Repost: Wins over faces

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

I wrote this in December, 2012, just after the Winter Meetings. It seems worth re-posting, given recent talk of payroll, contract extensions and building like the A’s and Rays…


I wonder if we need to get more comfortable with rooting for the uniform again and not specific players?

Sandy Alderson locked up David Wright, mostly because he’s a terrific third baseman (in an era when there aren’t many good third baseman), but he also got the deal because he’s a good guy, clean, smart, a good story, loyal, and capable — and willing — to be the face of the franchise now and after he retires. Every franchise needs this, and Alderson so much as said so. But, for the most part, he has said he isn’t a big fan of giving out these type of second-generation contracts… let alone ones that cost $100 million… and especially to more than one player.

right-turnAs I’ve said before, I think he believes in having a young, under-team-control core to win with (such as Jon Niese, Travis d’Arnaud, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, etc.,) with Wright as their leader), but who are supported each season by a constant rotation of mercenaries acquired by trade or signed to very short-term, affordable contracts that can be easily discarded and replaced if they’re not working out.

Further more, if Alderson finds himself with player requesting more money – who is having a career year or attaining a major, personal achievement, like a batting title, Cy Young, etc. – I have a feeling Alderson and his staff will treat him like any other overvalued asset that he should sell high on.

For instance, like in the case of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, R.A. Dickey, etc., I think Alderson and his staff may literally see these guys as “opportunities,” like flipping a house or selling a stock, assuming it’s in the best interest of the organization’s future. The foundation (d’Arnaud, Harvey, Wheeler, etc.) do not get moved, at least not yet, at least not while they’re appropriately valued and producing. But, even for them, the moment they are producing at a high level, and their demand increases while on the verge of being free agents (say five, six, seven years from now), I wonder if they’ll get moved too?

Oakland A’s fans are very used to this way of life, they actually take pride in it at this point, and Alderson, Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi all have roots in that system. The Rays are doing this well, too. The difference is that New York City has conditioned itself to root for stars. However — with a few exceptions — I get the feeling Alderson believes winning (regardless of who you do it with and how much you spend on it) trumps any one player, regardless of how you and I feel about those players. And, maybe, what we’re watching here (at the expense of short-term success) is Alderson transition from one model to the other.

Obviously, the perfect scenario, the ultimate goal, the sweet spot — for Alderson or any GM — will be a combination of: sustained winning, a consistent system, gunning for the postseason year after year, but with four of five familiar faces we love and rally around (the ‘Core Four,’ so to speak). But, if he had to choose, I bet Alderson would take wins over faces… and I wonder if New York fans will agree…




162 comments
Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

I just want to look around the field and know that we have a major leaguer at each position. Because I don't get that impression right now. We have Wright, Murphy and Granderson. Jury is still out on TDA. But we have 4-5 positions filled by players that are absolutely awful. I want to tell people I root for the Mets and not get laughed at or looked at like I have two heads. I don't care what Alderson has to do. Draft talent, trade for it, sign free agents, perform a miracle. Just give us a team we can respect

crimsondad
crimsondad

Instead of consistent winning Alderson and co. have mastered consistent losing.

Barry Osborn
Barry Osborn

I miss the old days when metsblog articles weren't corrupted by all of the insufferable propaganda...

dluts33
dluts33

Good teams win with good players. Whether you draft and develop, sign or trade for them or all of the above is completely irrelevant. It's Sandy Alderson's job to put together a good team, and he has not done that since he's been in NY. Payroll restraints, bad contracts and a bad minor league system have all been excuses, but at the end of the day fans only care about winning! His record with the Mets speaks for itself.

leestoyota
leestoyota

Matt, are you sleeping with Sandy? Just be honest, the real media will find out soon enough.

mrseaver2u
mrseaver2u

What an idiotic post. LOOK at the team, Matt. We have neither wins NOR faces.

mrseaver2u
mrseaver2u

>>> For instance, like in the case of Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, R.A. Dickey, etc., I think Alderson and his staff may literally see these guys as “opportunities,” like flipping a house or selling a stock, assuming it’s in the best interest of the organization’s future. <<<


Matt, do you even watch the team you're covering? As those of us who are not paid apologists for a morally and financially bankrupt ownership all recall, Jose Reyes was NOT flipped or sold like a stock. Alderson hung on to him, probably just to sell 9 more tickets in August, without getting a DIME for him. Alderson had turned Beltran into Wheeler at the trade deadline the year before. Reyes was leading the league in hitting, and what did Alderson get for him? NOTHING.


