth.”

  4. IB says:

    Yeah, there’s shades of Grant/DeRoulet. Then you had Grant’s tabloid bulldog, Dick (Cokie Farm) Young with his daily anti Seaver/Kingman propoganda. This is an ugly era but nothing compared to those dark days. (I’ll pitch this PR campaign to Fred first chance.)

    PS – Cracked up over the photo!

  5. IB says:

    Joining the discussion on Metsblog – I read it regularly. It’s pretty much my source for real time Met news. What I take away from Cerrone’s style is that he really strives for fair-mindedness in a reality based Met world. He might not like the reality, but that seems to be his goal. Yeah, he takes a pass on most of the negative headlines, but I don’t see him as a company bootlick who facilitates shit management either. If a reader wants a lot of self righteous indignation and ten tons of overblown self-cenceits there’s plenty of sophmoric circle jerks out there to pick from. Metsblog aint it.

    In short, I like the guy.

    • Michael Geus says:

      I am impressed by how critical he often is of things. I do think he shoots hard for fair. He gets a ton of crap from the people who comment, many who make it about him, not the days content.

      I give him a lot of credit for dealing with that nonsense every day.

  6. Eric says:

    For the Past 10 days or so we’ve been settling into the “myth” that it’s EARLY….. and some teams have been chasing 2014 with IDEAS of what they need to do and the players that fit their plans. Byrd is Gone. David Murphy moved off the board fairly cheap and easy….and I thought HE was a real fit. Josh Johnson (mneh—I wasn’t so interested..) and Hudson (triple Ditto) are gone. A Blockbuster trade has gone down.

    The CHASE is on….. we’re waiting for dropping apples….. other teams are reaching out to guys they WANT.

    Do the Mets WANT a Player—anyone? The Pitching population is SMALLER than it was—same for the OF Population—- unless you’re waiting for DROPS, the attractive players are going to get MORE expensive……of course, until they become The Left Overs.

    We need solid MLB players that fit NEEDS—NOT left overs ONLY.

    Sandy—Go get a PLayer you WANT—plz…. LIKE ONE….. soon!

    • Patrick Boegel says:

      May I add 1,095 days give or take to the settling into the “myth”.

      The whole problem with the “no need to rush, these things take time” line of thinking is that it entirely depends on all other 29 teams taking that same approach. Which contrary to popular belief doe not follow a strict timeline of GM meetings, quiet, Winter Meetings, quiet. Final action.

      It is happening constantly, and gasp, not even in the “off-season” alone.

    • I think it is still early, there’s a lot of time. The Winter Meetings haven’t even happened yet. If there’s a trade simmering, it will take some time, and it will happen in secret.

      R.A. Dickey was traded on 12/17.

      In free agency, the Mets appear to be in the secondary market — waiting guys out, looking for bargains, sensitive to price and terms. Those are simply not the guys who sign early.

      The big dogs eat first.

      If there’s a trade in the works, then the details of that deal will determine the moves to follow.

      I don’t like the rhetoric, don’t like the talk or the tea leaves. But this is the off-season where Sandy Alderson has to act to make the team better. I can’t kill him in mid-November.

      We’ll see. It’s not going to happen quickly, that’s just not how Sandy operates, and I don’t think the budget (or the will) is there for the proactive, bold signing. He probably does want someone, probably does like someone. He’s going to try to use the timetable to his advantage.

      • Patrick Boegel says:

        He’s good in the drivers seat, ala Beltran and Dickey, but when he is the passenger and generally not even shotgun, he gets his head handed to him.

        My fear is that he is always waiting to be dealt the perfect hand.

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