To be clear, the New York Mets can win with Sandy Alderson, but Alderson just cannot win with the Mets.
After five years of deteriorating baseball, among Mets fans, vitriol appears to have replaced enthusiasm. If misery loves company, Citi Field may be the most comforting place on earth.
Alderson is entering the final year of his contract, and certain critics feel only a big splash and a playoff trip can save his job. This creates a problem. Alderson continues to remind listeners that the Mets are not interested in any $100 million deals right now, and instead are looking to spread money around and address multiple positions. Detractors use those statements as ammunition against the front office and a perceived lack of interest in building a winning team.
The Mets have reportedly reached out to the agents of former All-Stars outfielder Corey Hart and shortstop Rafael Furcal — neither of whom played a game in the majors last season. Fans and bloggers have roundly rejected both players as acceptable solutions. Hart and Furcal certainly aren’t the sexiest names on the market, but both represent potential upgrades at their positions.
This front office came in with a Moneyball reputation, and despite several low-cost, decent-return signings, plummeting approval ratings suggest the fanbase isn’t satisfied. The fact is, Alderson doesn’t care what fans think. He isn’t paid to care what fans think. The Wilpons tasked Alderson with shedding dead weight contracts and building a winner. While Bobby Bonilla’s deferred money isn’t going anywhere, the team finally has money to spend and a rebuilt farm system. Mission Accomplished.
Many Mets fans seem more concerned with chasing superstars than getting better. Giancarlo Stanton and Carlos Gonzalez aren’t available. Sorry. The Mets have promising pitching, but until Matt Harvey returns, trading away Dillon Gee or Jon Niese would just be irresponsible, so the Mets probably won’t land Matt Kemp. Sorry.
We’re rapidly approaching dangerous “let’s hate him for the sake of hating him” grounds. Too many Mets fans expect the front office to not spend money. Not spending isn’t the same thing as spending wisely.
Alderson will reportedly meet with uber-agent Scott Boras this week in Orlando, but refusing to offer Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury $100 million, and not gutting the system for Troy Tulowitzki can’t be negative marks on Alderson’s report card. He has promised to spend for three years, but this is not an offseason teeming with top talent. Spreading the available funds around is the responsible path, however, a large portion of the fan base will continue to prioritize glitz over guile. It hasn’t worked out for the Angels, by the way.
Alderson must remain prudent and address multiple position deficiencies, even if that doesn’t include a big ticket free agent or trading for a veritable superstar. Bloated contracts and Ponzi schemes got the Mets into this mess, and Alderson has no interest in repeating either of those ill-fated investment plans. That’s great, but a fans are tired of waiting; they want big names and October baseball.
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