Billy Suede
Billy Suede

wins over faces?


not exactly. this is new york. we want to be proud of our icons. we value the ability to look back in terms of eras so we can say this player captured our hearts and minds for a certain period of time. yes, we root for the laundry but we want someone or a group of someones to wear it with pride and lead the way for the city and the sport for some time. this is why the yankees have their core and they are beloved. george and even hal/hank to a lesser degree understand there is something to maintaining a tradition. sometimes you simply have to do your heroes right even at the expense of the bottom line and 'fiscal flexibility'. 


the last thing the mets need to do is become the montreal expos where they simply gave away players who went on to become hall of famers or very near-misses over a few dollars. 

Born2Fish74
Born2Fish74

And, maybe, what we’re watching here (at the expense of short-term success) is Alderson transition from one model to the other. 


Sandy was hired in October 2010 and this team is no closer short term or long term to winning. How long does Sandy and ownership expect this transition to take place??? 


Besides flipping Beltran and RA (which should have been easy enough for any of us to do) what has Sandy done?  Wilpon's really need to sell and SA needs to retire!

Frank Accardi
Frank Accardi

Enough sell the team ,, we suddenly adopted this philosophy no. .. The wilpons need to sell bottom line

getalife
getalife

And here we are in June of 2014.  Where are the wins?

Eric Raffle
Eric Raffle

Many years of losing--- lousy ownership...maybe even MEAN ownership....  hey--the only reason people are"still here" is The Laundry!!  
If this were a Restaurant....a Store.... a Car Brand----  we'd ALL be gone.

dooley
dooley

Building that core four is the real key. We had it with Delgado, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and of course we had it in the mid eighties and other years as well. The problem that many fans have is we lost a key cog in that core in Reyes, and have struggled to find the other pieces (Ike Davis & maybe TDA). To top it off, we see other teams find their core in Puig, Abreu, and many others while we are juggling to figure out who stays and who goes.

Joseph DeFazio
Joseph DeFazio

The A's and Tampa may win games on a consistent basis, but it's about bring home the trophy, which is something they do not do on a consistent basis. Not very good examples of teams I would model my organization after. 

shea
shea

"CORE FOUR"....cerrone do you listen to yourself....do you realize how much the core four cost the yanks?  in the first line you state Alderson isnt inclined to give big deals....espically to more than one player....so if thats true and he was the GM of the Yanks....he would have 3 out of the following 4 walk and only signed one...Mo, Jeter, Jorge, Petitte....yup Im sure the yanks would have been just as good with only one of out the 4.



shea
shea

first let me point out we did spend money....see wright contract

then let me point out we are like the A's....



Cerrone....the A's would NEVER give such a deal as the wright deal....you cant run a low payroll team while giving such a large portion of that payroll to one guy...its why everyone else stinks.   If you are going to go low budget you have to do it all out....you cant blend it with a 100+ player taking a large portion of your payroll.

shea
shea

"i wrote this two years ago....and its worth revisiting since nothing has changed...our prospects are still prospects....and we are still planning for the "future"

shea
shea

modeling our team after a franchise that hasnt won a championship in 25 years.......awesome...fu8king awesome

shea
shea

Cerrone...you also wrote many times that the plan was for 2014.....how about you go and revisit that!

p8erbaghad
p8erbaghad

"The difference is that New York City has conditioned itself to root for stars."

No Matt.  New York City has conditioned itself to root for winners. 

Adam Mumford
Adam Mumford

"For instance, like in the case of Jose Reyes..."  

Because that position has been so solidly locked down since letting him leave, right?  Just another case of opening up a gap at a position you had a hard time filling in the first place historically, and slotting in question marks.

fatherflot
fatherflot

I would prefer wins over the feces we've seen from this team for the last five plus years.

tk2120
tk2120

"I wrote this in December 2012" --- thats really all you need to know.

sandybgone
sandybgone

Do you guys remember at the winter meetings...when Jeff stated "we are open for business" and everyone (including media types and beat writers) assumed this meant the Mets were going to make some moves...and it turned out to be that they were mentioning ticket promotions and the concert series...even Sandy scoffed at the comment..


it is things like that example which infuriates a fan base...they just have to keep their mouth closed and make announcements once all I's are dotted and T's are crossed and nothing before...



vimets
vimets

If it could happen today would you trade the Mets 25 man roster for

the A's 25 man roster?

