Matt M in an e-mail to MetsBlog: ”It seems like Sandy is starting to lose the fanbase, basically he is beginning to lose the benefit of the doubt. The comments here, at Amazin Avenue and Metsmerized, are all similar in that fans are doubting there is even a real ‘plan,’ other than to spend no money.”
Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog.com:This is mostly accurate. Though, to be fair, fan sentiment toward the GM (and manager and ownership) tend to closely track the team’s standing in the division and playoff race. For instance, I’ve been running a Sandy Alderson Favorability Poll once a week since last February, asking, “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view,” and – as you can see below – it looks a lot like the team’s playoff chances during the same time period:
Nevertheless, the fact that 92% of voters had a favorable view of Alderson back in May, and now it’s down to 52%, is telling of a season that was once full of hope and now isn’t. That said, I’m pretty sure Alderson doesn’t care…
So, what’s the plan? Well, it’s the same as it’s always been, which is to shed payroll, stockpile prospects (specifically pitching prospects), do his best to compete (without getting bogged down in big contracts), sell tickets and increase revenue (so, when the young players are ready, there is money to spend on acquisitions that help the edges of the roster).
Naturally, there will be fans who yell and scream about spending, but just look at the Marlins and Angels. They have each made big ‘splashes,’ but what has it gotten them? Instead, the idea – as I understand it – is to closely do what the Phillies have done so well. For instance, the Phillies drafted, signed and acquired an endless supply of prospects towards the early part of last decade (after finishing below .500 for seven straight years). The elite of these prospects eventually became their ‘core,’ i.e., Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, etc. The Phillies then started to win, built momentum and revenue, and then locked up those young guys to keep them in uniform through their primes. At the same time, because these guys were locked up and occupying spots, it allowed the organization to trade from excess and make deals for veterans, like Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, then spend big money to attempt to sustain it. I’m not sure they got the back end totally right, but all good things eventually end, and they did manage a serious and exciting consistent five to six year stretch of winning baseball.
The point is, there was seven years between the time Utley was drafted and when the Phillies won a World Series in 2008. Also, nine years passed from the time he was drafted and they had enough expendable and valuable prospects to trade for Lee and Halladay. Meanwhile, Ike Davis was drafted in 2008. Zack Wheeler was drafted in 2009. Matt Harvey was drafted in 2010. Ruben Tejada is 22.
The Mets quietly suggest 2014 is their goal, which is when they’d like to be where the Phillies were in 2005, 2006 (when Philadelphia finished well above .500 and legitimately contended for a playoff spot the entire season). The Phillies won a ring a few years later. 2014 will be six years after Ike was drafted. Hopefully, things continue to go as planned… If not, then what?