Don’t get your hopes up for Cliff Lee, Met fans. It’s not going to happen. Nor will the Mets have a free spending off-season, like they did under Omar Minaya.
Rather look for some smart bargain basement moves where new general manager Sandy Alderson will utilize some of his statistical analysis to fill the holes on the roster.
“Will we be in the market this year aggressively? Unlikely,” Alderson said.
Added COO Jeff Wilpon, “We have to have some more conversation with him, but I assume we’re close to the maximum. And I don’t think he would recommend, and hasn’t recommended, going above that right now.”
Alderson’s biggest signings may come in the front office. No matter who the field manager will be, if the new GM can be reunited Paul DePodesta to run the statistical analysis department and J.P. Ricciardi to helm the player personnel area – two executives reportedly on his list – then the Mets may be on their way to contending in 2011.
Not a fan of using his prospects for chips, Alderson is willing to explore trading any and all veterans – including Jose Reyes and David Wright – if the price is right.
“I think we’re going to be busy, but that’s first and maybe ultimately only to assess the market,” Alderson said. “We don’t really know what’s out there. We need to be actively engaged in finding out what’s available to us, who has interest in some of our players, and just assess things as we develop more information. But right now it would be hard to say how active we’re going to be in actual transactions. But we’re going to be out there fishing.”
High on-base percentage players will be a key for Alderson. The use of stats will be a new concept in Queens, something Minaya would never consider, relying more on the scouts.
He will also try to shed the dead weight in on the roster. Of course, he’s not going to outright say he will release Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, you can bet their days are numbered. Fred and Jeff Wilpon even said they would have released them last season, if Minaya broached the subject, but never did.
“And, by the way, there may other ‘hits’ that he comes up with — not only the obvious ones,” Fred Wilpon said.
Then there’s the manager, who will be hired in the next 30 days. Both Wilpons said the subject of a high paid manager never came up in conversations, so that should take Joe Torre and Bobby Valentine off the list, but Alderson said he likes a high spirited manager, which keeps Wally Backman in the running.
“I also think it’s important for a manager to be somewhat analytical, but at the same time occasionally and sometimes often intuitive,” Alderson said. “We’re looking for somebody that is right for our situation. What is our situation? You start with the fact that it’s New York City. …
“We’re looking for somebody that fits intellectual requirements, but also intuitive and emotional ones. That manager may have experience, may not have experience at the major league level. We’re very open-minded about it at this point. But I do want to emphasize that whoever is selected is going to be the manager and making those decisions and needs to have a certain level of independence in order to accomplish what he needs to accomplish.”
No matter what happens in the ensuing months though, one thing’s for certain: Things have changed in Queens already.