Steven Molello
Steven Molello

The problem with the above is that when you're asked to spend $80 on a seat, $20 bucks (more?) on parking, $12 beers and $10 hot dogs, fans don't appreciate the team they're giving their money to being on a contingency budget. If you ask for big $ you better be prepared to spend some big $. That's why many Met fans are angry..the equation isn't working...

Ed Yano
Ed Yano

You really need to do some research on who the Mets acquired for Reyes.By saying NOTHING you show you have no clue.HINT he is a catcher who was just promoted to AAA.

PB
PB

@Born2Fish74 (PS4) You're out of your mind if you think we aren't better built for the future now....we have room to spend on better players (SS market will be much better this offseason), and enough young arms that if one doesn't work out, there's another one right behind him to fill his shoes. We are MUCH better built for the longterm than we were 4 years ago without a doubt.


Saying flipping Beltran and RA was easy...is absurd. When those deals were made, there was high praise for how good of a job he did....on top of that, do you realize how much payroll he cleaned up?

Ed Yano
Ed Yano

He has taken a farm system ranked26th when he started to 6th in 3 drafts.Thats a good job.He also moved the Bay and Santana $ to Granderson and Colon.Much more bang for the Buck.What he didn't do was magically make all the teams debt disappear,but exactly how was he supposed to do that?

PB
PB

@dooley Reyes was great for us...but the fact is that he's so much of an injury risk for what he costs. What other fans don't realize is the keyword is "build". This takes time..especially in NYC with all the media and fan pressure. Yankees have it easy because they can afford to buy pieces when someone doesn't work out. Everyone seems to look past the fact that although it isn't the strongest core, it is definitely more progressed to being a longterm 'core' than it was when Reyes was still here...yea there are a lot of question marks, but with all the young players we have...there is upside. We have potential...we're just impatient because it's taking longer than we thought and they never came out and confirmed "we're rebuilding".

PB
PB

@Joseph DeFazio A's are as close to bringing it home as anyone is this year. They built a team that wins games.

mrseaver2u
mrseaver2u

@shea Exactly. Had the Yankees run their team the way Matt is proposing/endorsing, then they would have let all of the Core Four go, and signed only Jeter. Consequently, Jeter would've had a career as an admired player, surrounded by inferior players, on a team that never won anything. Much like ... David Wright!

PB
PB

@shea This is Sandy's take on managing a team that doesn't buy out the market every year...we're not the yankees.

dooley
dooley

I think that is the sweet spot he refers to in the last paragraph

p8erbaghad
p8erbaghad

@shea And yet even more depressing is the fact that it was still more recent than our last championship.

corcoran
corcoran

@vimets that depends if we also lose the summer concert series in that deal.

sandybgone
sandybgone

@vimets That is a solid question...cant answer it..

jenkins
jenkins

@Steven Molello to give an idea of the Mets being the opposite of a small-market team, The A's offered $1 tickets and $1 hotdogs for most mid-week matinee games. Mets wouldn't even think  of doing that-even in their current condition.


Their a big-market team that won't pay to succeed.

Michael Frias
Michael Frias

@Steven Molello  Other than Opening Day and playoff games, I've never spent more than $25 for a ticket to a Mets game.



sandybgone
sandybgone

@Steven Molello Yesterday it cost me a total (With ticket) of about 150.00...by myself...now I do it often because I love this team and I am an idiot....


Anyway...this post and your other post are spot on

mrseaver2u
mrseaver2u

@Ed Yano Plawecki "acquired" for Reyes? A bit of a stretch. You seem to be intentionally missing the point. Matt's whole post was about the wily way Alderson is going to trade "overvalued" players when they become too expensive, as he did with Beltran. Reyes patently does not belong on that list, as he was not traded when his value was very high as an impact player leading the league in hitting at the trade deadline  but rather was kept around in order to win the batting championship in front of crickets at Citi Field in August and September. Yes, we got a draft pick for him, but this was not a part of some grand strategy, and including Reyes on that list completely undermines the point of the whole post.



Born2Fish74
Born2Fish74

@PB @Born2Fish74 (PS4)


So your saying you're actually happy (if you are you're out of your mind) with the job SA has done in whats going to be 5 years now since he's been hired??? It's easy not spending money to clear payroll especially given the time he's been GM (whether the Wilpons will actually spend (like a team in NY should) and SA will get the right players is another question, i have serious doubts after seeing what he spent on CY and Colon who was not needed with these young and (unproven) arms. 


