If you take Jeffrey Wilpon at his word, the Mets will be back in business in the off-season. The organization will start a complete search for a general manager and leave it up to the new executive to make the decisions about the manager and more importantly the payroll.
Apparently, it’s been like that way all along and the reason why the Mets were run like a small market club was because, according to Wilpon, former GM Sandy Alderson’s recommendation to she away from long term contracts and limit the use of analytics.
“We have always set a goal in terms of what the payroll is going to be,” Wilpon said at a press conference this morning. “It always starts out at a number, and we always exceed that number. I can’t give you an exact answer on [the number], but when we have a new GM in place, we will have a plan that we will come back here with and lay that out.”
If that’s the case, the Mets should be back open for business. They may not go back to the free spending days of Omar Minaya, but they may be freer with the checkbook.
However, Wilpon needs to know by placing the blame of the lack of spending as Alderson’s recommendation, he only can play that card once. If Alderson was a guy who always liked a bargain and shopping in the discount bin caused two years of Met futility, even with the staff they trot out every day, then he will have to hire someone with a different philosophy.
“I think the effort was there, but I don’t think we got out from them what we should have gotten out,” Wilpon said of his team. “Even though the effort was there, the talent wasn’t, and that is something the new GM is going to have to work on.”
That means spending the money. Even at $140 million already guaranteed in 2019 when factoring in raises, Wilpon will need to give the new general manager the flexibility to improve the bullpen, which needs a total overhaul, get a catcher, a center fielder and maybe even a righthanded power bat.
And if the new general manager wants to clean house, including firing manager Mickey Callaway, and that means eating some money, so be it. Although based on the second half, Callaway deserves another year.
And Wilpon says he is going to do just that, even if his loyal three-headed GM is at risk. “They are not here no matter what, and I have spoken to all three of them and they understand that with somebody new coming in, they might fit into that mix and they might not fit into that mix,” Wilpon said. “They are part of the failure we had this year, the same as I am, and the rest of the front office. It’s only fair to give somebody coming in an open book to bring in who they want.”
No matter who is hired as the general manger, be it an old school guy like Gary Larocque, or even someone in the new thought analytical approach, Wilpon will need to leave him alone and let him spend the money to build the organization.
If not spending and not developing an analytics department was Alderson’s idea, then Jeffrey Wilpon will need to prove that to the world by letting the Mets act like a big market team.