RA was the reigning Cy Young award winner its not absurd to say that it was easy to flip him and Beltran was a proven playoff performer who went to a playoff team the Giants how hard was it to trade him? Again whats he done that sooo great???

dooley
dooley

@PB I agree, there is upside in finding our core in pitching in Harvey, Wheeler, and Thor. I should not have mentioned Reyes or the other free agents because it shifts the discussion to the past instead of focusing on what can be done now

PB
PB

@mrseaver2u @shea how many teams spend money like the Yankees do? It's not fair to compare any team to them because they have deep enough pockets to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Sandy wouldn't have to work around a payroll there.

Bryan McEntee
Bryan McEntee

@Born2Fish74 (PS4) @PB He traded Carlos Beltran in July! Late July as a matter of fact. And he got back a top pitching prospect for two months of Beltran. It would be like if the Mets gave up Montero for two months of Alex Rios

PB
PB

@Born2Fish74 (PS4) @PB First of all the Wilpons aren't going to empty their pockets to buy players to fill all the holes we have. The other option is developing younger guys and build a team with a fresh start to lessen the amount of money we have to spend on guys that we can't even be 100% sure will be able to play here. Do we want to spend on a big contracts that will lock us down for guys who aren't proven NYC ball players?...(take for example Jason Bay). Before Omar left, that's what we were doing...spending money on big contracts and bringing guys in that weren't performing well here. I didn't like the CY signing when it happened...but it's a 1 year deal to see if he could perform, it was a "test the water" signing BEFORE we knew we were going to sign Granderson (who was a GREAT signing for $60/4 years for a guy who has already proven he can play in the city).

Sandy has been rebuilding the farm system for guys that will perform for us in a few years. It's not rocket science. When these guys grow into the Pitchers that they're going to be, we will have them for less than we'd pay signing or trading for a pitcher that may or may not be able to perform here. Do you understand what happens when we have that money that wasn't spent on wasted bats before we had pitching to compete?....THEN we will sign guys that can make a difference.


After you accept that the Wilpons aren't selling the team, nor buying out huge contracts to fill the holes we obviously have and adding the the Minaya problem... think about the players he's put in the farm system. Do you look beyond the surface at all? From your short-sighted point of view...I'm going to assume not. And just to note...we're paying Colon $20 mil for 2 years. They guy has been great for us this year, and without him you'd be crying a whole lot more about the current state of the Mets than you are now....but if you REALLLY  don't want him here, don't fret, we'll probably trade him at the deadline and get someone that will add to our future during a season that we aren't even competing in. It's a process man. Look beyond the headlines.

shea
shea

@PB @mrseaver2u @shea the yanks, angels, dodgers, sox...(basically any team in a big market minus the Madoff stricken mets)

mrseaver2u
mrseaver2u

@PB @mrseaver2u @shea I am not the one comparing the Mets to the Yankees -- Matt Cerrone is. He specifically referred to the Core Four of the Yankees as if their role on the Yankees was somehow applicable or analagous to the Mets. It undermines his whole point if he's going to refer to four highly paid stars on another team while boosting the "plan" not to pay any stars for the Mets may develop in the future.


Further, saying the Mets should not be compared to the Yankees is true, but is no excuse for the small-time way the Mets are being run. What you say is true: It's not reasonable to expect the Mets to have a $200M payroll. But there's a lot of room between $85M and $200M. If they had a $120M payroll -- 20%+ below where it was just a few years ago, they could probably compete. But instead their payroll is in the gutter. It's not defensible in this big market.

PB
PB

@mrseaver2u I agree with you, Cerrone shouldn't have compared the 2...but it's the same city and it's who we are always compared to...It sucks. Running the team the way the Wilpons have the last few years isn't the most ideal way to deal with a big market team my any means. My thought is that they brought SA in to fix the payroll and give us a starting point with a young team, after we have a foundation then we can add players and expand the payroll, I don't think this $85 mil payroll is going to be here for the long run but just temporarily until we have more to work it. To sign big players long term when he first came in wouldn't have helped the problem. The team he's built at this point is just barely good enough to put on the field to keep the fans occupied and coming to games while this transition occurs. Once our young guys are ready, I think payroll and a better roster will shortly follow. The Wilpons suck, but they have opened their pockets before for good names...I have faith in Sandy's plan...no, not everything he's done has worked out presently, but he's done a great job cutting payroll and getting us young talent. We'll have to see what happens this offseason.